Posts Tagged ‘animation’
Wallace and Gromit ( Nick Park ) are supporting the National Trust Charity in the UK with a short stop motion animation.
Its a summer of celebration ( Queen Elizabeth 60 years reign )to bring an exclusive new mini animation, A Jubilee Bunt-a-thon.
The animation shows the much-loved duo preparing for their Jubilee celebrations and we’ll be showing it on big screens at our tea party events this summer.
Visit http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wallaceandgromit to find out more.
Here is a short interview with Nick Park and Merlin Crossingham about the mini animation…..
Merlin Crossingham: Hello! Welcome to Aardman! This is where we’re making our film.
Nick Park: I think it’s a great marriage for Wallace and Gromit in the National Trust to get together like this because they’re both very British institutions. It’s a great privilege and honor for Wallace and Gromit to be chosen to be involved in all the things British this year because they are often described as a British institution.
Merlin Crossingham: We take the script and we create a story board, a graphic representation, a little bit like a comic strip of the action that then leads us up into the production where we get the sets built, we start bringing the puppets in. Everything in Wallace and Gromit’s world is handmade. So for production of this size, the run up in preparation to shooting was about 6 weeks. That’s really quite tight for us. Once everything is ready, the animation crew steps on to the floor to complete a minute of film, we have 3 animators working flat out for 3 weeks. Wallace and Gromit are a challenge. Gromit because he doesn’t have any dialogue to hide behind, his performance needs to be surprisingly subtle. And with Wallace, he’s pretty bald and he’s pretty hammy in the way that he delivers his performance and that’s largely a lot of his comedy comes from. So, once the animation is finished, we go into post production and then it’s the stage really where all the final parts come together to make a lovely coherent film.
Nick Park: I’ve always loved visiting National Trust puppeteers. One of my favourite place is that I’ve visited, in fact, I took a team of people to visit for doing research for Curse of The Were-Rabbit, was Montague house. We did kind of vaguely base Tottington Hall on Montague house. I think the National Trust would have more than its fresh air of jobs Wallace could get up to. Gromit loves the British countryside. He’d love the heritage, British heritage.
Merlin Crossingham: We fit together so very well Wallace and Gromit in the National Trust. We kind of have the same values and a great sense of humor.
Stop Motion software is made all the more powerful with the addition of chromakey which is sometimes called Greenscreen. What is chromakey? Well think of the weatherman or even superman. A character in front of a blue or green screen in a studio is seen by the viewer with weather maps behind him in the case of the weatherman. Were in fact he only sees a blue / green screen, we see images of maps of states, clouds etc etc. And in the case of superman we see a sky and clouds moving in the background ..the cameraman in the studio sees an actor dangling from support wires in front of a green screen. So now with Stop Motion software such as iKITMovie you too can change the background.
Changing a background with stop motion software used to be difficult. In fact a lot of the stop motion software available does not have even have chromakey. So you would have to export your finished movie to another application that has chromakey in order to add backgrounds. And the stop motion software out there that does have chromakey is tricky to use at the best of times. Not only does iKITMovie stop motion software make it easier to use chromakey it also includes a library of still images and video images ready to use for backgrounds. When we reviewed stop motion software with chromakey the two areas which we felt that let them down were “A” only a single color could be chromakeyed out and “B” they did not give you any video or still images to work with. You had to search for appropriate images/video yourself either online or offline, resize them and import them in to your stop motion software. We felt that this slowed down they creative animation process. So we set about addressing these two issues. After over 14 months of development we believe we have addressed both these issues and more.
iKIT allows you to chromakey out up to 3 colors. This is really useful if you have any shading in your backdrop. While to the naked eye you may think that your blue / green backdrop looks all the same color throughout it invariably will have slight differences in shading of the blue/green ( whichever color you are using ). iKIT allows you to click on up to three different shades of your backdrop. This will ensure that all your blue or green is chromakeyed out correctly so that the background image or video can show up. So if you are looking for stop motion software that gives a great result without spending too much time on lighting etc then iKIT is for you. Its perfect for what you would expect from good stop motion software.
