Friday, October 31, 2014

"The Trials and Tribulations of Being a Skeleton"

Trials and Tribulations of Being a Skeleton

"The Trials and Tribulations of Being a Skeleton."

The Trials and Tribulations of Being a Skeleton from Gentleman Scholar on Vimeo.

This is just a fun little animation with no pretensions beyond being goofy. What would it be like to be a skeleton? Find out in "The Trials and Tribulations of Being a Skeleton." Presented in honor of today being Halloween.

Trials and Tribulations of Being a Skeleton

Trials and Tribulations of Being a Skeleton


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Bizarre Animation from Patagonia about Duck Feathers

"100% traceable down."
What the Pluck? – Conventional Down Is a Scary Business.

Patagonia, "What the Pluck?" from Moving Colour on Vimeo.

This is an explanatory video from Patagonia, the jacket company, showing how their use of down feathers in their jackets is not harmful to the ducks they take them from.

Actually, well, it is harmful to the ducks. The ducks wind up dead. However, the video shows that this is done quite humanely because it involves only using "100% traceable down."

Now, if that makes you scratch your head, maybe you should watch the video!

It is a very odd little production. In fact, it is probably the weirdest animation on this site. For reason alone, it is worth posting and viewing. And, incidentally, music doesn't get any finer than 'Fear the Reaper" from Blue Oyster Cult.

From the youtube page:

To ensure the humane treatment of birds that supply us with down, as of fall 2014 Patagonia uses only 100% Traceable Down. We trace it from farm to factory to make sure the birds that supplied it was never force-fed or live-plucked, and that our down is never blended with down from sources we can’t trace. The Traceable Down Standard provides the highest assurance of animal welfare in the apparel industry so you can stay warm in good conscience. Learn more at


Walt Disney: Autographed Portrait

Walt Disney early autographed photo

Walt Disney: Autographed Portrait. A cool autographed photo of Walt Disney. Looks as though it is from the 1930s, maybe even before Snow White made him a household name, though it could be from the early 1940s.


Monday, October 27, 2014

'Brain Lapse' - Awesomely Detailed Animation

Brain Lapse

'Brain Lapse' - Awesomely Detailed Animation.

Brain Lapse from Jake Fried on Vimeo.

This is a pretty intense animation. The level of detail is pretty high. If you appreciate things like compositions, colors, patterns structures, and changes, you should enjoy this animation. It is pretty stunning for a one-minute experience. Think of it as a purely visual experience.

Brain Lapse

From the site:

Brain Lapse by Jake Fried 2014.
Hand-drawn animation with ink, white-out, coffee, and collage.
More at
Art Prints available at

Brain Lapse


Sunday, October 26, 2014

New Trailer for 'Big Hero 6'

Big Hero 6


"Big Hero 6" already has premiered in Japan, and they apparently love it. Disney made a cool $250 million in Japan from tickets sold to "Frozen" just eight months ago, so they have a lot to be thankful for from the people of the rising sun.

The plot of "Big Hero 6" sees young Hiro, an inventive boy of the future, transforming his inoffensive medical robot Baymax into a crime-fighting demon in order to avenge the death of Hiro's older brother and drive the corruption out of his home town, San Fransokyo.

The voice cast of Big Hero 6 includes Ryan Potter, T.J. Miller, Maya Rudolph, and Jamie Chung, and the movie is currently set to be released in North America in 3D on November 7th, 2014.

Big Hero 6

From the youtube page:

Published on Oct 26, 2014 - Disney's Big Hero 6 TV Spot #18 - Critics (2014) Disney Animation Movie

Release Date: November 7, 2014 (3D/2D theaters)
Studio: Walt Disney Animation Studios
Director: Don Hall, Chris Williams
Screenwriter: Don Hall, Jordan Roberts
Starring: Ryan Potter, Scott Adsit, T.J. Miller, Jamie Chung, Damon Wayans Jr., Genesis Rodriguez, Maya Rudolph, James Cromwell, Alan Tudyk, Daniel Henney
Genre: Adventure, Animation, Comedy
MPAA Rating: PG (for action and peril, some rude humor, and thematic elements)

Official Websites:,

Plot Summary:
From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes "Big Hero 6," an action comedy adventure about brilliant robotics prodigy Hiro Hamada, who finds himself in the grips of a criminal plot that threatens to destroy the fast-paced, high-tech city of San Fransokyo. With the help of his closest companion—a robot named Baymax—Hiro joins forces with a reluctant team of first-time crime fighters on a mission to save their city.

