Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Greenfields animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com

GREENFIELDS from Greenfield Team on Vimeo.

It is difficult for (most of) us to imagine what it must be like to live in a totalitarian state.

However, they still exist, and there is no sign of them ever leaving us. They are lurking in the shadows. What must it be like to be stuck in one?

This animation, "Greenfields," is described as a "graduation" animation, but it stands on its own outside of any labels. Just watch it and draw your own conclusions. There is some obvious politics going on, what is there is in the mind of the beholder.

"The grass is always greener on the other side" - or is it. Greenfields.

From the page:

Graduation movie directed by Luis Betancourt, Benjamin Vedrenne, Joseph Coury, Michel Durin and Charly Nzekwu at Supinfocom, June 2013.


Monday, September 29, 2014

George Takei in "The Missing Scarf"

Missing Scarf Eoin Duffy George Takei animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com
"The Missing Scarf"

The Missing Scarf from Eoin Duffy on Vimeo.

George Takei narrates this fun little animation about a very wise squirrel. There's a dose of philosophy as well. This is just as good as "Coda," our previous Irish animation which you can watch on this site here. This animation has won more awards than you can shake a stick at, and that ain't beanbag.

If you watch one animation this week - make it this one.

"The Missing Scarf" features a wisdom-spouting squirrel who searches for his lost winter wear in The Missing Scarf (2013). It is, an award-winning short animation from Irish animator Eoin Duffy. As we've been saying a lot over the past couple of years, Irish animation is really taking off, and this is another illustration of that.

The 3D low-poly Albert the squirrel seeks his favorite scarf from among his fellow woodland critters. However, it turns out that fear is running rampant in the forest. Albert winds up helping with their fears and problems instead.

George Takei does his usual stellar job. He's a terrific guy, well-liked by everyone. To be a critic, I will point out that he has a high-sounding diction that sometimes gets in the way of the story he is trying to tell, but when he gets a little excited and, well, animated, that disappears completely - and creates the high point of this animation! It really is a very classy narration.

Missing Scarf Eoin Duffy George Takei animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com

Duffy won top honors over the past year at respected venues like the Toronto Animation Arts Festival, San Francisco International Film Festival, and the Provincetown International Film Festival.

After all those highbrows got to see it, now it is here for the likes of you and me. Duffy graciously put it on his page for all to see, and thus, here it is.

If you start watching, you need to continue watching until the end—the charming mix of animated origami and vector-based illustration is far from the film's only draw. Duffy has a distinctive vector art style, as shown in the still frames, and it is well worth your time to stick with it.

Missing Scarf Eoin Duffy George Takei animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com

If you've made it this far, you also have to go see "Coda," it is stellar!

From the web page:

→ themissingscarf.com/
→ twitter.com/eoinduffy
→ fb.me/eoinduffyanimation
Winner, Grand Prize, Toronto Animation Arts Festival Intl., 2014
Winner, Audience Award, Toronto Animation Arts Festival Intl., 2014
Winner, Best Animation, Provincetown Intl. Film Festival, 2014
Winner, Best Short Animation, San Francisco Intl. Film Festival, 2014
Winner, Best Short Animation, Dallas Intl. Film Festival, 2014
Winner, Best Short Animation, Reel 2 Real Intl. Film Festival, 2014
Winner, Best Film, Chicago Irish Film Festival, 2014
Winner, Best Animation, Ventura Film Festival, 2013
Winner, Audience Award, Motion Plus, 2013
Winner, Best Irish Animation, Foyle Film Festival, 2013
Winner, The Grand Prix Irish, Cork Film Festival, 2013
Winner, Best Animation, Indie Memphis Film Festival, 2013
Winner, Best Animation, Savannah Film Festival, 2013
Winner, Best European Short Film, Seminci, Valladolid Film Festival, 2013
Winner, Best Animation, New Hampshire Film Festival, 2013
Winner, Best Animation, Galway Film Fleadh, 2013
Shortlisted, Best Animated Short – 86th Academy Awards, 2014
Nominated, Best Short Film, European Film Awards, 2014
Nominated, Best Short Film, Irish Film & Television Awards (IFTAs), 2014
Narrator: George Takei
Writer / Animator / Director: Eoin Duffy
Producer: Jamie Hogan
Script Editor: Richard Duffy
Music Company: Echolab
Composer: Tobias Norberg, Gavin Little (Echolab)
Sound Designers: Gavin Little, Joe McHugh (Echolab)
Post Production: Windmill Lane
Legal: Gordon Judge
Accounting: Stephen Proctor
Funders Representatives –
Emma Scott: Production Executive for the Irish Film Board
Pauline McNamara: Executive Producer – RTE
Fionnuala Sweeney: Film Specialist – Arts Council
Jill McGregor: Schemes & Applications Co-ordinator for the Irish Film Board


Love Across the iPads

Brunettes Shoot Blondes animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com
An iPad love story

Brunettes Shoot Blondes - Knock Knock (Official Video) from Brunettes Shoot Blondes on Vimeo.

