Thursday, July 31, 2014

"Marilyn Myller" from Mikey Please

Marilyn Myller

Marilyn Myller from Parabella on Vimeo.

Marilyn Myller

"Marilyn Myller" animation. This is a fun animation apparently made out of styrofoam. I say "apparently" because it's difficult to believe that Mikey Please and his team could make styrofoam "wave" as it does. But, wave it does, so whatever they made it out of, that's what it does.

It is a surrealistic animation about the creating of things. It was good... no, it really was! It has a sort of Monty Python air to it, an insouciant attitude that you don't always find in animation. A bit of a stream of consciousness thing.

They spent a year making it, they say, and it shows. Quite a detailed animation. It is full of light and shadow, a film noir of animation. And some deadpan humor.

"Yes. It's very creative."


From the page:

Marilyn maketh, Marilyn taketh away.
Directed by MIKEY PLEASE
A year in the making, the full six minute stopmotion short features the voice of Josie Long, one zillion hand carved tiny things, literally tens of carved foam puppets, two eye fulls of in-camera, long-exposure light trickery and a pair of tiny dolphins, smooching.
Animated & Photographed by - MIKEY PLEASE / DAN OJARI
With animation from - TIM ALLEN / STEVEN WARNE
Model Makers
Set Design
Supervising DOP
Studio Manager
Incidental Lighting
Technical Support
Recording Engineers
Mixed by
Post Production
Thank you

Marilyn Myller


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

"Jinxy Jenkins, Lucky Lou" - Bright and Bouncy

Jinxy Jenkins, Lucky Lou
"Jinxy Jenkins, Lucky Lou."
Jinxy Jenkins, Lucky Lou from Jinxy Jenkins, Lucky Lou on Vimeo.

Michael Bidinger and Michelle Kwon, graduates of Ringling College of Art and Design, have been so kind as to release their award-winning short Jinxy Jenkins, Lucky Lou to the Internet.

This is a high-quality animation that you don't want to miss!

The exceedingly unlucky Jenkins and the eternally lucky Lou run into each other one morning. It turns out that opposites really do attract, and the two experience a thrilling adventure that is new for both of them in terms of their usual degree of luckiness. Together, they roll down the hills of San Francisco in an ice cream cart.

"Jinxy Jenkins, Lucky Lou" was produced by Sarah Kambara. It has a bright and bouncy feel to it, a good vibe and some quite effective animation that is fairly simple but ideal for its visuals. Perfect choice of background music, too.

Give this one a whirl, it is worth your 3:52.

It has been honored at:
  • Trinity Animation Festival (Best Picture & Audience Choice Award)
  • Blue Plum Animation Festival (Critic’s Choice Award)
  • Hamburg Animation Festival (Hamburg Animation Award & Audience Choice Award).
The film has pages on Facebook (/jinxyjenkinsluckylou) and Tumblr (/jinxylucky).

Jinxy Jenkins, Lucky Lou
Jinxy Jenkins, Lucky Lou.
From the page:
A film by Michael Bidinger and Michelle Kwon.
Production Management- Sarah Kambara
Run Time: 3:52
Sound Design- Nick Ainsworth
Vocals- Ed Skudder, Lynn Wan
Original Score- Mason Self
Produced At Ringling College of Art and Design
Copyright Michael Bidinger, Michelle Kwon 2014
Jinxy Jenkins, Lucky Lou


Saturn Animations From NASA

Saturn Aurora animation

Saturn Aurora animation

These cool NASA animations of Saturn show its spectacular light shows. These are converted from observation of the Hubble Space Telescope.

Saturn has a magnetic field much stronger than Earth’s. Auroras also have been observed elsewhere in the Solar System, such as on the surfaces of Venus, Mars and even on certain moons (e.g. Io, Europa, and Ganymede).

The Saturn light show is created in a couple of different possible ways. One is when solar wind particles are channeled into the planet’s magnetic field toward its poles, where they interact with electrically charged gas (plasma) in the upper atmosphere and emit light. It is sort of like static electricity from your carpet.

Auroras on Saturn can also be caused by electromagnetic waves generated when its moons move through the plasma that fills the planet’s magnetosphere. The main source is the small moon Enceladus, which ejects water vapor from the geysers on its south pole, a portion of which is ionized. The interaction between Saturn’s magnetosphere and the solar wind generates bright oval aurorae around the planet’s poles observed in visible, infrared and ultraviolet light. If you could see all those spectra with the naked eye, it would be quite spectacular.

