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The journal of an aspiring animation filmmaker. Inspiration, Film Analysis, Animation Art, Student Work, Book Notes, Book Store, Composing Pictures, and much more!

Feb 23, 2009


I'm pretty sure I saw this first one in person, or at least a replica. Rodin's work needs to be seen in person to really appreciate it for what it is. These pictures just don't do it justice.

Here's me in front of "The Shadow" at The High Museum in Atlanta in 2006:


Feb 22, 2009

Michelangelo, Studying the Master

"I saw Michelangelo at work. He had passed his sixtieth year, and although he was not very strong, yet in quarter of an hour he had caused more splinters to fall from a hard block of marble than three young men in three or four times that amount of time. No one can believe it who has not seen it with his own eyes. And he attacked the work with such energy and fire that I thought it would fly into pieces. With one blow he brought down pieces three or four fingers in breadth, and so exactly at the point marked, that if only a tiny piece of marble more had fallen, he would have been in danger of ruining the whole work"

That's an excerpt from the book below. I finally set aside some time to study the gigantic Michelangelo book I got from my girlfriend for my birthday last June. Over the past week I've been consistently blown away by his work. This is the book I'm referring to:

It has to be the best "art of" book I have ever seen. It is massive! Michelangelo knew the human form better than anyone. The wealth of anatomical drawings in this book alone prove that beyond any doubt. His trademark is the ideal beautiful form. I tend to lean towards his sculpture more than his painting as his sculpted females look more like actual females whereas his paintings of females just have female heads slapped on ideal male bodies:

"...without having seen the Sistine Chapel, one cannot form a true picture of what one person is capable of." - Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

I can't wait to see this stuff in person.

Sculpture does not get better than this:

"How can it be, Lady, what long acquaintance
Lets everyone observe, that the live figure
In the hard mountain stone can last longer
Thank it's maker, whom age returns to dust?

The causes yield and bow to the results;
Hence it is art that overpowers nature.
I know, I've tested it in beautiful sculpture,
Time and death to the work will not keep trust.

Thus I can give a long life to us both,
By either means, with carving or with paint,
Portraying the face of the two,

So that a thousand years after our death
They'll see how you were beautiful, I faint,
And that I was no fool in loving you."


Now technically this isn't the best book on Michelangelo money can buy...this is. But it is the best book you can afford.


Feb 21, 2009

George Price

George Price is probably my favorite New Yorker cartoonist that I've seen so far. There's so much energy in his drawing style that appeals to me as an animator. Totally reminds me of Hirschfeld as well. I'd imagine this is what Hirschfeld would look like angry or in a rush. Fantastic stuff. These were scanned from an old New Yorker anthology and are all from the 1930s onward. My eye is immediately drawn to his strips no matter what else is on the page.

(Not all of these have the captions with them, sorry)

From the 50s on George's style would degenerate more and more. The designs would become cluttered, the compositions unclear, and the style would become completely angular. If that wasn't enough, his characters lost all their "life" and expression with his new way of drawing eyes. They would all look like crazies.


Feb 20, 2009

Richard Williams, Commercials


Richard Williams, Raggedy Ann and Andy

Here's a ten minute clip of Richard Williams work on the Raggedy Ann and Andy movie. It's a pretty hard to find film now, so I figured I'd upload what I've seen of it. I have no intention on sitting through the whole film, as it looks pretty bad from a story perspective. The designs are very different, hairy as John K would say, but I like them here, though they don't allow for the most amazing animation I've seen out of Dick.

Next up, and the last in this series, is about a half an hour's worth of Richard Williams commericals!


Feb 19, 2009

Do The Right Thing (1989)

I watched this film the other night and I noticed a lot in the way this film was shot to tell the story. This film is basically about a day in the life of a racially diverse New York lower to middle class neighborhood in 1991. It's a very hot day, so warm colors are dominant throughout the film until the sun sets at the end.

To illustrate racial prejudice and domincance among the members of the community, there's a number of shots that are repeated throughout. There's a lot of dynamic up shots, and a lot of dynamic down shots. When there's no animosity between the characters, the horizon line is horizontal:

Also notice how the shots here are composed. Mama Sister is on the left of the frame, while Spike is on the right. One shot is predominately red, while the other is predominately green. Complementary colors and contrasting compositions.

When there is animosity the horizon line is rotated giving a more skewed or violent scene:

Radio Rahim dominates almost all of his scenes. He's made to look big and mean with the use of close ups against medium shots:

Look at this great shot:

Here both parties are meant to look menacing and neither is dominant. Both use extreme up shots or horizontal shots:

Rahim's up shot was a little more extreme, predicting a win of the music showdown

Coming back to a shot from above, look how it plays against the shots of the cops in this scene. This is total separation through color; Cool blue with warm lighting against hard red with cool lighting:

Now look at this scene where the main characters are having a discussion about race. Everything is relatively calm and both retain the same status:

...Until of course we get a "prejudice montage." This is supposed to be aggressive, and put you in the shoes of the prejudiced. The shots are point blank and frontal with the actors breaking the fourth wall:

More animosity:

It started off fine.

But the shots get more contrasted as the animosity increases:

Look at these great shots:

By the end of the film there is no more animosity between these two characters (see shots from above):

So the shots aren't skewed, and the angles aren't as extreme. It's also not as hot out so the shots are cooler aesthetically (as well as emotionally).

Here the scene starts calm. Horizontal lines, mediums shots:

But that quickly changes as the hate builds up. Again the same conventions are used. It has to be this way, or we get confused as an audience. Once you pick a way to illustrate something, you've gotta stick to it. Notice how the skewed angles are also opposing each other, creating more contrast, and racial separation:

Characters with a lot of differences but not much animosity:

Look at the use of complementary colors in this shot:

The calmer the characters are the more flat and normal the shots are. There's a lot of overhead shots and handy cam shots in this film also which further immerses you in this neighborhood. By the end of the film it feels like there nothing outside of this community, because there's enough drama and controversy here for anyone.

I learned a lot wathcing this film. Check it out if you can.