Inspired by the Marvel comics of the same name, and featuring comic-book style action and all the heart and humor audiences expect from Walt Disney Animation Studios, the CG-animated "Big Hero 6" hits theaters in 3D on November 7, 2014.

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Saturday, October 25, 2014

"Tant de Forêts" - An Animation Poem About Saving Forests

Tant de Forêts
Tant de Forêts.
"Tant de Forêts" - An Animation Poem About Saving Forests.

Tant de Forêts - trailer from Burcu & Geoffrey on Vimeo.

This is a 37-second preview of a French short about saving the forest.

When reviewing animated films, we talk a lot about the plot. If an animated feature film purports to tell a story, and the story is weak - that is a good reason not to like the animation. Objective missed, so try again next time.

However, not all animation is about telling an original story. That's kind of a common theme on this website - animation can be good regardless of the lack of a story. However, it is vitally important that the animation not pretend to be anything more than a collection of nice images if that is all it is. If you title your animation, say, 'Spiderman,' and all it contains is a bunch of lovely images of a guy going through the motions of doing exactly what every other Spiderman film has done, with no originality whatsoever, then it is going to be disappointing. It's all about expectations, something fresh, something that takes on a mission and completes it decently.

That is a long-winded way of introducing "Tant de Forêts." After that build-up, you probably expect me to excoriate it for not meeting my expectations - but that is precisely what I am not going to do. "Tant de Forêts" is a lovely animated poem of color and light that does not aim to tell a complicated tale with a beginning, middle and end. It is simply a celebration of animation and its possibilities and asks you to take a new look at a very mundane issue.

All "Tant de Forêts" aims to do is point up the glory of nature, and the irony in the fact that well-meaning (or perhaps cynical) attempts to save the planet is part of what is destroying it. There's nothing deeper than that going on.

And it works. Gloriously. "Tant de Forêts" is a very pretty film that is well worth seeing.

This is just a preview. Apparently, this was produced for a French television showing. We may be able to post the whole film next year.

Tant de Forêts

From the page:

Trailer of our short film based on a poem of Jacques Prévert "Tant de forêts". The poem speaks of the irony of the fact that newspapers warn us about deforestation although they are made of paper themselves. Cristal for a TV production - Annecy animation festival 2014 Producer : Tant mieux prod Music : Nathanël Bergèse Broadcast on France 3


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Dia de Muertos animation

Dia de Muertos

Dia de Muertos animation.

Lotería • Día de Muertos from Filios on Vimeo.

This is the last of a series ('Lotería') of animations by animator Filios which focus on Mexican holidays. There were five animations in all, dealing with Mother's Day, Father's Day, Children's Day, Native Month and the above Day of the Dead.

The animation style is unique and has a distinctive Mexican flair. They are all great fun and can be found on Filion's page. He describes himself as a "Motion Graphic designer in Mexico City, founder and art director at Voraz."

They are fun and quick - the "Day of the Dead" only runs 20 seconds - and well worth the time if you enjoy funky animation.

Dia de Muertos

From the page:

El último de la serie "Lotería"
The last of this series

Dia de Muertos


Tour De France 2015 - Animation of Route

2015 Tour de France

The 102nd Tour de France promises to be an exciting race. it begins in Utrecht, Belgium, and of course finishes in Paris. Perhaps the most exciting moments will be in the Alpe d'Huez. An animation of the entire route is above.

There is an explanation of the entire Tour de France, from start to finish, here. Even if you think you know everything to know about le Tour de France, you might want to check that animation out, too. It is extremely informative and will help you to enjoy watching the race.

The race begins on July 4, 2015, and concludes in Paris on July 26, after traveling through Holland and Belgium. This will allow the race to roll past various World War One cemeteries and monuments and battlefields in northern France, such as Amiens and Cambrai, before traveling to northwestern France.

There is a long transfer to the Pyrenees, but the decisive moments will take place in the Alps. The penultimate stage will be the ascent to Alpe d'Huez, with its legendary 21 hairpin bends, before the ceremonial finish in Paris.

