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Monday, September 1, 2014

Betty Boop throwback - "Be Human" (1936)

Betty Boop
Betty Boop

Betty Boop first appeared onscreen in 1930. After that, she was in a string of shorts for Max Fleischer and the Fleischer Studios that he ran with his brother Dave. This one, from 1936, was among the last. It has a strong political message about animal cruelty that you don't expect to see from the 1930s - but, then, many people back then lived much closer to their animals than is the case now, so issues like this were very common. Everyone knew about Animal Control, the only question was whether they did what they were supposed to regarding their animals - or hid it.

Betty Boop Grampy

This short "Be Human" also stars "Grampy," another cartoon star of the 1930s who, unfortunately, has been forgotten.

But Betty Boop hasn't! She will be starring in a feature film from Simon Cowell's Syco Entertainment and animal studio Animal Logic Entertainment one of these days.

Betty Boop Grampy

This cartoon is from Fleischer Studios. It is a classic because it has the gorgeous animation that made Max Fleischer Walt Disney’s main competition at the time. Fleischer's studio came up with the Rotoscope technique that is used to this day. He actually had sound accompanying his animations before the first "talkie" in the 1920s.

The Hays Code of 1934 forced Fleischer to tone down Betty Boop - there's nothing sexual about her in her later cartoons, unlike the first ones when she had plunging necklines and the like - and she lost her mojo with audiences. Fleischer lost control of his studio to Paramount during World War II, but continued to work here and there in the animation industry until the 1960s.

"Detox, Little Monsters" from Greenpeace


Detox, Little Monsters from Bobby Voeten on Vimeo.

This is an informative introduction to the problems of PFCs and other chemicals in the environment by Greenpeace. It is presented in a simple, guileless style that is sneakily effective. These are the best types of recruiting adverts, where you learn something in an attractive fashion without the harsh overtones of preachiness or condescension. It is very bright and colorful, which is a nice counterweight to the somewhat ominous message.

It's an interesting lesson in the choices that animators make. Do they go for a mature person or celebrity doing the voiceover? No, a younger, anonymous voice filled with touches of childlike wonder at the fragile state of the world and how nice it would be to put it back in order.

Of course, there are all sorts of hints at what is really going on - the exhortation to tell "big companies" that they are the problem and so forth. So, it is not all innocence and light as the vibrant and simplistic seemingly childlike imagery would suggest. Instead of a simple instructional video, it is actually a call to action cloaked in the most innocent of forms.


From the web page:

Created by:
Away from prying eyes, workers are forced to use hazardous chemicals.
As a part of the Greenpeace Detox campaign 'Little Monsters' were designed and drawn to represent the chemicals themselves. This short animation video helps to explain and offers context to one of the Little Monster-campaign’s priority chemical groups: PFCs

Saturday, August 30, 2014

"Marvel's Ultimate Spider-Man: Web Warriors" Season 3 Clip

Season three of "Marvel's Ultimate Spider-Man: Web Warriors" is almost here! It begins its third season on Sunday, August 31st at 9:00 a.m., ET/PT on Disney XD.

There will be new heroes and villains from the Marvel Universe, including:
  • Agent Venom;
  • Amadeus Cho;
  • Cloak & Dagger; and
  • Ka-Zar.
There will also be a new multi-episode story-arc format.

Donald Glover of "Community" voices the character Miles Morales in an episode airing in 2015.

The new season begins with Spider-Man accepting an invitation to become an Avenger, joining forces with:
  • Iron Man; 
  • Captain America; 
  • Thor;
  • Hulk; 
  • Hawkeye;
  • Black Widow; and 
  • Falcon.
Come on, who did you expect - Superman?

There are sure to be tons of adventures for the Avengers this season.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Solar Flare Animation

solar flare activity
Solar flare animation

Mark Townley over at Brierley Hill Solar captured this solar flare that took place on 28 August 2014.

The animation is pretty impressive, considering this is the real deal and not some kind of "re-creation" or "representation" or anything like that. This is what happens to the Sun all the time. It wasn't as impressive as some solar eruptions, perhaps, but it's pretty darn cool anyway.