Are you in the mood for a love story?

How about a love story amongst iPads?

If so - here's your chance!

"Brunettes Shoot Blondes - Knock Knock" is brought to you by frontman Andrew Kovaliov. He decided to animate the song "Knock Knock" by Brunettes Shoot Blondes, a Ukrainian band based in Kiev. Apparently they hired him or something like that, but how it all came about is known only to them.

Kovaliov spent a few months working up a screenplay, and then took the idea to his friend, animator Eugene Shkolnyi, whose animation studio SYT-X put the video together over about eight months. Shkolnyi was very helpful, and it took eight months to wrap this up:

"To be precise, it was about 3 and a half months. But we were forced to pause to fulfil commercial orders. Brunettes Shoot Blondes are our friends, the main purpose was to help them create the video. Time doesn't matter for us."

It took about a dozen takes, but they finally got it right.


The Simpsons "Futuristic Couch Gag"

The Simpsons couch gag animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com

Sunday 28 September 2014 was the season premiere ("Clown in the Dumps") of the Simpsons - the 26th season, actually, but who's counting? This bit comes from Oscar-nominated filmmaker and animator Don Hertzfeldt.

The entire "Simpsons" oeuvre becomes available soon via an FX mobile app. Endless hours of fun!

A peak into the future - maybe. Sometimes it's hard to handle the truth!


"Mad Love" Animation

Mad Love Fol Amor animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com
Mad Love

FOL'AMOR from GOBELINS pro on Vimeo.

This is a fun quickie from Gobelins (top French school of animation) about two young lovers in the woods. They are frolicking about and suddenly encounter a lengthy sword sticking out of a rock. The young man is having a little difficulty pulling it out to earn his reward, so his lady friend knows just how to get him to finish. But then, when he finally after great energetic thrusting and heaving withdraws it and is satisfied with his performance, she finds another little project for him. Soon, he is up and moving again.

It's all very... symbolic. Oh wait, no, it's just about two people in the woods, never mind.

Yes, it's French.

Mad Love Fol Amor animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com
No, that couldn't possibly resemble anything else

From the page:

Court-métrage d'animation de fin d'études (promotion 2013).
Réalisateurs : Augustin Clermont, Gilles Cortella, Marthe Delaporte, Clement De Ruyter, Maïlys Garcia, Gaspard Sumeire, Pierre Rütz.
Acteurs : Vincent Demoury, Marie-Aline Roule.
Synopsis :
Une châtelaine et un jeune chevalier batifolent dans la forêt lorsqu'ils découvrent Excalibur. Ils se lancent alors dans un jeu de séduction délirant.
A high-born lady and a young knight are frolicking in the forest when they come across Excalibur, which leads them to a silly game of seduction.
Contact Production :
GOBELINS, l'école de l'image : Moïra Marguin, mmarguin@gobelins.fr.
Contact Festival :
GOBELINS, l'école de l'image : Luce Grosjean, film@gobelins.fr.
Distribution :
La distribution des films produits par GOBELINS, l'école de l'image est assurée par L'Agence du court métrage.
Contact : f.keller@agencecm.com.


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Vertical Farming animation

vertical farming animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com
Vertical Farming

It's always good to throw in some educational animations just to keep the mood balanced. Man cannot live on Disney princesses alone! Well, most men.

Anyway, vertical farming is an idea that you hear about from time to time, and this is a good animation that combines an exploration of the concept with arch-advocate Professor Dickson Despommier of Columbia University ranting in good-natured fashion about it.

What a concept: cities growing their own food! You just take some buildings, throw in some dirt, rig up some solar-powered lights, toss in some seeds, and - presto! Big, juicy tomatoes and lettuce and cabbage and turnips.