2015 Tour de France

Tour de France 2015 details
  • July 4, stage one: Utrecht, individual time trial, 13.7km
  • July 5, stage two: Utrecht – Zélande, 166km
  • July 6, stage three: Anvers – Huy, 154km
  • July 7, stage four: Seriang – Cambrai, 221km
  • July 8, stage five: Arras – Amiens Métropole, 189km
  • July 9, stage six: Amiens – Le Havre, 191km
  • July 10, stage seven: Livarot – Fougères, 190km
  • July 11, stage eight: Rennes – Mûr-de-Bretagne, 719km
  • July 12, stage nine: Vannes – Plumelec, team time trial, 28km
  • July 13, rest day: Pau
  • July 14, stage 10: Tarbes – La Pierre Saint-Martin, 167km
  • July 15, stage 11: Pau – Cauterets-Vallée de Saint-Savin, 188km
  • July 16, stage 12: Lannemazen – Plateau de Beille, 195km
  • July 17, stage 13: Muret – Rodez, 200km
  • July 18, stage 14: Rodez – Mende-Montée Laurent Jalabert, 178km
  • July 19, stage 15: Mende – Valence, 182km
  • July 20, stage 16: Bourg-de-Péage – Gap, 201km
  • July 21, rest day: Gap/Digne-les-Bains
  • July 22, stage 17: Digne-les-Bains – Pra-Loup, 161km
  • July 23, stage 18: Gap – Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, 185km
  • July 24, stage 19: Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne – La Toussuire - Les Sybelles, 138km
  • July 25, stage 20: Modane Valfréjus – Alpe d’Huez, 110km
  • July 26, stage 21: Sèvres - Grand Paris Seine Ouest – Paris Champs-Élysées, 107km
2015 Tour de France


Monday, October 20, 2014

'A Tale of Momentum & Inertia' - Boulder Man!

A Tale of Momentum and Inertia

'A Tale of Momentum & Inertia' - Boulder Man!

A Tale of Momentum & Inertia from HouseSpecial on Vimeo.

This is a great little animated short that tells the tale of a giant boulder man and how it pays to be grateful for small favors.

It was directed by Kameron Gates and Kirk Kelley, this short film has won several awards, including
  • Best Minute Movie at Animation Block Party in Brooklyn,
  • Short Film Silver at The Australian Effects and Animation Festival,
  • Audience Favorite Award at the California International Animation Festival in the category 3D Animation, and
  • a nomination at the Ottawa International Animation Festival.
And, no doubt, other awards too numerous to mention. All right, so they aren't the Oscars. But it's tough out there on the festival circuit!

Anyway, this film "A Tale of Momentum and Inertia" is short, but epic. It has some sparkling animation. It is well worth the 70 seconds or so that it will take you to watch it.

A Tale of Momentum and Inertia

From the page:

Special CG short from animation studio HouseSpecial - More of our work:
Portland, Oregon
Follow us - &
Catch this short at the SPARK ANIMATION 2014 - FESTIVAL on Oct. 22.
Kirk Kelley, Creative Director
Kameron Gates, Director
2014 Awards:
Best Minute Movie at Animation Block Party in Brooklyn
Short Film Silver at The Australian Effects and Animation Festival
Audience Favorite Award at the California International Animation Festival in the category 3D Animation
Ottawa International Animation Festival: Nominated Best Short Animation
Executive Producer: Lourri Hammack
Producer: Zilpha Yost
Production Coordinator: Jamie Pulliam, Julie Ragland, Evan Smith
Animator: Wendy Fuller, Kameron Gates, Greg Kyle, Chris Ohlgren, Allan Steele
Matte Painter: Don Flores, Kameron Gates, Saira Matthews
Character Designer: Kameron Gates
Environment Designer: Ian Abando, Pascal Campion, Don Flores, Joshua Harvey
Storyboard Artist: Kameron Gates
Technical Director: Chris Immroth, Terence Jacobson, Patrick Van Pelt
Modeling: Michael Berger, Chris Ohlgren, Allan Steele, Josh Tonnesen
Texture Artist: Jeff Gipson, Saira Mathew, Sari Rodrig, Josh Tonnesen
Character Set-up: Terence Jacobson
Lighting Artist: Thane Hawkins, Matt Reslier
Rigger: Terence Jacobson
FX: Rogerio Mendes, Karl Richter, Patrick Van Pelt
Opening Titles: Jose Diaz
Editor: Steve Miller
Flame Artist: Rex Carter
Flint Artist: Leif Peterson
Post Production Manager: Cam Williams
Tape Op: Travis Ezell
Scheduler: Melissa Tvetan
Sound Design and Mix: Lance Limbocker


First "Moana" Concept Art

Moana concept art

Above is the first concept art for Walt Disney Animation Studio's animated feature film "Moana."

