Site FeedI don't use these things myself, but there's now a "Site Feed" link on the lower-right side of this page, just above the donation button.
The Museum of Bad ArtI came across the excellent Museum of Bad Art (MoBA) while searching for an alleged exhibit of Ramayana miniatures in a Boston museum. Turns out Massachusetts contains even more cultural treasures than I'd realized. This is a must see.
For those of us unfortunate New Yorkers who are unable to make it to Dedham, there are some excellent examples of Bad Art on view right now at the Whitney Biennial. Oh, and some Good Art, too. I think. So they say. Actually my favorite was the rotating chandelier movie projected at 48 frames per second, because you could go right up to the screen and scrutinize every detail, including the horizontal micro-scratches developing on the film loop running through the gate sideways, and you could scrutinize the high-end 48 fps projector too, since it's in the middle of the room - a real treat for film nerds like me.
The YuyuWanna see some fantastic animation made with Flash? Then watch this. The dark swirly clouds move with a grace I can only dream of.
Discovered via animWATCH.
Fakin' itSome scenes in Sita Sings the Blues will break style from the cartoony stuff I've done so far. I want to use real antique miniatures, but getting the high-res images isn't so easy. So I've been trying to fake some myself. I've been using Holbein "Irodori" antique watercolors, which claim to "reproduce...qualities that were typical of ancient oriental artistic use," and thick Italian cotton paper, which is natural tan-brown and has visible fibers. Oh, and also Photoshop. Lots of Photoshop. Here's one result.
The Host with the MOSTThanks to Cain's comments on my last post, I've just uploaded Battle of Lanka to the Internet Archive. I've long been a huge supporter of Creative Commons so this is a great solution.
Battle of Lanka was made about a year ago, and is chapter 4 in Sita Sings the Blues, after Hanuman Finds Sita and before Trial By Fire. In this episode, Rama, Hanuman, and the monkey armies cross the sea to Lanka to conquer Ravana and the rakshasas, and rescue the captive Sita. Assisting me was Jake Friedman, the only animation apprentice I've ever had. Jake wanted to learn Flash and had excellent animation chops and a good eye, so he came to Brooklyn almost every day for a month. Jake animated much of the monkey-on-demon violence: monkey swinging axe, monkey throwing axe, monkey bashing demon with club, monkey kicking demon, etc. A panorama of Jake's animation occurs at 1:28, in which I took pretty much everything he'd animated on the project and composited it into a single scene. It's worth multiple viewings, to catch all his lovingly considered variations. Thanks Jake!
(Lest this spawn new offers for assistance, I'm not taking on any animation apprentices right now. It actually takes more time to train someone else, even while they work, than to work alone. Much as I appreciate the unique contributions of a new set of eyes, I really want to get this project done before, say, I die. End of 2007 is my target.)
There are several more episodes I haven't posted publicly, and I reformatted Trial By Fire for widescreen, as well as changing a few scenes, and haven't uploaded the new version. I don't want to post everything online before the film is done, but you can see stills from all 8 episodes.
The Hostess with the LeastestAfter much thought, I'm ready to post another animated chapter of Sita Sings the Blues: Battle of Lanka. Only thing is, I can't afford the hosting if my site gets stormed again like it did last year. Anyone want to host this puppy? It's 31.6 MB. Yes, I tried Google Video, and it did upload, but it plays like crap, skipping 4 out of 5 frames. And yes, I know about bittorrent, but I've never had much luck with it myself and I always prefer clips that play online without any additional software. I guess I'm getting picky - artifact-laden compression and tiny picture sizes are as far as I'm willing to compromise, you'll have to pry that frame rate out of my cold, dead hands.
That was fun
Although I'm jetlagged out of my mind, I had a great time at the FMX conference in Stuttgart. I was totally surprised and delighted to see Alfred Muchilwa, one of the participants in Africa Animated '04 in Nairobi, where I taught Flash production. I enjoyed sharing cranky stories with
Marv Newland, genius animator, designer, and luddite, whose misanthropy rivals my own. I met a significant contingent of speakers from India: K.M. Ranjith, Vinod Vijay of Tatvah, Yugandhar, and Kireet. I saw my old neighbor from Urbana, IL, who grew up and became a superstar opf VFX lighting: Paul Debevec. Our gracious and generous host, Prof. Thomas Haegele, showed us around the impressive Filmakademie Baden-Württenburg and fed us like royalty. I saw brilliant new art from Gary Stasiuk, which represents the opposite end of the Flash spectrum from my own work (interactive, actionscript, non-narrative) and is gorgeous. Big thanks to Wolfgang Schmidt-Sichermann for inviting me. I had fun for a whole week, and how often does that happen? Photos here.