Gurney Journey | category: Animation | (page 5 of 14)


Gurney Journey

This daily weblog by Dinotopia creator James Gurney is for illustrators, plein-air painters, sketchers, comic artists, animators, art students, and writers. You'll find practical studio tips, insights into the making of the Dinotopia books, and first-hand reports from art schools and museums.

Stop Motion Film "I'm Scared"

"I'm Scared" is a stop-motion animated short about an eight year old boy named Ralf, who warns his little brother about all the monsters lurking in the night.

It was directed by Pete Levin based on the art of Greg "Craola" Simkins and funded by a Kickstarter campaign.

The behind-the-scenes featurette (link to YouTube) shows the work of the puppet department.
via Cartoon Brew

Chuck Jones on Creative Discipline

Warner Bros. animation director Chuck Jones codified Nine Unbreakable Rules for the encounters between Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner.

Chuck Jones on Creative Discipline

Rule 1: The Road Runner cannot harm the coyote except by going “beep-beep.”

Rule 2: No outside force can harm the coyote—only his own ineptitude or the failure of the Acme products.

Rule 3: The Coyote could stop anytime—if he were not a fanatic. (Repeat: “a fanatic is one who redoubles his effort when he has forgotten his aim.” – George Santayana)

Rule 4: No dialogue ever, except “beep-beep.”

Rule 5: The Road Runner must stay on the road—otherwise logically, he would not be called a road runner.

Rule 6: All action must be confined to the natural environment of the two characters—the Southwest American desert.

Rule 7: All materials, tools, weapons, or mechanical conveniences must be obtained from the Acme corporation.

Rule 8: Whenever possible, make gravity the coyote’s greatest enemy.

Rule 9: The coyote is always more humiliated than harmed by his failures.

Chuck Jones on Creative Discipline

Chuck Jones grew up in Los Angeles watching live action film shoots of the early silent-era comedians. 

He was always a believer in how strict limitations, or "disciplines" as he called them, foster creativity. "Everyone I've ever respected always used restricted tools," he said. "The greatest comedians were the ones who wore the simplest costumes and worked in prescribed areas—like Chaplin."
Chuck Jones's book Chuck Amuck: The Life and Times of an Animated Cartoonist is as much about creativity as it is about animation.
An excellent book on the art of Warner Bros. animation: That's All Folks: The Art of Warner Bros. Animation



A praxinoscope powered by a miniature hot air engine.
During the 19th century, inventors figured out that they could create the illusion of movement by presenting a series of related drawings, each seen for a split second.

Praxinoscope from the collection of Mel Birnkrant
Before the era of film, there were several devices that could accomplish this magic, such as the phenakistoscope (spinning vertical slotted disks), and the zoetrope (slotted cylinder). But the most sophisticated was the praxinoscope, which consisted of a spinning circular platform with a series of mirrors mounted on a central drum. The mirrors reflect drawings on a roll of paper set into the inside of the outer drum. 

The moving figures combine with a background, and they seem to float in 3D space. No shutter, eyepiece, or set of slots is required.

In 1888, Charles-Émile Reynaud took this idea to the next level with his Théâtre Optique (Optical Theater).

The device used 36 mirrors, with longer strips of images that went beyond simple cycles. The images were illuminated with an electric lamp — invented just a few years earlier by Thomas Edison.

Reynaud also figured out how to project the images on a screen so that an audience could watch the show, making Reynaud truly the father of animated film technology.
Wikipedia entries on:
Charles-Émile Reynaud
Théâtre Optique
More about the origins of animation at collector Mel Birnkrant's website

Collection of Animation Reference Stills

A treasure trove of animation images is available at the Flickr Sets of Animation Resources. The sets are comprised of screen grabs from the Golden Age of Animation, primarily from the 1930s and '40s.

Collection of Animation Reference Stills

There are sets of walk and run cycles, such as this one from the Disney's 1933 Silly Symphony "Three Little Pigs." 

Collection of Animation Reference Stills

Special effects sequences are broken down frame by frame so that you can study them in detail.

Collection of Animation Reference Stills

You'll find well known characters such as Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny, and also lesser known characters.

The sets also include cartoon-head-turn sequences, Muybridge photos, pencil tests, dance reference, lip synch reference, animation backgrounds, and exposure sheets. Many of the sets are identified by the name of the animator who did them. These would be inspiring not only for animators, but also for character designers, illustrators, and lowbrow surrealists.

Animation Resources Flickr Sets of Stills
Animation Resources also has an Instagram feed where they show a short animation clip and then play it slowed way down so that you can analyze it.

Brad Bird Quotes About Animation

(Link to see the video on Vimeo)
Film Editor Kees van Dijkhuizen Jr. put together this respectful tribute to director Brad Bird (Incredibles, Ratatouille, Iron Giant) by combining his quotes with clips from films that illustrate his ideas. Via Cartoon Brew


Here are some more Brad Bird quotes (Via AZ Quotes and IMDB):

"We make films that we ourselves would want to see and then hope that other people would want to see it. If you try to analyze audiences or think there's some sophisticated recipe for success, then I think you are doomed. You're making it too complicated."

"I think all movies are an illusion, whether they are live action or animation. And I think the best special effect that people don't pay enough attention to is caring about the characters who are going through the set pieces. If you can be invested in the characters that you are putting in danger, then you can amp up the pressure, and it really means something because people are rooting for them to survive. Characters are the special effect."

"When caricaturist, Al Hirschfeld, did a drawing of a celebrity, it often looked more like the person than the person did. That's our goal in animation."

"I think there's a tendency [among some animators] to wink at the audience so much that you feel that you're above the world that you're presenting—like the filmmaker doesn't really believe in the world that he's putting on screen. And there's a safety in that, because if you try to make the audience feel something besides comedy, like if you try to make them feel moved, you risk looking really silly if it doesn't work."

Peludópolis: A Lost Animated Film

Peludópolis was an 80-minute animated film by Argentine director Quirino Cristiani. Released in 1931, it was the first animated feature film with sound.

Unfortunately, all copies of the finished film were lost in a fire, so the film is best known from this making-of featurette. If you get this post by email, you might need to follow this link to YouTube to see the video.

The film was made by a novel paper cut-out process. 

The characters and background elements were drawn with white paint on black paper. The paper cutouts were then laid out, and shot with a reversal process.
Peludópolis on Wikipedia
Stop Motion Film "I'm Scared"Chuck Jones on Creative DisciplinePraxinoscopesCollection of Animation Reference StillsMoby's new video Peludópolis: A Lost Animated Film Popeye as a SculptorOrigins of Bugs Bunny

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