Disney currently is gearing up for the release of "Big Hero 6" which is hitting theaters in a few weeks, but that doesn't mean they aren't hard at work on several other films. One of them is "Moana." We had been told that "Moana," which concerns a South Pacific princess on an ocean voyage, would be coming in 2018.

However, the production must be going well, because they have pushed "Moana" to late 2016 - 23 November 2016 to be exact, Hollywood studios don't fool around when they reschedule films. The animation is a funny word, where you see things that aren't going to appear for two years. You'll be reading about this in 2016 as if it were today, or reading it then as if it were now, which is just kind of odd. That's show biz.

We don't have many details about the plot, but 'Moana' tells the tale of a Polynesian teen who sets sail to find a fabled island in ancient Oceania in the South Pacific. She's joined by the Polynesian mythological hero Maui, and together they'll come across mystical creatures, underworlds and lots of other crazy things on their adventure.

Moana concept art

'Moana' is CG-animated. It will be the first CG-animated movie for its directors Ron Clements and John Musker, the team behind 'The Little Mermaid,' 'Aladdin' and 'The Princess and the Frog.' However, it is one of their other projects that is a bit closer to 'Moana' than any of those: 'Treasure Planet.'

"I grew up reading the novels of Melville and Conrad. And the South Seas, the exotic world that a lot of their stories are set in, was extremely intriguing to me," Musker said in an interview. "Just looking at the art which comes out that corner of the globe — the carvings, the statuary, the sculpture — I thought that it all begged for this bigger-than-life treatment that you can only get with animation."

Moana concept art

Musker brought forth the first African-American princess Tiana in 2009's 'The Princess and the Frog,' and now they extend that diversity even further. If it sounds like Disney's Hawaii-set 2002 animated film 'Lilo & Stitch,' well, it probably isn't. 'Lilo & Stitch' was more cutesy, while 'Moana' appears to be more dramatic and epic and, you know, 'important' in stature.

Adding to the confusion is that 'Moana'' is a word that refers to a Hawaiian family line and name passed on from Moana Kāne, son of Keākealani Kāne the mōʻī (king) of Hawaii. This figure represents the beginning of the kaukau aliʻi service line of Hawaiian nobility up to Kanaʻina. Also, in the Hawaiian language "Moana" means ocean. So why they picked 'Moana' as the title for a film that has nothing to do with Hawaii (apparently) is a bit of a mystery, but Disney does that sort of ethnic grab bag stuff a lot. Who knows if it was intentional - but 'Lilo & Stich' used various Hawaiian words such as 'kapu,' and it used the word 'ohana' pretty loosely but in an important context, so 'Moana' is probably not there by accident.

Hopefully, though, 'Moana' won't go too far and go over the edge in that regard like Disney/Pixar film 'Brave.'

Moana concept art

In any event, Disney already has started the promo campaign for their 2016 films, so be prepared for more dribs and drabs of information over the coming 25 months, with the first "teaser" trailer probably hitting your computer screen during the summer of 2016.


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Deleted Scene from "How to Train Your Dragon 2"

How to Train Your Dragon 2 deleted scene

This is a deleted scene from DreamWorks Animation's "How to Train Your Dragon 2." Please note that it was never completed and is still in sketch form - which actually should make it more interesting to animation geeks like us!

I know, speak for myself.

Anyway, as background, one of the year's big animated releases was DreamWorks Animation's "How to Train Your Dragon 2" last summer.

Well, as autumn follows summer, after a major release like that, we start getting releases of the film in various other formats. 21 October 2014 sees the release in digital form of the film, available via digital download from DreamWorks' website.

DreamWorks Animation’s 'How to Train Your Dragon 2' will be available on DVD and Blu-ray on 11 November 2014, just in time for the holiday season.