The aurorae of Saturn are highly variable. Their location and brightness strongly depend on the Solar wind pressure: the aurorae become brighter and move closer to the poles when the Solar wind pressure increases.

Saturn is turning into a favorite spot in the Solar System for these kinds of animations because, well, it's scenic. Expect more of these animations.


For Weird Al Yankovic Fans

Weird Al Yankovic

Al Yankovic animated tribute. This is a great tribute to the Master, Weird Al Yankovic. He chose studio TruScribe to animate his latest video music video for “Mission Statement” off his new album Mandatory Fun. They have reciprocated by doing up all 14 ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic album covers as a whiteboard animation.

Just in case anyone thinks that Weird Al is past his prime or something like that, well, his current album sits at No. 1 on the Billboard album charts as I write this.

Here's the news blurb:
The long-haired comic musician's new album, "Mandatory Fun," debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart of best-selling albums with 104,000 in sales, according to Nielsen SoundScan. It's Yankovic's first No. 1 of his more than 30-year career.
Congratulations, Weird Al!

Jack Black is in this one:


Monday, July 28, 2014

"Guardians of the Galaxy" Preview

Guardians of the Galaxy
The "Guardians of the Galaxy."
"Guardians of the Galaxy" Preview. Disney/Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy," which blends live-action and animation about as seamlessly as is possible, opens August 1, 2014, and is one of the last gasps of Hollywood to salvage what has been a terrible summer so far at the box office.

Well, they're off to a good start with the classic Blue Swede tune "Hooked on a Feeling," that's for sure. One of my personal faves from the '70s.

Disney/Marvel must be very optimistic about how well this film will do because they already have announced, at the San Diego Comic-Con, that an animated series is coming. They screened a 60-second clip twice, then put it back in the vault. No other details, no air date, no voice actors revealed - nothing. Here is a description of the clip, which eventually... someday... will make its way online:
"The short, 60-second world premiere opens with rain falling on a futuristic cityscape, boasting a lot of neon lights and coloring. Rocket Raccoon is running, being pursued by a hostile, laser-firing robot probe. Rocket plunges off a very tall building… lands, spins and powers up his trademark guns and blasts away until the probe is destroyed. A voice calls out: "Hey fuzzy!" It's Star-Lord. Rocket spins around. Star-Lord quips, "If we're going to be hanging out together you're going to need bigger blasters." The scene was then replaced by the "Guardians of the Galaxy" logo." 
They did say that the cosmic superhero team will appear in all three of Marvel’s current animated shows: "Ultimate Spider-Man: Web Warriors," "Avengers Assemble" and "Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.," with the latter two getting official season two renewals.

Here is the youtube summary for the "Guardians of the Galaxy" extended preview clip:

Release Date: August 1, 2014 (3D/2D theaters and IMAX 3D)
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
Director: James Gunn
Screenwriter: James Gunn
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Benicio del Toro
Genre: Action, Adventure
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for some language)

Official Websites:,,

Plot Summary from the studio:
From Marvel, the studio that brought you the global blockbuster franchises of "Iron Man," "Thor," "Captain America" and "The Avengers," comes a new team—the Guardians of the Galaxy. An action-packed, epic space adventure, Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy" expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe into the cosmos, where brash adventurer Peter Quill finds himself the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by Ronan, a powerful villain with ambitions that threaten the entire universe. To evade the ever-persistent Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a quartet of disparate misfits—Rocket, a gun-toting raccoon, Groot, a tree-like humanoid, the deadly and enigmatic Gamora and the revenge-driven Drax the Destroyer. But when Quill discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he must do his best to rally his ragtag rivals for a last, desperate stand—with the galaxy's fate in the balance.

Uga chucka uga uga uga chucka!

I know what you want now.



Friday, July 25, 2014

The 2014 California Drought in Animation

California Drought 2014
The California drought in one graph.
The California drought of 2014 has been extraordinary.

Animation of the California drought. The chart above shows the drought in California since 2000.

Surveys show that people in California have become desperate about the water situation.

The State is taking tiny steps. Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill, for instance, preventing homeowners' associations from enforcing lawn-watering requirement during a drought emergency. However, Californians don't seem to care, actually increasing their water use by 1% in May 2014 over the previous May.

NASA has evidence that the water situation in the West is actually very bad. Water levels are way down, and more and more people move there.

