Archive for October, 2009
NEWS : The UK’s famous art gallery, the Tate and Aardman studios have teamed up for an ambitious project to create a feature movie made entirely by children. Aardman will spearhead this 3Million pounds sterling project by organising contributions from children in the UK to create a movie which will be launched as part of the 2012 Olympics celebrations. Aardman will hold workshops around the UK hoping to directly involve thousands of children’s hand drawn animation cutout backdrops and characters as well as recording sound effects , voices and ideas.
“In this age of the creative economy where ideas are the driving force, discovering and nurturing creative ideas in children is of vital importance,” said Aardman Chairman Dave Sproxton.
“We want children to be involved at every level and believe that the spontaneity and creativity of the children will create a film that is as inspiring as it is entertaining.”
Sir Nicholas Serota, the director of Tate, said: “We’re giving children the opportunity to work at the coalface and really use their own creativity. This is about stimulating creativity among young people. It is a natural way of extending the education work that we do and capturing the interest of young people in the visual.”
I don’t like reading film reviews normally because the authors drag out the conclusion to the review until the end. So here is my conclusion on UP 3D the movie.
It was excellent. Well worth going to see (expecially in 3D). Suitable for all ages. Our group ranged in ages from 8 to 44 years old. All agreed it was brilliant. Everyone took something different from it. Now read on if you would like to know a little more. Otherwise just plan a night out and go and see it in 3D.
Synopsis of the story
Carl Fredricksen, the main character is introduced in the opening scenes as a young boy watching a black and white movie in the cinema about a heroic adventurer called Charles Muntz . He dreams of going on such an adventure as he follows his balloon in to an abandoned house some days later. It is here he meets his future wife..Ellie who shares his sense of adventure. They marry later and the first few minutes of the movie runs through their life together in montage form up to the point where they are old and Ellie dies without every going on their adventure to South America.
So we are left with a 78-year-old balloon salesman about to be forced in to a retirement home by aggressive city developers encroaching on the once abandoned house ( as seen in opening of the movie) that he and Ellie renovated and lived in all there lives. But rather than give in to them he decides to go on that adventure to South Africa ( Angel Falls ) and bring his house with him by lifting it in to the sky with hundreds of helium balloons. Once in they sky floating over the city he discovers he has a passenger in the form of an 8 year old boy scout type character or wilderness explorer as he calls himself on the front porch. The boy “Russell” accompanies Carl to south America where they are joined by a talking dog called Doug ( and then dogs) and a twelve foot tall bird which they name Kevin. During their adventure they meet with Charles Muntz, Carl’s boyhood hero. Charles soon disappoints as a hero. It quickly becomes evident that Charles Muntz has become obsessed with capturing this mysterious bird “Kevin” in order to rebuke an earlier humiliation by his peers and the scientific community who claimed such a bird never existed. In his relentless 50 plus year search , Charles now discovers that Carl and Russell know where the bird can be found. Needless to say Carl and Russell try to hide and protect the bird from Charles Muntz and his shotgun.
The adventure picks up pace in these scenes which result in Muntz’s timely demise and the return of Kevin to his family of baby birds! Carl get’s Russell back home in time for his senior Wilderness Explorer badge presentation and all is well.
While this animation seems like a very well executed adventure for children it has very deep threads running thr0ughout. From the first ten minutes you are left in no doubt about the animations deeper messages on life and meaning. Sounds like I’m getting heavy here.( or even worse ..”arty” lol ).but it is surprising to find this depth in a 3D animation. And I, as all of our adult members in our group where taken back by its sophistication. Themes such as “loss – as we see Carl loosing a childhood sweetheart after 70 years of marriage” , “not seizing life , adventure and opportunities”. “Being dissappointed by lifelong hero’s” when Muntz turns out to be a self centered mean spirited egomaniac. Phew..that’s heavy going alright.. but its real.
Anyways..enough..go see it. It’s real.
Cartoon Animation software is a generic term which can be used to include stop motion software. We think of cartoons as “Tom and Jerry” in the broadcast media or as comic strips in the printed media. But the term “Cartoon” can extend to all visual media that depicts caricatures of life. Cartoons have their roots in printed media going back over 150 years. A magazine called Punch appeared in England in 1841 and is reputed to have given us the beginnings of cartoons in modern life. It was a humorous satire on society and politics at the time. It ran until 2002. It had an international reputation for a witty and irreverent take on the world.
