rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href=""/>

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Animation Timeline - Walt Disney

Fig. 1 Walter Disney Portrait

Walter Disney (1901 – 1966) was an American film producer, director, screenwriter, and animator, he is also the co-founder of Walt Disney Productions. He was an innovator and a perfectionist who was forever attempting to improve his product and explore the medium to its fullest potential, making him one of the best-known motion picture producers in the world. Walt Disney is the creator of some of the world's most loved cartoon characters.

Walt Disney’s empire grew because of one mouse with big ear, which would go on to bring him his biggest success. "Mickey Mouse" was created in 1928, and at the beginning he was going to be used in a silent cartoon, but before its release, sound appeared on another motion picture when was released. So Mickey made his debut in "Steamboat Willie," the world's first fully-synchronized sound cartoon. "The most difficult aspect of making Steamboat Willie was the synchronization of picture and sound. For this reason, dialogue was kept to a bare minimum (with Walt Disney himself supplying the voices of his characters). The music for the cartoon was planned, although not scored, before any of the animation was begun." (Obalil, 2010) Mickey Mouse has gone on to become a symbol of Disney and become a cultural icon. Mickey has appeared in many cartoons, full feature films, books, toys, and was made into every piece of merchandise you could imagine. The invention of other cartoon characters as Donald Duck, Minnie, Goofy, and Pluto combined with the use of music, sound, and folk material, made the Disney shorts of the 1930s successful all over the world.

Fig. 2 Steamboat Willie Film Still

In 1934, Disney decided to create his and the worlds first feature length animated film "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs". Everyone thought he was heading down the wrong path, as Mickey Mouse was still going strong as an animation. After all, a feature-length cartoon would cost a lot to make and people believed, that if Disney didn’t not come up with a story line that would hold people's attention for over an hour of animation, it would fail. Of course, Disney did not listened to any of his critics. What's more, Disney's competitors were coming on strong with cartoons and he knew if he wanted to get anywhere he would have to go beyond the short animations. "As animator Ward Kimball recalled, "The highlight was at the climax of the film, when Snow White is presumed to be dead and she's laid out on the slab ... Here was a cartoon, and here was the audience crying. The biggest stars, you name them, were all wiping their eyes." As John Culhane, an animation authority and author of the soon-to-be released "Fantasia 2000: Visions of Hope," has written, "In Disney's 'Snow White,' for the first time, moving drawings became moving drawings."" (disneydreamer, 2007)

Fig. 3 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Film Still

After Disney’s triumph of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", the groundbreaking animation that proved once and for all that the audiences were ready for feature-length cartoon films. Disney next tackled an even more ambitious project Fantasia (1940) which is several short films and is one of Disney’s most stylized films. Were inanimate objects come alive with music of composers such as Igor Stravinsky, Ilyich Tchaikovsky, and others playing throughout. "Thematically, the imagery in Fantasia is drawn from a far-ranging array of conceptual fields: nature and the four seasons (Nutcracker); legend and mythology (Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Pastoral Symphony, respectively); prehistoric times (Rite of Spring); even Christian concepts of sacred and profane, heaven and hell (the climactic Bald Mountain / Ave Maria sequence)." (Greydanus, 2000).

Fig. 4 Fantasia Film Still

From the 1930s onwards, Disney, instigated large merchandising campaigns to reap additional profits via T-shirts, toys, and watches. Today, Disneyland and Disneyworld are living monuments to his memory. And it is not surprising that Disney eventually stretched his talents beyond pure animation, first combining cartoons with actors and, finally, producing live-action features and In 1950, he produced Treasure Island, his first non-animated feature. But when Disney died in 1966, his "ultimate legacy remains his animated stories, and the narrative elements which lifted them above his competition. His characters are not just caricatures that insult each other, bash each other with baseball bats, or push each other off cliffs. They are lifelike, three-dimensional creatures with personalities all their own: they are simple, but never simplistic, and rarely, if ever, fail to thoroughly involve the viewer." (Edelman, unknown)

List Of Illustrations

Figure. 1 Disney, Walt (1901 – 1966) Walt Disney Protrait. (Accessed on 28/03/2011)
Figure. 2 Disney, Walt (1928) Steamboat Willie Film Still. (Accessed on 28/03/2011)
Figure. 3 Disney, Walt (1937) Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Film Still. (Accessed on 28/03/2011)
Figure. 4 Disney, Walt (1940) Fantasia Film Still. (Accessed on 28/03/2011)

Obalil, Linda J. ( 2010) STEAMBOAT WILLIE. (Accessed on 28/03/2011)
Disneydreamer (2007) Walt Disney History- Part 7 (Accessed on 28/03/2011)
Greydanus, Steven D. (2000) Fantasia (1940) (Accessed on 28/03/2011)
Edelman, Rob (unknown) Walt Disney. (Accessed on 28/03/2011)

Sunday, 27 March 2011

More Character Sketches....

