Monday, November 15, 2010

"Goatboy" Bebop and Abstract Animation in general

This is a short abstract film I created as part of the "Bored Animators Club" challenge at work!  After we were done with Medal of Honor we were sitting around thinking of stuff to do, so we came up with the idea of 24 hour animation challenges.  Take that, 11 Second Club.  Who needs a month to make a short film? Hehe.

Anyway, I figured it would be a fun opportunity to finally get around to making an abstract film!  I've always loved watching experimental animation - as a kid I was drawn to things like the pink elephants in Dumbo, song sequences from Fantasia, seashells gliding around in the sand on Sesame Street, and so forth.  In college we studied lots of different animation styles, from the Hubleys to Oskar Fischinger to the Brothers Quay and even Chuck Jones.  Although I knew I wanted to work in the mainstream industry, part of me highly respected and envied the people who found time (and money) to create something completely new and unexpected.

Abstract animation, to me, is like visual poetry - it's able to convey things that aren't easily put into words or purely representational images.  The scene from Ratatouille where Remy tries to describe "taste" is a perfect example of this.  Perhaps because I grew up in a musical family I also feel a strong connection between music and image.  When I listen to a song, I visualize it too, if that makes any sense.  That's kind of how Goatboy Bebop came into being. 

I'm glad that some artists and studios are still making room for experimental work in their films.  In an era where 3D photorealism is all the rage, it's nice to see something that takes a different path.  So often we stay grounded in real life and we forget how to be artists and poets, we forget we are capable of transcending the representational world.  Our brains can make those abstract connections between color, line, icon, shape, sound, smell, object and feeling.  That's what makes being human so awesome! 

Huh, I guess it's been a while since I've waxed philosophical about animation.  I could keep going on about this topic, but I think I'll wrap it up with a link to some abstract animations I've compiled together that have inspired me over the years. 

Abstract Films and Film Sequences

I hope you can find time to enjoy them as much as I have!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

11 Second Club - October 2010

I found myself with some free time last month so I tried out the 11 Second Club competition for the first time.  I've always found the competition inspiring but never quite worked up the nerve to enter myself.  I earned a respectable 5th place out of 256 entries, not bad!

Here's my piece:

You can check out the other entries here:

I went through a lot of free rigs available on the internet before settling on the "Blake" rig by Jason Baskin.  I found that his rig had a decent facial setup and controls that I wanted for the body (although I did wish the spine was better).  There were some other good rigs, but Blake's character design seemed like he would fit the audio for the month.

I'm playing around with Josh Burton's "Morpheus" rig which also seems very promising.  Maybe some other month... once we're done with all this condo-buying nonsense :)