Over the years I have come across many great TV series and short films produced in the former Eastern bloc, “Pat a Mat” being one of them, but I can’t believe it took me so long to come across 1969 “Cheburashka”.
Cheburashka, is a series of four Russian stop motion shortfilms made in the early 70s, featuring Gena, a Crocodile in suit officiating at the local Zoo, and Cheburashka (“tumble” in Russian), the baby bear/monkey looking character that fell into an orange crate to wake up in a Russia town.
The short films are a pure joy to watch. The characters and accompanying music are so sweet and the stories so funny and sad at the same time that you can only empathize with the characters. As a side note, Shapoklyak, the third short film of the series is definitely the one with the darkest moments. That sequence when Cheburashka, seeing how Gena is tired from their long walk back home on the train tracks after they had their train tickets stolen and suggests Gena that instead he could carry the heavy luggages while being carried by Gena is both hilarious and heart-wrenching.
I really love that series at it reminds me of the quirkiness and tenderness of Studio AKA’s short film “Lost and Found”, the sadness of René Clements, 1952 “Forbidden games” and the great physical acting from Jacques Tati’s “Mr Hulot”. There is also some “Sitting Ducks” (the first TV show animated in 3dsmax) in it but that is probably just because we see a civilized Crocodile ;-)
Unsurprisingly the series was immensely popular in the Eastern Bloc and Cheburashka was the mascot of the Russian Olympic team several times.
What could be surprising is the fact that the series was brought to Japan by non other than legendary Japanese film director Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli. The first episode, or second one appearing in the entire compilation below, was animated by Miyasaki’s friend and inspirational director, Yuriy Norshteyn. The series gained a lot of popularity in Japan and a feature produced by both Ffango Entertoyment of South Korea and Frontier Works of Japan, supposedly came out in 2010 but I wasn’t able to find any footage of it, just the movie poster and some wonderful screenshots.
If you don’t have time to watch the four shorts, I would at least recommend watching the great pantomime animation in the following sequence.
The script probably said something like “Gena signs form and postal worker returns to his van”. What the animators added to it is just wonderful. Keep an eye on that hat, a lot of nice little touches made the characters so alive. There is definitely some Mr Hulot in there.
Here is the link to the exact sequence => postal worker deliver birthday package
And here is the the entire series with English subtitles. You definitely want to hear the original Russian song and sweet voice over work.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOZpUDMj9t8&t=0m00s
Having moved back to London to work on a really cool cartoony game I can’t talk much of for now, I am currently focusing on life drawing and painting most of my evenings. London is probably the only place in the world where Life drawing classes happen pretty much every day.
For that reason, I decided to start a new blog and I will be posting all sort of useful information I come across on it and I might even post some of my drawings. Hopefully you might find some information helpful .
I have a bit of experience with Life drawing, painting is something very new to me so if you are interested in the same topic, point your RSS reader to the following link, I will be posting all the great material I find useful in my learning.
The blog look a bit rough around the edges but the content should easily compensate for the look in my opinion. On a side note, I am not going with WordPress this time as I am a bit tired of having to constantly update it and always fear that something will be broken. Also, I have started suggesting to my friends who need a Content Management System to also use Blogger so this might prove useful to test the levels of customisation it supports.
Surprisingly Animation with a Moustache hasn’t been hacked for quite a while ….. or so I hope ;-)
As an effort to better market myself and increase my chances of getting new jobs after my current contract, I have also just made a new temp title card featuring my best work. An updated one will appear in few month.
Keep pushing yourself!
someone just pointed at a great series of videos posted by online school CGTarian. The videos feature a bunch of top Dreamworks animators (is Joe Bower at Disney or Dreamworks now?) discussing animation.
It has been a long time since I last heard a group of animators talk shop and it is really refreshing. Too bad they are not invited to comment on DVDs and Blurays anymore.
The series starts with the crucial “thumbs or no thumbs” and having Ted Ty comment makes it even more interesting.
