week links

Week Links 22-2013

Oodles of week links for you today!

Animated Musicals

Richard Leskosky over on the Animation Studies blog has a post that pretty much details all you need to know (in the general sense) about animated musicals. It should be noted that the genre has survived in animated form long after its live-action counterpart all but disappeared.

Written in Water

Mary Mayerson has yet another great observational post about the animation industry and where it is headed. Disclaimer: he references, and agrees with yours truly, but that’s not why you should read the post. Floyd Norman also weighs in with a strikingly accurate comment.

Destroying the Princess Stereotype: Azula


Erin over at the (highly recommended) Gagging on Sexism blog has this great analysis of perhaps the single greatest female character we’ve seen in US animation over the past decade.

Of particular note is the fact that Azula is also a princess but in a polar-opposite sense to what Disney would have you believe they should be.

The Cheapest Animation Studio in the World Will Make You an Animated Film for £25

Alex Williams over on the FLIP blog explores this, apparently true, claim. He also ponders a few questions:

A few days ago an old friend of mine (and a top animator) posted at Facebook about the absurdity of a client asking for him to make an animated film “for a few hundred dollars”. How ridiculous! But I wondered – why is it so absurd? What if we could do animation for such a low price – surely there would be a huge demand for this kind of work? In fact, there are tiny studios springing up doing exactly that – creating animation for a tiny, super-low price.

Literal Disney Video Covers

Hunchback_nice guy finishes last

There’s a whole collection over on the tumblelog of Rainblade

Cooking the Flintstones


The must-follow Yowp blog digs ever further into the history of our favourite pre-historic animated property (sorry Croods). This post looks at how (and from whom) Fred and Wilma got their names. A fascinating post that illustrates yet again how history can get terribly muddled by the people creating it.

Tweets of the Week

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Week Links 20-2013

An interesting collection of week links this week!

The State of the VFX Industry and where do we go from here

The Thinking Animation blog poses a number of questions relating to the VFX industry and the ongoing attempt to organise it in some way. They’re worth thinking about because similar issues will affect the animation industry at some point in the future even more so than they do already.

An Independent Success

Mark Mayerson has his usual measured approach to his analysis of one animator’s success on YouTube. He’s right on the money when it comes to merchandising too, but I disagree that YouTube is the level playing ground it once was. The rise of professional channels makes them gatekeepers by another name. Why make your own animation when you can try and pitch it to one of them?

Disney Dreamscapes

Sibley_PotC Chess

Brian Sibley has up on his excellent Disney blog some lovely artwork from the book The Art of Walt Disney World. Visit for the post, stay for the archive of fantastic Disneyana.

‘Epic’ a decidedly derivative, if colorful, new animated film

The website Sound on Sight has a review of Blue Sky’s latest film ‘Epic’ which, while not overly positive, does contain this nugget of a paragraph near the end:

It wasn’t that long ago when we were lucky to get one animated movie from a big Hollywood studio a year; once, it was as much an event to go to a Disney movie as it is to see the next superhero blockbuster. Now, you can’t go two months without a studio-released animated movie, making each of these movies a little less special. Epic has impressive enough animation—and the 3D isn’t terrible, though a climactic action sequence set in a darkened landscape is fairly diluted through the format conversion—but it feels like the umpteenth version of the same Joseph Campbell Hero’s Journey, and done in a way that’s forgettable instead of fun.

More signs of an animation bubble?

Tweets of the Week

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I love Avatar: The Last Airbender and I love the handiwork of Mike Maihack. What better than when both come together:

Mike Maihack_Toph

Week Links 19-2013

Besides the one big story this week, there were plenty of others too.

In ‘Scope (2084) and Regular (2079)…

Via: A. Film L.A.
Via: A. Film L.A.

Hans Perk has begun a series of posts on Lady and the Tramp that will be worth your time reading but this introductory post also includes something else. Yup, Lady and the Tramp was in production during the 1950s, when the feature film industry was undergoing an even greater metamorphosis than it is today. Television was luring audiences away from cinemas and something had to be done to entice them back. One notion was 3-D, a gimmick that fared about as well then as it has today. Another development was the introduction of the widescreen format. Lady and the Tramp got caught in the transition that resulted in a number of changes to the film. Hans will be looking at the changes that will sure be of interest to anyone with an interest in animation history.

