Disney and Pixar

Today we had a guest lecture on the animation behind Disney and Pixar. Helen Haswell is a PhD candidate from Queen’s University (boo), her PhD itself is in Disney animation.

I liked her insight into the use of animals or inanimate objects as characters, as opposed to humans. In the beginning they didn’t have the software that could cope with texturising human skin or hair, so it looked clumpy and false. For example, the Pixar short ‘Tin Toy” shows smooth toys, lighting accurate and of equal textures. Then there’s the baby. Well the video speaks for itself really.

Pixar’s “Tin Toy” featuring the Demonic Baby.

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Japanese Animation

Today we had an interesting lesson on Japanese animation, one that I am not familiar with at all- I’ve never really got the whole anime obsession.

I really loved this animation (Cowboy’s Flute by Te Wei) because it felt so pure and simple. The water colour images give such a calm mood which suits the feel of the animation as it is set in water.The background itself is purely the paper- minimalist but it makes it seem like the characters are jumping from the page. This is a very traditional animation- telling a folk tale to oriental music.

“Three Monks” by A Da has an almost western influence on it. It still incorporates the traditional use of music and colouring, however it drives towards a more comical front. I really liked how the story flowed in this- each character linking through their introduction walk cycle, which made it feel more family like.

Animation in Canada

Mike took us for this lecture on animation in Canada, seeing as he is from Canada. Below are some of the videos I really enjoyed from this lesson.

Norman Maclaren’s 1952 animation entitled ‘Neighbours’ was used as a propaganda outreach during the Cold War era. It is a stop start animation that starts out quite comical but quickly develops a dark edge as the two characters fight it out on screen. I thought it was quite interesting how the light hearted ‘Laurel and Hardy’ style music contrasts to the actual on going scenes.

This video really struck a cord with me. The documentary entitled “Ryan” by Chris Lambeth shows the downwards spiral of Ryan Larkin, a Canadian animator who was renowned¬†¬†for his work and how he changed the animation industry. Alcohol and cocaine became he only vices, all his amazing artistic talent gone from the world as he struggled to cope anymore. It showed me the possibilities that could arise in this industry and how it can either make or break you.

‘Walking’ the 1968 animation by Ryan Larkin.

Abstract animation

Notes from Yuan’s lecture on Abstract animation- unusual to say the least..

Below are some of the animations we watched during this class.

The above animation was one of the first abstract animations ever published by Walter Ruttman. I really like the fluidity of the shapes in this short and how the colours gave life to the shapes, like their own characters.

I couldn’t find a video for Oskar Fischinger animation we watched in class so I included a similar style one. Fischinger made “Composition in Blue” entirely from paper in a stop motion manner. I love stop motion, and both the video Yuan showed us and this one really made me think about character in movies. How animators could create character in inanimate objects, like the circles and cubes, even without facial features.

Fischinger also worked on this mushroom scene from fantasia and you can see the direct link between his work as he gives an almost dance like quality to each of shorts, in the characters and shapes.