Tangled Joe Bowers thought process
I love the design of Krampus. Check out the following links to see some behind the scenes and their blog to see past work
Well…. I have to post that video about their past Spongebob special in case you missed the link. That would be sad. I also love 2d but there is something about seeing those characters in volume….
via: Cartoon Brew
Since Facebook has decided to widen the use of their awful Ranking system to Newsfeed, I have decided to refocus my efforts on updating this blog more often than I have done in the past few month.
I would also encourage other “content makers” to do the same as you don’t want a third party to interfere in your communication with your audience and in a way, “censor” your posts by applying a silly celebrity ranking system. Getting statistics of your website’s usage is also much easier with a blog than on Facebook and I am not even talking about the immense improvement on searching your blog.
I would also suggest smart readers to use a RSS reader like Feedly and its mobile equivalent (Phonly for Windows Mobile users) just so they can get all their favorite content from an organised central location (GTD) on their phone/tablet or desktop.
And to start those new year’s resolutions, here is a rare interview with one of the top Matte Painters and Vis dev guy in the industry, Paul Lasaine. Thanks Schoolism and Bobby Chiu for a great interview again.
By the way, I just logged onto the Schoolism website and realised I still have access to all the courses with Video Feedback I took.. Really cool!!! I look forward to watching Nathan Fowkes lectures again next year.
If like me you couldn’t make it to CTNX this year, don’t despair. Tina Price and her crew are offering a free broadcast with demos and live interviews of several participants. Click on the following picture to access it. I think you can also ask questions in realtime….. too bad I only realized that late yesterday.
There is also a paying option to access some of the conferences Live and On Demand for $55 but I can’t find much informations about it. I think it is only the main conferences held in the Marriott’s ballroom. It is a pretty cool option as it is like being at CTN and avoiding the schedules reshuffles, long queues and accompanying queue jumpers without paying for the unattainable VIP pass ;-)
It would be awesome if the conferences held in the tents and secondary venues were also broadcast as those were just as much interesting and sometimes even better last year.
Here is where you would order the paying option and I have been told the content will still be available 15 days after the show ends.
Thanks Tina, your crew and all the volunteers. With the addition of the live broadcast and recording, CTN is definitely a one of a kind event.
Back from CTN 2012
They were so nice they even shared some behind the scenes videos showing their process, the rendering (using Arnold) and a rig demo.
[Update after 3 years] Like I mentioned in my original review, the Monoprice is far better for clean drawing than the Wacom offering so I still use the Monoprice but only on my laptop. Having upgraded my desktop to Windows 10, I didn’t manage to test or make the Monoprice work on it so currently using a Wacom Intuos 5 pro on the desktop and the Monoprice on my Windows 7 laptop. The following pictures were drawn or sculpted on the Monoprice. Ah and the battery is a non issue as I haven’t changed it in…… 3 freaking years!!!!
[Update after 6 month of use and upgrading to Windows 8] I gave up on Monoprice. There is absolutely no support whatsoever from Monoprice and the current drivers are way to flacky for me to recommend the tablet to anyone. I loved the light weight, small size and larger usable surface than similar Wacom but the drivers are unusable and like I said, Monoprice doesn’t care about customer support. Good bye Monoprice and cheap tablets, I am back to the Wacom monopoly and just bought an Intuos (5) Pro medium. (can’t stand the touch thing and disabled it but at least the drivers are stable). [/update]
[update after three month of use] The issues I was having in Photoshop CS6 and CC were caused by old buggy ATI/AMD graphic card driver which hasn’t been updated for 2 years…. Battery is a non issue as I haven’t changed it in 3 month. Pressure sensitivity is definitely better than the Intuos 3 but there is a bit of jitter if you don’t draw fast. Do I still recommend it? well…. it is only $50 right. Digitizer is larger than the Medium Wacom, tablet is lighter and smaller than Wacom so it fits nicely in my backpack even in the Medium version. I would really like the line to have no jitter but for the ease of use, that’s a keeper. Oh! I was about to forget. It appears that the Middle Mouse button doesn’t work on Macs which really suck for OSX fans. [/update]
After reading a very positive review by an artist called Frenden, I wanted to see if that $50 tablet was really so much better than the much beloved Wacom branded tablets that cost three to four times more.