I came across a great interview with Dik Jarman on YouTube which I have transcribe here for your enjoyment. Dik is an Australian animator with some great titles such as Mary and Max and Dad’s Clock and now director at kanga manga studios. The interview is entitled “Creation Through Animation with Dik Jarman”
The interview is the property of
Screen and Media
School of Media and Communication
The interview goes as follows:
“Good animation is like Formula One racing. You got the driver in the car at the end who wins the race, perhaps. But then he’s got all the 21 crew members who pick the car up, there’s people who design the car, there’s all that behind it, ___ people. And it’s the same with animation: there’s the performance of the team – people who make the puppet, design the puppet, build the puppet, paint the puppet, cloths for the puppet. Then there’s the writer for the story. There’s the uh, creator of the set, the lighting, the camera, the way it’s oriented, the rig that is built. All of that, in small production, is probably done by the animator but in large productions it’s a team effort.
I first got into animation in 1985 at secondary school when a good friend of mine and I were acting. And were the only people acting and working in the art department as well. And he was doing a film for his art project. And he asked me, can I act in it? He won an award for that film, he came back to me and said, “Look, I have another film to do and I want to make it puppet animation and I know you can sculpt,” because I was doing sculpturing at the time in the art room and so from then on I started sculpting for him and he was making films. And, 14 years I became his production designer and in the end animator as well.
The animator comes in and it is a dance, if you like, between you and the puppet. The puppet has it’s own integrity – its physical, it has knees, it has arms and fingers. It will move in a certain way. A computer animation you could bend any way, it can be spaghetti arms if you don’t put the joints in the right place. A puppet animation can’t – it can only move in the way it’s actually been designed. And so, you have to work with those set of limitations and create those gestures. I mean, early on you try to create a puppet, which can, if it needs to play the piano, has articulated fingers. If it only needs to run, you can just design fists. So the perfectly designed puppet for the gesture, but once you got the puppet, how do you use those internal mechanisms to be able to create the right gesture?
Animation, I think, is broad spectrum because everyone from kids to adults can enjoy animation depending on content and quality. Um, there’s good animation, there’s bad animation. There’s very literal animation in that it’s figurative. If we look at Wallace and Gromit, for example, it’s like a transliteration of film into animation. It’s just every character you know, every — it coul all be replaced by people. The fact that Gromit’s a dog is irrelevant; it could easily be a person and Davis McGraw and the like. You’ve seen these characters in film and what Nick Parker is doing is just merely transposing that to animation. I think that kind of misses the advantage that animation has, is because you’re creating a world which the audience is ready to sit down and go, “I – I wish to believe in this world,” or, or, or, “open to that world.” So you can take them on a journey to anywhere. So to merely replicate reality is missing an opportunity. So therefore, I think there’s a broad spectrum, as I said, of available destinations for animation and audiences of course, as well.
If you go to, uh, Bug’s Life, for example. The bugs, or the ants, they have four legs they don’t have six. Why? Because they’re trying to make them more like us. They’re anthropomorphizing them so that we can emote better with them. That blue color: they don’t actually look like ants. Where as, the enemy who they don’t want us to have an emotion with, those flying grasshopper-y things, they are grasshoppers, aren’t they? They’ve got scars, they’ve got all the texture, they’re as alien to humans as possible.
Well, in Dad’s Clock, I had a puppet, which was all tin and brass. Of course he took months to build, there’s no way I could build another one. The idea was just to make him stronger, or repair damage should it be required. Yeah, a lot of experience has taught me to build things well to begin with because a lot of animation is just in your feel. Like how much does that joint move? You don’t want to constantly be bringing in a measuring device.
Now with Max (from Mary and Max), for example, he’s a beast, and he’s heavy and he’s depressed. And when you’re heavy and depressed, your weight becomes your enemy. You’ve gotta drag it along. But when you become, proud and strong, suddenly your weight becomes your friend and you can actually use that momentum and start actually knocking down doors with it. And it’s the way you carry that, the way you carry your body is what defines how happy or whatever emotion you’re trying to bring across.
You’ll often see animators walking up and down rooms and, you know, actually performing themselves to feel bodily what it is so they can then transfer that bodily sensation to the puppet. Um, or a lot of animators have mirrors on their stage, they can go (*he makes a couple of facial expressions here*), and just remind themselves of those particular things. As Nick Duncan once said, “You never finish your film, you just run out of time”. and that’s true, you always want to go back and open this bit or fix this but you’ve gotta know when to – like in any creative endeavor – when to stop designing and when to start presenting.”
