Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Monday, October 30, 2006
Maybe the strong suit of the 3-D programs is backgrounds and props but even there the results are mixed. The car (below) looks great but the theater (above) looks somewhat cold like something made out of a Leggo set. I can't imagine the cottage of the Seven Dwarves having any emotional impact in this style.
Everybody knows that computers are the future of animation but that future isn't here yet. Right now 3-D animation programs confine us to a style of literal, unimaginative drawing that dates back to 1910. Even the stories animation tells have to be crippled to fit the limits of the medium. How can that be considered an advance?
BTW, I just got Amid Amidi's book, "Cartoon Modern" and it looks great! I'll do a blog about it when I have a chance to read it!
Sunday, October 29, 2006
What's with the dress-length t-shirts and the tuke (spelled right?) caps that cover the ears, even in the summertime? Well, at least they're flamboyant and that's something. What I really don't understand is the middle class suburban variant exemplified by Chicken Little's clothes. What's with the tight green Arnold-Palmer T and the shapeless, oversized shorts? Click to enlarge it; the shorts look like the bird has a load in his pants. What man who wants to attract women would dress like he was wearing a diaper?
Ditto the buccaneer shorts that the kid is wearing in the tiny picture. Oops! Blogger deleted the picture but you know what I'm talking about: long, wide pirate shorts and thick, rippled sneakers that look like astronaut boots!
Girls won't wear this stuff. They ransacked the past and came up with tight 70s bellbottoms and bare midriffs.
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Every year I hope the Halloween costume industry will put out a good set of fake muscles but they never do. Look at the tacky shirt this kid (above) is wearing. The muscles look like curdled milk. Oh well, maybe next year.
Monday, October 23, 2006
The last famous bosom that I know of was owned by Elsa Maxwell, the famous hostess of the 40s and 50s. That's Elsa in the caricature and the cooking ad. Hers was a noble Milt Gross - type bosom. I wonder what she looked like when she was young, something she's definitely not here. When Elsa departed the world she took bosoms with her. No, wait a minute. I forgot about Aunt Bee.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Elsewhere on the page the black pumpkin is a nice reminder that pumpkins can be painted. The green cabbage head below is interesting. It seems that early Halloween theorists toyed with the idea of using vegetables other than pumpkins to represent the holiday.
Saturday, October 21, 2006
We all know about the Inquisition, Galileo, the witch burnings, forced conversions and all that. Those were horrible, no doubt, but is that the whole story? Extreme secularists claim the Dark ages were the fault of Christianity, but were they?
You could argue that the Christians pulled Europe out of the Dark Ages by patiently working with barbarian princes to re-establish the rule of law. Did Christianity oppose science in medieval times? Mmmm...it depends. Lots of non-church people opposed it too. Most medieval scientists were clerics. In this period Aquinas argued that Aristotle's method of scientific enquiry was right and the Church officially backed him up. Did secular people and Greek books begin the Renaissance? Maybe, it depends when you date the beginning of the Renaissance.
Technological marvels like the Chartes Cathedral (picture above) and the sophisticated organization of markets predate the Renaissance. Some of the most important painters at the beginning of the Renaissance were clerics and/or committed Christians.
Well, it goes on. Do we Americans owe our liberty to secular or very mildly religious people like Paine, Jefferson and Franklin? Yes we do, but we also owe it to protestant Christians who believed the King had exceeded his authority. Go back to Cromwell's time in the 1600's when the Puritans chopped off the head of the King and established parliamentary government. Modern liberty dates back to the time when Puritan members of parliament reasoned that no prohibitory laws should be made that are not specifically mentioned in the Bible. They reasoned that Earth was a place where we have to be tested and some repulsive things must be made legal if that test is to have any meaning.
Who killed more people for reasons of dogma, secular states or religious states? Secular Hitler triggered genocide and a war that killed 50 million people. Secular Stalin killed a lot more people than Hitler and some say secular Mao killed more than Stalin. And what about Pol Pot? Did the Inquisition or the Crusades kill comparable numbers? Every secular person is free to establish his own morality but Christians are constrained by the Golden Rule: "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Plenty of Christians don't honor this but aren't you glad that they at least believe it as an ideal? I could go on. I'm not arguing for Christianity here, just fairness in evaluating the role Christians played in history.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
For comparison I included a contemporary Halloween-time cereal box with a monumentally stupid message about nurturing on the back. You should click to enlarge it so you can read the text. Below is a skeleton drawing by Harryhausen and a vintage pumpkin-and-devil picture from Halloween's golden era in the 1910s and 20s. Or maybe I should say "Hallowe'en" like the picture does. I've seen that spelling before. Does anyone know anything about this?
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
I have a small but well-loved collection of funny Halloween masks, which I keep year 'round along the top of some book shelves in my living room. I was hoping I could add one mask a year to the shelves but most years there are no good funny masks and I have to make do with what I've already got.
This year I don't know what to think. I like the middle-aged man mask with the red nose and white glasses (above), I just don't know if I like it enough to give it a place of honor on the shelf. I mean I could get the cheesy Smith Brothers beard with the penile nose (above) instead. I know that would fit in. Then again living rooms are supposed to be tasteful. But then...well, I'll think about it.
BTW, how do you like the cardboard crescent moon with the black cat on its nose (somewhere above)? The guy who designed that is my hero. He made it possible for kids to own something funny and beautifully designed for the price of a candy bar! I also like the poster of the pumpkin on the stairs.
The hanging pumpkin with the teeth is really well done but it probably costs a fortune! I don't see the point in making Halloween things that kids can't afford. Some people want to turn Halloween into a kind of adult Mardi Gras. That'll be fun for us but it'll cut the kids out. Do we really want to do that?
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
There were action, romance, comedy and lighting specialists just to name a few. These people didn't do the whole film, just the parts that lent itself to what they do well. Today advertising still follows this practice. A beer commercial will call in a glass photography specialist to film the close-up where the beer pours into the mug. That seems perfectly natural to me.
The question I'd like to pose here is, why doesn't the animation industry follow this practice?
One of the differences between classic animated features and present-day ones is that modern features are almost completely devoid of imaginative set pieces. Dumbo had the "Roustabouts", "Casey Jr.", and "Pink Elephants. " Where are the modern equivalents? What happened? If modern studios have trouble conceiving of stuff like this then why don't they seek help outside the studio? Why don't TV artists working on serious shows run their comedy sequences past outside comedy specialists and visa versa?
The audience doesn't want to see the best that a particular unit can produce, it wants to see the best that possibly can be created, no matter who does it. My advice to both TV and feature producers is to build time into the schedule to run some of the finished scripts and storyboards past appropriate specialists for a punch-up.
Monday, October 16, 2006
I may as well add that the original title of this drawing, emblazoned with marker over the top of the page, was "Hi! My name is Eddie! I am fat!"
Hmmm... this post seems a little sparse. Here's (above) a couple of photos to bulk it up, and a pithy caption to accompany them: "Scrumptious tongue mystery hat!!!! Noodle stretching putty service....tomahawk?"