Saturday, May 31, 2014

Gumby Fest Brings in the Biggest Names in Stop Motion

On June 14th 2014 the first ever Gumby Fest, a major film festal and celebration for Stop Motion animation will be taking place in Glendora, CA.  Below is a reprint article from the press release from their blog announcing their world-class Stop Motion guests...
Academy Award-Winner Rick Baker Joins ‘Meet Gumby’s Gang’ Panel at Inaugural Gumby Fest in Glendora on June 14
Animators for ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas,’ ‘Robot Chicken’ ‘Coraline’ to share stories from the Gumby studios
Glendora, CA – Academy Award-winner Rick Baker will join the “Meet Gumby’s Gang” panel at the premier Gumby Fest to be held June 14 in Glendora, California.
Gumby, the world’s original clayboy and pop-culture legend who starred in more than 230 TV episodes and a movie, “grew up” in Glendora, where the iconic TV series was produced from 1960 to the late 1970s by Clokey Productions.
The celebration of all-things Gumby as well as stop-motion animation will take place on the grounds of Glendora City Hall and Public Library at the corner of Glendora Avenue and Foothill Boulevard.
“Meet Gumby’s Gang” will be held at 2 p.m. in the Bidwell Forum at Glendora Library, preceded by other discussion panels.
Rick Baker won the first ever Academy Award-winner for Best Make-up/Hair Styling for An American Werewolf in London; other credits include Disney’s upcoming Maleficent, Men in Black,Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, and many others.
Joining Baker on the “Meet Gumby’s Gang” panel will be stop motion and visual effects pioneers who got their start at Clokey Productions:
·         Joe Clokey is president of Clokey Productions/Premavision Studios. Son of Art and Ruth Clokey, the pioneering creators of Gumby, Clokey was raised as Gumby’s little brother. In fact, Gumby’s adventures first came to life in bedtime stories that Art Clokey invented for his children. Today, Joe carries on his parents’ legacy, introducing Gumby to the next generation of fans, as the head of Gumby’s animation studio and business affairs.

·         Harry Walton began his professional film career in 1968 with Clokey Productions specializing in character animation as well as other areas of visual effects such as optical compositing, matte painting and compositing, plate photography, lighting and setup, stop motion puppet fabrication, miniature construction, visual effects supervision and animation direction. He worked on such films as Nightmare Before Christmas, The Abyss, James and the Giant Peach, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and more.


·         Doug Beswick has more than 40 years of visual effects achievements to his credit. His work can be seen in such mega hits as Star Wars, Ghostbusters, Terminator, Aliens, Evil Dead 2, Gremlins 2, Nightmare on Elm Street 3, and Beetlejuice. He began his career in special effects/animation in 1967 working at Clokey Productions, Doug worked on both the classic Gumby television show and the endearing Davey and Goliath program, building props, and later applying his animation skills.
·         Norman DeCarlo first worked for Art Clokey to help him create 99 episodes of the Gumby television series.  He then worked with Henry Selick to produce nationally televised commercials, MTV interstitials and his own private projects that eventually led Selick to direct The Nightmare Before Christmas, James and the Giant Peach and Monkeybone.

·         Richard Zimmerman (Rich Zim) – Gumby was Rich Zim’s first professional animation job after graduating college back in 1987.  Since then, he has animated on such projects as Pee Wee’s Playhouse, The Nightmare Before Christmas, James and the Giant Peach, and Coraline. Birdhouse, a 7-minute animated short he directed, played at over 25 festivals including Cannes and Sundance, where it won an award. He currently works on Robot Chicken and other feature films.
·         Carl Jabloski completed two 30-minute specials and four Davey & Goliath 15-minute television episodes and later participated on a health series called I Am Joe’s Heart. After leaving Clokey Productions Jabloski’s career evolved into project/cost management for the theme park industry.