As part of its promotion for this re-launch, DreamWorks TV has debuted this deleted scene. They went to the trouble of putting in voices and generic background music and everything, but still left the animation itself in sketch form, which is an interesting choice. Presumably, that means they want to leave it deleted and not have it pop up in "Director's Cut" versions or anything like that.

The scene shows Hiccup when he first meets Eret, and comes up with a swashbuckling plan to teach him that dragons and people can be friends. It is kind of hokey, but good-natured. It also is kind of a long scene for the amount it advances the story, which is probably the real reason why it was cut.

Dusan Brown introduces the scene.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 deleted scene

From the youtube page:


Published on Oct 16, 2014
How to Train Your Dragon 2 is coming to Digital HD this October 21st, and right now you can get even more Dragons action in this deleted scene from the movie! When Hiccup first meets Eret, he comes up with a swashbuckling plan to teach him that Dragons and people can be friends.

→ Credits ←
Host: Dusan Brown

Written, Directed, & Produced by Alexander Hoffman
Edited by Matt Levy

→ More From DreamWorksTV! ←

→ SUBSCRIBE TO DreamWorksTV! ←


A look at "Kirby Buckets" on Disney XD

Kirby Buckets
"Kirby Buckets."

A look at "Kirby Buckets" on Disney XD. This show has not gotten a lot of buzz in the media - at least in the places I frequent - but it promises to be an interesting series for the younger crowd. It combines live-action and animation, which is hot right now (and goes way, way back in film history, for instance in Gene Kelly's "An American in Paris."). "Who Framed Roger Rabbitt" is a somewhat more recent example (though it actually is closer in time to the Gene Kelly musical than to now).

"Kirby Buckets" is the name of the show. It will begin appearing on the Disney XD channel on Oct. 20 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. It is primarily a live-action show about young Kirby Buckets, who wants to be an animator. Kirby's intense passion for animation causes his creations to come alive.

Kirby Buckets

It's not a particularly original idea, but everything will depend upon the execution and whether the younger set finds the characters appealing. With Disney's track record, odds are that they will.

A major hazard for this show is that its young stars could begin shooting up in height and developing lower voices at any minute. Thus, this show will probably last at most for a few seasons before the stars become unrecognizable (like the kid on Disney's ABC primetime show, "Once Upon a Time," is doing).

The show is produced by Titmouse Animation (whose head, Chris Prynoski, did 'Beavis and Butt-head' for MTV, and the characters appear somewhat stylistically similar to those). Everything is approved by Disney, so there is no edgy stuff in this show. The Executive producer is Kristopher Brown. There will be about three minutes of animation per episode, with 20 episodes for the first season.

Kirby Buckets

From the youtube page:

Published on Oct 17, 2014 A scene from Disney XD’s new series Kirby Buckets, about an aspiring young animator whose ideas come to life for the viewer via animation by Titmouse. The show premieres Oct. 20, 2014, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Disney XD. Clip copyright 2014 Disney; used with permission.
Kirby Buckets
The Kirby Buckets cast on 4 September 2014.


Friday, October 17, 2014

"Feast" Preview, Disney Short

"Feast" Preview, Disney Short

"Big Hero 6" is right around the corner now, and Walt Disney Animation Studios is amping up the promotion. This is a special preview of a short that will play in front of "Big Hero 6." It is called "Feast" and is all about a hungry dog, apparently.

Very few people outside of the Disney staff have seen the entire short outside of Disney yet, so there's not much to say. Hopefully, it won't be just a generic thing about ultra-cute dogs, but that's what it looks like. It looks very artsy with the lighting, though it clearly is CGI (lighting can be very tough to get right with CGI, btw, and requires a lot of extra work).

"Feast" is the brainchild of Disney animator Patrick Osborne - Disney solicits ideas for shorts from its animators, and getting yours chosen by John Lasseter is the closest thing to heaven for some back-bench animator - and inevitably it will be a contender for this year's Best Animated Short Oscar, just as was "Get a Horse," the short that ran before "Frozen" (it lost, though).

The short chronicles the life of a puppy named Winston, who watches his daily meals — and his master — evolve over time.

From the youtube page:

Disney's Feast premieres in front of Big Hero 6 in 3D on November 7.

