Friday, February 26, 2010

Goldwork Master Class

Back in 2008, I had the opportunity to work on a joint project between Thistle-Threads, Plimoth Plantation, the Bard Graduate Center for the Decorative Arts, and the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. Long story short, Plimoth Plantation and Thistle-Threads recreated a 17th Century women's jacket that relied heavily on gold and silk embroidery and going on display shortly at Winterthur. Said jacket was part of a museum display presented at the BGC and used dozens of museum pieces from the MET. My part of the project was to animated a pair of goldwork stitches: the ladder stitch and the zig-zag stitch.

Okay, fast forward. Late in 2009, Dr. Tricia Wilson-Nguyen of Thistle-Threads approached me to animate an additional twenty-six stitches for an Online University that she is offering on her website. The following video is one that Dr. Wilson-Nguyen and I put together to promote this 18-month Master Class on the art of gold and silk embroidery. During this video, you'll see not only parts of the stitches I animated for the BGC/MET project, but also the stitches that Dr. Wilson-Nguyen reconstructed from historical examples and stitched into a sampler that students will be recreating during the course of this class.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Animated Inspiration: Alice

In January, I posted a music video created by Pogo who used nothing but sound and video clips from Pixar's Academy Award nominated film "Up." Here's one of his earlier works: a techno/etherial-sounding piece using clips from Disney's "Alice in Wonderland." Enjoy. :)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Get Animated!

Back in 2005, I was blessed with an opportunity to teach a ten-week course on animation at the East Lansing Recreational Center. After the class was over, I was charged up and ready to start a program called "Get Animated" where I would teach several courses on different styles of animation to adults and children. I had drawn up the course plans, had talked to the ELRA event director and was looking for equipment so I could expand the styles of animation taught (as well as increase the number of people that I could teach). Then, life got in the way. It started out when I got t-boned by a girl who ran a stop sign in my neighborhood, followed by a year's worth of physical therapy, and several unexpected & expensive home repairs. It was a rough couple of years. As what I wanted to do was sidelined by what I had to do.

Over the past four years, I've wanted to get back to teaching but haven't been able to pull it all together with a comprehensive program for children and adults. Enter: ASIFA/Central. I've had the opportunity to meet many professors in the area, like Deanna Morse, Jim Middleton, Gary Schwartz, and Ellen Besen who have provided me with a wealth of ideas, instructions and advice regarding the art of teaching animation.

So, this weekend, I was doing a little surfing on the net and got a boost from the National Film Board of Canada. Turns out that the NFB had a traveling program last year called Get Animated ( where they held animation screenings, master classes and workshops. Well, I decided that it's time for me to put up or shut up.

As Cartoon Network's traveling show has the domain, I've registered my domain as: I've dusted off my lesson plans & notes to jump-start my proposal to the ELRA, have been given the opportunity to teach a one-day paint-on-glass workshop for ASIFA/Central, am attending a pixillation workshop in Toronto, got a lead on a working 16mm projector, and a source for blank filmstock (direct-on-film animation). Things are starting to move back into position. So, hopefully, by the Fall 2010, I'll be teaching animation again!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Animated Inspiration: Simon's Cat 'Snow Business'

Since it's snowing outside, here's the latest animation from British animator Simon Tofeld. He's just posted "Snow Business" (containing both part 1 and the just completed part 2). One of the things that I love about Simon's animation process is that he animates each film in Flash, however he uses a wacom tablet--so he's essentially creating these films using a traditional hand-drawn frame-by-frame style, just in a vector-based animation program.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Animated Inspiration: Honda - Squirrels Love It

Maybe it's because I like squirrels...and 3d animation...and the crystalline look of this animation...but this was my favorite commercial from the Super Bowl this year--even if the point it was making was a little obtuse until they spelled it out at the end. :) Watch this animation then watch "the House of Cats" animation to reflect on how these two studios handled a similar style in their character designs. The important thing to note is how smooth the motion is in both animations--the character design is awesome, but it's the motion of the characters that really sells the personality of the character.

If the video doesn't load properly, you can go directly to the site and view the video here.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Animated Inspiration: T-28

With the closing of IMAGI Studio's US operations last week, due to the company's overall financial difficulties, we might be seeing a serious reduction in IMAGI's output. So, before it's taken down, here's a trailer they made to generate interest in "T-28", IMAGI's 3d CGI version of the old Tetsujun 28 anime series.