Even in early cinema stop motion and cel animation were used to create cartoons. They proved very popular with audiences. The original black and white drawings of Mickey Mouse are treated as works of art by historians of cinematography. A cel from the 1928 “Mickey Mouse – Steamboat Willie” with sound! is shown below. The Disney empire grew from these humble beginnings.
Stop motion ran in parallel to the printed media from the early 19th century. With the advent of home personal computers, everyone could now use animation software to create cartoon strips or cartoon animations in any form. Cartoon animation software can be used to create cel animations or stop motion animation with sound, music and voice overs all from the humble PC or Mac at home. Video sharing sites are full of excellent examples of homemade animations with cartoon animation software. All ages can get involved with the very easy to use cartoon software from WapitaMedia to advanced 3D animation software from Daz studio to our own stop motion “cartoon animation software” called iKITMovie.
I have been asked many many times by those new to stop motion for advice on what web camera to buy when starting out with animation. We have reviewed a number of web cameras on our site in the last year and in general we have been happy to recommend Logitech® and Microsoft®. So as a gift to new customers we are giving away Logitech C200 webcams with our flagship software iKITMovie 1.6. The Logitech C200 is very new to the market and signals a real coming of age for affordable webcams. For stop motion it is most comfortable at 640×480 at 30FPS (image refresh that is ,not the capture frame rate). It can capture images up to 1.3 MP with software enhancement. What is best about Logitech cameras however are the drivers. They give excellent control of brightness, contrast, White balance etc, all essential to getting the best quality possible with the lens supplied. There is manual zoom on this model which works very well for close up work.
So if you are looking for a complete kit for stop motion it is a very good package indeed.
The first trailer for the Classic story the “The Princess and the Frog” and just been released on Youtube.
While I am more a fan of stop motion animation I have a soft spot for this story. It is an enduring favourite of mine since I was young. This version according to Disney’s Press releases for the movie takes a more modern look at the classic and extends it’s basic concept to examine what happened after the princess kissed the frog Prince. So in that sense it is loosely based on E.D. Baker’s version of The Frog Prince.
The movie will be in cinemas on December 24th, 2009. Disney describe it as an animated comedy set in the great city of New Orleans. The prince named Naveen from Maldonia has been turned in to a frog by a voodoo magician, Dr Facilier. The frog mistakes Tiana for a princess and asks for a kiss to break the spell.
As I mentioned the story surrounds a beautiful girl named Tiana and her interactions with a frog who wants to be human again. However after that fateful kiss ,Tiana finds herself turned in to a frog! In another twist the princess for the first time in history in this story .. is black (about time!).
The animators behind The Little Mermaid and Aladdin, the famous team of John Musker and Ron Clements return to the hand-drawn animation form in this movie. As a result it definitely has the look and feel of the original Disney animations.
The music is composed by Oscar®-winning composer Randy Newman. Worth a visit to the cinema for the nostalgia alone.
It’s always very gratifying to get positive feedback on our software. But when it comes unannounced and without request for a review it is especially welcome. Diana Adams of BitRebels recently reviewed our software out of the blue. Diana and her son tested the software and were very pleased with it. Diana commented on the user friendly nature of the interface which is something we paid special attention to in our development to ensure it was attractive. She also picked up on the uniqueness of our sounds.
And I quote ..
“This software comes with a database of thousands of sounds to choose from and mood music (or you can add your own sounds). These are cool sounds too, like burps, coughs, claps, sneezes, whistles, heartbeats, footsteps etc… like I said, thousands of very crisp, distinctive sounds! I spent about fifteen minutes just flipping through and listening to the different sounds.”
Animateclay also reviewed our stop motion software recenlty. Don Carlson reviewed the software from a younger animators perspective and again had praise for its user friendly interface. Don made one good suggestion and that was to do with shortcut keys. For example “enter key” to playback , arrow key for rewind etc. as an alternative to using the mouse all the time for interface control. We take this on board and will definitely incorporate these shortcut key suggestions. Currently you can use the spacebar to capture images/ snaps, but perhaps a rewind, fast forward key etc. may be useful for stop motion animator also. Don gave us a B+ ! Wish I got as good when back in school right ! lol. Thanks to Diana and Don.
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