Ah, it is so easy to be a critic of wonderful concepts and shoot down anything new. But, here we go, let's have a go at the other side, because that is what we do to keep our feet on the ground.

vertical farming animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com

This is one of those "the devil is in the details" concepts that works in our minds if we want it to work, but it might not work so well in the real world. Real farmers might have a different take on this. There are realities of farming such as the fact that growing food simply does not match up well with the pay scale of people who live in the middle of big cities such as high-powered lawyers and movie stars and, well, Professors. And that is not even to mention the practical realities of bugs (you would need bees buzzing around) and electricity and maintenance and bringing in fertilizer and running pesticides down through the drains and managing all the water you would need and all sorts of other pesky matters that would take a lot of the fun out of the idea. Farming is land-intensive, while cities are people-intensive; it's just a difficult fit. Note the one word the Professor uses the most often in the video: 'people." As in, people would be all over this project, requiring a lot of labor that would somehow have to be compensated at a rate that enables them to live next to all those fancy lawyers and movie stars and Professors.

In terms of how messy it would be, it sounds an awful lot like heating homes with coal - something people gladly ran away from as fast as possible in the early 20th century. Yes, any practical limitation could be overcome with thought, and this would not require any new technology - but is it worth it economically? That is where this fine little video comes up short, with no mention of that.

And there also is the little matter of how much demand there would be in cities for basic crops such as turnips and cabbages. There might be a lot - I love having the Union Square Greenmarket a block away from my own pad. I go there several times a year, in fact. But you can only eat so many apples and carrots and peppers before you want some steak.

Don't get me wrong: I like the concept. Concepts are good. Trying to improve the world: good. Food is good. Self-sufficiency - good. Solar power - really good. But reality and concepts can be far, far apart. Pot growers could probably give a lot of hints as to the practicality of indoor farming.

My contribution to the cause - I am actually doing something, miniscule and trivial as it may be - by posting the video. Watch it, and see what you think. Maybe you will be the one that does this and changes the world.

Those are just my own random thoughts on the matter, and every one of them has a valid counter. Draw your own conclusions as always. Professor Despommier is certainly an enthusiastic advocate, and he has his own website on this.

vertical farming animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com
Professor Despommier

From the youtube page:
If there weren't any pesky practical limitations, what world-changing device would you invent? In the second installment of Babelgum and GOOD's new Big Ideas competition, Columbia professor Dickson Despommier imagines filling New Yorks skyscrapers with farms.

Oh, just in case the idea really intrigues you and you really are hard core on the idea, here is Professor Despommier giving an entire lecture on the subject. He is very, very serious about this, so only watch this if you are, too. I watched it: it once again is long on airy concepts and wishful thinking and a bit removed from reality, but still interesting.


Friday, September 26, 2014

Stephen King's "Battleground" - in Russian

Battleground Soviet animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com

I'm posting this peculiar animation for the curiosity factor and the fact that it is so odd. Plus, I just plain like it, though I doubt it will get many views. It clocks in at just under 10 minutes, and it is worth your time if you like unexpectedly good animation.

This is s Soviet-era (1986) animation of a Stephen King short called "Battleground." Soviet animation gets overlooked these days, but it actually was quite good, with a distinctive style that echoes many of the classics of the genre (this one brings to mind, for example, the Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby" from "Yellow Submarine," though with a completely different message).

The animation is done primarily by rotoscope, a venerable animation process still in wide use today which give a a kind of impressionistic view of the world. It was used at the same time in the classic A-ha music video "Take on Me," which is still great fun to watch and which, if you never have seen it, you must go watch right now. There also is a good deal of plain-jane hand-drawn animation thrown in at times that also is quite entertaining. The soundtrack isn't bad at all, either, though it sounds more '70s than '80s - but then, this was the Soviet Union.

In the animation, a Soviet spy goes about his spy business - killing a New York toy company executive! - but then something unexpected happens and he is in for the fight of his life. This is accompanied by a clipped, detached and emotionless female narration that is creepier than anything on the screen. There also is an awful lot of (poorly spoken) English for a Soviet production. It is almost hallucinogenic at times, with the spy suddenly realizing that his entire world has been turned topsy-turvy and he no longer is in control of his destiny.

Battleground Soviet animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com

It's a curious animation that, somewhat unexpectedly, does not portray the Soviet assassin as all-powerful, but rather a solitary man on the run - just like the Soviet Union of the time. It is one of Stephen King's better short stories. There is a live-action American version of this with William Hurt. This version is from talented Soviet animator Mikhail Titov — whose previous work includes How the Cossacks Played Football (1970). Here, he turned King’s short story “Battleground“ (1972) into an animated movie, titled simply Сражение or Battle.

