2015 is going to be an amazing year for ANIMATION.

I’m looking forward to 2015, purely because of the animated films coming out. The line up is looking amazing with next year being the first time PIXAR releases two films in the same year. Check out some of the cool films coming soon:

Inside Out

Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince)

Minions (extension of Despicable Me Series)

Anyone else ridiculously excited?

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An Adventurous Line + Free Figure Drawing Classes Info (London)

Happy Tuesday!

Firstly I thought I’d share a little video from the director/animator KAZUHIKO OKUSHITA:

It’s an animation using the simplicity of a red line to create contour figures and shapes. The film has excellent fluidity, movement, and visual design… it’s definitely one of my favourite independent short animations! It reminds me of one of my favourite quotes:

“A line is a dot that went for a walk.” – Paul Klee

Secondly, I went to a figure drawing class tonight at the Vintage Emporium and Tea Rooms (14 Bacon Street, London, E1 6LF). The nude figure drawing classes are free and held every Tuesday from 7 – 9 PM. Absolutely not my best work, but I’m slowly getting back into the techniques! Here are some examples to hopefully inspire you to go to your local life drawing classes:

manIMG_0143

Let’s make Tuesdays “Life Drawing Day”? (Plus, add a yoga class.)

Sketch

This is a quick snapshot of two pages from my sketchbook: one page includes 5 min poses with pen and the other 3 min poses with markers. It’s been about 3 years since I have seriously and consistently practiced life drawing…. And boy, does it show in my art! Many people assume that drawing skills are rooted in talent (therefore unrelated to practice). That could not be further from the truth… ART IS PRACTICE. ART IS TECHNIQUE. ART IS CONSISTENT CREATIVITY.

Speaking of practice, these poses were inspired by the recent yoga classes I have been attending. Yoga is consistently referred to as an individual ‘practice.’ Sometimes, the classes can have a religious feel with the ‘namasté’ pray at the end (but rest assured it’s more mental and physical exercise than spiritual). Today, our teacher kept referring to the neck as “an extension of the spine,” which reminded me of the principles behind gesture poses in life drawing classes. (Gesture poses are more about capturing the energy of the pose than the actual proportions and details.) Yoga teachers also love to say “Check in with your body today… Listen to your body.” In much the same way, figure drawing is about checking in with the model’s posture, attitude, pain, physique, and form for THAT MOMENT. Too many people draw what they think they see rather than what they ACTUALLY see. Both yoga and figure drawing requires checking in with the body constantly to re-alight the physical level. After the power vinyasa class, I was extremely motivated to sketch… Plus, my sister is just SO photographic (aka draw-able).

Today, I set my intension for my yoga practice and life drawing practice … “Stay consistent in order to improve technique and creative flow.”

An extract from the introduction of my Film Studies Dissertation (King’s College London)…

This dissertation is situates within the growing research around the stylistic use of digital technology and new media in contemporary cinema. My main area of investigation will be the virtual camera in narrative computer-animated films, with a precise interest in musical cinematography. The term ‘musical’ refers to the narrative premise of analysing song or dance sequences, while the term ‘cinematography’ refers to the stylistic and aesthetic form of the camerawork. The musical context provides a point of consistency across the films and sequences chosen for formal analysis, thereby providing a lineage between different production methods and styles. Prince argues that that digital technology builds “on stylistic traditions established by filmmakers in earlier generations … while providing new and more powerful tools to accomplish these ends.”[1] Likewise this dissertation will explore the stylistic developments in computer-animated films in relation to past cinematic traditions.

This investigation is structured around the aim of outlining and testing the term ‘digital cine-mobility,’ as a cinematic style, through comparisons with established stylistic traditions. Chapter One will explore the visual effects of cel-animation and computer-animation in relation to the Walt Disney Animation Studio. Chapter Two will study the moving camera of the American film musical. And finally, Chapter Three will scrutinize the term ‘digital cine-mobility,’ which we will initially define as, the selection of fantastical, playful, and impossible camera movements in computer-animated films. The concept of digital cine-mobility is framed around a lively camera that presents spatially dynamic, effortlessly integrated, and kinetically expressive movements. The aim of this investigation is to progressively examine, and attempt to define, the descriptive terms above.

[1]  Stephen Prince, Digital Visual Effects in Cinema: The Seduction of Reality (New Brunswick, New Jersey, and London: Rutgers University Press, 2012), 4-5.

When was the last time you paid attention to the cinematography of an ANIMATED film?