I came across a very interesting Youtube video about animation in education. A teacher called Kerry Hopkins from Utah created an animation with 5th graders. It is titled..”
Student project: Cutout animation in elementary education” I have transcribed the interview here for your interest..
“My name is Kerry Hopkins; I’m a graduate student in film studies. The project that I was working on was cutout animation with 5the grade students.
We made a short stop motion film which was an animated film so to begin with the students had to come up with their own idea which was probably the hardest part of the process. And they made a time travel movie. This way they could be broken up into groups and students could work on their different areas of interest in history and bring that into writing the script about where these time travelers were going through time. So they wrote the scripts and then started to create the components for the animation which was included the background where the characters would be on as well as the making the characters. And to do that they used pictures of themselves to have for the faces and then construction paper to make the bodies of the characters.
We decided to use the students’ faces because by putting their faces would give them a sense of ownership in this piece. And we also used the students’ voices for the characters. So once all the pieces were ready, then we had to shoot the individual scenes. So we set up just a still camera and took still photos for each frame of video and the students moved the characters through the scene according to the script they had written.
The students who came up with the idea for the time machine movie had a great time being in charge of how the other scenes were going to fit in to their film. And it was great because these students were the ones that really were the outcasts of the class and their teacher was really glad to see that they could take a starring role in this project.
I think at the end all the students realized how time consuming animation can be and how many things were involved that you couldn’t just set up the camera and shoot the movie in one day; that you had to really think things through, come up with a good story and have a plan for what you are going to do.
When we had the final screening it was the first time that the students had seen the entire piece put together and their reactions were great.
The best part about working with the younger kids is that they’re just so open and they’re just so full of ideas; I find it very refreshing to work with them, to get their perspective on things and to see how excited they get with their finished products.”
-end of interview-
We echo Kerrys’ sentiment here about seeing children using stop motion software to be creative.
Word count: 463
I came across a very interesting interview with Art Clokey (1921-2010), who died this year. Art was the creator of Gumby, the claymation character animated with stop motion animation that was so popular with a generation of children growing up in America in the 70′s and 80′s. The interview was conducted by Karen Herman on July 19, 2001 for the Archive of American Television. Copyright goes to them, I reproduce excerpts from the interview here for your interest.
Interviewer: Ok we’re talking about the Gumby series in the 80’s and how things were different. Has the audience changed at all? Have the kids become more sophisticated in their viewing? Do you notice any differences?
Art: Well our stories were a little more sophisticated. We brought in historical things and Don Quixote. I’m always wondering about. They say kids are getting more sophisticated watching television, they’re getting more hyper. I don’t see that happening here. When my son shows his children Gumby and I show it to other children here, it’s still complete engrossment, as though they’re hypnotised and can’t get away from their screen. Fantastic babysitters! Up until around 7 years of age, I really don’t care much about reaching the older children. The Catholic Church used to say ‘give us your children until they’re 5. You can have them afterwards.’
Interviewer: In 1995 you produced ‘Gumby: The Movie’ That was the first feature that Gumby was in. How did that come about? Why did you decide to do a feature?
Art: I wanted to do a Gumby feature for many years and we suddenly got the opportunity and the money. With that too we put much of the money was made from doing the series from Lorimar into the movie and Lorimar had bought the equipment for us, camera and lights and space and they were all there ready to go after 1988 after we stopped producing the series. So we produced the movie at a terribly low price. It should have cost at least 6 million dollars but we did it for less than half of that. The animators were working for half salary actually, instead of $1200 a week they were getting $750 a week and then they went right over to Disney and James and the Giant Peach and they got $2000 a week.
Interviewer: How did the film do?
Art: It never had a chance to do anything because I foolishly gave the film to a distributor in New York who was a crook. He didn’t have sense of ethics so he told us he was going to advertise for so much money and he didn’t advertise. He got it in 20 of the top markets of all the big cities and he didn’t advertise. It was in San Francisco and Los Angeles and nobody knew it was there. Except people who would se the little notice on the movie page but no other advertising.
