Friday, December 19, 2008

End of Class 2

Class 2 ended this week. I polished my last assignment and put together a pogress reel for both classes 1 & 2. The concentration level increased dramatically in class 2. Next time I'll try to chose simple projects  so that I don't stress for more time. Sandy proved to be a valuable friend when I needed help tackling the dreaded gimble lock - thank you Sandy. 

One of our classmates from the first class, Casey McDermott, landed a job at Rhythm & Hues. Congratulations! Casey is a talented animator and a wonderful person who has a great potential to go far in this industry. He helped me rig the fishing rod in my final assignment. I wish him the best. I also owe him a lunch ;o)

Another friend of mine, Teresa Nord, graduated Animation Mentor - congratulations Teresa! I met Teresa at Martin Hash's get together a couple of years ago when we worked on The Tin Woodman of Oz, a volunteer film project of ameteur animators using the Animation:Master software. Teresa's dream is to work for Pixar and I believe she will ventually end up there because I saw in her a burning desire to succeed and a strong passion for the art. All she has to do now is polish her demo reel and gain as much experience as possible working in the industry. All the best Teresa!

My mentor, Peter Kelly, also got his job back at ILM, congratulations on that. I think ILM is the place for me because of the array of projects they work on, most of which are behind the scenes, which I like.

During the course I joined MySpace, Facebook, and Linkedin, just to keep on the up & up with the rest of the animators. I also did a small acting gig promoting a translation software being developed by the Stanford Research Institute. I'll post the clip if I can get a copy.

Anyway, that's all for now - I hope you enjoy the clip. And Happy Holidays.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Sleeping Beauty and Return of the Jedi

I watched Walt Disney's legendary Sleeping Beauty 50th anniversary platinum edition and was reminded of the sophisticated artistry and style of this unique treasure. Most notably, the background work of the artist Eyvind Earle

to whom Walt went in the hopes of injecting new life into what has become a predictable cartoony style aimed at children. This movie is Eyvind's. The infusion of Eyvind's style raised the bar for the animation industry to new heights and opened doors for imagination that later led to such classics as Fantasia. Geometric landscapes, art deco, gothic and even the characters were inspired by Eyvind, all contributed to produce one of Disney's first successful films.

But what struck me was the scene where we first see Malificent's goons in her castle as she expresses her frustration for not finding Aurora/Briar Rose. And in particular this guy (from a later scene in the film):

Immediately I thought "that's the character from Star Wars the Return of the Jedi!" The resemblance is unmistakable:

(Or should I say that the guy from Star Wars is based on him?) Could it be that George was, somehow, influenced by that image and reintroduced his own version for his film? I don't remember him saying that. It amazes me, however, when I saw ROJ I did not make the connection but now that I watch SB again the connection is made. And just to be sure that I'm not the only one making this connection, I asked my son when we watched it and he also immediately made that connection without hesitation.

So the next time your kid scoffs at Sleeping Beauty, it might be a good opportunity for an intellectual discussion about how history influences the future. And in my animation journey it certanly made me appreciate the contributions of of the artists of the golden age to the rest of the generations after them.