The animation below shows the progression of the California drought from the beginning of 2014 through mid-July, 2014. It was created using U.S. Drought Monitor maps. It shows that the drought area is not, as you might think, in the desert regions, but along the coastal strip including and between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

California Drought 2014


Costa Concordia Animation - Heading to Genoa

Costa Concordia
Costa Concordia being towed by two tugs.

Costa Concordia Animation. This animation shows the efforts of the salvage team to bring the Costa Concordia from the Greek islands around  Italy to Genoa. There is no narration, it simply shows the technique they are using to transport this massive load by barge. It is a quick video, 50 seconds, and worth a peek if you are interested in the tragedy.

This is a "drone video" that gives several different interesting perspectives on the operation.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Peek at Some Faces Behind Your Favorite Animation

Disney/Pixar logo
A Peek at Some Faces Behind Your Favorite Animation. Our goal here at Animated Film Reviews is to give animation fans just a teeny smidgen of insight into the animation they love. We do this by providing industry news, film reviews, and as much context as we can squeeze in. The animation industry is varied, like doctors and lawyers and plumbers and such, so it's impossible and unnecessary to try to give a complete view of the field. However, a little context goes a long way and helps some of us to enjoy the animation we see a bit more than we would otherwise.

With that in mind, and as a one-time thing, we're going to give an extremely quick peek under the hood and let you see a few animators who create the animation you see in the theater and on home video. These folks all have worked at Pixar, though they all apparently have moved on to new employment. You'll almost never hear of these folks otherwise unless you stick around for the five minutes of credits after some future animated film and squint really, really hard.

We're cool with anyone who works on animated films. We wish them nothing but the best. And besides, without these guys and many, many more like them, we'd here at Animated Film Reviews would have nothing to do all day! Keeps us off the street.

All right, on with the show.

Daisuke 'Dice' Tsutsumi

Dice Tsutsumi
Dice Tsutsumi.
Dice Tsutsumi has been an animator for a number of years. He began in the Art Department at Blue Sky Studios (pretty sure of that, if that's wrong, apologies), where he worked, among other things, as a matte (background) painter on the smash hit "Ice Age."

After that, he gravitated over to Pixar, where he was an Art Director on their smash hit "Toy Story 3." While there, he directed a couple of shorts, "Sketchtravel" and "The Dam Keeper," which he created outside of Pixar.

Dice obviously is extremely talented. A native of Tokyo, he just so happens to be the son-in-law of Hayao Miyazaki.

Yes, that Hayao Miyazaki.

Anyway, Dice recently sent around a notice to friends and followers that he was leaving Pixar, no doubt to go to another top outfit. It's worth posting just to give you a tiny slice of a top animator's life. We wish him the best of luck.

Subject : I'd like to thank you all----Today is my last day
Time: July 11th, 2014

When I graduated from high school in Tokyo, I left my country behind to start a new life in the U.S.

I had no idea what I got myself into at the time especially since I spoke no English and didn't even know what I wanted to study. (I knew nothing about art!)

People often ask me if I like America better as I ended up staying here for the next 20 years.

I look back now and I realize it was not a matter of preference between Japan and the US.

What mattered the most was the "change" I made in my life. It taught me so much about what it means to live in a fast-changing, diverse international society today.

Interestingly, my love for Japan actually grew more after I left Japan because I can see the beauty of my culture from outside. I proudly carry my Japanese heritage to this day while I adapted the culture in the United States.

I am certain that is what it's going to happen after I leave Pixar, the most creative environment on earth that I will miss so dearly.

One thing I learned from you guys at Pixar is that I shall not be afraid of taking risks. I'll live and work like a Pixarian even after I leave the gate behind today.

I hope this isn't a breakup. I rather see it as a child leaving for college to learn from his own failures in the outside world. I see Pixar as my parents and I hope to use everything I learned here to survive out there.

My dream is that I come back to work with you again someday and apply whatever I learn from this dark, scary and dangerous jungle of "unknown."

Until then...

with sincere gratitude

Dice Tsutsumi

Robert Kondo

Robert Kondo
Robert Kondo.
Robert Kondo has been at Pixar at least since "Ratatouille," on which he served as an art director. He recently worked with Dice on "The Dam Keeper" short, and was an art director on last year's "Monsters University."