“Feast,” a new short from first-time director Patrick Osborne (head of the animation on “Paperman”) and Walt Disney
Animation Studios is the story of one man’s love life as seen through the eyes of his best friend and dog, Winston, and revealed bite by bite through the meals they share. The short opens on Nov. 7, 2014, in front of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Big Hero 6.” For more information:
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Homage to the "Road Runner" Theme

Translation of an American Classic

road runner

The original Road Runner theme, in all its glory. I suddenly realized that this site has almost no references to the Road Runner Show - and how can an animation site omit that!

Anyway, this is an American treasure. They even used to put road runner paint jobs on camaros and such. And I know there are road runner fans out there!

Here's another copy if that one doesn't work.

Korean Style

This is the actual theme song in Korean. I like it better than the original, but you have the chance to decide for yourself. "Load-lunner lalalalalala. Beep Beep!''

I have this here just for comparison's sake. I honestly, truly, cross my heart think that the Korean version is better than the English version - it has more rhythm, the emphasis is spot on, the vocals are top-notch, and the English version, perversely, is the one that is tough to understand at times, though it does depend upon the quality of the copy. I mean, setting aside the fact that the Korean one is in, you know... Korean. Except for a few bits that are even better:

"The ... Load Lunner... Show."

I know I'm not the only one who has noticed this, there was a similar reaction back in the day forty years ago when the true Road Runner fans would be like, "Yes, but have you heard the Korean version, it's even better!" Yes, that really was a fairly common reaction back then.

Below is the same theme, over the end credits. The truly observant will note the presence in "Additional Voice Characterizations" (there was someone else besides the two stars?) of the legendary June Foray, who is still very much going strong as of the date of this writing (2014) as a voice actress. The legendary animator Chuck Jones also is listed in the "Stories By" section. Mel Blanc, who was also doing Barney Rubble around this time, was the main voice guy - talk about a talented lineup!

Beep Beep!!

road runner theme


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Comet "Siding Spring" NASA Animation

Comet Siding Spring NASA

Comet "Siding Spring" NASA Animation. Above is an animation courtesy of NASA by way of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) at the assistance of the California Institute of Technology of the Comet Siding Spring ("C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring)") flyby of Mars on 19 October 2014.

We've been showing animations from a number of NASA and ESA missions because space is hot in the animation field, but this one is cooler than many. This is simply a cosmic event, no spacecraft involved except as they might get in the way.

This will be a close call between the comet and Mars. They will come within 87,000 miles of each other, which in cosmic terms is pretty darn close. Imagine it passed by as close as the moon, only two-thirds closer. That is close for a big chunk of rock traveling that fast. People would be panicking if it were coming that close to the earth.

Someday, when the stars align the right way, they will try to inhabit the same real estate at the same time and cause a mighty big explosion viewable across the Solar System, but not this time; maybe in hundreds of million years - which isn't that long in cosmic terms. It would have to make a pretty precise hit because it approaches the system at a steep angle to the solar plane in which all the planets (roughly) lie.

Comet Siding Spring NASA
The actual comet, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope on 11 March 2014.
When you think about the vastness of space, then reflect upon this tiny comet shooting through the solar system and then almost hitting a planet which just so happens to be at that precise spot in its orbit, well, the odds of that are infinitesimal.

NASA and India have spacecraft orbiting Mars, and they may get clobbered by the dust trail raised by the streaking comet. NASA has done what it could to get its craft out of the way, but anything can happen and we may have an incident.

Comet Siding Spring NASA

As I am typing this, the comet is exactly 7,493, 600 miles from Mars and closing rapidly. It is traveling at 79,548.55 mph or 35.56 km/s.  It has an estimated Visual Magnitude of 10.06, which is still pretty dim - there are 340,000 stars with a brighter magnitude, so you're not going to pick it out of the sky unless you have a really big telescope and know just where to look. In fact, it isn't even the brightest comet. However, that number is going to go down (meaning it will get brighter) rapidly.

As seen from Mars, it will get a magnitude of -6, which is fairly bright - brighter than the brightest star, Sirius, which is at -1.4. For comparison, the full moon is -12.74, so it would be between the brightness of the brightest star and the moon - which, for a transient object, is quite bright. Unfortunately, it will not be visible from the earth without at least an 8-inch telescope.

The comet was only discovered in January 2013 in Australia (they are quite good astronomers down under). It has an orbit of about one million years. The last time this thing lit up the night sky, there were no people and the continents were not in the same spots they are today.

NASA is sure to have some pretty good footage of this thing, so we'll probably post that when it becomes available.