Interviewer: Now today in 2001 Gumby is being used again on ABC
Art: ABC yeah. And Disney, we just finished negotiating a contract with Disney, they want to do a movie with people and Gumby. They also wanted to do a new series with me as an Executive Producer, that would be interesting.
We got them to agree to do most of it in clay animation. We use computers for special scenes because computer animation, no matter how refined, looks artificial. Like in cartoon and clay animation the artist is hands on, he has his paintbrush connected to his nervous system, though hi hand, through his heart and his brain but not in a computer. When you go through this electronic network with a button, you push a button here and a click there, the artist has nothing to do with it. His nervous system is not involved.
Interviewer: Why do you think Gumby remains popular after almost 50 years?
Art: Well, Hans Christian Anderson wrote some stories and they’re still popular. I think it’s just because they didn’t do it really to make money, they did it because they loved doing it for art and they loved children I suppose and people. As I’ve said Gumby started out not to make money but to give the children something of value on television. I didn’t need the money in those days I was making television commercials for Coca-Cola and Budweiser. Doing clay animated Gumby was an interesting challenge. And I had my two children.
Interviewer: Were your children influential in the series? Did they watch Gumby?
Art: Oh yeah. I told them stories every night before they went to sleep. That was an act of love for your children so I considered every Gumby story was an act of love for children. Love, love, love as the Beatles said.
Interviewer: What is your philosophy regarding merchandising and character toys?
Art: Oh I didn’t tell you that. I bought the series and all the right from NBC back in 1959 maybe and NBC hadn’t gotten off the ground as far as merchandising was concerned. I decided that because we had such a good rapport with the parents at the station that I didn’t want to give the parents the impression that I was trying to exploit their children for products or make their children buy our products. So for 7 years from 1957 to 1964 I didn’t allow any merchandising. Then in 1964 some people told me that a lot of children were asking for little Gumby dolls that they could hold while they were watching Gumby on TV. So we decided to form the Gumby Toy Corporation and put out the first Gumby bendable and I got such good response from people I was so glad I was putting them out. That was very idealistic, I studied for the ministry so it wasn’t as bad as I thought.
Interviewer: What advise would you give to an aspiring producer, what would you say to them?
Art: To inspire a producer?
Interviewer: For someone who as just starting out as a producer
Art: It all came about so naturally with me, I don’t know, just if they want to be a producer I thin they should search inside themselves to see why. If it’s just to make money, that’s not good, if it’s to do something for their fellow man or fellow woman or serving society in some way. Service to society, that’s why I’m still keeping myself alive and as young as possible so I can service society more so that new Gumby films maintain their integrity.
Interviewer: What do you consider your biggest career highlight, what are you especially proud of?
Art: Some of the films I’ve written, stories. I don’t know, they all came out of my subconscious so it was like I’d go into like a daydream and I’d write a story and it would come from somewhere, some news would come. I remember Joe Clokey people would ask him about his compositions of music and he would say ‘It’s just the muses I don’t know where it comes from’ it comes from cosmic consciousness. I don’t believe we’re the doers, we don’t do these things, we’re not the real directors of our life. Our true self is the director, which is, I believe part of the overall cosmic consciousness or god so I don’t take any credit for it.
Interviewer: Did Joe Clokey live to see any of your accomplishments.
Art: Yes, yes. I remember he was travelling on a frator travelling across Europe to Paris and to sent him a telegram that I’ just gotten the contract signed for the David and Goliath series, we got the NBC series before that. So that was a great pleasure to him.
It’s been a big miracle.
Interviewer: The last question we ask our interviewees is ‘how would you like to be remembered?
Art: As a lover of children, a server of society. I’d like to be remembered as someone who cared for everybody and tried to act that out in whatever I do. Love, love, love. At the Hard Rock Café, Isaac Tigrett, he’s also a devotee of Sri Sathya Sai Baba and he had pictures of Sai Baba in his new House of Blues on Sunset Boulevard and he has the sayings ‘Help ever hurt never’. Don’t worry be happy, what are the other sayings? I can’t remember them right now
- End of Interview -
The photo is of Art’s father. He died in a car accident when Art was 9 years old. This photo inspired Gumby’s bump on his head. Art fondly remembers his father and always noting the quif in his hair shown in the graduation from high school photo.
I recently came a across a very informative interview done by HTV West production for Channel 4 UK with Ray Harryhausen – the stop motion animation genius of the forties and fifties. I have reproduced some of the interview here for all to enjoy.
