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Supplementing real dogs with digital animation produces performances that have benefits on many different levels. Firstly, they are much more effective dramatically because they can become more anthropomorphically expressive to suit the needs of the story. Economically they are less time-consuming and therefore less expensive because the performance is no longer determined by the unpredictable or intractable volition of real animals, however ‘well-trained’. The problems that arise even when working with ‘professional’ dog actors can be exasperating.
We also welcome you to tune in to WNYC at 2pm ET today to hear Kathryn discuss Oscar-nominated music on Soundcheck.
This Sunday’s Oscars will recognize an exceptionally fine slate of film scores, and it’s nice to see such a deserving group of composers. The nominees represent a range of films and scores including the lush and symphonic (Avatar), whimsical (Fantastic Mr. Fox), edgy and tension-producing (The Hurt Locker), eclectic and genre-bending (Sherlock Holmes), and beautifully melodic (Up). While there are always surprises, I’ve considered each composer and score, coming to the following conclusions and predictions.
On Avatar: James Horner has been around a long time, having been nominated ten times in the last 32 years, and receiving Best Score and Best Song Oscars for Titanic. He’s a pro at what he does best: big, symphonic scores that hearken back to the classical Hollywood studio years. Horner’s music gives Avatar exactly what it needs—warmth and emotional resonance—and connects the audience to a series of images and characters that might be difficult to relate to otherwise. If Horner wins Sunday night, look for the evening to go Avatar’s way.
Those who watched the New York state gubernatorial debate a few nights ago were treated to the awesomeness of candidate Jimmy McMillan (aka Papa Smurf) of the “Rent is Too Damn High” Party. That alone has little to do with animation, but remix Jimmy’s words with Pixar’s Up, like Joe Sabia did, and you get something magnificent.
Contrary to what you might think, the winner of this year's Theodore Seuss Geisel award, Up, Tall and High! isn't about an insomniac basketball player on speed. Instead a flock of cheerful birds demonstrates the differences between the directional terms up, tall, and high (but not necessarily in that order).
Using bright, bold colors, strong lines, and sparse text, Ethan Long successfully illustrates these words in a humorous way. Adding to the fun, each of the three stories has a gatefold that opens up or down and that further throws light on the concept. In the second story, for instance, a landlocked penguin bemoans the fact he can't fly. An enterprising bluebird hands him some balloons and off he goes. Lift the flap and our penguin friend is now floating into the sky as he exclaims, "Yes, now I can go very high!"
Beginning readers just starting out on the road to fluency are sure to rejoice in a book that has so much to offer--simple text, boisterous art, interactive flaps, and giggles galore.
Up, Tall and High! (but not necessarily in that order) by Ethan Long G.P. Putnam's Sons, 40 pages Published: February 2012
I don't have cable. I gave it up last summer, there's never anything good on in summer anyway. But I never got it back. I haven't really missed it. I get the really good shows on iTunes. It really limits the amount of time I sit around doing nothing but staring at an illuminated box. Of course, I still have Netflix... oh well.
I decided to look through some sketchbooks and pull various sketches from over the last few years. I've been trying to sketch more recently, because I'd fallen out of the practice... thus the date stamped sketchbook. Goal: draw SOMETHING everyday. Anything else is bonus. At the beginning, it was hard just to get the one drawing in, now I usually have to keeping going. Just wish I hadn't let it go for so long...
My crazy mind at work, this is the fun stuff I really enjoy. Wish the inspiration hit me more often. Horses, my first passion... then came the drawing. Random daily sketches. These are the oldest sketches, from a personal project I started in college. I don't sketch like this anymore, I've become too lazy. Would love to do it more often.
Wow, this is a great movie! I LOVED it! You’ll experience every emotion, and the artwork is beyond spectacular. It is a story about a man and his wife, and an adventure they had planned since they were children.
Life doesn’t always work out the way we plan, but sometimes it is for the better.
Lou Romano has now posted higher-res images of the complete colour script for Pixar’s UP. A colour script is what the filmmakers use in the production of animated feature to get a feel of the colour, mood, and visual atmosphere of the film.
Spoiler warning, though — stay away if you haven’t seen the movie, since this does contain images of all the major scenes.
And if you missed it the first time, don’t forget to see more of Lou Romano’s UP artwork, which includes a far more abstract and simple first pass at a colour script for the film.
As always, if you like this stuff, I can’t recommend Pixar’s The Art Of… books enough. The Art of UP includes this colour script and Lou notes how colour is used to drive the story along: “When Carl is forced into the present, he’s miserable and the colour is bleak. But as each new character is introduced, we see flashes of life and colour.”