Art vs Marketing 2013


Artist Emily Lubanko takes a humourous look at where art and marketing intersect and why the results are often so, well, crappy. The above image is where we start but things quickly take weird and hilarious turns as various marketing folks chip in their two cents on the project:

When you work data-first instead of story/message first…some really kooky nonsense can occur. Just because the “data” says something doesn’t mean you have to automatically go with that flow.

2D O.D.’d

Steve Moore over at the FLIP blog has this excellent analysis of why traditional 2D animated films have all but disappeared from mainstream release in the US. Hint: too much of a good thing can be bad for you.

Cartoonists and animation experts weigh in: the new Merida doesn’t HAVE to look this way

Via: Gagging on Sexism
Via: Gagging on Sexism

The big story that seemed to be everywhere this week was the redesign of Merida into something that many felt was inappropriate. There was plenty of analysis (like this and this) and even her creator Brenda Chapman weighed in.

That said, Rebecca Hains did a great job of laying out exactly why the change was an important issue that needed to be discussed and this post of her’s (disclaimer: quotes your’s truly) points out that the issue wasn’t that Merida’s design was changed, but rather how it changed. She also includes a few (funny) visual aids for comparison purposes.

Tweets of the Week

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[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/fionachill/status/334290910294720513″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/ThePixarTimes/status/335181933984219138″]

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Week Links 18-2013

Another round of week links that is quite diverse and a day late thanks to a forgotten suitcase.

David OReilly on Timing

Via: David OReilly
Via: David OReilly

Already  a legend in his own lifetime, David OReilly shares with us a series of GIFs from a lecture he did many years ago dealing with the subject of timing in animation. The full series illustrates how timing has changed from the rubberhose animation of the 30s through to the 90s. A must read post.

Animation: Disney’s Artist Tryout Book

Via: Animation Resources
Via: Animation Resources

The Animation Resources site has, as far as I’m concerned, a mandatory read. It’s the handbook given to new employees at the Disney studio from 1938 and although I’ve only given it a brief skim, it will certainly receive much more of my attention at some point in the near future. Just comprehend the following quote:

The value of an animator is dependent upon his ability to dramatize and caricature life, and to time and stage his characters’ actions in an unusual and interesting way. An animator must be a showman- he must know how to entertain an audience, to present a gag, to picture dramatically an ordinary incident. Above all, he must be a sure and skillful draftsman.

I dare you to find a studio that talks about its animators in such terms these days.

The Fleischer Studio’s ‘Setback’ Camera vs. Disney realism

The Society for Animation Studies blog has this rather excellent post discussing the similarities and the differences between two competing technologies that aimed to give animation a 3-D look.

Niko’s T-Shirts


Friend of the blog and independent animator Niko Anesti is putting one option for making money that’s available to him to work; he’s selling T-shirts. Check them out (no pun intended)!

Bob Clampett: Black Cats in Technicolor


Oswald Iten’s truly superb Colourful Animation Expressions blog is having a bit of a celebration…for Mr. Bob Clampett, who would be 100 years young thins year. This is the first of three posts so stay tuned for more.

Tweets of the Week

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Week Links 17-2013

Fewer week links than normal today; it’s been a busy week.

Elliot Cowan on Film Making

The New York-based animator continues production on his feature film and comments on the process thus:

Making a film is like deciding to adopt an orphan from some war torn, strife ridden corner of the world. At first it seems like a great idea. There’s a lot of energy and excitement of what’s to come. Then after a while it starts waking you up screaming in the night, and freaking out in company.
Shitting all over your regular plans and costing you more than you expected.
Eventually you want to avoid it but you can’t, because if you do it’ll wither away and die and by now you feel some responsibility for it.
And people keep asking “How’s the film? Is it doing well?”.
So you stick with it, through the exhaustion and late nights and drama.
One day it grows up and it heads out on it’s own and you’ve either grown to love it or you never want to see it again.

Hopefully Elliot loves it, as will everyone else 🙂

Warner Brothers sued for unauthorized use of Nyan Cat and Keyboard Cat

Ars Technica (amongst others) reports on the lawsuit being brought by the creators of Nyan Cat and Keyboard Cat against major Hollywood studio Warner Bros. The issue concerns the use of said cats in a video game published by them and created by 5th Cell.

It’s still at an early stage and some aspects of the complaint are slightly dubious but expect Warners to settle this one fairly quickly. The central issue of copyright infringement should serve as a reminder that the onus is on creators to defend their work.