The spy just so happens to be the spitting image of Vladimir Putin - especially his eyes - which is kind of eerie. But then, at that time - that's exactly what Vladimir Putin was doing. He never speaks - but he does laugh.

Battleground Soviet animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com

From the youtube page:

This is an animated short from USSR Ukraine studio Kievnauchfilm. Titled Srazhenie (The Battle) it is based on Stephen King's short story Battleground. Animation dates to 1986. Short story is from 1978.

There has also been an American made for tv version of this short story featuring William Hurt. It's called Battlefield from Nightmares and Dreamscapes.

Battleground Soviet animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Cool Zoetrope Animation, "Galloping"

zoetrope animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com

3D Zoetrope from Kelly Egan on Vimeo.

Kelly Egan created this galloping zoetrope for a recent event. Its not some big video game or anything, but it is cool nonetheless. The beauty lies in the simplicity of the process and the eternal nature of the subject.

A zoetrope is nothing new in animation. They were popular 100 years ago. It is created by showing a sequence of still images that, shown with proper timing, create the illusion of motion by an otherwise stationary group of objects. It is related to those little flip books you may have gotten from a Cracker Jack box once upon a time, where you flip the pages and see a little story take place (and that, too, is an art form that survives and that we've shown on here before). A zoetrope typically is done with a cylinder with slits cut into it and a moving set of objects inside. Another way, used here, is with (apparently) a strobe light and perfectly calibrated movement on a turntable by a set of horse models.

It's not easy to set up, but once it is, it creates a wonderful art form that is distinct from any other. The whole galloping horses thing was a big topic in the late 19th century - it took clever photographer Eadweard Muybridge on June 15, 1878 to solve a burning queston of the day: do horses ever have all four hooves at the same time? While that may seem obvious now, it wasn't considered that way back then.

Eadweard Muybridge galloping horse animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com
The Muybridge galloping horse

Muybridge was tasked with solving this issue. In the process, he created something special - the first silent film, though it wasn't viewed that way at the time. Considering that this was before Thomas Edison and his cohorts came out with the first real motion pictures, that is some feat.

Eadweard Muybridge galloping horse animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com
The Muybridge shots

Muybridge ended that issue once and for all by taking perfectly timed shots to prove to a skeptical audience that all four hooves were off the ground at the same time. Considering that was a time when virtually all local land transportation was by horse, that told people something completely new about things they dealt with on a daily basis but still didn't completely understand. Just shows the value that this kind of thing can have. Oh, and he wasn't working for some rube who should have known better - Muybridge was commissioned to do this at some expense by none other than Leland Stanford, the founder of Stanford University.

Below are nice vines from Anna Kaziunas France showing closer shots.

From the page:

This is a 3D Zoetrope I created for Makerfaire 2014. The horses were modeled and animated in Blender and then each frame printed on a 3D printer. The animation occurs when the spinning horses are synced with a strobe. There is some flicker in the video because of the difference in the framerate of the strobe and the video camera.


"Moosebox," a modern 8-bit adventure

Moosebox Princess Burger animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com

MooseBox from Nickelodeon International on Vimeo.

Do you remember the old 8-bit style games like "Donkey Kong" and "Mario Bros"? Well, these days you might not, that was a long time ago. But this is a fun homage to those times, but with an updated, bouncy style that better suits those prehistoric video games than the usual generic arcade background music that they invariably used.

All right, for all you geniuses out there, it isn't actually 8-bit. It's a lot better and more detailed than 8-bit ever was. Let's just call it pixelated and call it even. But it has the retro-style of those times, at least.

Here, we have a very enthusiastic moose and his inseparable sidekick, a yellow cat. Their mission? To rescue Princess Burger from the evil clutches of a Hipster Octopus.

Now, those Hipster Octopi are not to be fooled with, but our dynamic duo are up to the job.

The short film was created by Mike Scott for the Nickelodeon International Animated Shorts Program 2013.

Moosebox Princess Burger animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com

From the page:

'MooseBox', created by Mike Scott and produced at Triggerfish Animation Studios for the Nickelodeon International Animated Shorts Program 2013.


Big Hero 6 - Second Trailer

Big Hero 6 animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com
"Big Hero 6"

Coming of the wunderfilm "Frozen," Disney faces huge expectations for its animated feature film follow-up. Well, it's now almost here, after watching the usual slow-building roll-out campaign that has been accelerating all year long for "Big Hero 6."

