Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Filmcamp 2010

Filmcamp 2010 'unconference' will be screening Archon Defender, as well as my Director's Q&A session from the Revue Cinema screening, 31st January 2010 at the National Library, Victoria Street, Singapore.

Filmcamp is an intense event with discussions, demos and interaction from attendees. This event will bring together interesting people in the creative, media, IT and other sectors to share ideas in a collegial atmosphere of unabashed geekery.
If you're in the area, it's a good chance to see it on the big screen in full HD glory, as well as nerd out with other film minded geeks as well.

Archon Defender - 3D glasses not required

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Not bad.. until the ending :|

J.J. Abrams is at it again ;)

Looks like J.J Abrams might be up to his old tricks again:

No worries. If the cloverfield monster attacks London, Dr. Who will show up in time to save the day.

"Between the Lines"

I love the style, the use of color and tone in this short:

From the youtube description:

"Between the lines" is about Ray a fireman who lives in a society in which books are illegal, a world where dreams and culture are blast. He burns books, This new found curiosity gets Ray into trouble when he takes an interest in reading the books that he's supposed to burn.
Now, the complaineys over on the internet will probably gripe about the rough animation in this one. Or maybe not, because it's 2D so you can cut it some slack. 3D animation has to be pixel perfect Disney squash and stretch slapstick. *yawn*

Now this short manages to set the tone, establish the motivations of the characters, and convey a complex story, all in two and a half minutes (including credits) The visual style is what carries this film, and it's a good example if how visual style should be intertwined with the underlying world of your film.

It is far more important to establish a coherent visual style than to worry about the nit picky miniscule details of your execution. Spend too much time worrying about if your walk cycles are perfect, or if the reflections are physically accurate, or if the timing is slightly off, and you won't have a film, all you'll have is a demo reel. And there's lots more of those online better than yours.

So to all the complaineys who don't like my animation style because it's rougher than what has been learned at you at animation school, or not 'snappy', or conforming to the pidegonhole expectation that animation 'should be': I don't make animated films. I make films that happen to be animated.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Top Ten Reasons your complainey list sucks

Top 10 reasons your whiney complainey top 10 list sucks

  1. Your work sucks and you only realize it on a subconscious level and writing your top 10 list is the only way you can compensate for this.
  2. You are a master at whatever you do, but nobody else wants to acknowledge this because it makes them feel inferior and as a result they aren't prepared to listen to you anyway.
  3. You don't actually know what you are talking about, but that's not going to stop you from proclaiming your opinion to the whole internet.
  4. Your points are appropriate and well intentioned, however nobody else is going to see it that way because they are taking it as a personal insult to their own ablilites.
  5. Your top 10 list primarily derides cliches, ironically a top 10 list is in itself a cliche.
  6. I'm too busy watching a mashup of "Ninja cat" and "Adiago for Strings" on youtube doubler to care about your list.
  7. You are starting to run out of ideas towards the end of your list. Like me. right now :(
  8. Your list is dripping with sarcasm. Easy, isn't it, to get people riled up on the internet? It's like being back in grade 5 without the wedgies or the nougies.
  9. Your complaints aren't really helping anybody, and won't change anything, or influence anyone. Just like 'petition' groups on facebook. Or comment trolling on youtube.
  10. You wasted your time writing and / or reading the list when you could have been doing something else productive. Unless you were waiting for a render to finish on your latest film project or something, in which case... meh.. a few good laughs here and there