“The skeleton fight in Jason and the Argonauts were quite an ambitious thing to bite off because I never animated multiple figures. And we wanted to have seven skeletons fighting three men. We had seven stuntmen each portraying one of the skeletons and the actors would rehearse with the stuntmen, so that would give them a chance to count their moves and see just where they had to stop their movements in order to give the impression that they were fighting with the skeleton.
I had to take about four and a half months on that particular sequence which only lasted for five minutes. It took four and a half months in the front of the animation camera to animate seven skeletons because many times I would only average thirteen frames a day.”
Ray goes on to talk about the history of stop motion and how he was inspired by Willis O Brien..
“The combination of live action and animation goes way back to the silent days. We use models of course unlike Roger rabbit and some of the other cartoons we see today. We used a dimensional model which blends much more closely with the live action than a flat drawing such as you saw in Mary poppins.
Then of course Willis O’Brien on the last world combine of live action with animation. And King Kong was the really his highlight of the combination. I wandered into Grauman’s Chinese theater in Hollywood boulevard some years ago in 1933 when I was the tender age of thirteen. And I haven’t been the same since. I just found that this picture haunted me so, so I had to find out how it was done.”
Harry then talks about how he created his own first series of stop motion animation shorts..
“ And when I found out about the glories of stop motion animation, I started to experiment in my garage and after that it gradually developed from my hobby to a profession. I had the great pleasure of working with George Pal for a while, before the war he was doing a series of puppetoons of the time. But they were very stylized figures and they were not the same type of drama that I was really interested in.
Mother Goose Stories.
After the war I made my own series of puppet films. I made a series of five films. I called them Mother Goose stories. I funded the films myself. They were very easy to make because I didn’t pay myself a salary. It was sort of one man job. My family helped me out very much. My father became interested in it, my mother dressed the figures. So it was more or less a family enterprise. The plaster heads were all extreme expressions. They, I made one placid expression and then carved maybe to make ten casernes and carved each one slightly different into extreme expressions. And then I’d dissolve into eight frames from one head to the other.
Of course in red riding hood, the wolf was very dear to my heart because it was the type of thing I wanted to do. Later on, when I got involved with dinosaurs and pre-historic animals, of course they are all creatures of fantasy and I found them much more enjoyable to work with than just a normal character.
We found the melodrama was very useful for the medium of dimensional animations and of course it is always been used with dinosaurs. Willis O’Brien, my mentor, he used the dinosaur and the gorilla animations. Well after king Kong, he was my hero. And I called him up with MJM one time, he was very courteous and encouraging and we became friends and later on when he got involved with Mighty Young (1949), he chose me his assistant. Again a gorilla, a nice kind gorilla, very sympathetic and it didn’t have the same impact of course that King Kong had.”
Ray Moves to the UK.
“Both Charles Schneer and myself came to England originally to make two films and we’ve been here ever since. This was way back in 1960. After the seventh voyage the studio had an old script called Mysterious Island.
I took the shell of the crab, made a mechanism that would go inside specifically for animation. Then you can make the crab to do what exactly you want him to do. We wanted to do some close ups of all the intricate mechanisms in the mouth. So, we got six live edible crabs and when we put them under the lights, of course they got very languid, and they all fell asleep I think. I wondered how you know when a crab is asleep. And that evening we ate our actors. I think Hitchcock would have been pleased.”
Ray talks about how Sound and Music in Stop Motion Animation brings it to life
“The music is very important. I, I have always felt 50% of the success of a fantasy film is the music. The music hightens the emotions and makes the whole thing bigger than life!
You see, medusa is quite a complicated figure. She has twelve snakes in her hair and each snake has to be animated. You roll her eyes by using a pencil eraser, and each frame of them you move them slightly until you get them into the position you want. And inside her lips, she has little levers that give her a chance to have some sort of mobile features.
These types of pictures are not a directors picture. They have to be laid out ahead of time in a very careful way so that they can be made for a reasonable cost. The pictures laid out many times before the director is even brought on to the scene. He has to handle the actors naturally. But the actual film is laid out by Charles and myself and the writer.