This is Disney's first animated movie based on a Marvel comic book with ‘Big Hero 6,’ and its new Disney/Marvel trailer greatly expands upon what little we knew about the film.

‘Big Hero 6′ is about young prodigy Hiro, who forms a bond with a marshmallow fluff-looking robot named Baymax after the loss of his brother.

Big Hero 6 animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com

Designed as a medical aide, Baymax is a lot more than just that. Hiro makes some upgrades to transform him into a fighting machine after the kid’s latest invention, micro-bots, falls into villainous clutches. “This may undermine my non-threatening, huggable design,” jokes Baymax. To get the micro-bots back and save the city of San Fransokyo from ruin, Hiro and Baymax team up along with his older brother and his friends to save the world - or at least the city.

Big Hero 6 animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com

This film doesn't look like quite the slam-dunk that 'Frozen" turned into, appealing to a radically different audience, but the animation is superior. The one advantage that 'Big Hero 6' has is that there are a lot of Marvel fans out there. Being based on a Marvel comic book taps into a whole new audience that seems to have been an afterthought in the marketing process, but could provide a surge in interest.

Big Hero 6 animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com
San Fransokyo

This latest ‘Big Hero 6′ trailer touts more of the action, humor and expert animation style we expect from Disney. The cast includes Disney star Ryan Potter, Scott Adsit of ’30 Rock,’ funnyman T.J. Miller, Jamie Chung, Genesis Rodriguez and Maya Rudolph.

‘Big Hero 6′ will hit theaters on November 7.

Big Hero 6 animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com


Where Babies Come From: The Animation

Sarah and Joe Penna

Digital talent manager Sarah Penna and her YouTuber husband Joe Penna created this cute animation about where their child came from.

No, it's probably not where you expect. This isn't "TED-ED."

Our hats are off to Joe for actually getting the little woman to go along with this project, which obviously included an awful lot of planning and... execution.

From the youtube page:

We spent 10 months shooting this video to welcome Jonah Lane Penna to the world!


Warriors from League of Legends

League of Legends Warrior animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com
League of Legends: Warriors

‘Warriors’ is an animated music video by Imagine Dragons Celebrating the ‘League of Legends’ 2014 World Championship.

That's a pretty spectacular music video.

You may download for free the mp3 here if you like it for you iPod or whatever.

League of Legends Warrior animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com
Samsung Blue team logo

From the "Warriors" official page:

"As a child you would wait and watch from far away, but you always knew that you’d be the one that worked while they all play.

The battle begins, and sixteen teams across the globe are fighting towards one goal – to win the League of Legends World Championship. To kick off the start of the action, we set out to craft a war cry to rally behind in a creative collaboration with Imagine Dragons. Whether you’re a solo queue warrior or fighting off the LCS jitters – every moment counts.

Here we are, don’t turn away now – we are the warriors that built this town."

League of Legends Warrior animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com

As far as the tournament itself is concerned, as of this writing they are in the second week. During the first week two teams from each of groups A and B were eliminated from the competition. Those that remain continue on to the quarterfinals next week. A second group stage takes place this week.

League of Legends Warrior animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com
Fnatic's team logo

Needless to say, but I will say it anyway, these are good players. This is a global deal, with teams from all the major global gaming powers, such as Cloud 9 from the USA and Fnatic from Europe, Taiwan’s Teipei Assassins (TPA), China’s Edward Gaming (EDG) and others.

League of Legends Warrior animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com
OMG (China) team logo

Below is an example of what this is all about, it's a long video with lots of chatter but they do get around to showing some actual gaming.

League of Legends Warrior animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com
LMQ (North of America) team logo

The finals are in Korea, that should be a real spectacle.

League of Legends Warrior animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com

The “Warriors” music video was created via collaboration of the alternative rock band Imagine Dragons and video game developer Riot Games.

League of Legends Warrior animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com
KaBuM! E-Sports (Brazil) team logo

It promotes the 2014 World Championship tournament in the multiplayer online battle arena video game "League of Legends."

League of Legends Warrior animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com

Here's a Nightcore version of the song "Warriors" that I thought gave it a good alternative sound.

[HQ/HD] Nightcore - Warriors (League Of Legends) [Imagine Dragons]

League of Legends Warrior animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com
NaJin White Shield (South Korea) team logo

From the youtube page:

Published on Sep 18, 2014
Nightcore - Warriors (League Of Legends) [Imagine Dragons]
The FIXED version!

