Commentary 21 Apr 2011 06:31 am

Loose Pieces

- In days past John Kricfalusi spent quite a bit of time on his site giving some great instructions, via his completed animation art, as to how to properly do different phases of the process. You can start with this ode to Bobe Cannon where images are all he needs to offer in a breakdown of Chuck Jones’s Hold the Lion. Then there’s this great piece on the BG painting technique of Art Lozzi. Part 1, Part 2. There are plenty of other great pieces of this sort, if you haven’t already seen, by just scrolling about.

Recently, he has posted an excellent piece on working storyboards-to-layouts and how to get the most out of both. The layout poses remind me of the working style of Chuck Jones, giving plenty of juicy poses for the animator to follow. Kricfalusi’s purpose, however, isn’t for the animator in the studio but for the animator overseas. As it turns out, I think it’s probably appropriate for both. It’s well worth reading and studying this art from a past Ren & Stimpy episode. Even if you think you’re beyond these stages. I suggest you take a look. Even if you have nothing to learn, it may remind you of how to do better work on these two phases of an animated film. You can find Part 1 and Part 2 at the links. There are another couple of Parts adding more layout drawings to his thesis, but those first two parts are the keys.


On Wednesday, April 27th and Monday, May 1, Oscar nominated animator, Joyce Borenstein, will be giving guided tours through an exhibition of her father’s paintings at Yeshiva University Museum. Sam Borenstein (1908-1969) is considered a master of post-war expressionism in Canada. Joyce’s Oscar-nominated short animated documentary about her father will also be screened.

Yeshiva University Museum’s SELZ GALLERY is located at 15 West 16th Street, NYC. The exhibition continues through to May 8, 2011.


- I saw Rio last week and had mixed feelings. A real three star event. The visuals are lovely to look at, beautifully colored and crafted. The character design was good, though I couldn’t get over the fact that the leading male human looked so much like animation director Ray Kosarin. I saw no cliches in the character design or animation and find that rare from American animation. The voices are excellent. I particularly liked Jesse Eisenberg as the lead character, Blu, and Jemaine Clement as the villainous owl.

The real Ray?

The problem with the film came with the writing. The plot overcomplicates with a very simple and obvious story. There are too many characters and too many of them are introduced late in the game. The film keeps jumping from one plot direction to another to another and back again, but there is no real tension created anywhere in the film. This is too bad since the film has so much going for it.

By the way the 3D is good. I have to admit my eyes watered as usual with these glasses, but the graying effect wasn’t as enormous as it was on other films – particularly Tangled. There is one incredible 3D shot where the camera flies around the statue, Christ the Redeemer, and an arm stretches wildly into the audience. Seeing some stills of this shot shows that the effect is completely nothing in 2D.

8 Responses to “Loose Pieces”

  1. on 21 Apr 2011 at 6:54 am 1.Elliot Cowan said …

    I’ve not seen the film yet, but I think that New Zealander Jemaine Clement is playing an Australian cockatoo (not an owl).

  2. on 21 Apr 2011 at 7:17 am 2.Stephen Macquignon said …

    I think that every leading male human should look like Ray

  3. on 21 Apr 2011 at 7:16 am 3.Michael said …

    You’re probably right. He’s a bird, and he’s one of the many villains, and he gives one of the best performances in the film. I know that Clement is a New Zealander, but I find that irrelevant, or I would have had to write that Jesse Eisenberg is a New Yorker.

  4. on 21 Apr 2011 at 8:00 pm 4.Martin Juneau said …

    I agree that most of us have to learn by studying those Ren & Stimpy layouts frames. Great comparaison with Bob Cannon and Chuck Jones animation process too.

  5. on 21 Apr 2011 at 10:34 pm 5.Eddie Fitzgerald said …

    John is brilliant, and has done a lot for this industry that wouldn’t have a place on a resume. I worry about him. If he gets hit by a meteor tomorrow, and bites the big one, how will we replace him?

  6. on 22 Apr 2011 at 3:17 pm 6.Mario NC said …

    I agree with you Michael, I like Rio, but it’s definitely not a very good movie (kinda like a guilty pleasure). It is filled with interesting ideas and themes, but it never focuses on anything specific (a problem that most Carlos Saldanha’s films have) , effectively killing all conflict and emotion our of the plot. On the other hand, the animation and colors are quite beatiful and the character animation of Blu is amazing (Jesse Eisenberg does a great job with the character) which contrast the dull and boring female lead (the bird, not the human).

  7. on 22 Apr 2011 at 8:18 pm 7.Elliot Cowan said …

    Michael – I wasn’t being critical of your reporting style, I was simply adding colour to my own comment.

  8. on 23 Apr 2011 at 7:30 am 8.Michael said …

    Hi Elliot,

    I never thought you were being critical. And you were right. (It just sort of looked like an owl and I should’ve gotten it right.)

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