·         Ron Dexter has been the head of production for Clokey Productions / Premavision since the early 2000s. His 30 years in the film industry has included directing and shooting TV commercials. He owned a studio in Hollywood for 20 years, and has shot films in 18 countries and 40 states. He has made numerous documentary films and worked on both feature films and TV shows. He made camera gyros for helicopter shots, steady cams (before they were developed commercially) and smooth track systems for dolly moves.
For the full schedule or more info visit: http://gumbyfest.net/festival-schedule
Gumby Fest

Friday, May 30, 2014

Short Flicks: Bent Image Lab's "Fruity Pebbles"

What could be better than starting your day off with part of a whole breakfast, Fred Flintstone, and Stop Motion?  We couldn't think of anything either.  Nevertheless, these awesome commercials/BTS will bring out the kid, and nerd, in all of us.  Directed by Rob Shaw for the incredible Bent Image Lab (a studio that just moved to Manhattan, by the way), these TV spots encapsulates everything we know and love about the modern stone-age Flintstone family who establish how we now think of Prehistoric times.

Fire Househttp://vimeo.com/45991027

Cocoa Pebbles "Fire Hose" from Bent Image Lab on Vimeo.

Cop Rockhttp://vimeo.com/42010097

Cocoa Pebbles "Cop Rock" from Bent Image Lab on Vimeo.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Short Flicks: "Muir"

Link: http://vimeo.com/iantimothy/muir


Film by Ian Timothy
Voice of John Muir: Brad Wills
Music: Marianna Filippi
Puppet Costume: Lucia Tello

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Laika to Concentrate on Making More Features

Laika, the incredibly talented studio currently housing some of the most brilliant minds in the Stop Motion industry, and talent behind films such as Coraline, ParaNorman, and the upcoming The BoxTrolls, announced earlier this week that they plan to convert their spin-off studio, Laika/house, into a studio mainly concentrated on making feature films.  Getting rid of commercials complety from their plate.  Formerly, Laika/house only produced television commercials and shorts.

LAIKA/house President Lourri Hammack, Creative Director Kirk Kelley and Managing Director of Strategic Operations Al Cubillas will lead a new studio specializing in short to mid-form animated content for advertising and broadcast markets.

Located 19 miles away from the main Laika production house, the Laika/house facility in Oregon has been responsible to make some of the most iconic branding characters, (i.e. the M&M characters), plus, they've revamped some of the most iconic characters in the commercial business, such as Mr. Peanut for Planters.

LAIKA plans to continue operations under the LAIKA/house banner as it transitions work to the new studio over the summer months. “We’re very proud of the entire LAIKA/house team and its heritage of beautiful, industry-leading work,” said Travis Knight, LAIKA President & CEO.  “But as LAIKA finishes its third film and is in the process of actively developing an ambitious range of future projects, it’s become clear that we need to devote all of our artistry, innovation and resources towards our feature films in order to craft the distinctive and evocative stories for which LAIKA has become known.  With Coraline and ParaNorman, we set a high standard for ourselves and the entire animation industry. The Boxtrolls and our slate of upcoming films aspire to push the bar even higher. Our commitment to creating superlative works of art has been the force driving both of LAIKA’s divisions since our inception.  We wish Lourri, Kirk and Al tremendous success as they carry on that tradition of excellence in their new venture.”

This is a huge game-changer, at least in the Stop Motion world.  More Stop Motion features = more employment in the Stop Motion industry + possible acceptance by the 'main stream production houses.'  President Lourri Hammock had this to say:

“Animation isn’t just a storytelling medium it’s our life force and our passion,” said Hammack. “In just a few short years, LAIKA has created groundbreaking works of feature-length animated art that continue to inspire and amaze. We are honored to be entrusted with LAIKA/house’s rich legacy as we build the next chapter of our longstanding advertising and commercial division.”

Laika/house

Short Flicks: "Food"

An animated documentary about FOOOOOOOOOOOD!
Voice by Joe Swanson, Brooke Regalado, Zachary Zezima, Sian Bliss, Richie Fruitbat, Rachel O'Connor and Chrysanthe Tan.
P.S. No animal were harmed in the making of this film, they were all from the food market!!
Made at CalArts Butler Building #4, 2014.
Making of: songsiqi.com

Link: http://vimeo.com/95342512

FOOD from Siqi Song on Vimeo.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Stoopid Buddy's "Slam City" Animator Interview

Below is a reprint article, a quick interview Stoopid Buddy Stoodios had with Harry Chaskin, one of their animators on Slam City for Mattel and WWE.