‘Rise of the Guardians’ Rebounds for DreamWorks Animation

I’m putting this down as yet another reason to not believe most of what you read from mainstream sources. As it turns out. Rise of the Guardians has done better on home media than expected and raising profits at the independent studio.

Tweets of the Week

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/BoxnRoundhead/status/329653507122679808″]

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Lastly, Disney Princesses as Sailor Senshi

Via: Buzzfeed
Via: Buzzfeed

Buzzfeed has the entire collection of this fan-made mashup that’s oddly appropriate. Hat tip to Sarah Marino for the link 🙂

Via: Buzzfeed
Via: Buzzfeed

Week Links 16-2013

More week links!

Make Art, Not Law

Nina Paley has posted an interview she did recently where she discusses how she came to be a free culture advocate and why the concept plays an important role in our lives. She also touches on how some of the issues she faced while making her feature film Sita Sings the Blues forced her to make tough decisions.

Animation Sketchbooks

Via: Parka Blogs
Via: Parka Blogs

Parka Blogs has a review of an intriguing book that offers an insight into something that isn’t normally on display for all to see; namely animator’s sketchbooks. The list of contributors is long and features many noted artists and at 320 pages is quite a substantial tome.


Fran Krause's page via Parka Blogs
Fran Krause’s page via Parka Blogs

Why For does Disney think that “No Nudes is Good News”

Jim Hill delves into the delightful history behind the practice of slipping cels into animated films that would, well, not be considered appropriate. A must-read.

Tweets of the Week!

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Week Links 15-2013

Some week links for your perusal!

CinemaCon: The End of Film Distribution in North America Is Almost Here

Not strictly animation-related but certainly having an impact on the wider industry. Sadly, film appears to have run its course despite still being superior in many ways.

Laputa – Castle in the Sky: Animating Weight

Via: Colourful Animation Expressions
Via: Colourful Animation Expressions

Oswald Iten’s excellent Colourful Animation Expressions blog features this post regarding weight in animation utilising a scene from Laputa: Castle in the Sky:

Since flying, floating and thus overcoming gravitation is such an integral part of Miyazaki’s films, indicating the weight of characters is of paramount importance to the success of those fantasy worlds. In yet another scene from LAPUTA – CASTLE IN THE SKY I am looking at the transition from weightlessness to gravity

A fascinating post that’s well worth your time.


Via: Jimmy Something
Via: Jimmy Something

Artist ‘Jimmy Something’ created this massive pixel art piece featuring just about every single comic book/animation/pop culture character you can think of. Bravo sir! Click through to view extra large.

Tweets of the Week

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Week Links 14-2013

Your regular dose of week links for April 7th to the 13th!

Animation Scoop

You’ve probably already heard by now, but if not, Jerry Beck’s new blog Animation Scoop is up and running. Differing from Cartoon Research, it covers animation news and current affairs and is written by himself and a group of contributors.

In Kids’ Rooms, Pink Is for Girls, Blue Is for Boys

Via: Slate
Via: Slate

Coming via Slate is this interesting project by Korean artist JeongMee Yoon entitled “The Pink and Blue Project” that illustrates the level at which both pink and blue have been genderised as well as how marketing departments have overwhelmingly dominated their use.

Chris Ledesma Lists His Favourite Simpsons Songs

The Simpsons’ music editor lists his favourite original songs from the series and you can be sure they’re all great 🙂

Tweets of the Week

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/SandraDRivas/status/319227925444575232″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/CookingUpComics/status/319518827622846464″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/MingjueChen/status/321673381055438850″]

Just a short time ago we discussed how the big players in the animation game could abuse Kickstarter and it already seems like that’s the case thanks to Peter Gutierrez:

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/Peter_Gutierrez/status/322427815989501952″]

This blog should be one to keep an eye on:

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/le_bibo/status/322618442865848320″]

An interesting theory, discuss:

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/Shaggyshan/status/322739565662195713″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/amymebberson/status/322830255771508737″]


Week Links 13-2013

Better late than never!

The Leroy Dorsalfin pilot

Via: Mike Geiger's Blog
Via: Mike Geiger’s Blog

Animator Mike Geiger has posted a lot of material from a pitch project he worked on back in 2009. If you’re looking to get familiar with the kind of work that pitching a project involves, you could do yourself a few favours by checking out this post.

Why Shorts (The Animated Kind) Still Matter

The Ladies of Comikazi serve up a great post that looks at animated shorts and why they still matter in an age when they seem irrelevant.