I’m retired from making films because it does take too much of your life. We spent three years on the clash of the titans, and there’s long time in preparation and long time in, after everybody goes home and they go on another picture on rest of the crew, maybe do two pictures but I am still putting the first one together. But I’m in hopes that one day that there will be a viable museum that will house all the materials because it is actually is the bridge between Willis O’Brien’s work and the work of today. I have had a great success practically, say 90% in doing what I wanted to do I did. I’m told the stars of my films were my creatures because most of them received the best write ups.”
- Stop Motion in Games – Cletus Clay
Cletus Clay is a unique computer game that uses stop motion animation techniques. The clay characters in the game are all handcrafted by Sarah Webb of TunaSnax – home of Tuna, developers of Cletus Clay.
Below is a transcribed interview with Sarah and Alex Amsel talking about Cletus and the stop motion design behind the game.
Sarah Webb: Cletus Clay is cool and interesting because we made it.
Alex Amsel: Yeah, pretty much.
Sarah Webb: and We’re cool.
Alex Amsel: Yep.
Alex Amsel: Yeah Cletus Clay is homage back to the 1980’s, 1990s arcade games. And this time we’re doing it as we are doing it with clay. And the ?? Is that those games were really really entertaining. They had a set of humor about. They didn’t take themselves too seriously. And I think that is one of the nice things about Cletus. When you hear Cletus talk you know he doesn’t takes himself seriously. He’s the funniest game character that has been for many years. Hi, I am Alex Amsel. I’m the managing director of Tuna.
Sarah Webb: I am Sarah Webb. I am the stop motion artist here at Tuna.
Why stop motion game?
Alex Amsel: We wanted to do something that looks a little bit different, more original. And so we started working with guy called Anthony Flak. He is a stop motion animator.
Average day of Cletus Clay team?
Alex Amsel: Anthony is based in New Zealand and that means he has an eleven hour time difference. So my morning starts talking to Anthony. And as he so starts motor making with Sarah. What we are doing is actually, doing the interesting which is how the game plays. So my typical job is to generally coming and speaking to Anthony, get Cletus running around and beating up aliens and finding new ways to make the aliens die.
Sarah Webb: Anthony does a load of level designs, which is what we base our model designs upon. So there are these really long sketches that he does using Photoshop. So we go through those and work out what models need to be made for each level. And for me, I tend to go to make another sketch, particularly if it’s a big model , just so that I can firmly establish in my head what kind of model I’m trying to make. And then I can send them back to Anthony, and he can say that’s really good or no no no, that’s totally not I wanted to for that level.
Sarah Webb: This is chicken house mark II which is a model I built for level 1 of Cletus Clay. It took about 12 hours to make.
Sarah Webb: It’s all squishy!
Alex Amsel: I kill stuff. that’s my day, mainly aliens.
Why your game is unique?
Sarah Webb: I guess it is its tactile nature. It’s like when you watch a film like Coraline or Fantastic mister fox, because what you’re looking at are a set of still images. It has its own little em, idiosyncrasies. And so people can pick up on that ,as you can’t really mimic that with any medium which is why clay is quite special.
Alex Amsel: And the interesting thing for me is I’m a pro ??. I have to work with all the art work produced by the artists. As he gets, you never quite know what you’re going to get. And because you never catch your way and look at it at anytime and they can take a slight different photo of it. You put it in the actual game and you can see the thumb prints, when you are actually playing the game and that’s really different from doing CGI. CGI is really really dull in comparison and lifeless.
What was the first feedback so far?
Alex Amsel: There are people who didn’t like it. We don’t have to lie.
Sarah Webb: No, we don’t have to lie. There was a very little negative feedback from we trying to both the scenario came out. And there was one Japanese who called, who played the same level for about 10 times, over and over again because he said he can’t stop playing it which was really awesome.
Alex Amsel: He kept playing over and over again.
Sarah Webb: Yeah
Sarah Webb: Mark hid one of my clay models and said that it had been squashed and there was a moment of gullibility where I did think he was serious and there was this model that took me 12 hours to make had been squashed and the evidence has been swept away and it can’t be produced and it was cake and that was pretty bad.
Alex Amsel: Anthony had a very bad day all playing to making all the clay models. This was supposed to be the first previous game of Cletus. And we got back home and his house was burning down with all his discs and all his models, everything he’d been doing back for back two years. And, luckily he’d been showing the game to a friend, and his friend had the discs. So he didn’t lose all his works completely, just his house and his belongings.