Go read the full post here: http://www.leagueofbuddies.com/2366/news-from-slam-city/

Do you have a favorite episode of WWE Slam City?

H: I really like the Perk E. Pizza episode with Mark Henry. The more demeaning the day jobs, the funnier the episodes play, and putting a 400 lb former Olympic weightlifter in a penguin costume is about as good as it gets. Plus, he’s fighting robots!

Who is your favorite WWE Superstar?
H: My favorite Superstar is probably Santino because he has a sock puppet. You don’t see too many sock puppets in pro wrestling these days. 

If you could pick any new “day job” for one of the Superstars to do, what would it be?

H: I’d like to see Mark Henry be a stop-motion animator. He seems like a patient guy.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Short Flicks: "Iron Man vs. Bruce Lee"

Link: http://youtu.be/Ywu1DeqXTg4

Mr. Peanut Harnesses the Power of the Peanut

Below are the two most recent Planters 'Mr. Peanut' ads, they are produced by the ever brilliant Laika (ParaNorman, The BoxTrolls).  The animation here is directed by Mark Gustafson, who was Animation Director on Fantastic Mr. Fox, is the alleged co-director of Pinocchio, and is directing Laika's Goblins, which will be their next big feature after The BoxTrolls.  Mr. Peanut is voiced here by comedian Bill Hader, succeeding Robert Downey Jr., also known as Iron Man.

Link: http://youtu.be/9FfMrgZD6To


Link: http://youtu.be/eeXnq-KajwU

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Short Flicks: "Address Is Approximate"

"Story: A lonely desk toy longs for escape from the dark confines of the office, so he takes a cross country road trip to the Pacific Coast in the only way he can – using a toy car and Google Maps Street View.
Music by the wonderfull Cinematic Orchestra (cinematicorchestra.com) and the track is Arrival of the Birds - please buy the fantastic album: itunes.apple.com/gb/album/the-crimson-wing-mystery-flamingos/id297787201
All screen imagery was animated - there are no screen replacements.
Produced, animated, filmed, lit, edited & graded by Tom Jenkins (thetheory.co.uk / facebook.com/theoryfilms - !NEW MAKING OF PICS ON FB PAGE! / @thetheoryUK / twitter.com/#!/thetheoryUK).
Shot using Canon 5d MkII, Dragonframe Stop Motion software and customised slider."

Link: http://vimeo.com/32397612

Friday, May 16, 2014

YouTube, Vine, Instagram, and the 2014 Animation Tide-Change

Quick!  Name all of the names of the animation endorsing channels on TV! -Let's see, Fox, Comedy Central, Hub, Cartoon Network/[adult swim], Disney Channel, uhhh...drawing a blank here guys.  If you think about it for just a second of two, you'll realize what a rare comedy it is to find actually good animated entertainment.  Whether it's today, or 20 years ago when all animation was broadcast Saturday mornings and Sunday nights, today, mostly crap television, then, mostly crap television.  My point is NOTING has changed!  Right?  Wrong!  I'm sure at this point you are intimintly familiar with YouTube, Vine, and the overwhelming amount of video-sharing social networks.  Well, within the past 2 years, animation, and should I add actually good animation, has started to have a tide-change, thanks to these social networking platforms.
Cartoon Network's Steven Universe, which premiered last year



Just a few months ago, Starburns Industries/[adult swim] released a full episode of their recently premiered show, Rick and Morty, through Instagram video.  This was done through putting out over 100 15-second clips that, when marathon watched one after another, strings together a 22-minute (a full half-hour show in TV time), big budget episode of the show


In mid-January of last year, twitter and Instagram released a very similar video sharing service, Twitter, a 6-second looping video network, which could be taken by using their app for smartphones.  Instagram, a 15-second looping video network, that can also be taken via iPhone and Android devices.  Though unlike Twitter, you can upload a video to your phone, so it doesn't have to be taken with just your phone camera.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Short Flicks: "Guitar Hero Spec Ad"

A Nintendo DS commercial by the former Buddy System Studios, (now Stoopid Buddy Stoodios), directed and animated by Ethan Marak.

