We first did the Wordform Animation Project way back in 2010. Check out these student examples from years past. These are great examples, but I think we can push the concept even more this year. I can’t wait to see what you guys come up with as we continue on pre-production work.
Norm Ferguson: William Norman “Norm” Ferguson (September 2, 1902 – November 4, 1957) was an animator for Walt Disney Studios and a central contributor to the studio’s stylistic development in the 1930s. He is most frequently noted for his contribution to the creation of Pluto, one of the studio’s best-known and most enduring characters, and is the artist most closely associated with that character.
Ferguson, known at the studio as “Norm” or “Fergy”, was also the primary animator of the witch in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the first in a long line of great Disney feature villains. He was also a sequence director on the film. After starting at the studio in 1929 as a cameraman, Ferguson switched to the animation department and rose rapidly, despite a lack of formal art training. His early animation of the dog who would become Pluto drew strong response at the studio and on-screen for giving the character a personality and apparent inner life that was considered a great step forward for the young art form of animation. Animators Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston paid extensive tribute to Ferguson’s work in their 1981 book Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life, calling his famous “flypaper sequence” from the 1934 short Playful Pluto- in which the dog is stuck to a piece of flypaper- a “milestone in personality animation…through it all, his reaction to his predicament and his thoughts of what to try next are shared with the audience. It was the first time a character seemed to be thinking on the screen, and, though it lasted only 65 seconds, it opened the way for animation of real characters with real problems.” Continue Reading ›
Notes on The Story of the Animated Drawing (1955):
On Thursday (8/31/17) we will watch an episode of the 1950s television show, Disneyland. The ABC Television network was an early investor in the construction of the Anaheim amusement park; along with that funding ABC got Disney to produce and host a weekly show that highlighted different aspects of the park in addition to other subjects pertaining to the studio. This particular episode is a concise and well illustrated overview of the early history of animation.
Amid Amidi at Cartoon Brew on StoryBots:
The show was set up “in a way that individual artists can make big contributions,” Spiridellis says. “There isn’t a style that runs through the whole show.” The show has “anchors”—for example, when the Storybots enter the human world, they always appear in cg, while at Storybots headquarters, they have an outline-less 2D look.
But other sequences are open to the interpretation of the artists. “That really enables us to let the team do what they do best,” explains Spiridellis. “Which means, ‘Hey you like painting this way?’ ‘Well, paint that way.’ ‘You like making puppets?’ ‘Go make a puppet.’” Link
A technicolor menagerie of misshapen, lopsided creatures inhabit the loopy world of Neil Sanders, an Australian illustrator and animator. Check out an earlier post on Sanders here featuring an animated GIF from Richard William’s book (and iPad App) The Animator’s Survival Kit.
More on Neil Sanders and his loops below the fold:
Charlotte “Lotte” Reiniger (2 June 1899 – 19 June 1981) was a German film director and the foremost pioneer of silhouette animation. Reiniger made more than 40 films over her career, all using her invention.Her best known films are The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926) – the oldest surviving feature-length animated film, preceding Walt Disney’s feature-length Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) by over ten years – and Papageno (1935), featuring music by Mozart. Reiniger is also noted for devising a predecessor to the first multi-plane camera.
It is amazing to see how detailed and thorough Kimball’s thumbnails were, Those are all the key drawings necessary…just add inbetweens. He went straight ahead and figured the complete scene out on one 16 field sheet of animation paper.
Open the full post here to see the full image of Kimball’s thumbnails:
Yesterday we took a look at The Story of the Animated Drawing, a 1955 episode of the ABC television show Disneyland. At one point in the episode Walt Disney demonstrated a handful of 19th century novelty devices that paved the way for the development of animation. One of these devices, the zoetrope, has had a 21st century revival in the form of 3D printed variations like the one featured at the top of this post by animator Shaun Rogers (no relation).
I’m looking forward to checking out this documentary:
Animator. Storyman. Troublemaker. Take an intimate journey through the life and career of the ‘Forrest Gump’ of the animation industry — Floyd Norman. At 80 years old, see how this Disney Legend, the first African American artist and storyman at Disney, continues to impact animation and stir up his own brand of “trouble”.
For more information, please visit: FloydNormanMovie.com
Has it really been six years since we first did the Spore Animation Project? Check out these examples from the distant and ancient year of two-thousand and ten. There are some really great examples in here that might inspire you as we begin work on the 2016 Spore Animation Project.
Amid Amidi marks the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the first Disney labor strike, which started on May 29th, 1941:
…tensions had been building at the studio since the runaway success of the studio’s first film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937, and employees of the studio had a litany of grievances from low wages and salary cuts to arbitrary layoffs, arcane bonus distribution systems, and oppressively long hours (including mandatory work on Saturdays).
Check out the full piece here. Amidi offers a quick overview of what lead up to the strike, a gallery of images, and a connection to the working and wage condition of animation artists today.
Maurice Noble is a name that draws blank stares from most people, but he’s a legend among animators and cartoon buffs – he art-directed and laid out many classic Merry Melodies and Looney Tunes cartoons, including the legendary What’s Opera, Doc?, Duck Amuck, and Duck Dodgers In The 24½th Century; he defined the abstract-modernist style of the Road Runner series; and he mentored a number of creators who have gone on to great acclaim in animation, cartooning, and other fields.