Sarah Webb: I am gonna be with one of the bunnies. The bunnies were cute. There were really cute clay bunnies so it might be a bunny. And you could be the really cute gun terror.
Alex Amsel: I can’t be the gun terror because it’s destructive.
Sarah Webb: The most exciting moment for me the first time I saw was something I had created actually in the game. It was just a little test level. Cletus running back and forth and I was “that’s my tree!”
Alex Amsel: And there’s been a lot of things on Cletus. But a friend of mine Betamin Weirs, the first game I ever made that was so commercially was going to the shop and seeing it, in the shop in like a top 10. And of course it wasn’t a no. 1 but what I did do is picked up all the copies and moved into no. 1. And I did that in every shop I went in to and so all around Sheffield as well.
Alex Amsel: There’s been a lot of learning on the way because there is no model to follow, no one has ever done this before in the way we are doing it. So, some deadlines we’ve met but other deadlines we missed badly I have to admit. But it’s inherent when you’re trying to do, when you’re doing research and development. We’re doing new things therefore, some objects just go wrong and we have to do it differently.
Alex Amsel: 14 years worked on platforms from the older Amiga days, and now working across onto the IPad, the latest platform we’re working on. And I think the experiences we had across all these different products and all the different platforms, working with a wide range of clients and licences and now we work with clay. I think it makes us interesting and I’ve got experiences that so varied that we have a lots of things to table.
Sarah Webb: Yes, it is really good to see the clay graphics on the ipad. I think they were really well. I know we’re still developing the actual mechanics of the game but even playing upside down and backwards. It’s still pretty fun.
Alex Amsel: Something I think is interesting, that is happening more and more now is more and more people playing games on facebook or console or on their iphone, I think there’s a quite a lot of scope for new products to be created or appetised by creating a game around those products instead of traditional boring advertisements, which tended to speak – 30 seconds adverts on tv or a boring flash ad on the web. I think creating proper interactive, interesting adverts, which is our base of the game. I think that’s the move we really would like to get involved with.
Animation genius (in paticular stop motion animation ) and pioneer Ray Harryhausen turns 90 this week. To celebrate the occasion an exhibition of Harryhausen’s stop-motion work opens on 29 June 2010 at the London Film Museum. It includes original models, bronze casts and artwork from his Movies.
Movie greats such as George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, James Cameron and Nick Park all cite Ray has one of their inspirational heros in the field of animation.
Harryhausen is modest about his elevated status this these Directors, he prefers to give the credit to Willis O’Brien, the visual-effects supervisor on King Kong (1933) and the man who gave Harryhausen his first feature film job, on Mighty Joe Young (1949).
But it is Harryhausen who, on the occasion of his 90th birthday this week, will be celebrated with the exhibition of his drawings, models and film footage at the London Film Museum, and by a collectible limited-edition book called Ray Harryhausen: A Life in Pictures. And it’s Harryhausen who is cited as an influence by film-makers from Steven Spielberg (“I salute him every day”) to James Cameron (“We all owe Ray a great debt”); from Pixar (who named a restaurant after him in Monsters Inc) to Tim Burton (who said Mars Attacks! was a direct homage).
Nick Park, the Oscar-winning animator behind Wallace and Gromit and another avowed Harryhausen fan, says that Gromit’s famously expressive eyebrows were partially inspired by those of Mighty Joe Young. “I remember seeing Ray Harryhausen on I think it was a TV programme called Screen Test. I just got to work straight away in my own little attic studio. I made a brontosaurus out of coat-hanger wire and foam and my mum’s old tights.”
Live long and prosper Ray. We look up to you and celebrate with you on your upcoming birthday.
How to Train Your Dragon from Dreamworks animation will be in theaters March 26, 2010. Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, America Ferrara, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Craig Ferguson, Kristen Wiig and T.J. Miller are the voice actors in the film. It’s directed by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois. The trailer is below for your enjoyment. I hope they improve on the graphics for the main dragon, as it currently stands it looks out of place with the other characters and background. While it may well be worth going to see if only for the 3D experience it does not look as good as Pixar’s recent offerings.
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.