Robert recently left Pixar for parts unknown. He tweeted this out with Instagram:

Robert Kondo
The picture is of the Pixar Gates
Kondo and Tsutsumi have announced that they have started their own creative house, Tonko House. In the animation industry, you never know what will happen, so they may wind up back at a big studio, or Tonko House could become a huge hit. We wish the boys the best of luck with their project.

Saschka Unseld

Saschka Unseld
Saschka Unseld.
Saschka Unseld started out in Germany, where he co-directed the short "Strasse der Spezialisten" for Studio Soi. He found his way to the States at some point worked on, among other projects, "Toy Story 3," "Cars 2," "Brave" and "Toy Story of Terror" as a Pixar layout artist.

That's a pretty impressive list of films right there.

Saschka recently posted a bunch of photos and stuff on Instagram showing him departing Pixar. Incidentally, he can speak for himself, he lists his own biography on Instagram as:
Saschka Unseld: Director and writer of things, including Pixar's The Blue Umbrella, I tweet @saschkaunseld 
Anyway, apparently after leaving, Saschka had to go back to the office for something, so he posted this:

Saschka Unseld photo
He now needs a "host" to enter the premises
That's how it goes in the big city, riding high in April, having to be someone's guest in the place you used to be a big shot in July. Just about anyone who's had a job at a big firm knows how that goes.

We wish Saschka the best of luck as well.

Teddy Newton

Teddy Newton
Teddy Newton.
Teddy Newton was at Pixar for a long time. His credits there go back at least as far as working as a voice actor on "The Incredibles." Before that, he did character design on "The Iron Giant" while apparently at Warner Bros. Animation. Since Brad Bird was behind both of those films, we're guessing they came over to Pixar together or one at the suggestion of the other. That's only a guess, but that's how transfers often work - one guy goes over, then puts in a good word for another.

At Pixar, Teddy's worked on "Cars," "Ratatouille," "WALL-E," "Up," "Toy Story 3" - these are some of the biggest animated films of all time, and he did voice work on all of them! Man, that's plain awesome.

Anyway, Teddy apparently has left Pixar as well fairly recently. His friend posted this picture of him with a bunch of big shots (trust me, these folks are not scrubbing toilets, they are bosses):

Teddy Newton and friends.
Anyway, so it appears that Teddy Newton now is at Paramount. It looks like they're all having fun as well, which is awesome. We're sure we'll be seeing and hearing his work in the years to come.

Anyway, that completes our quick peek under the hood of the animation that you see and love. Best of luck to everyone.


Learn How to Eat Properly in this Stylized Video

Healthcare James Gilleard

HEALTHCARE from James Gilleard on Vimeo.

James Gilleard is a freelance illustrator and animator based in London, United Kingdom. Not all top-notch animation comes from the big studios, and Gilleard churns them out and has many splendid animations on his site.

Animated video on how to eat properly. This is an example, titled simply "Healthcare." Gilleard and his Alere Productions Inc. did this for a healthcare company earlier this year, 2014. Note that the style is based on vintage cartoons, with a '50s/early '60s suburban flair. If you like that heavily stylized Mantovani/sushi/cocktail-with-olive sort of stylized representation of life back then that came and went around 1958 or so, this one's definitely for you. I'm sure they have a big car with tailfins parked in the lot out front.

But anyone can enjoy it, and maybe learn something from it, too. Take your leftovers home and eat them throughout the day, it's healthier for your metabolism.

We have some stills below for a quick review. It's only two minutes long, it's kind of amusing and has a good health care message, too.

Healthcare James Gilleard

Healthcare James Gilleard

Healthcare James Gilleard

Healthcare James Gilleard


DreamWorks DreamPlace is Coming

DreamWorks DreamPlace" is being planned. DreamWorks is expanding into all sorts of new areas these days. Jeffrey Katzenberg, once in charge of Disney’s motion picture division, is steady, piece by piece, recreating his old haunt.

This time, Katzenberg is opening DreamWorks "Dreamplace." The new DreamWorks DreamPlace will, of course, have absolutely no relation to the Disney stores. However, they will be retail stores as well.

DreamPlace, according to the company, is
a 2,000-square-foot holiday cottage and combines the latest technology with magical storytelling from creative minds behind such hit franchises as Shrek, Madagascar and How to Train Your Dragon.   DreamPlace reimagines one of the signature moments of childhood – meeting Santa Claus. This unique and interactive experience is set to debut in a total of seven locations nationwide owned by both General Growth Properties, Inc. and Forest City Enterprises. 
So, DreamPlace apparently will be a store devoted to Santa Claus (in the guise of Shrek and company, no doubt), with the theme of a visit to the North Pole. It is, according to the company, an "Interactive Santa Adventure."