Original Video And Music:

Nightcore Version By: BlightyNightcore


Follow, Subscribe, Like, Share For MORE!

A League Of Legends Nightcore version of the song: Warriors by Imagine Dragons.

Released Date: 17 sep. 2014
Nightcore Release: 17 sep. 2014

TAGS: (*Ignore this*)
League of legends, league, imagine dragons, imagine, sword, Legends, Warriors, League Of Legends Warriors, Build this town Warrior, League Warrior, Wariors, warior, warriors, warrior, Legends of warriors, legend of warrior, tag, League Of Legends, World Championship, World, Championship, league Of Legends World Championship, League World Championship, league world Championship, League Championship, League Championship 2014, League 2014, League World Championship 2014, Championship, Championship2014, Championship20, LOL, LoL Championship, LoL World Championship, LOL Championship, LOL World Championship, Lol Championship, Lol World Championship

League of Legends Warrior animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

"Everyone is Lonely" from Fox Animation Domination

Eveyone is Lonely Fox Animation Domination animatedfilmreviews.flminspector.com
"Everyone is Lonely"

"Everyone is Lonely" is a Fox Animation Domination High-Def with a cute moral: be nice, because we're all in the same boat. It is written by Heather Anne Campbell, a comedy writer, with singer Liz Beebe of the band The Dustbowl Revival chipping in the singing chores. The animation is standard, simplistic television-style slow-mo scenes with large-headed characters set against pastels as a background. It works, and the simplicity helps to get across the message.

It's a pleasant enough confection. In the old days, they used to just assume that people would learn to be polite as they grew up. Nowadays, it has to be specifically taught via backhanded efforts like this. That there is a need for animations giving specific advice on how to behave at a core level is a sad reflection on modern society. It's kind of like if you had to create animations that said "please use a hankie when you blow your nose" or "don't hit people" - the fact that it is considered enough of an issue to create an animation about it is a sign of much deeper issues. Though, I'm sure we'll see animations someday about "don't knock people out of the way to get to that sale" and "killing people for sport is wrong," with the lilting musical accompaniment and cute visuals that make is so charming. Packaging is all.

I suppose the only reason to be nice to people is because you pity them... but, whatever it takes is good enough.

Eveyone is Lonely Fox Animation Domination animatedfilmreviews.flminspector.com

From the youtube page:

Animation Domination High-Def is a block of cartoons that air every Saturday on FOX at 11PM/10c and all over the Internet all the time.

Liz Beebe

Writer: Heather Anne Campbell
Storyboard Director: Whitney Tang, Jay Hasrajani
Animation: Luz Batista, Whitney Tang, Wen Ling Qiu, Jay Hasrajani, Spencer Wan, April Wang, Kelly Kanemaru
Design: Nick Sazani, Wen Ling Qiu, April Wang, Spencer Wan, Whitney Tang, Luz Batista, Polly Guo, Rachael Hunt, Jay Hasrajani, Sarah Sloyer
Editor: Nathaniel Atcheson

We’re all the same
No matter how we’ve grown
Colors of our skin
Defections in our bones

There's one we share
Everyone everywhere
We're all alone
We're all alone.

Everyone is fundamentally lonely
Whether you trust science or a church
Because we’re scared
Some of us make pairs
And some of us are still on the search

But everyone is fundamentally lonely
So here’s daily advice
You’re in pain
And everyone feels the same
So just be ..... nice.

What do you lose
When life’s already the worst
Leave a bigger tip
Let that guy in line first

We’re all lonely
Pay for their coffee
Pick up that trash
I know it’s not your trash.

Everyone is fundamentally lonely
Sometimes it comes out as rage
Screaming in a store
Cause they’re lonely at the core
So be calm when you engage

Everyone is fundamentally lonely
And I’m not saying to sacrifice
Lend some support
At the airport
It won’t kill you to be nice.

Everything is stupid
Success is a projection
We’re all quietly helpless
Being nice is a connection

Blaring your car horn
Won’t make you feel tremendous
But picking up something someone dropped
Will make this whole thing less horrendous

Everyone is fundamentally lonely
Even the ones who pretend they’re not
Be nice today
It’ll make things just slightly ok
On this lonely, little blue dot.



Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Nick Whitmire/Blur Studio Animation Reel

Nick Whitmire Blur Studio animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com

Animation Reel 2014- Nick Whitmire from nick whitmire on Vimeo.

