Animated Albums Brings Covers To Life

Despite being near ubiquitous at this point, it’s still fun to come across a Tumblelog that pushed the artistic envelope just a wee but further. Enter Animated Albums, which takes actual album covers and, well, animates them!

Although they’re not the most graceful in the world, there is nonetheless a sense of satisfaction to be gleaned from the unquestionable Terry Gilliam feel to it all. Below are a few example and be sure to check out the archive too as the site sadly ends at November 2011.


“Why don’t more animators use tumblr?” Is The Wrong Question to Ask

 Via: The Rauch Bros. Tumblelog

Fred Seibert has opined that more animators should be using Tumblr as a platform for their art. I do not disagree with this statement. In fact, I agree, the Tumblr platform has a lot of features to offer and has proven itself to be a great tool to build a community around your work in addition to discovering new stuff.

However, Fred’s post misses the mark when it comes to its reasoning.

Yes, Tumblr is a social platform, but so is any blog (so long as certain features are engaged).  Fred points out the Adventure Time tumblelog as an example, stating that:

 Very few of the posts get fewer than hundreds of notes (you can see the number at the bottom of each post.) Regular readers will recall that very, very, very few of our posts got even one comment on our old blogs.

This is true, except that comments and “notes” are mutually exclusive. One is a tool to provide feedback or opinion on a post, the other is simply a statistic on how people have responded to it (either likes or reblogs).

Comments are a truer measure of social interaction in that they indicate that people have thoughts or feelings on the post, not merely that they liked it or were suitably enthralled enough to post it on their tumblelog too.

This is not to diss the notes system. Indeed, you can implement Disqus commenting in Tumblr, just as Frederator have done, if you so desire and get the benefit of both worlds. I just don’t see the point in proclaiming the benefit of one over the other.

What Fred is right about is the ease at which Tumblr allows you to share content. One or two clicks and you’re done. Compare that to even twitter, where you often have to click, login, edit the tweet and click again to post. That can get tiresome, especially if you like to post multiple times a day.

A post Mark Coatney proves to be the inspiration for Fred’s post, and although it also focuses on numbers, it lists three things that are essential to building a community on Tumblr:

  • Be Engaging: Have interesting things to say, and don’t talk simply about yourself. Respond to other Tumblr users, ask questions, etc. Remember that Tumblr is a visual medium (more than half of the 25 million things posted on Tumblr each day are pictures), so look for compelling images to tell your story whenever possible.
  • Be Social: Tumblr is above all a social sharing platform. Use this space to show off your best stuff, encourage others to share it with their followers, reblog posts from other Tumblrs that you think your followers will enjoy.
  • Be Yourself: No publication has to fundamentally change who they are to connect with people on Tumblr. The audience responds most to a personal, peer-to-peer connection with you; embrace that.

These are all great points, except that that they are applicable to any platform, not exclusively to Tumblr. This very blog is an example, I engage with commentators, I’m socially active through Twitter, Tumblr and Google+ and I am myself, right down to popping in a ‘u’ in places American’s find weird.

What Fred should have focused on was what he mentions in the very first paragraph:

Some young artists are using it [tumblr], but for some reason a ton of animation blogs are on Blogger, some on WordPress.

Yes, they are using Blogger and WordPress, and I dare say that the biggest mistake they make is not in choosing these platforms, but by neglecting to maintain them! I can easily say that of the 300+ artist blogs in my reader, well under 10% are updated on a regular basis. In fact, I recently went through and deleted any blog that hadn’t been updated in over a year. The numbers were depressing to say the least.

These animation bloggers can’t blame the platform for their failure, they can only blame themselves.

Instead of asking “Why aren’t more animators aren’t using Tumblr?” we should be asking “Why aren’t more animators taking blogging more seriously?”

Sometimes I Raid my Tumblelog For Inspiration…

…and instead I become engrossed in the stuff I find there, even from years ago. Feel free to follow me if you’re on Tumblr too. 🙂

Here’s a few of the wilder examples of animation stuff I rediscovered.

Mickey contemplating recent developments in the world of medicine
Homer shilling my favourite shoes
Woody hitting the moonshine
The Big Bad Wolf from the Three Little Bops
The real-life Wacky Races

Recommnded Reading: Dresden Codak’s Tumblelog

It’s been a while since I’ve done a website recommendation and in order to get a bit of structure back into this blog, it’s time to start doing them again.

Today, it is the turn of Dredan Codak a.k.a talented maestro, Aaron Diaz.

If you’re not already familiar with Dresden Codak, you probably should get yourself over to the website and do some catching up. It’s a superb (web)comic with a diverse cast of characters and a great look/design.

However, that is not what I’m recommending today, well it is, but the actual site is slightly different. It’s actually the Dresden Codak tumblelog, “Indistinguishable From Magic“.

Plenty of artists use Tumblr as more of an auxiliary blog for posting scraps, development work, personal stuff, etc. Others, like the too-talented-for-words Dan Meth actually use it as the base of their entire website!