This will be state-of-the-art, with families able to make appointments by an app. The DreamPlace location will be at malls. The locations will include New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta, and Las Vegas, specifically:
Glendale Galleria – Glendale (Los Angeles), CA
The Parks at Arlington – Arlington (Dallas/Fort Worth), TX
Fashion Show - Las Vegas, NV
North Point Mall – Alpharetta (Atlanta), GA
Oakbrook Center – Oak Brook (Chicago), IL
Forest City Enterprises
Victoria Gardens – Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Westchester's Ridge Hill –  Yonkers, NY
Jeffrey Katzenberg is no doubt singing Ho Ho Ho and planning on counting the money from sales at the DreamPlaces.

DreamWorks Animation boss Jeffrey Katzenberg
We have no word on when the locations will open or for how long. Keep an eye out at your local mall if it is on the list above.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Heat Stroke Animation from TED-Ed

heat stroke
Heatstroke is extremely dangerous.

Heat Stroke Animation. Everybody talks about getting a heat stroke or sunstroke when they are outside during the summer. Once it happens, it is vital to take quick action, because the human body can only withstand a core body temperature above 40 degrees Celsius for half an hour before cell damage sets in.

Exertional heat stroke is one of the top three killers of soldiers and athletes in training. Classical heatstroke hits vulnerable people: the elderly, infants, and so forth. Liver failure, blood clot formation in the kidneys and other very serious problems can result.

Symptoms include core temperature above 40 degrees Celsius, increased heart rate, rapid breathing, confused behavior, aggression, loss of consciousness.

As this helpful TED-Ed animated video explains, the first things to do if someone you know collapses from heatstroke are to:
  1. Call for help
  2. Cool first, transport second
  3. Remove any protective athletic gear that may be retaining heat on the victim
  4. Immerse the victim in an ice bath or, if that is impossible, cool them down with cold water and soaked towels. 

heat stroke

This is practical knowledge, not something esoteric and difficult to decipher. Acting fast can make the difference between a heat stroke victim recovering completely and quickly, or suffering permanent damage.

From the youtube page:
Have you ever suffered from exertional heat stroke? This condition is caused by intense activity in the heat and is one of the top three killers of athletes and soldiers in training. Douglas J. Casa explains heat stroke's tremendous effects on the human body and details an action plan in case it ever happens to someone you know. 
Lesson by Douglas J. Casa, animation by Cinematic.
The narration is by Michelle Snow. Stay safe!


Animal Embryo Development Animation

embryo development
This is a fruit fly embryo. The top is the dorsal view (looking down on it), the bottom is the ventral view (looking up from beneath). Each circle is one cell of the embryo. The little lines extending from each cell, or tails, show where the cell is headed. 
Animal Embryo Development Animation. This animation tracks individual cells in an animal as it grows. The little dots that you see in the animation are individual cells.

The more they know about how cells develop and move around into position within the animal, the more understanding it will give them a cure if something goes wrong. This is particularly true for the development of the nervous system.

embryo development
This is a zebrafish embryo evolving
Developing animal cells are shaped according to their ultimate function and location. A group of nervous system cells may develop in a particular spot, for instance, and then move into an elongated pattern to form, say, the spinal cord.

It requires high-speed fluorescent microscopy to follow the movement of cells from their origin to their ultimate destination. By taking pictures at the shortest possible intervals, scientists can track their movement over time.

This also helps to show if the individual cells divided and, if so, where.

embryo development
This shows a zebrafish embryo that has formed
The whole development process takes time. A mouse, for instance, will start developing nervous system cells and then they will move around for a week, like a football team moving from the huddle to the line of scrimmage. Then, at a certain point, it snaps into action. This takes different lengths of time in different organisms. It would take a day in a fruit fly, much longer in a human being.


Fracking Explained in this Animation


This is an informative video that explains how fracking works.

Fracking is the extraction of oil and gas from shale oil deposits in tar sands. There are many environmental questions about fracking, and this video does not address them. It is simply intended as a primer on what fracking is and how it works.

This animation does come from an oil company - Marathon Oil - so take it in that spirit. Fracking is taking place and has only grown in use over the past decade, and there is no sign that it is going away any time soon.