Now that I feel I have found away of expressing movement and motion in my character sketches. I decided to do some quick colour sketches of my character (pepper mill) to try and express its personality. I am quite surprise how they come out, so I think that they need some developing till I am happy that my character has the right personality as well as expressing the emotion Ebullient.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

@Phil - Essay Introduction and Structuring

I have research into my essay but I have sat down to start structuring my essay I seem to be struggling for some reason. I was wondering if you could have a look through what I think the structure of my essay should be and say if I am on the right track or if I am drifting away from answering the question please .

Friday, 25 March 2011

Pepper Mill (character) sketches

One thing I noticed with my character sketches and my animatic is that my character (the pepper mill) looks too static  and there is very little movement expressed. After talking to Meg today, she advised me to be more loose with the my pen and to just go with it, when it comes to squashing and stretching my character. So I decided to do some quick sketches of my character with this in mind and I am really happy how they turn out. But more practice is need to add more personality to my character.  

2D Animation - Normal Walk Cycle

Camera Exercise

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Animatic With Sound Effects


I still feel that the animatic needs some more work maybe a soundtrack might help but at the moment  it is enough to get the timing right for my animation.

Movement and Motion Drawings

Here are 5 of the best sketches from Fridays animation workshop, that I believe portrays movement and motion the best....

Animation Timeline - Lotte Reiniger

Fig.1 Lotte Reiniger

Lotte Reiniger (1899 – 1981) was a German silhouette animator, with a career as an independent filmmaker that is among the longest in film history. Reiniger was one of the twentieth century's major animation artists, with a unique and distinctive style of black and white silhouette animation in her interpretations of classic myths and fairy tales. Reiniger is among the great figures of animators, and stands alone on one point because no one else has taken a specific animation technique and made it their own unlike Reiniger. With the history of silhouette animation beginning and ending with Reiniger, she took the ancient art of shadow-plays and adapted it for the cinema.
Reiniger was born in Berlin 1899, and from an early age she showed an exceptional and self-taught ability to cut free-handed paper silhouettes. She would then use them in her own homemade shadow theatre. Silhouette animation did existed before 1919, but Reiniger was its greatest practitioner. She had found away to transform a technique, from its bland genre to a recognized art form that still inspires animators today.

Fig. 2 "Cinderella" (1922) Film Still

It can be said that most of Reiniger’s films comprise of Fairy tales, which of course was one of her first films in 1922, based on a much loved fairy tale "Cinderella". The films form and style is astonishing and the way that her "Animated figures provide archetypal rather than definitive renderings of fairytale characters, and particularly in Reiniger’s monochromatic stories, the images allow space for the viewer’s imagination to fill in the gaps." (North, 2009) It is the way that her silhouettes make the gestures of the characters and this captures the viewer’s imagination.
Reiniger inscribes her films with her distinctive signature. For example in the opening section of "Cinderella", where the scissors makes that first cut of the main character. This is the way that she shows the viewer that she started out with simple raw materials paper and scissors. Just as any storyteller would provide an introduction to explain the difference between the real and story worlds. Reiniger is showing the viewer how she brings her silhouettes to life.

Fig. 3 ‘The Adventures of Prince Achmed’ (1926) Film Still

From 1923 to 1926, Reiniger worked with Carl Koch, Walther Ruttmann and Berthold Bartosch on what is  her most famous work, ‘The Adventures of Prince Achmed’. The film "was a pioneer feature-length animated film, one must proclaim that it is a brilliant feature, a wonderful film full of charming comedy, lyrical romance, vigorous and exciting battles, eerie magic, and truly sinister, frightening evil." (Moritz, 1996) After completing ‘The Adventures of Prince Achmed’, Reiniger never again attempted to make a feature-length animated film. For the rest of her career she concentrated on shorts until she died in 1981.

North, Dan (2009) Lotte Reiniger’s Cinderella (1922). (Accessed on 23/02/2011)
Moritz, William (1996) Lotte Reiniger.

List Of Illustrations

Figure. 1 (Accessed on 24/03/2011)
Figure. 2 Reiniger, Lotte (1922) Cinderella Film Still. (Accessed on 24/03/2011)

Figure. 3 Reiniger, Lotte (1926) The Adventures of Prince Achmed Film Still. (Accessed on 24/03/2011) (Accessed on 23/02/2011)

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Life Drawing (Lesson 17)

In today's life drawing lesson, there were 11 poses which were based on several of the adjectives that we were given to us for our current project, with the poses lasting between 5 - 10 minutes. 