Every so often, I like to post a reel from one of the top animators out there. This one is from Nick Whitmire, who describes himself as an animator from Blur Studio and who has been in the business for some time. I don't have any other information on him aside from his work, above - which, in any event, is all that matters. You can find him at his website if you like.

Blur is based in Culver City, California and does animation for all sorts of projects. However, it is probably best known for its video game trailers (not the video games themselves). The studio dabbles in feature film work, and while that is not its main game, it is at the top of the crowd in terms of quality. Blur has contributed to James Cameron's "Avatar" and some "Star Wars" projects, among many other things. They don't hire just anybody. I have previously posted their own (the studio's) reel of video game trailers here, which is pretty stunning work.

Nick Whitmire Blur Studio animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com

I don't recognize the products in this reel - I'm more into film animation than video game stuff, and I'm sure all of this is fairly recent - but it's important for all animation fans to recognize the rising quality of video game work. In my opinion, video game animation (in terms of quality and detail) eventually will merge with that of animated feature films, but they're not there yet. I like the vivid colors and the expressiveness on the characters' faces - something you would not have seen in this kind of animation even five years ago.

I will say this, and it is not a criticism of this reel or even really related to it, but I long for the days when they can do animation that is this vivid and sharp that is not set in the ubiquitous dark forests and shadows, but instead has believable (not cartoony) characters in the full light of day. You may disagree with that, and that's AOK, Hondo, but I can tell you from experience that it gets wearing on you when you watch a ton of stellar animation and always see the darkness and shadows that are coving up the seams and transitions. Changing that isn't going to happen any time soon, but eventually it will, and that will likely be the next great leap forward in animation.

If you like this reel, you might want to compare it to the animation reel I posted earlier this year from Dane Stogner, an animator at DreamWorks, which I still think is one of the best reels I've ever seen. Looking at the two in sequence will really allow you to compare how closely feature film animation and video game animation has become - and how much room still separates them.

Nick Whitmire Blur Studio animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com

From the web page:

Animation Reel 2014- Nick Whitmire
from nick whitmire PLUS 2 days ago NOT YET RATED
A compilation of my work from Blur Studio.
Music: Ryan Amon

Nick Whitmire Blur Studio animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com

Anyway, I enjoyed this reel even though I'm not a video game fanatic (at least anymore), so maybe you will, too. Real nice work.


A look at the MAVEN Spacecraft Now Orbiting Mars

MAVEN Mars animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com
MAVEN approaching Mars

There's another probe around the Red Planet, and nobody seems to care very much. Gone are the days when getting something into space is a big deal. Back in the 1970s, the world would watch breathlessly as each rocket launch sent something out of earth's atmosphere. Now, even putting something into close orbit around Mars, a planet we still know almost nothing about, is greeted with a yawn.

NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft successfully entered Mars’ orbit at 10:24 p.m. EDT Sunday, Sept. 21, where it now will prepare to study the Red Planet’s upper atmosphere as never done before. MAVEN is the first spacecraft dedicated to exploring the tenuous upper atmosphere of Mars. NASA put out this simple animation to help publicize the event.

MAVEN orbiting Mars

Now, that isn't much of a headline grabber - that MAVEN will be studying the upper atmosphere of Mars. However, it is very important for what we intend to do down the road.

“As the first orbiter dedicated to studying Mars’ upper atmosphere, MAVEN will greatly improve our understanding of the history of the Martian atmosphere, how the climate has changed over time, and how that has influenced the evolution of the surface and the potential habitability of the planet,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “It also will better inform a future mission to send humans to the Red Planet in the 2030s.”

Personally, I have my doubts about that last point. With the slow pace of the U.S. space program and the sheer lack of urgency regarding anything related to space flight, the goal of putting someone on the Red Planet in the 2030s seems wildly optimistic. NASA is having a hard enough time with its wacky plan to bag an asteroid and bring it back to orbit the Moon.

This animation depicts MAVEN orbiting Mars at a range of 77 miles. After a 10-month journey, confirmation of successful orbit insertion was received from MAVEN data observed at the Lockheed Martin operations center in Littleton, Colorado, as well as from tracking data monitored at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) navigation facility in Pasadena, California. The telemetry and tracking data were received by NASA’s Deep Space Network antenna station in Canberra, Australia.