Animation of Comet Siding Spring Flyby of Mars from JPLraw on Vimeo.

Animation of Comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring as it makes its close encounter with Mars on Oct. 19, 2014. The comet will fly by at a distance of only 87,000 miles – about one-third the distance between the Earth and moon. NASA's orbiters will duck and cover behind the planet to evade particles in the comet's wake. Comet Siding Spring:

Release Date: 10 October 2014

Credit: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

"Amsterdam" Stop Motion Music Video

Amsterdam Gregory Alan Isakov

"Amsterdam" Stop Motion Music Video.

Colorado singer-songwriter Gregory Alan Isakov decided that he wanted a music video for his song "Amsterdam," so he turned to Colorado artist Laura Goldhamer, who had some experience making them. She enlisted friends artist Brynn Ronning and photographer Michelle Christiance and they went to work at Isakov's farmhouse for a month and a half while he was away on tour.

Amsterdam Gregory Alan Isakov

This video is the result. It does a nice job of capturing the spirit of the song as a cardboard Isakov roams through the city of Amsterdam using his guitar as an oar to paddle along the canals.

We also get to see some background shots from the filming, which is interesting for those may be interested in doing something like this themselves.

Amsterdam Gregory Alan Isakov

From the youtube page:

Published on Oct 7, 2014
This video was filmed over the course of a month and a half, using stop-motion animation, dioramas, and live shadow puppetry. It is a continuation of director Laura Goldhamer's past techniques of mixing stop motion with live action; however, this time, the process was deeply collaborative and organic in nature, as the video was made at the farm that is home to the musician himself.

The music video for "Amsterdam" from the album The Weatherman by Gregory Alan Isakov
CD / LP:

Director: Laura Goldhamer (

In collaboration with...
Baylee West & Basil
Michelle Christiance (
Brynn Ronning (
Bonnie Paine (

Thanks to...
Gwen Lassen
Jackie Berry
Taylor Ross & Bean Dog
Tony Shawcross
Sarah Megyesy
Dan Ritchie
Jamie Mefford
Jason Bowen
Matt Tarpill


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

"Construxon Time Again," Vivid Stop Motion Animation

Construxon Time Again

"Construxon Time Again," Vivid Stop Motion Animation.

Construxon Time Again from Adam Brown on Vimeo.

"Construxon Time Again." I don't know much about these blocks that are used in this video. They sure aren't Legos and they're not Mega Bloks. Apparently, they are called Construx.

The Construx blocks were used to make this music video about fighting robots and spaceship battles.

Construxon Time Again

The way this was animated gives it an extremely vivid and vibrant feel. The music is kind of cool, too - apparently, the animation was made to promote the music. Either way, this is a fun little exercise in animation that leaves a lasting impression, with a good meld of music and action.

The nice thing about stop motion is that you get a much better impression of reality than with other animation - you know that you are watching things, and not just drawings. It creates a verisimilitude all its own. Not that there's anything wrong with drawings, but stop motion animation draws you in a bit more than other forms of animation in my opinion.

Construxon Time Again

From the web page:

Directed and Animated by Adam Brown
Music by Jacob 2-2
"Construxon Time Again" originally appeared on the album 'Herbivore,' and now makes an appearance once again, along with remixes by Muta and Stephen Farris, on Jacob 2-2's new EP 'The Rec.'


October 2014 Monster Storm

monster storm

October 2014 Monster Storm.

Animations are an extraordinary tool because they get you important information in a way that you can use it - fast. The animation above is from the Ocean Prediction Center.

In mid-October 2014, a massive and spectacular storm explosively developed in the North Atlantic. The giant comma-shaped swirl expanded across almost the entire ocean basin. That is one big storm.

The storm rapidly intensified. Its central pressure dropped 46 mb in 24 hours (from 1002 mb to 956 mb) – a textbook meteorological bomb. Late Monday on 13 October 2014, the storm’s pressure likely bottomed out around 948 mb which is comparable to levels in many category 3 hurricanes.

The National Weather Service’s Ocean Prediction Center determined the storm had generated hurricane-force winds just south of its center of circulation. The European model indicated maximum wave heights of around 40 feet in that zone.! Those are massive waves.