Monday, 21 March 2011

The Ebullient Pepper Mill - Animatic without sound

Here is just a first try of putting this animatic together with my storyboard. It is just really simple without any sound and no effects so that I can actually picture my animation. Now i have got to find the right sound track and effects to go with my animatic. So here it is .... 

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Unit 5 - Essay Idea

For my essay I am thinking about looking into and writing about John Lasseter. In terms of the writing about him for my essay I think that there is a lot of context that can be written about him. So in the essay here are some of the points that could be raised 
  • His move from The Walt Disney company were he become an animator, to Pixar (Lucasfilm) where he worked on the then groundbreaking use of CGU animation.
  • His work, I can talk about how Lassester animations have had an impact  on the animation industry in a whole.
  • So in terms of looking into his films, there are so many to choose from, so I was thinking about writing about the animations that made a different such as the one of the Pixar shorts films as well as Toy story.

When I did some research into Lassester, I came across an interview that he done. Then was one question that I found interesting and his answers was quite inspiring so I though that I would post it.

The Ebullient Pepper Mill - Final Script

With my final script I have taken out a few things from my original script and have done some re-arranging with the acts as well.  I think that this has made the story that more simpler and gets to the point much more quickly.

The Ebullient Pepper Mill - Storyboard

When it came to drawing out the storyboard for 'The Ebullient Pepper Mill' I tried to make the drawings a simple as possible. But one thing that I noticed when I finished drawing out the storyboard, was that I will have to rely on sound for the audience to understand what is happening. So good sounds effects and a good sound track will be need in my animation.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Character Concept Sketches

My main character in my story is Pepper the ebullient pepper mill. An over enthusiastic and excitable pepper mill that is trying to attacked the attention of the customers that are sitting at her table. After doing a couple of sketches to find out what kind of shape I wanted the pepper mill to be,  I have gone for the traditional pepper mill wooden shape as seen below.

Now that I have got the shape of the pepper mill, I decided to do some quick rough sketches to see how I would expresses emotion through movement. So the sketches are many of it jumping up and down because someone that over excited wouldn't stop moving, so  that is what I am trying to portray in this sketches.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Life Drawing (Lesson 16)

The Ebullient Pepper Mill - Script First Draft

Here is my script for the ebullient pepper mill, at the moment it is really rough and it does need some fine tuning but at the moment I am happy with how my story is going.  

2D Animations

Here are my two animations tasks the bouncing ball and bowling ball....

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

The Ebullient Pepper Mill - Amended Treatment

Here is my amended treatment I changed a few things making it a little bit more simpler which will make it that more easier to understand my story when it come to my final animatic.

Monday, 14 March 2011

The Ebullient Pepper Mill - The Treatment

Here is the treatment, the step outline, the premise and the logline for "The Ebullient Pepper Mill".

The Ebullient Pepper Mill - The Treatment and The Step Outline

 Here is the first draft for the treatment and step outline of my story.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Animation Timeline: Winsor McCay

Fig. 1 Winsor McCay (1869 – 1934)

Winsor McCay (1869 – 1934) was an American cartoonist and animator who created the very first animated films, which would go on to set a high standard for those that followed, such as one Walt Disney as well as others in later decades.

Winsor McCay was born in 1867 in Canada. From a very young age McCay was interested in drawing, against his father wishes, who wanted him to learn a real trade. So unknown to his parents, he worked as a portrait artist in a "Dime Museum" while attending business college. His facility for observation and his amazingly ability to draw quickly made him a popular attraction. McCay left college, to work for Kohl and Middleton Dime Museum creating advertising poster and it was here were he began to create a name for himself as a talented artist. Due to the economic hardship of supporting his family McCay was forced to take a job as a cartoonist/reporter for the Cinncinati Commercial Tribune. It was here where he learned to fine tune his talent and by the end of 1903, he was being courted by the New York Herald, prompting him to move with his family to New York. It was a time when the newspaper comic strip was becoming popular and McCay himself began to experiment with his own original comic strips.

Fig. 2 "Little Nemo" Poster 

But when he moved to New York in 1903 it wouldn’t be until two years later, that he would final have success with his 1905 comic strip "Little Nemo in Slumberland". This strip is considered by many to be McCay’s masterpiece and increased his popularity, and began performing in Vaudeville. His act consisted of speed drawings of various characters, included some from pasted comic strips. But after eight years, McCay left the New York Herald and went to work for William Randolph Hearst at the New York American. It was when working for Hearst that McCay began to experiment with the idea of using animated pictures as part of his act, creating a number of animated short films.

