Friday, March 31, 2006

The Heron and the Crane - A Russian Fairy Tale

This 1974 animation is by Russian animator, Yuri Norstein. It uses paint and cutouts for its characters. Norstein also used painted glass panels that he could move in order to give a feeling of depth to his scenes.

You can find a Norstein DVD for sale here.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Machinima Film of 'Dracula's Guest'

I had to do it. This is my movie of Bram Stoker's Dracula's Guest. It uses the technique called 'machinima.' That's when you use the graphics engine from a computer game to make the scenes for your movie. This movie was hard to make because it has a lot of shots that needed to fit seamlessly together and it uses a subtle sound track that had to be made from scratch. I hope you enjoy it. I'm posting it here mainly because I love the way the YouTube service streams the video so easily.

Musical Animation Combines Puppetry and 3D

Here's a fun little movie that combines puppets with computer animation to create a sort of old-timey, musical movie that just revels in itself. It's called Graveyard Jamboree with Mysterious Mose. It was made by an animation company called Screen Novelties.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

First American Animation from 1906

In 1906, James Stuart Blackton created 'Humorous Phases of Funny Faces,' the first animated American film.

Blackton, along with his partner, Robert E. Smith, had already started the first motion picture studio, Vitagraph Pictures, when this animation was made.

It uses a simple chalk-board technique, but provides an excellent glimpse into the excitement and experimentation of the time. And, frankly, it is so early that it completely avoids the overbearing Disney invention known as 'squash and stretch.' There is so much about 'squash and stretch' that obliterates all attempts at seriousness and artistic expression. It is interesting to watch early animators who had no knowledge of that technique. Try, if you will, to imagine how animation might have developed if it had bypassed Disney.