Link: http://youtu.be/RIRiek2Dft4


Ray Harryhausen's Armacreature Armatures Sell Fast for Animation Tool Kit

The owner of the successful Animation Tool Kit Westly Wood, has found recent success in selling his Ray Harryhausen endorsed Armacreature armatures.

Their product, an armature set of 20 engineered stainless steel joints, hardened stainless steel balls and socket head screws, a foot and toe tie down, and T section boss system; which, is a much more advanced system than Ray had when starting out.  In interviews he talked about walking down to the local Pep Boys to buy ball and socket mirrors, which he would then saw off the mirror mechanism so he could then use the joint.  Below is a reprint article from Animation Magazine...

The endorsement by Harryhausen, who created stop-motion effects for decades for films such as Jason and the Argonauts and Clash of the Titans, was key for Wood, whose company has provided armature kits for as many as 5,000 animation projects across the world. Harryhausen died last year at the age of 92.
As an expert in stop motion animation, Westley, who lives in Altrincham and is currently producing and directing programs such as Compost Corner and Stix and Stones for CITV out of MediaCityUK, identified a gap in the market to provide kits which when built provide the skeleton for animation characters. After they have been fleshed out with clay and various other materials, the armatures are then brought to life by animators who move them frame by frame to create stop motion animation.
“The idea to create animation armature kits was really born by seeing trainee animation students struggle to build puppets for their films, it’s very time consuming as well as difficult to find the parts to build a quality and durable armature for a character. In my spare time I started to make the kits in my garage and demand soon picked up,” says Wood. “Harryhausen is the grand master of stop motion animation so I knew that if he agreed to endorse my product that my armature kits would really take off. I felt very honoured that he gave my product his seal of approval before he sadly passed away.”
To cope with demand, three factories in China now produce the thousands of parts that were sold this year alone and sales have increased 10 fold since Harryhausen endorsed the product. Customers now extend beyond the student market to industry professionals across the world as well as avid model makers and film enthusiasts."
Ray Harryhausen's Armacreature

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Short Flicks: "SuperBattle: Episode 1"

"When a notorious super-villain escapes from his subterranean prison, the enigmatic robot warden summons his most powerful henchman to deliver justice. The first completed episode of an ongoing stop-motion animated series."

Link: http://youtu.be/aAuTF9EGdIE

Friday, May 9, 2014

Short Flicks: "Tram71 NL"

"Commercial for MIVB/STIB in Brussels. Agency is Havas Worldwide. Produced, directed and animated by Beast Animation"

Link: http://youtu.be/yqiIgg--fbw

Laika Presenting World Class Puppets At Maker Faire 2014

Laika has announced via their blog that Georgina Hayns, Creative Supervisor for Puppet Fabrication at Laika, will discuss the process of making a puppet, from initial sketch to final execution at Maker Faire-Bay Area on May 18th at 11:30 on the Live Stage.

"Georgina will discuss the complex details — and inter-departmental collaboration — involved with making puppets.  The weekend event will take place at the San Mateo County Event Center."
Maker Faire official website: http://makerfaire.com/bay-area-2014/schedule/

"GEORGINA HAYNS has been involved in all aspects of puppet fabrication for stop-motion films for over twenty years. Her career began in the UK, working for Cosgrove Hall Films, Mackinnon and Saunders and Warner Bros.
In 1993, Georgina joined Mackinnon and Saunders as an armaturist where she supervised children’s television series and commercials, including BBC Television’s Noddy, HIT Entertainment’s Bob the Builder, Lipton® Brisk® Tea and Puffs Tissues. She also worked on animated feature films and shorts such asMars Attacks! and the Academy Award®-nominated Periwig Maker.
Prior to joining LAIKA in 2006, Georgina worked on Corpse Bride and most recently served as Supervisor of the Puppet Fabrication Department onParaNorman and Coraline."