His first attempt was "Little Nemo" which debuted in 1911, using the popular characters from his "Little Nemo" comic strip. McCay used four thousand animation drawings and then hand-coloured the 35mm frames to achieve a very striking effect. There is no story line, it is more an experiment in movement. "Little Nemo" was a huge success and it captivated audiences everywhere he went.

Fig. 3 "How A Mosquito Operates" film still

McCay then began work on his second short animation, "How A Mosquito Operates" (1912) taking him one year to complete. It is a cartoon about a giant mosquito with a top hat and a briefcase, who invades a man’s home as he sleeps. The mosquito sharpens his proboscis, repeatedly sucking blood from him until his body is a giant bulb. Then, suddenly aware of the audience, he performs some tricks on the man’s nose. Then it has one suck to many and bursts. Unlike his first film, this film was able to take a great leap forward for Winsor because he actually gets the animation to tell a story. That is because "How a Mosquito Operates relies on a simpler, less intricately graphic style in order to tell the story of a large mosquito's encounter with a sleeping victim." (Rabinovitz, 2010)

Fig. 4 ‘Gertie the Dinosaur’ Film Poster

Two years later, McCay completed his third animation ‘Gertie the Dinosaur’ which is certainly is his most famous one and still has the able to entertain new audiences today. The beginning is all Live-action and in this live action portion, McCay during a visit to a natural history museum bets a friend he can make the dinosaurs live again by a series of hand drawn cartoons and six months later, the 10,000 drawings are done. When the actual animation begins, we finally see McCay’s creation Gertie the dinosaur. Lasting five minutes, we are shown Gertie performing simple tricks for the audience, being distracted by a sea serpent, munching down a tree, encountering a mammoth, dancing, being hosed by the mammoth and throwing a rock at it, scratching her head with her tail, drinking a lake dry and as then finally taking onto her back a live action McCay and then walking off screen with him. "The short is impressive because of its fine animation and command of perspective, but what it really makes it a milestone of animation is that Gertie the Dinosaur is the first animated cartoon character with personality." (Grob, 2010) Gertie is not just a dinosaur but a female dinosaur that is behaving half like an animal being trained and the other half as a spoiled little child. The interaction between Gertie and McCay is impressive and makes the animation a classic.

Fig. 5 ‘The Sinking of the Lusitania’  Film Still

McCay’s fourth animation ‘The Sinking of the Lusitania’ (1918) is even more curious than his preceding three. An animated account of the sinking of the cruise ship the Lusitania on May 7 , 1915 by the German submarine U-39. With the ship carrying approximately 1,500 passengers, many of they were American. Two torpedoes sank the ship and took 1,500 lives. It starts with about a minute or so of live action showing McCay settling in to a document the tragedy, plus narration boards and a few still photos of the famous who died. Then the reminder is occupied by animation (a 25,000 drawing to be exact). The Lusitania’ sets sail past the Statue of Liberty, and then show the ship being hit twice by two torpedoes. Then the flames and smoke fill the sky as the passengers and crew escape the best they can, over the side of the ship in life boats. "Despite its slow action, ‘The Sinking of the Lusitania’ is an astonishing film, which may be the first animated propaganda film. It’s totally unique in its drama, and, despite its propaganda, an all time masterpiece of animation." (Grob, 2010)

McCay himself animated his films almost single-handed making each cartoon his and his alone. He took the time to make his films unique with his artistic visions and sometimes he would spend more than a year to make one single five-minute animation. What McCay was not expected was that "the burgeoning world of cinema could not wait so long for so little, and so the modern animation studio came into being. The art of animation was no longer the work of one man, it was a streamlined, assembly-line process in the best Henry Ford tradition. But was the art of the animated cartoon sacrificed for the trade's sake?" (Tracy, 2008)

List of Illustrations
Figure. 1 Moniz, Ray Winsor (1906) Ray Winsor.
Figure. 2  McCay, Winsor (1911) Little Nemo Film Poster. (Accessed on 12/03/2011)Figure. 3 McCay, Winsor (1912) How a Mosquito Operates. (Accessed on 12/03/2011)
Figure. 4 McCay, Winsor (1913) Gertie the Dinosaur film Poster. (Accessed on 12/03/2011)
Figure. 5 McCay, Winsor (1918) ‘The Sinking of the Lusitania’ film still. (Accessed on 12/03/2011)


 Rabinovitz, Lauren (2010) McCAY, Winsor. (Accessed on 12/03/2011)
Grob (2010) Gertie The Dinosaur. (Accessed on 13/03/2011)
Grob (2010) The Sinking of the Lusitania. (Accessed on 13/03/2011)
Tracy, Joe (2008) The History of Animation: Advantages and Disadvantages of the Studio System in the Production of an Art Form.  (Accessed on 13/03/2011)

(Accessed on 12/03/2011)