Fracking has been around for decades and only recently has become controversial because of its massive increase in use due to higher oil prices. It involves horizontal drilling and explosive charges fired off deep underground. Water, chemicals and sand are pumped down the pipe and out through holes in the pipe, creating fractures in the ground that allows the trapped oil and gas to flow to the pipe and be extracted. This continues along the entire horizontal pipe, which can extend for several miles. Each well can last literally for decades.

While it has disrupted the environment in many locales, fracking has positives (many positives) in that it creates jobs and has turned the United States into the largest supplier of oil and gas in the world. That has helped the US balance of payments and economy and has kept a lid on oil and gas prices for consumers. There is a continuing huge demand for oil and gas, and regardless of advances in solar and other renewable and sustainable energy sources, that demand is not going away any time soon. So, it is useful to at least understand the fracking process, because it is a factor in everyone's life.

The animation is intended as a primer for novices to the industry, but it does get into some interesting little-known aspects of fracking, such as the impact of bacteria on the process. Bacteria that live off of hydrocarbons are a bane of the drilling industry. If the bacteria builds up enough, they can impede the flow of oil and/or gas. The bacteria also cause the oil to become viscous and acidic.



Monday, July 21, 2014

Hot in Cleveland: "The Animated Episode"

LeBron Makes it Hot in Cleveland

LeBron James Hot in Cleveland animated episode
LeBron James in "Hot in Cleveland: The Animated Episode."
"Hot in Cleveland" animated episode preview. "Hot in Cleveland" is on TV Land is partnering with animation studio Titmouse Inc. for an animated episode, to premiere July 30, 2014.

The series is in its fifth season (the sixth season already ordered) and gets its fair share of top names to guest star. This episode will feature Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, who guides the series regulars (Melanie (Valerie Bertinelli), Joy (Jane Leeves) and Victoria (Wendie Malick), who are all finally visiting Elka's (Betty White) apartment) on a trip across several film classics: "Frankenstein," "The Walking Dead" and "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory."

This sneak peek clip features an animated LeBron James, the NBA player who recently signed a contract to play in Cleveland. You didn't think they were going to let that pass them by, did you?

Even if the animation is in the usual clunky tv style, the episode looks promising.


Saturday, July 19, 2014

NBC Animation of Missile Strike on Malaysian Jet MH17

Malaysian airliner MH17

This is an official Dutch animated video of the 2014 Malaysian jet airline missile strike, including interviews from experts. It has some good animation of the flight and missile systems. It is a news summary of the catastrophe and provides a good background, including wreckage photos, on the basic facts in form of a news report.

The animation of the BUK missile launcher is interesting. This was not some wacko out on the range with a shoulder-fired grenade launcher. To get a missile that high requires highly sophisticated equipment.

This is a good example of the use of animation in news reports - they get these out quick, somebody in the animation department must always be present or on call and know what they are doing.

Malaysian airliner MH17
Malaysian plane shot down

Below is an animation showing other facts, such as the nationalities of the passengers and the plane's route.



running ageing

RUNNING from Konstantin Gdalevich on Vimeo.

The animated video "Running" is about running and life. This is kind of a freaky video that won't be right for everybody, but if you have a philosophical air about you, then it might hit the spot. It's fun and colorful and at only 2:26 in length tries to say something important in a whimsical way.

Explanations are kind of pointless about this video, watch it and see for yourself if it says anything to you. It is in a video game format, which in and of itself adds a layer of meaning if you go there and, may I say, was an excellent choice.

It's about running. And aging. It definitely requires a bit of thought, so if you like to read into videos and figure out what is really being said, you may particularly enjoy this video even if it is quite simple and straightforward in a plot sense. Maybe it will make you think. It should. Well, hopefully, it should.

Oh, and this is a final film by a student, Konstantin Gdalevich. We've presented graduation films on here before, and they generally are stellar. Before you turn up your noses at student films, remember that this may be the best animation this guy ever does unless he secures a good job in the field, and it follows years of study which prepared him to make this just for you using the best software and other resources available at school, software he may never be able to afford again while he retains this level of ability (yes, I'm making a boatload of assumptions, but that's the cold reality).