There is just incredible amounts of cool information online about very practical things like this if you know where to look for it. And this is quite practical if you are sitting and waiting for that massive storm to hit some in the British Isles.

Below are different pictures and schematics of the storm from various perspectives.

From the youtube page:

Published on Oct 13, 2014
This animation shows the development of a hurricane force low in the Atlantic through the SEVIRI RGB Air Mass product and the Geocolor imagery. In addition, Hurricanes Fay and Gonzalo are shown to the south of it.
Note: This video contains no speech or other audio information necessary for the comprehension of the content. It is best viewed in HD. The resolution can be changed by clicking on the gear wheel in the bottom of the video screen.

monster storm

monster storm

monster storm

monster storm

monster storm


Monday, October 13, 2014

The Lunar Eclipse... from Mercury

lunar eclipse MESSENGER
Mercury (green) was nearly between the Sun (yellow) and Earth (blue) at the time of the eclipse.
The Lunar Eclipse... from Mercury.

When the moon winds out and then winks back in - that is the lunar eclipse.
These days, there is so much hardware floating around out in space that it is hard to keep track of it all.

There are probes to asteroids and craft leaving the Solar System. There are NASA landers on Mars and the International Space Station. There is a Chinese lander on the Moon and a probe circling Mercury, and...

Wait a minute, did I just say Mercury?

Today's animation comes from a probe that is rarely mentioned by anyone because Mercury is not that sexy. There are no famous books about little Mercury men who come to earth and start blasting away with ray guns.

MESSENGER (an acronym of MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) was launched in 2004 to study Mercury. It took its sweet time getting there, but get there it did in 2011. MESSENGER has been in orbit around Mercury ever since, doing basic science research and taking lots of boring photographs. I say "boring" because there are no rocks with faces that can be seen from orbit or canals or anything like that. What we can see of Mercury is just a big rock, basically, and rocks are just not that intriguing, especially when they don't have a giant spot like Jupiter or anything like that.

MESSENGER's studies of the Mercury poles and core and all that is not our subject anyway. Instead, it is probably the most interesting thing that the probe has done in its ten years of existence, and it was purely by chance.

Normally MESSENGER looks straight down on the tiny world, mapping the terrain that slides underneath it with various cloud-piercing instruments (actually, it is just an exosphere, but that's fancy science jargon for kinda-clouds). But mission technicians saw an opportunity for something interesting, so they pointed the camera toward Earth and took 31 images, each two minutes apart, to capture the earth and the moon.

That still doesn't sound that interesting, because we see the earth and the moon ever day (we're standing on the former and looking up at the latter). In these 31 photographs, though, the moon disappeared.

Yes, that's right, the moon disappears. That is because the shots were taken during a lunar eclipse, meaning the earth's shadow covered the moon. This isn't all that rare, but it still is neat to see it from another world, namely Mercury (orbit). It is very cool for some of us to see actual images - not "recreations" or "imaginations" or anything like that, but the real deal that actually happened - from so far away. This is what an intergalactic traveler would see as he moseyed randomly about the system, looking for xenon gas to take back home for his cenobite factories. In other words, this has nothing to do with us whatsoever, but is simply a random cosmic event that happens routinely but is certainly noticeable by anyone who sees it.

You can see the Earth on the left, all of five pixels wide in the original images (the entire video has been expanded by a factor of two), and the Moon on the right, just barely bigger than a single pixel. The motion of the Moon is too small to detect, but as it passes into Earth’s shadow it dims considerably, disappearing.

Mercury was in a particularly good spot to see this, being at a narrow-angle from an imaginary line drawn through the sun and the earth. Thus, you see the moon swinging behind the earth and getting blotted out, but not from such an angle that you lose sight of the moon as it does go behind the earth. It is a good cinematic angle.

The one big omission is that they do not show the moon reappears. That would have made the animation 10 times better, but for some reason, that part is not included. So, we just see the moon disappearing and have to assume that it reappears a few minutes later (it did).

Even then, the brightness of the Moon has been multiplied by 25 to make the change more obvious. On Oct. 8, during the eclipse, Mercury was nearly between the Earth and Sun, so to MESSENGER, the Earth and Moon were close to full. But the Earth is bigger and more reflective than the Moon and would look 50 or so times brighter, so it made sense to enhance the Moon’s brightness.

MESSENGER was 107 million kilometers (66 million miles) from Earth when it took these images.