Either way, many people appreciate the flexibility that Tumblr provides in terms of design and use as well as the following capabilities and reblogging features that help grow and maintain a devoted audience.

IFM is no exception to that rule but it is the content that sets itself apart from the rest. Far more than an auxiliary blog, Aaron has turned it into a veritable gold mine of art, advice, opinion and lessons.

For example, his excellent post on character’s figures (see image above) contains the kind of honest advice that is kinda hard to come across these days. One you read it, you begin to look at characters in a whole new light.

Aaron also uses the tumblelog to interact with people who ask various questions on the comic, art and drawing in general. All are answered with the upfront honesty that defines a creator who appreciates the devotion of his fans.

In addition to all of the above, what kind of artist would Aaron be if he didn’t post some cool sketches as well?

Sketch of Janelle Monae

If you’re an artist, comic or otherwise, following Indistinguishable From Magic is a must. You simply cannot miss out on all that Aaron is posting.

Adventure Time’s Connections With Its Fans

Adventure Time Promo art

By now you should be familiar with Adventure Time, heck, I’ve mentioned it more than a few times here and even write a post about it. If you don’t know what Adventure Time is (and what rock were you living under by the way), it’s the brainchild of Pendelton Ward that was in limbo, well, YouTube actually, for a couple of years after appearing on Random! Cartoons on Nickelodeon before getting picked up by the Cartoon Network.

The show already has an extremely devoted fanbase which was in place even before the show premiered. Was this an accident? Absolutely not! Despite the fact the the original pilot ran up views on YouTube well into the millions, the show itself is a masterpiece onto itself. Pen’s whimsical designs, very strong characters (yeah, I like Princess Bubblegum, so what?) and absurd plots are quite unique among TV shows today, even cartoons!

The shows creators have excelled in a few areas that I would not consider traditional marketing techniques, indeed, they have managed to create a dedicated community around the show, starting with ye olde blog. The good folks over at Frederator have been running their blogs for what seems like forever and have built up a solid reputation for being some of the best in the animation business when it comes to blogging. The show has a dedicated blog that during the production process featured countless backgrounds, character models, colour models, storyboards, scripts, animatics, you name it! This was (and still is) a fantastic insight into the production of an animated show that has been unmatched by any other, save for Fanboy & ChumChum (another Frederator production, naturally). The blog has been a tremendous source for info on the show and has been the source of many answers to questions that fans have had. It is a fantastic interactive portal between the studio and its customers.

On a related note to the blog has been the Tumblelog, hosted on Tumblr (where I also have a tumblelog). In the beginning it was merely a repository for the artwork posted on the main blog, but since the shows debut, it has become a steady (and prolific) stream of fanart. The quality does vary quite a bit, but that is unimportant. What is important is that the number of fans who’ve made artwork is phenomenal. In fact, even the fanart has taken on a lofe of its own. The latest craze is to take album covers and remodel them using Adventure Time characters. So far I’ve got a great kick out of seeing some fantastic takes on both great albums and the shows characters.

Perhaps the most striking development of the shows popularity has been the Finn Hats. These are indeed the hat worn by Finn the Human in the show. Things kicked off when a few promotional hats were made by Cartoon Network. Not long after, instructions were posted on how to make your own Finn hat. Since then the internet has exploded with self-portraits of fans in their very own hats. A few have even gone the whole hog and dressed up for the conventions.

Last but not least has been the usual social networking stalwarts such as facebook and twitter. Pen has his own twitter feed where he tweets just about everything, from late nights in the studio to how things are going at Comic-Con. He gives fans a direct link to the creator of their favourite show and has wll over 4,000 followers at present.

Of course, all of this may not have come to pass if the original post hadn’t appeared on YouTube, where it went viral in the first place and racked up so many views.

Adventure Time could have stood on its merits as a cartoon even without all the above effort, but with all the above effort, the show is even more popular than it could have been. The important thing to note is that the efforts were mostly by the fans, with a little help from the production team. There is nothing I hate more than some marketing department trying to hype up a show by creating an artificial “community” that is so sterile it almost turns me off the show in question. With Adventure Time, it was a case of planting the seeds and watching the community grow naturally as word of mouth and anticipation took hold.

Any show should be similar, after all, it is the fans that support it and make it a worthwhile endevour for the studio and network. At the same time, if all shows were as good as Adventure Time, this wouldn’t require too much effort. Here’s to a bright future in the land of Oooo. 🙂

My Tumblelog: Genuinely Imported

No, I’m not that vain or egotistical, but I do post a fair amount of stuff over on my Tumblelog. I’m just posting about it in case you didn’t know.

Tumblr by the way, is a pretty neat blogging platform that favours short posts at shroter intervals than a regular blog like this one does. I’ve been on there for nearly two years, so you already have your work cut out by having to visit my archive 🙂

As I’m heading to Milwaukee this evening for the weekend, don’t expect a new post until Sunday night, that’s not say I won’t have any surprises though 🙂