Imagine what that would do to the earth if some volcano here erupted like that, throwing stuff all the way out into space? That is just a massive event, and of course the Sun is massively larger than the Earth, so while this eruption appears relatively small - it's not small at all.

this is a really good angle to capture the flare. It would not have looked nearly as impressive head on. If you look closely, you can see some other unrelated activity on the sun's surface as well.

solar flare activity

From Mark Townley's page, which also has many other interesting astronomical animations:
AR12146 was very nearly on the limb of the sun, and had a beta-gamma-delta magnetic field that had potential for eruptions, in fact NASA gave a 40% chance of an M-class flare and a 5% chance of an X-class flare.  The clouds finally broke on thursday afternoon, and so I decided to train my telescope on this region, and using the autorun feature in firecapture image acquisition software and the Hutech solar guider to lock onto our star I set about recording a timelapse of our star.  Now while the larger flares didn't happen, there was a small C1 class eruption that was still the largest explosion for several light years that hurled out a large blob of plasma out into inter planetary space several times larger than Earth.  This animation shows you don't need a large or overly expensive solar scope to view these events on our sun, and was taken with a 40mm Coronado scope and Imaging Source DMK31 camera.

New "Shaun the Sheep the Movie" Trailer from Aardman

Shaun the Sheep the Movie Aardman Animation

A new trailer for "Shaun the Sheep the Movie," the new animated feature film from Britain's Aardman Animation. You may watch it above.

"Shaun the Sheep" is written and directed by new directors Mark Burton (writer of Madagascar, Gnomeo & Juliet) and Richard Starzack. The voice cast has not been announced.

As shown in the trailer, Shaun and a bunch of his sheep friends end up stuck in the big city, leaving them with no choice but to find their own way home.

StudioCanal sends the film to theaters in the United Kingdom on February 6th, 2015. Whether or not the film gets a release in the United States is not known, they are probably still negotiating for a distributor.

Aardman is not nearly as popular in the States as it is in the UK. That's just a fact, not a slam. It is distinctly British humor, which you may not realize if you are, well, British. If you asked 1000 people in the States who Aardman or Shaun the Sheep were, you'd probably get 1000 different answers, none of them correct. The film may only get a limited release in major cities in the US for awards consideration.

Shaun the Sheep the Movie Aardman Animation

We posted the original trailer back in April when Ardman gave us a first peek. Here it is for convenience.

From the youtube page:

Published on Aug 29, 2014
From ardman, the creators of Wallace & Gromit and Chicken Run, SHAUN THE SHEEP THE MOVIE is coming to cinemas worldwide from Spring 2015! Watch the new teaser trailer to see Shaun and The Flock on their hilarious adventure in the Big City!

When SHAUN decides to take the day off and have some fun, he gets a little more action than he bargained for! SHAUN’s mischief inadvertently leads to The Farmer being taken away from the farm, to the Big City…

Join SHAUN, Bitzer and The Flock on their hilarious, action-packed, big screen adventure as they make plans to rescue the missing Farmer. A story about how we sometimes forget to appreciate the things we have in life, and the people who love us. SHAUN THE SHEEP THE MOVIE introduces us to two new Aardman characters; TRUMPER, the animal warden who rules the city’s animal shelter with a rod of iron and SLIP, an inner city orphan dog who helps SHAUN save the day.

SHAUN THE SHEEP was first seen in Nick Park’s Academy-Award winning Wallace and Gromit film A CLOSE SHAVE and SHAUN, the world’s most famous sheep continues to enthral television audiences in over 170 countries. SHAUN THE SHEEP THE MOVIE is currently in Production at Aardman Studios in Bristol and will open in UK Cinemas on 6 February 2015.

Shaun the Sheep the Movie Aardman Animation

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Shifting Geometric Shapes Set to Music


Geometric from Al Boardman on Vimeo.

A short film by Al Boardman, with music in the video by Andrea Baroni. It is just a bunch of animated geometric shapes set to music. Very simple, but very effective.


These gifs are taken from the video. They are quite enjoyable by themselves, but much better with the music.


From the page:

A short animation exploring shapes, colours and transitions.
Creative and animation: Al Boardman
Music: Andrea Baroni
Some more gifs from the video:

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Freaky Physics Animations

freaky animations

These are a few random animations that are kind of mesmerizing if you start to focus on them. The first four are from a physics student who posts them to his tumblr account here, and the last four are from the tumblr page here. You can see the physics influence in these animations, but they are simply fun to look at without reference to origin.

These kinds of animations are like the lava lamps of the modern age. Instead of sitting in the dark with your black light on looking at flourescent geometric posters on the wall as you do your thing, now you can sit in the dark with your monitor on looking at the geometric animations on your computer. Who says society isn't advancing!

freaky animations
freaky animations
freaky animations
freaky animations
freaky animations
freaky animations
freaky animations
freaky animations