When was the last time you paid attention to the cinematography of an ANIMATED film?

My Neighbour Totoro (Hayao Miyazaki, 1988)

Can we please take a moment to honour the framing, colour, lighting, and design of shots in Miyazaki animation? His animated films are visually beautiful and a nice stylistic difference from the traditional western aesthetics.

Note to Self: the cinema of Asia is artistically exceptional and I should watch international films more often.

La Critique d’un Film : La Reine de La Neige (Disney, 2013)

La Critique d'un Film : La Reine de La Neige (Disney, 2013)

L’intrigue : J’ai bien aimé l’histoire de La Reine de La Neige parce que je l’ai trouvée très progressive au niveau du féminisme avec les deux princesse et l’absence de prince et mariage typique. Plus important encore, les personnages féminins sont bien développés et complexes. L’intrigue est autour de deux sœurs et leur aventure après que leurs parents sont morts. Une des deux sœurs a des pouvoirs magiques de glace qu’elle croit être incontrôlables. En général, le film a beaucoup d’action, de musique, et d’aventure dans la tradition Disney.

Le scénario : À mon avis, le scénario est exceptionnel. Il est basé sur un récit européen, mais conçu pour s’adapter au grand public et inclure des chansons. Il y a de bons dialogues et la fin est imprévisible. Et il y a beaucoup des personnages secondaires qui sont formidables comme le bonhomme de neige, le renne, et les rochers mystiques. Alors même s’il y a beaucoup de éléments formatés, il y a aussi beaucoup de scènes originales.

La Mise en Scène : Avec toute la neige, la mise en scène était très belle et extraordinaire – en particulier en relation aux effets spéciaux de princesse Elsa. Et les couleurs dominantes – bleu et blanc – s’inscrivent bien à l’écran. Et l’environnement de la forêt et du château classique crée un monde complet – celui qui est séparé du nôtre. Le plus impressionnant est le château de glace, magnifiquement réalisé. Et chaque image est remplie d’un décor qui vous met dans la magie.

Le Jeu du Personnage: Même si le film est un dessin animé, j’ai pensé que le jeu du personnage animé était convaincant. Techniquement, les mouvements et expressions des acteurs animés étaient vraiment en formes. Le rythme et les expressions du visage étaient très expressifs et bien faits. De plus, il y avait beaucoup des scènes drôles et pétillantes. Spécifiquement, les deux princesses Anna et Elsa qui agissent d’une manière humaine et réelle.

La Bande Son : La bande originale est superbe et pour moi, c’est grâce à la voix d’Idina Menzel qui a joué Elphaba dans la comédie musicale Wicked à Broadway. Son chant est vraiment très puissant et émouvant. Kirsten Bell chante bien aussi, mais pas à un niveau Broadway. Il y a quelques chansons qui seront devenues des classiques instantanément comme « Do You Want To Build A Snow Man ? », « Let It Go » et « Love is An Open Door ». Au total, l’ambiance sonore représente un retour de style classique Disney avec des mélodies jouées par le piano et orchestre.

L’esthétique : J’ai bien aimé l’esthétique de La Reine de La Neige parce que comme tout les autres éléments, c’est une version moderne du style classique Disney. Le film a été fabriqué par l’ordinateur en trois-dimensions contre un film d’animation en cellulo. Le processus numérique a adopté le design traditionnel, comme le prédécesseur Raiponce en 2010. En fait, Disney a fermé la production d’animation en cellulo après l’échec de La Princesse et La Grenouille. C’est-à-dire qu’on voit le début d’une nouvelle tradition d’esthétique dans la boîte de production Disney.

UPA #2 (The Unicorn in the Garden)

UPA #2 (The Unicorn in the Garden)

More than likely, you’ve never heard of the UPA (United Productions of America) … AKA the Animation Studio that opposed the Disney Style from the 1940s to the 1970s. There was an exodus of animators from the Disney Studio in the early 40s that lead to the foundation of UPA. This is a colour storyboard from one of their most famous films, The Unicorn in the Garden (1953).

Some key visual characteristics of UPA:
1. The backgrounds were usually kept plain and minimal.
2. The movements were exaggerated and caricatured.
3. The colour could bled outside the outlines.
4. Every director was allowed to create a different style for their short film.

Click on the picture to watch The Unicorn in the Garden.

Some other ones to watch include:
Rooty-Toot-Toot
Mr. Magoo
The Tell-Tale Heart