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Short Flicks: "The Lego Movie - Main Titles"

I'm not even going to go into how much I love this part, (the actual Stop Motion bit), of the Lego Moive; due to the fact that I don't have the vocabulary inventory that it would take to go into full detail on how I brilliant this is.  Regardless to say, Stoopid Buddys did a freaking amazing job with this title sequence!  If you haven't already, go read out the all-inclusive, not a detail left behind, interview with the creators and making of which you can find here.

Link:http://vimeo.com/89073171

The Lego Movie - Main Titles from Alma Mater on Vimeo.

Director: Brian Mah
Director of Photography: Helder K. Sun
Animation Supervisor: Ethan Marak

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Short Flicks: "Crânes d'oeuf (Skulls Egg) / Teaser"


"Extraits de séquences pour une série documentaire animé sur la biologie comportementale en cours de production.

[Google Translate]: Extracts sequences for animated documentary series on behavioral biology in production."

Link: http://vimeo.com/25746499

Crânes d'oeuf / Teaser from Pascal Giraud on Vimeo.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

In Honor of Free Comic Book Day...

This Aardman/DC Nation short is features beloved DC Comics characters such as Batman, Robin, the Joker, and Superman in the classic Aardman claymation style.  Without farther ado sit back in your Bat-Cave, relax, and enjoy!

Link: http://youtu.be/zWRKyfwnjwc

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Aardman Teams up With NFTS to Teach Character Animation

With the success of last year's Aardman/NFTS (The National Film and Television School) Character Animation class, NFTS has confirmed that it's to run a 2014 class that will run from the 15th of September to December 5th.

"The intensive 12- week course offering training for 12 CG and stop frame animators was launched last June to meet the growing demand for animation talent in the UK. The 2014 course will run from 15th Sept to 5th Dec 2014.
Taught at Aardman’s Bristol studios by industry professionals, tutors included Loyd Price, Head of Animation at Aardman (Nightmare before Christmas, Chicken Run, The Curse of the WereRabbit, Flushed Away and Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists) with one-to one feedback sessions with Wallace & Gromit creator Nick Park (an NFTS graduate), Peter Lord and Shelley Page (Dreamworks talent outreach)."

The course will feature speakers such as Richard Williams (Who Framed Roger Rabbit), Sarah Fell, Darren Walsh, Oli Hyatt, Sarah Cox (Director at Arthur Cox, and Andy McEvoy (Supervising Animator, DNEG).  The deadline to apply is June 5th.  For more information and contacting info, visit: http://nfts.co.uk/our-courses/certificate/character-animation

"David Sproxton, Aardman co-founder and producer said: “This first Aardman/ NFTS animation course proved beyond doubt the effectiveness of linking a strong training institution with a first class industry player when it comes to high-level skills training. From the selection of the students to the finer points of the curriculum this was a very strong partnership. Having the students training alongside working professionals at our studio in Bristol was a great experience for everyone. The results speak for themselves, with excellent work being screened in the final showcase event, demonstrating imagination, verve and strength in character animation.  We look forward greatly to running another course.”
The training gives 12 selected students the core practical skills needed to become professional animators. The majority of the course is practical with participants working on animation exercises to improve their skills, knowledge and experience. This is also supported by animation theory. It culminates in a short character animation sequence – pre-planned and boarded – to showcase the skills learnt during the course. You can view the 2013 student showreels here http://vimeo.com/81089765
Loyd Price, Aardman Head of Animation, added: “Without exception all of the students’ animation, acting and understanding of performance greatly improved over the 12 weeks and they produced a final sequence far in advance of what many of them believed they would ever have been capable of.”"

Aardman, hired three of the graduates from last years course to come and work on The Shaun the Sheep Movie and many other Aardman projects.  It looks like to me that with this and the Stoopid Buddy's course of similar intentions, we could have some brilliant and fresh talent in the Stop Motion world.  And in the words of the great Chuck Jones "Animation, is a young man's game."
The Shaun the Sheep Movie