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Archive for the ‘Animation’ Category

A first look at How to Train Your Dragon

How To Train Your Dragon

Dreamworks have released a teaser trailer for their forthcoming animated feature “How to Train Your Dragon” — although billed as if it’s from “the makers of Shrek and Kung Fu Panda” it’s no such thing!

Dragon is written and directed by Chris Sanders and Dean Deblois. These were the guys behind the unjustly overlooked and under-rated Lilo & Stitch (which, incidentally, is right up there on my list along with The Iron Giant — the other other under-rated animated movie.) and, yes, that’s the same Chris Sanders who may or may not have been booted off production of Disney’s Bolt (formerly American Dog), who then went to work at Dreamworks where he directed an animated adaptation of British novelist Cressida Cowell’s book, How to Train Your Dragon.

I may have written myself into a circle…

Those familiar with Sanders’ work will quickly recognise his hand. The trademark big eyes and stubby noses are there, although he appears to have made a decision not to include any Viking girls in bikinis. Maybe he’s saving those for the sequel.

How to Train Your Dragon will be in cinemas from March 26, 2010. (via Ward)

Toy Story 3: Full trailer released

Andy, Buzz and Woody in Toy Story 3

The first, highly anticipated, full trailer for Toy Story 3 has been released and is showing, in the US at least, before the Toy Story 3D double feature. It features a nice VHS-esque flashback of Andy’s childhood before he heads off to college, leaving Buzz, Woody and the rest of the toys behind.

(HD movie down, but it’s still on YouTube if you’re quick.) It’s back again.

It’s quite staggering how much CG animation has progressed over the past 14 years… For the re-release the original Toy Story was rendered 86,400 times more quickly than it could have been done in 1995.

Also good to see drooling babies stuffing toys in their orifices. I don’t think Pixar have done that since 1988’s Tin Toy!

Watch in HD.

Update: Disney have, unsurprisingly, pulled the trailer. It will be back again soon — probably after its official web-wide release.

Backgrounds: The art behind the animation

Lilo and Stich watercolour background

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of all aspects of animation, from concept artwork to storyboards to roughs to the finished scene. One often overlooked piece of the animation puzzle is the humble background. Whilst the eye is drawn to the life of the moving characters on screen little attention is often given to the illustrated scene behind.

The Animation Backgrounds blog digitally removes characters from scenes and stitches together panned shots to reveal the uncluttered artwork underneath. There’s a wealth of background artwork here from the watercolours of Lilo and Stitch (above) to the Mary Blair-inspired Alice in Wonderland. (via Aegir)

COMBO by Blu and David Ellis

You may remember MUTO, an animated short by Blu made using chalk and paint on real-world environments, which we featured here a year or so ago. Here’s his latest collaboration with artist David Ellis.

Blu also has a new website (or certainly one that I haven’t seen before!) featuring some of his more static artwork. (thanks Ward!)

Sheepfilms’ GPS

Dave Packer creates wonderfully humorous short films and animated gifs under the name Sheepfilms. You might recognise his stuff from b3ta.

Here’s his latest one.

Knowing is only half the battle. So what’s the other half?

Nerduo "Half the battle" t-shirt graphic

Remember the public service announcements at the end of G.I. Joe cartoons in the 80s? If knowing is half the battle, what’s the other half? Our friends at Nerduo have the answer, in t-shirt form: lasers!

Lou Romano and the Art of “Up”

Up colour script artwork by Lou Romano

Up colour script artwork by Lou Romano

I’ve just been browsing Lou Romano’s production artwork that he did for Pixar’s “Up” again — specifically the colour script work that he did — and wondered why I hadn’t mentioned it here before!

Lou was a production designer on the movie and he’s posted dozens and dozens of pieces of artwork as well as some After Effects tests and dioramas.

Be sure to check out the rest of his blog too for more superb artwork, including stuff for The Incredibles and The Powerpuff Girls.

Lou’s work also features in Pixar’s Art of Up (US) book.

The art of the WALL·E end title sequence

WALL-E end titles

The Art of the Title Sequence interview end title sequence director Jim Capobianco and animator Alexander Woo about the end titles to Disney·Pixar’s WALL·E.

Jim Capobianco’s end credits to Andrew Stanton’s “WALL·E” are essential; they are the actual ending of the film, a perfect and fantastically optimistic conclusion to a grand, if imperfect idea. Humanity’s past and future evolution viewed through unspooling schools of art. Frame after frame sinks in as you smile self-consciously. It isn’t supposed to be this good but there it is. This is art in its own right. Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman’s song, “Down to Earth” indulges you with some incredibly thoughtful lyrics and, from the Stone Age to the Impressionists to the wonderful 8-bit pixel sprites, you are in the midst of something special.

Oliver Jeffers’ Lost and Found, Animated

Oliver Jeffers' Lost & Found

If you’re a long-time reader of this blog you’ll probably already be aware of my respect for illustrator and childrens’ book artist Oliver Jeffers. This, however, managed to totally slip under my radar.

A 25-minute CG-animated adaptation of his second picture book Lost and Found won the TV Special Award at Annecy a couple of days ago. Apparently it was shown over here in the UK over Christmas but this is the first I’d heard of it!

I was rather concerned when I discovered that it was CG and not traditional 2D animation because of Oliver’s incredibly stylised art style but it appears London’s Studio AKA and director Philip Hunt have done a wonderful job of adapting it to 3D.

Here’s the trailer, and it appears that it’s already available on DVD in the UK!

2009 Annecy Award Winners

Slavar / Slaves film still

The Annecy International Animated Film Festival is an annual event in Annecy, France and a big part of it are their highly regarded awards.

The Crystal Award winners this year were:
In the short film category, “Slavar”, an animated documentary about child slavery. In the feature film category, “Coraline” and “Mary and Max”. Finally, in the TV production category, “Log Jam” which Aardman have recently secured the distribution rights to.

Here’s a full list of 2009 winners at the Annecy site.

I can’t find any of the shorts online yet, but here’s a interview with stop-motion animator Adam Elliot, whose feature Mary and Max went on to win the Crystal Feature award.

And here’s a charming moment with Adam and Coraline’s Henry Selick.

I’ll update this article as I find more shorts and clips. Drop me a line or leave a comment if you discover any!