I have been using Wacom tablets since 1998, the Ultrapad A5 being my first model. I have also owned several Windows TabletPCs equipped with Wacom digitizers. To put it bluntly, I used to be a Wacom fanboy and would regularly make fun of people buying other brands.
One day, a post on the now defunct Drawn.ca attracted my attention. Frenden was claiming that he had switched from his $2.500 Cintiq to a mere $55 Monoprice tablet and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I witnessed how clean his lines are (see for yourself). The Monoprice tablet is not available in France so I made the most of my recent London Life Drawing boot camp to order the 10×6 model and give it a try.
I have only been using the tablet for a week so hopefully I will be able to iron out some little issues I am having in the following weeks. So far it works amazingly well in Manga Studio Pro, Paint Tool SAI and Zbrush. The quality of the line and the pressure sensitivity is way better than my Intuos 3.
I do have an issue with the line quality in Photoshop CS6 64bit on Windows 7 but I will be testing it on Windows 8 next week.
So far, I am really liking it and the Intuos 3 has been gathering dust for the past 7 days. It is very likely that I will sell the Intuos 3, UNLESS, I can’t fix the Photoshop issue.
Let’s see how it goes, more to follow.
Just as a reminder, the Monoprice is equipped with an UC Logic digitizer which is the digitizer used in the Yiynova MSP 19U, an impressive piece of hardware usually refered as the Cintiq killer
Run and walks are the bread and butter of video game animators and unfortunately I hadn’t found a good source of references on that topic in the past.
Until today, I wasn’t bothered and used treadmill references since that’s mainly what they have been doing at Pixar from Monsters Inc to Up so if it is good for them, it should be good for me, but it is said that treadmill runs are actually different from the real thing.
My understanding of physics is so basic that I can’t see why it would be any different (does anyone actually understands inertia or references frames?) so I decided to do some research and was lucky to find two great references of World record marathon runner Haile Gebrselassie. One of him on a treadmill and a second one shot during a marathon. I didn’t spend too much time on walks since everybody’s walk is unique and I am pretty sure the difference would be too subtle.
Before you watch the videos and make up your mind, one thing I should mentioned is that the treadmill run was only a 4 minutes run and he was wiping his face with the towel in front of him few frames before the beginning of the footage. You can find the link to the original footage below. The video on the right is a real marathon race.
Here is a Vimeo version if you prefer
What can we notice?
The upper body is possibly slightly bent forward on the road race but I don’t think there is a real difference for the back leg to be honest, at least not at 30fps.
For runs, I would suggest people to pay attention to the running style instead and get to learn about the Pose Method.
The Pose method is dramatically different than a regular run since you hit the road with the ball of your foot rather than the heel so your calf muscle plays the role of a shock absorber rather than the sole of your expensive trainers and your knee joint, leading to less joint stress/pain. Hum it looks like I should do an other video showing regular runs compared to Pose ones ;-)
As animators we are having a tough time to understand runs but don’t worry…. so do runners!
This guy found out that depending on the brand of shoes he is wearing, or not wearing, he would hit the ground in a different manner, check out those great references:
What, wait! Three Ringling students made this?!?!! How the hell is this possible !
I just love it, especially the character design. Really good work guys! I want to see a sequel to this!
and here is a link to the artist’s blogs where you will find a great making of video:
While I am posting, here are some news for you. I am currently attending Nate Wragg’s “character design for production” class and it is awesome. I always manage to screw up and not respect the deadlines but the character I am working on is developing really nicely. I will be posting all my work when the class finishes but here is a little work in progress for you. We are not supposed to do any rendering but I felt I needed to shade this guy for this week’s turnaround.
I will probably share my Photoshop brushes at the end of the class. Here is that work in progress, the mouth is completely out of whack but I think it is a fun painting.
Francesco Giroldini, lighting tutorials