Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Puppets using puppets - Puppet puppetters

I'm fascinated by the sequence at the beginning of "Being John Malkovich" in which the marionette performs with an even smaller marionette. It raises the question that every animator and sure feels which is "just who is in control here"?.

When I enquired to the British Puppet and Model Theatre Guild they advised me that this is not a new idea. It's been used since at least 1940 by performers such as Eric Bramall and the Stavordales. The themes of the harlequins and the story of Pinochio was a popular one for puppet puppeteers. Both Gepetto performing with Pinochio and also a smaller model by Bramall of Pinochio with a tiny Jimminy Cricket have been used.

The idea of stop motion puppets making puppets is also a recurring theme in animated films with recent examples shown in the Imagine Animation student film competion (second film) and in the wonderful Komaneko "The Cat Who Makes Stop-Motion Films".

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Animation festivals

There are a few festivals and conferences to look forward to in February 2009.

Aminex festival International Festival of Animation and Computer Games, Middlesborough 2-6 February 2009
Imagina in Monaco 4-6 February 2009
Animated Exeter 13 - 21 February 2009

Animated Exeter is in it's 10th Year and has previously showcased great animations such as Peter and the Wolf. The two week programme includes workshops, screenings and talks.

Animex and Imagina are on the boundary of computing and animation. Animex focusing on computer gaming and Imagina focusing on visualisation and simulation.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Carrara 7 Preview

Daz3D have kindly posted a series of videos on Youtube showcasing the new functionality in Carrara 7 such as 3D Paint, modelling in the assembly room, multipass rendering, enhancements to non linear animation, opengl textures and UV map creation, editing and unfolding.

STOP PRESS: Carrara 7 is now launched. as available to be bought and downloaded from the Daz3d site.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Aardman BBC1 double premiere on Christmas Day

At 5pm on BBC1 on Christmas day TV premiere of "The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" will be shown.
And at 8:30pm we have the UK premiere of Aardmans's latest claymation film, A matter of loaf and death.

Wallace and Gromit to be shown on Christmas Day

The latest film is a 30 minute murder mystery. Wallace has opened his own bakery, Top Bun and a 'cereal killer' is killing off all of his rival bakers in the town. Wallace is love smitten with Piella Bakewell and Gromit is worried that his master will be next for the chop.

After completing the film in just 7 months, Nick Park says that he's giving his brain a rest. Aardman are not resting though and are busy recruiting for both CG and Stop Motion positions for work on "The Pirates!"

Animation fans in Australia were lucky enough to see this film a month early.

Pixar Technical Memos

Thanks to a comment from Christopher Hatfield on Keith Lango's blog, I've discovered the Pixar Technical Memos Library. Both Chris and Keith have been looking at non photorealistic shading in CGI, specifically Toon Rendering.

This library of short technical articles covers some of my favourite animation/rendering topics such as Toon Rendering, Depth of Field and much more. Many of the articles were written to go with Ratatouille but a believe that there are some references to Cars2 there.

Friday, December 12, 2008


The stopmotion film Coraline will be out early next year and there already appears to be some fantastic marketting materials to go with this film from Laika.

Mike Brent is lucky enough to own box 9 of 50 and has already disected one of the stopmotion arms that came in the box.

I'll be looking out for this film as I love the style animation and it's also got Dawn French doing some of the voices which will be brilliant.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

RIP Oliver Postgate

One of my animation heros, Oliver Postgate has died aged 83. He was the creator of charming animations such as Bagpuss, Ivor the Engine and Noggin the Nog and an inspiration to us all.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

LIAF and Poo Productions launch a new animated film competition

The London International Animation Festival 2009 announces a joint competition with Poo Productions.

"How many people wash their hands before preparing food? And how many people, particularly men, wash their hands after going to the toilet? 80% DON'T!!

LIAF and Poo Productions are launching a competition to find short animated films that deal with the serious subject matter of sanitation and hygiene but in an edgy, irreverent and humorous way.

The winning films will form part of an awareness-raising campaign with a global reach to publicise the importance of adequate sanitation and good hygiene practice - both of which are inextricably linked to clean water.

The best films will screen at LIAF 2009 and other high-profile events, and the winning film, as chosen by a professional jury, will win a prize of £1,000.

Entry is open to all animated films dealing with this subject matter, entry is free and we need to receive your films by May 15th 2009.

You can read more about the competition here and download the entry form."

Monday, December 01, 2008

British Animation from Channel 4

This Friday at 6pm the Curzon Soho will be showing some of the best of British Animation from Channel 4. Commissioning editor Clare Kitson has selected some of the most remarkable films produced by the channel. Some of these films contain themes of an adult nature and hence there is an over 16s advisory.
Also being celebrated is the launch of the book of the same name.

British Animation: The Channel 4 Factor Book

British Animation: The Channel 4 Factor

Watch British Animation: The Channel 4 Factor Curzon Soho 5th Dec @ 6pm