Graduation films thus are among the best you'll ever see, just as the graduation symphonies from legendary composers are among the best classical music you'll ever hear (even if you don't realize that is exactly what they were at the time).

running ageing

From the site:
This is my graduation film from Holon Institute of Technology (H.I.T.) department of visual communications.
Animation talks about fear of getting old.
Created by Konstantin Gdalevich
Original soundtrack by Pakotec Productions
Special thanks to Victoria Sorokin, Pavel Vilensky and Aya Amikam.
H.I.T. 2014


Top Three World Cup Goals - Animated in Flip Book

STABILE best world cup 2014 goals

Top Three World Cup Goals of 2014 animated in flipBook. These folks, STABILO, specialize in creating animations using flipbooks.

No, I don't know where they came up with the idea either. It's wildly creative and actually works spectacularly well.

This includes the original audio from the goals, which, as any football fan knows, is half the fun of the whole experience and would be a crime to ignore.

STABILE best world cup 2014 goals

One of the best things about the World Cup is that it is one thing that the entire world can agree on and not really dispute - it is what it is. So, you get comments from folks in multiple languages that, once translated, are equal to what any of your buds would probably say as well.

♪♫  "It's a small small world..." ♫♪

Anyway, it's a quick, fun animation for anyone interested in either animation or the World Cup, which probably encompasses about half the world's population, so that's why we're bringing it to you.

STABILE best world cup 2014 goals

When you combine the World Cup with animation, you get the funky creative from around the world who you normally wouldn't even know existed suddenly enthused enough to put down the beer cans, get off their keisters, and actually put something out there for all to see. And that, my friends, is how great things are accomplished.

And if you don't think folks around the world take this stuff seriously, then you must not have read about the suicides after Brazil got its clock cleaned by Germany.

From the youtube page:

The World Cup in Brazil was nothing short of a fantastic! Therefore we recreated the three greatest goals of the tournament as a flipbook. A big thank you to all teams that participated and of course STABILO would like to congratulate Germany with their victory in the finals as well.
Robin van Persie 1-1 Spanje - Nederland
James Rodriguez 1-0 Colombia - Uruguay
Tim Cahill 1-1 Australië - Nederland
STABILE best world cup 2014 goals
Congratulations to Germany, 2014 World Cup Winner!


Visit the Apollo 11 Landing Site in 3 Dimensions

NASA Apollo 11
The Apollo 11 landing site

Animation of the Apollo 11 Landing Site in 3 Dimensions.

NASA (the National Aeronautics Space Administration) comes out with some pretty cool videos now and then, and this is one of them.

The animation tracks the landing site of Apollo 11, which touched down exactly 45 years ago.

Starting with a photo from the site from space by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), which NASA says “makes it possible to visit the landing site in a whole new way by flying around a three-dimensional model of the site.”

This gives some perspective on where on the Moon's surface the astronauts actually touched down. Back in 1969, all you basically knew was that they were "up there," but they could have been anywhere on the surface of the moon for all the general public knew.

NASA further explains that by using a stereo pair of images, scientists were able to use software that could “infer the shape of the terrain, similar to the way that left and right eye views are combined in the brain to produce the perception of depth.”

The animation is only a minute long, but packs a real punch, with a lot of data shown with precision. This is much more information than the actual astronauts had before they set down in July 1969.

Incidentally, they were going to land in the crater that can be seen nearby, but Neil Armstrong took over manual control and sailed the lunar module past it. This gives an idea of what might have happened if they had just relied on the computer.

Oh, and of course the Apollo 11 site is there. Weird Al can explain that for you in this brand new video of his if you have any doubts.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

World Cup 2014 Summary Animation

World Cup 2014
World Cup 2014
2014 World Cup animation. Well, the World Cup 2014 is over, and if you don't know who won, well, you wouldn't be reading this.

This is a summary video from British animator Richard Swarbrick showing the key goals of the competition. This likely will be our last World Cup animation until the next games in 2018 (oh no!), so gather ye rosebuds as ye may.

This is best looked at as just a sentimental look back, as some of the goals are a bit hard to sort out from all the other goals scored in the competition. It is sort of a visual poem, an ode to the competition.