Genius Doesn’t Know Genius

You’re probably already familiar with Pixar’s ’22 Rules of Storytelling’ but do you know how well they translate into the writing process? If not, then Jim Hull’s post is for you!

Pixar Announces ‘Finding Nemo’ Sequel

Via: The Onion
Via: The Onion

Tweets of the Week

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Little Witch Academy hit the internet this week, prompting tweets like these:

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/potatofarmgirl/status/318802185557270528″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/ElRoflstomp/status/318805543806455808″]

A whole host of Cartoon Network shows hit Netflix this week:

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/Tanakaisfired/status/319216855283814400″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/fredseibert/status/319605886739951616″]

Week Links 12-2013

Some interesting week links for you today.

Sad Jetsons: Depression, Buttonitis and Nostalgia in the World of Tomorrow

Via: Paleofuture
Via: Paleofuture

The Paleofuture blog at the Smithsonian takes a look at one particular episode of The Jetsons wherein Jane suffers from depression and attempts to get away from it all. The post makes a link between the show and the debates that were taking place at the time (1962) about recreational space in America. It’s an interesting post and one that illustrates how animation can reflect on the unnoticeable changes in society.

Back From The Dead

The Animation Guild Blog takes a look at the cancellation of Young Justice and Green Lantern: The Animated Series and ponders the role that fans might play in their resurrection.

Princess Mononoke / B2 / Ashitaka style / Japan

Via:Film On Paper
Via:Film On Paper

If you like movie posters (and who doesn’t), I cannot recommend Eddie Shannan’s Film On Paper enough. This week, he posted the awesome one above for Princess Mononoke. He posts just about one a day so it’s well worth becoming a regular follower.

Tweets of the Week

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[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/sashmorky/status/316956696125784064″]

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Lastly, an alternate Samurai Jack

As part of a school assignment, Canadian Franco Égalité, was asked to come up with a character design. He chose Samurai Jack but decided to explore what it would have been like if it was a female in the lead character role. His creation, Samurai Kiyomi is what resulted. Be sure to click through to visit Franco’s blog and the rest of his awesome work.

Via:Franco Égalité's Blog
Via:Franco Égalité’s Blog

Week Links 10-2013

Quite a few week links for you today. Enjoy!

The Problem with Processed Storytelling

Richard Brody at The New Yorker touches on the 22 Rules of Storytelling at Pixar that have been making the rounds recently. His issue is that the results of such processes result in “the cinematic equivalent of irresistibly processed food, with a ramped-up and carefully calibrated dosing of the emotional versions of salt, sugar, and fat.”

Tom Sito’s History of Computer Animation

The FLIP Animation Blog has another excellent interview up. This time it’s not only with Tom Sito, but it’s all about CGI and computer animation in its early days and how it developed. Well worth some of your time to see how the technology developed.

2D or Not 2D, The Disney Feature Animation Legacy.

Thomas Coleman over on the Skwigly blog has a post where discusses whether or not traditional 2D animation is the legacy of Walt Disney and his company. His conclusions may surprise you.

Postman Pat is a beloved figure in Jordan

Via:Cartoon Brew
Via:Cartoon Brew

Yes, my childhood hero of a postman is apparently popular enough in the middle eastern country of Jordan to warrant his own CGI feature film. The Guardian takes a tongue-in-cheek look at this curious scenario.

Careful! You’ll Hurt Disney’s Feelings!

Mark Mayerson has a brilliant post over on his blog where he points out that the censorship that Disney engages in. Basically they use their copyright as a tool to squelch any parts of books that they do not like. As Mark points out, this immediately makes any book that is approved for publication immediately falls under the cloud of being potentially tainted by the Disney legal department’s hand and being considered “damaged goods” as far as the truth is concerned.

There is a term to describe this practice and it’s called ‘copyright abuse’. Copyright provides for the holder to prevent and prohibit unauthorised use of their material for commercial gain. Using it as a tool to prevent their inclusion under otherwise ‘fair use’ terms, is far outside of the intended use of copyright and thus becomes an abuse of the system.

Tweets of the Week

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[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/amymebberson/status/311667011442839552″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/BoxnRoundhead/status/312544494811750401″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/jasontammemagi/status/312634799384821760″]

And Lastly

Via: yourfriendlyunicornhunter.tumblr.com
Via: yourfriendlyunicornhunter.tumblr.com

Yes, someone did cosplay as Jenny Wakeman (XJ-9) from My Life as a Teenage Robot at Momocon. Fair play to them 🙂