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

10 reasons why your film sucks

Ten Reasons why your Animation Sucks:
  1. It took you way too long to make and it's still only 5 minutes long.
  2. You had a whole bunch of people working on it and it's still only 5 minutes long.
  3. The main character is a kid, and the whole movie is a bunch of unrelated 'comedic' events that culminate in the kid waking up from a dream where all the stuff in the movie are actually toys scattered around his/her room.
  4. Your film is yet another Star Wars fanfilm.
  5. The music sounds like you recorded it from your old soundblaster, playing back a general midi file, which you downloaded from one of those web sites that also has collection of animated 'under construction' gifs as well.
  6. Your character interacts with the camera in a comedic or slapstick fashion so you can put it on your demo reel as proof of your 'snappy' character animation abilities.
  7. Off camera audio gags accompanied by more camera shaking. The character then stumbles back onto screen with a bear trap or something similar clamped onto his head.
  8. The story is so weak that the only thing carrying the film is the fact you managed to pull off the 'pixar' look with 40 render element passes per shot.
  9. Motion freeze. Characters freeze solid, or the camera freezes solid in the middle of a shot.
  10. You didn't base your work on a diverse enough number of influences that it's obviously not original. I know it's hard (or impossible) to be truly original these days, however you should try to mix it up a little.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Short film: Alma

Alma is a short from director Rodrigo Blaas done in that 'cutesy twilight zone' style of animation which seems to be popular, thanks to movies like Coraline. At 5 minutes and 30 seconds, you're not going to expect anything of epic proportions here, but this still manages to be one of the more entertaining short films I've seen in a while.

Definite props to the director: I won't ruin the ending, but I'll simply tell you that the whole short DOESNT end up just being the dream of the kid at the end.

The character design, technical stuff (like modeling rendering compositing etc) are well done, which can be expected from the way too many people who worked on this film.

Ok, so this film entertained me for it's 5 minutes and 30 seconds, and I'm not expecting to extract that amount of my life back (painfully) from the director if we ever meet, unlike the latest Roland Emmerich turkey. (3 hours... I'm just glad I pirated it so I'm not out $9.50 as well)

There's always a few things that stick out at me about shorts like this:

As I said, way too many people worked on this film. The site isn't specific on how long they worked on this, but by comparison I've been working on Afternow since October (starting from blank recipe cards and concept art to finished shots...) and I've got 5:30 done. And that's only going hard at animating shots for the last 3 weeks or so. You'd think that with a whole bunch of people working at it, they could make a hella longer film. Well. At least, I'd think that. M. Dot Strange would call me a slacker.

3D Short Checklist
  1. Cutesy proportioned child
  2. 'Snappy' animation style that isn't quite natural
  3. Foggy window showing off your render farm
  4. Long tracking camera shots showing off your render farm
  5. Clever twist at the end (a la' M. Night Shaylaman school of screenplay writing)
This short is original. But it's irritatingly bland originality. It's so original that it's just as original as every other short you're going to see this year. Animation lets you do anything you want. Problem there is, you have to think it up. Which isn't a problem once you realize: Animation lets you do anything that you want. It just takes determination, vision, and the ability to ignore the squawking hordes of opinions all around you.

Films to watch for inspiration:
  • Fight Club
  • The Fountain
  • Children of Men
  • Dark City
  • Chronicles of Riddick
  • Donnie Darko
  • Primer
  • We Are The Strange
  • Four Eyed Monsters

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Use of the Golden Mean in cinematic composition

The golden ratio crops up everywhere in nature, and it's helpful to know how to apply this to artistic composition. You might already use it unconsciously, because it lends itself to the classical Greek notion of the 'ideal form'

Now without me explaining it in detail again, go to wikipedia to bone up on the golden mean...

This still from Ratatouille shows off composition by the golden mean quite nicely:
  1. The Horizon is set at the major vertical subdivision
  2. The river occupies the lower left corner, and again at a major horizontal subdivision
  3. Further subdividing the right part of this frame, again the character and his rooftop perch are composed according to various golden ratio subdivisions of the frame
  4. The space occupied by the character is itself a further subdivision according to the golden mean
  5. As is the ratio between the base width of the character to the neck
  6. You can see the Eiffel Tower and the dome in the distance, two major features which break up the horizon, also lie on significant golden ratio points.
Definitely a handy little 'secret' to know when it comes to your own productions ;D

Friday, January 1, 2010