Now that it is in orbit, MAVEN will commence a six-week commissioning phase that includes maneuvering into its final science orbit and testing the instruments and science-mapping commands. MAVEN then will begin its one Earth-year primary mission, taking measurements of the composition, structure and escape of gases in Mars’ upper atmosphere and its interaction with the sun and solar wind.

"It's taken 11 years from the original concept for MAVEN to now having a spacecraft in orbit at Mars,” said Bruce Jakosky, MAVEN principal investigator with the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado, Boulder (CU/LASP). “I'm delighted to be here safely and successfully, and looking forward to starting our science mission."

Here is some deep background from NASA:

MAVEN launched Nov. 18, 2013, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, carrying three instrument packages. The Particles and Fields Package, built by the University of California at Berkeley with support from CU/LASP and Goddard contains six instruments that will characterize the solar wind and the ionosphere of the planet. The Remote Sensing Package, built by CU/LASP, will identify characteristics present throughout the upper atmosphere and ionosphere. The Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer, provided by Goddard, will measure the composition and isotopes of atomic particles.

MAVEN's principal investigator is based at CU/LASP. The university provided two science instruments and leads science operations, as well as education and public outreach, for the mission. The University of California at Berkeley's Space Sciences Laboratory also provided four science instruments for the mission. Goddard manages the MAVEN project. Lockheed Martin built the spacecraft and is responsible for mission operations. JPL provides navigation and Deep Space Network support, as well as Electra telecommunications relay hardware and operations.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

"The Tale of Princess Kaguya" Preview

The Tale of Princess Kaguya animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com

Studio Ghibli long has been know as the "Asian Walt Disney."

There were reports that it is shutting down. However, they still have some tricks up their sleeve.

"The Tale of Princess Kaguya," which will be released in October 2014,  is Studio Ghibli at its best. Isao Takahata returns as a director after a fifteen year absence from the studio, having done the 1999 comedy "My Neighbors the Yamadas." Takahata aldo did war drama "Grave of the Fireflies." .

"The Tale of Princess Kaguya" is more serious than most Studio Ghibli animations. It is an adaptation of Japanese folktale "The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter," in which Kaguya recounts the story of a child found in in a bamboo frond. When a bamboo cutter stumbles across her, he takes her in and raises her as his own daughter.

The animation is, as always at Studio Ghibli, hand drawn, which gives it a personal feel missing from many blockbuster Hollywood CGI spectacles of noise and somewhat-lifelike figures.

Kaguya is drawn with an intensity that really leaps out of the screen at you. She is portrayed as the regal princess her adoptive father wants her to be. The lack of precision in the figures works to the film's advantage, just as a painting by Van Gogh is more evocative than a simple photograph of a bridge or a wheat field.

Kaguya is just over two hours long and is a straightforward tale for both children and adults. It is not dramatic, it does not have aliens arriving with blasters, it doesn't contain many surprises. However, it is a beautiful work of art, something that wasn't possible years ago by anyone, a dazzling display of color and light.

Kaguya's life as the daughter of the bamboo cutter is simple, but she is free to explore the surrounding wilderness and play with the other local children. Her father thinks she deserves to be raised as a proper princess, not a pretend one, but a real one. He finds gold and fine cloth in the woods, and he then decides to use this to build a grand home in the city. The idea is to create a very real kingdom of a sort for his precious Kaguya.

Kaguya loves her awesome new home at first. However, her tutor Sagami is there to teach Kaguya how to behave like a lady, with none of that common running, playing, swimming, or anything else fit only for children. Kaguya prefers to spend her time with her mom, doing the simple things like weaving, cooking, and gardening that they always have enjoyed together. This creates tension with Kaguya's father, who finds it unseemly that they are doing the work of servants.

It is all a tale of getting what you wished for - and later on perhaps wishing that you didn't.

"The Tale of Princess Kaguya" will be released on October 17th, 2014.

Director: Isao Takahata. Produced by Studio Ghibli.

The Tale of Princess Kaguya animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com

From the youtube page:

The Tale of Princess Kaguya Official US Release Teaser Trailer #1 (2014) - Studio Ghibli Film HD 

An old man makes a living by selling bamboo. One day, he finds a princess in a bamboo. The princess is only the size of a finger. Her name is Kaguya. When Kaguya grows up, 5 men from prestigious families propose to her. Kaguya asks the men to find memorable marriage gifts for her, but the 5 men are unable to find what Kaguya wants. Then, the Emperor of Japan proposes to her.


Saturday, September 20, 2014