Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Oscars 2008 for Animation

Following my note on the Bafta's here's the same for the Oscars.

Best animated feature film
Surf's Up

Ratatouille has got some stiff competition here going up against the serious Persepolis (shown at the London Film Festival this year) and the light weight documentary stylings of Surf's Up.

Best animated short film
I Met the Walrus
Madame Tutli-Putli
Meme Les Pigeons Vont au Paradis (Even Pigeons Go to Heaven)
My Love (Moya Lyubov)
Peter & the Wolf

I'm afraid to say that I don't know much about these films other than Peter and the Wolf, an excellent stop motion film from with Prokofiev's music. The film was shown on UK TV last month and has been popular in the UK animation festivals. For there rest there are some details of these on the Oscars site until I've had time to find out more.

Ratatouille is also in the running for five more awards; Origional Screenplay, Music Score, Writing, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing.

Update: 24/1/2008
Thanks to Darkmatters, I've discovered that you can watch the Oscar Nominated Short Animated films online.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Baftas for Animation

The list of Bafta nominees for 2008 is now up, the animated films are:

SHREK THE THIRD – Chris Miller
THE SIMPSONS MOVIE – Matt Groening/James L Brooks

Although the Simpson's Movie is very funny I don't think it should win given that it's not outstanding animation just mediocre. Shrek the Third does not really deserve to be listed as it lacked plot, the animation although technically better was less in detail and I thought the lead characters looked more human than ogre. Of course I think Ratatouille should win for the reason's I've outlined in my blog.

The Pearce Sisters is from Aardman and has already won some awards and was shown at last years LIAF. It's production is something quite new for Aardman in that it's combined 3D and 2D.

HEAD OVER HEELS – Osbert Parker/Fiona Pitkin/Ian Gouldstone
Osbert's piece is mixed media with found film clips animated over stop motion.

THE CRUMBLEGIANT – Pearse Moore/John McCloskey (clip)
This was funded as part of Frameworks scheme from Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board and premiered at the Galway Film Fleadh in 2007.

Ratatouille and Beowulf also were short listed for the visual effects category but did not make it to the nominations stage.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Cat Came Back

The Cat Came Back by Director Cordell Barker from 1988 is one of my favourite short animations, its was made by hand with the drawings scanned into a computer. It's already possible to buy this on VHS and DVD but now the National Film Board of Canada has kindly posted it up on the web.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Smurf Aniversary Film

This year is the 50th aniversary of the smurfs and October 23, 2008 is their ‘Happy Smurfday!
As well as an extensive range of events, competitions and a European Tour, the Smurfs will be producing a film (there are even rumours of a Triology)

Herbert Ratner III is writing the screenplay based on the origional characters by Peyo. The film will be distributed by Nickelodeon Movies / Paramount Pictures and produced by Kerner Entertainment who also produced Charlotes Web in 2006.

More Movie Info

MovieWeb, Movie-List, BlueBuddies.

Related News Reports

Yahoo!, Google, Metro.

Do you want to become a Smurf builder?

IMPS is advertising for a 3D modeller to create, texture and shade models. Rigging of characters is a bonus. The advert does not indicate if this is a permenant position so best check with them.

International Merchandising,
Promotion & Services s.a.
Rue du Cerf 85

Monday, January 14, 2008

Brothers Quay in HD on Sky Arts

The Brothers Quay dark and moody, stop motion films can been seen on Sky Arts and Sky Arts HD over the next few months. For those without the relavent channels, these films can be purchased on VHS from the British Film Institute Shop.

Thanks to a chap called Meph on MySpace for telling me about this.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Flea Film Preview

The PSTOIC Christmas dinner at the Rembrant was a success. The buffet was good and plentyful and as usual I had too much red wine.

Folliwing the meal two EEE PCs were produced and 2 memory sticks with copies of the flea film latest draft were shown to the STOIC Alumni. The response was good but some of the techies seemed more interested in the hardware than the film.

In my rush to complete the presentation I'd put some simple placeholders where there would be more animation next time I showed the film. These were so popular I've actually decided to keep them in the film to introduce each of the acts. The other popular inclusion was the "out take" of Olivier impersonating a traffic warden, I've included it here for your amusement.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Rendering and video editing

Following some helpful feedback from the people at Renderosity, I've produced a new version of the introduction to the Flea Circus Film. The depth of field options have been turned on in quick mode (rather than fully raytraced) which unfortunately loses the anti-aliasing on the edges of the case/backdrop but means that each frame renders in approx 4s rather than 3 minutes per frame required for fully raytraced depth of field. The current rendering stats are approx 2 hours to generate 50s of animation which in uncompressed AVI is about 1GB.
The film is in a new size format, it was suggested in 3D world (for the Tin Man film?) to render at 740x405 to get a 16:9 aspect ratio that could be displayed on most screens. I did this but then found that my video editing and conversion tools complained that this was a non standard size. As I was rendering out to uncompressed AVI files and then converting to WMV's for the editing, my solution was to then use the video convertor's letter box feature to resize to 720x576 by adding black bars top and bottom. This allows Premiere elements to be happy when outputting the results whilst also displaying well on my friends' EEE PC which will be used to show off the film at tomorrow's dinner.
There will be some frantic editing tomorrow morning, this intro will be followed by some draft version of the other three acts and hopefully some out-takes will be shown tomorrow evening at the PSTOIC Christmas dinner in South Kensington. Thanks to Youtube, the default picture for this clip is a lovely pink colour.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

London Short Film Night 15th Jan

There is a short film night called "Short and Sweet" at the AKA venue. The next session is on 15th Jan 2008. Doors open 18:00, films run from 19:00, entrance for free. Apparently you can buy pizzas to be delivered to your table but I have yet to confirm pizza quality.

AKA is based in Bloomsbury, right in the heart of London's West End, next door to their sister club The End. If you work in the City or East End then there is also a Monday night session on Brick Lane.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Buy Stikfas

I discovered Stikfas in the middle of last year, these models can be easily customised and are a good choice for a beginner in stop motion as they are significantly easier to work with that clay. There is an ever expanding selection of pre-customised models but you can also swap some of the components between models to make your own specials.
With prices starting at just £2.99 for a basic figure these are very good value although, my favourite the "G2 ALPHA MALE WITH DOME ROBOT WALKER - MEGA PACK" is a little more expensive.

Thanks to Amazon, these are now available to buy via the AceAnim Stikfas Shop.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Bye bye Anim Watch

I recently found AnimWatch by Steve Ogden which is a database of short animated films, I was quite looking forward to getting the Flea Film to a quality to have been included in this database. It also included interviews with film makers, a blog and a podcast.

Unfortunately all good things come to an end and AnimWatch is closing down.