According to Swarbrick, this is a summary of the goals shown:

 1. Neymar’s first goal for Brazil against Croatia.
2. Oscar’s goal for Brazil against Croatia.
3. Robin Van Persie’s flying header for the Netherlands against Spain.
4. Arjen Robben’s second goal for the Netherlands against Spain.
5. Clint Dempsey’s goal for the U.S. against Ghana.
6. Lionel Messi’s goal for Argentina against Bosnia and Herzegovina.
7. James Rodríguez’s goal for Colombia against Japan.
8. Tim Cahill’s goal for Australia against the Netherlands.
9. Arjen Robben’s first goal for the Netherlands against Spain.
10. Lionel Messi’s goal for Argentina against Iran.
11. James Rodríguez’s goal for Colombia against Uruguay.
12. John Brooks’ and Jürgen Klinsmann's celebration for the U.S. against Ghana.
13. Tim Howard’s great save for the U.S. against Portugal.
14. Jermaine Jones’ goal for the U.S. against Portugal.
15. Wesley Sneijder for the Netherlands against Mexico.
16. Luis Suarez’s bite for Uruguay against Italy.
17. André Schürrle’s goal for Germany against Algeria.
18. Tim Krul’s first save of the Netherlands-Costa Rica penalty shootout.
19. Gonzalo Higuaín’s goal for Argentina against Belgium.
20. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar’s celebration for the Netherlands against Mexico
21. Thomas Müller’s goal for Germany against Brazil.
22. Toni Kroos for Germany against Brazil.
23. Sami Khedira’s goal for Germany against Brazil.
24. André Schürrle’s first goal for Germany against Brazil.
25. André Schürrle’s second goal for Germany against Brazil.
26. Mario Götze’s goal for Germany against Argentina.
27. Germany's Philipp Lahm celebrating with World Cup trophy.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Trailer for "Master Jiang and the Six Kingdoms," Chinese Animation

Master Jiang and the Six Kingdoms
They even include (tiny) English subtitles!
This is a 5 minute-long trailer for "Master Jiang and the Six Kingdoms." It is a new Chinese animation feature coming to China in 2016.

That's about all I know about it, the website is in Chinese (go figure!).

It is quite colorful. Based strictly on the trailer - which is not enough really to form a judgment - the animation looks skilled and colorful, but not at the level of top Hollywood studios. However, compared to other Chinese animation, this is a Great Leap Forward.

It looks quite interesting, with a blend of classical Chinese legends (I'm assuming, I don't know them if so) and science fiction elements.

Anyway, the trailer is worth watching, even if you only want to see how the Chinese are doing these days in the animation field:

A little digging suggests the following (depending upon how good my translator was):
  • This trailer was released recently as a university/college graduation project
  • It was done by a university lecturer and his students 
  • The team is purely from China, nobody from Hollywood
  • The story about Jiang Ziya, "The Investiture of the Gods" set  in Shang dynasty and Zhou dynasty (before the third kingdom)
  • The animation was inspired by a recent archeological discovery that proved that Jiang Ziya is a real historical figure, not just legend/mythology
Pretty good for a university!

Master Jiang and the Six Kingdoms


"Planes: Fire & Rescue" Coming on Friday July 18 2014

Planes: Fire & Rescue
"Planes: Fire & Rescue" (2014).
Disney's "Planes: Fire & Rescue" starring Dane Cook and Ed Harris opens in theaters on Friday, July 18, 2014. It is the sequel to last year's "Planes" which had super-low expectations but turned into a surprise hit. "Planes" itself was a sequel of sorts to "Cars 2."

So far, 2014 has been a slow year for animated films. The big winner was "The Lego Movie" in January, but "Rio 2" and "How To Train Your Dragon 2" have been under-performers in light of what turned out to be out-sized expectations. People really thought that "Dragon 2" would blow out the doors, but instead, it just kind of did ok. "Mr. Peabody & Sherman" from DreamWorks Animation was an outright flop. Clarius Entertainment's “Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Returns” bombed big-time in May 2014 and showed just how tough the animated film market can be even if you load your film up with top voice talent.

Hollywood in 2014 is running 5% behind the 2013 box office grosses. There haven't been many box office smashes this year. At least "Planes: Fire & Rescue" once again has the advantage of low expectations, with a $50 million budget it should turn a tidy profit for Disney, whether quickly or, as Disney knows well how to do, wrung out over the years in a home video release.

Planes: Fire & Rescue
Dusty Crophopper.
So, the animation film industry is suffering kind of a hangover from last year's crop of huge successes, led by Disney's "Frozen." Disney itself may have the only remaining big animated hit this year when it releases "Big Hero 6" on November 7, 2014. Yes, it's that kind of year for the rest of the industry.

Below is the extended trailer: