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It's been a busy stretch for the Thirties Fleischer cartoon star Betty Boop. First, she got her own paper towel in Turkey, and now, Winnipeg, Canada-based Fowl Moon Studios has licensed the character for a new iOS game called Betty Boop Dance Card.Add a Comment
Animator Lucas Zanotto has released a follow-up to his Drawnimal appcalled Miximal. It's a mix-and-match style children's game in which different combinations of animals can be created. Little bits of animation accompany each section of the animal, and when all three pieces align into a complete animal, the creature peforms a short act.Add a Comment
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I received a proof copy of my book "I Fell Through The Crack" today. I got it printed by MILK books, (I'm testing various printers and formats). I must say they've done a very good job. Contact me if you want to buy a signed copy.
I’m reading through the New Testament this year. I’ve done the Bible in a year plans and tend to read quickly just to get finished and don’t focus on the text. So I thought I would try a plan on my iPad for just a chapter a day and try to soak it in. Yes, I’ve gone digital. Sometimes I miss the onion skin and writing in the margins. But I like to take notes and be able to find them again. I can categorize and sort on the iPad. I also enjoy shuffling translations on the fly.
Sometimes, digital bites you in the behind, though.
Take this morning. My text was Matthew 23. Almost completely in red. Jesus said it, I’d better pay attention:
They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbiby others. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. (Matthew 23:5-9 ESV)
After finding a suitable definition for phylacteries, I moved on to define rabbiby. Stumped. Nothing on the web but alternate suggested spellings. Why is it in the Bible if I can’t get a definition? Get behind me Satan, I’m going to figure this out. I plugged away at the word and searched. Twenty minutes of painstaking research has brought me to the following conclusion that I would like to share with you:
1. Rabbiby could be the plural of Rabbi.
2. Rabbiby might be a term of derision used by average citizens.
3. Rabbiby possibly is a greeting given between brothers who are both scholars of the law. “Hey Rabbiby, you gonna finish that?”
My research is incomplete on this matter, and I welcome any insight. I have but one other theory – that print editors are slightly better than the digital ones. Butthatisonlyatheory.
As an animation professor at the School of Visual Arts, I try to keep abreast of all the latest animation how-to books. There are many books—excellent and otherwise—that are published regularly, but there is only one author who can tout having had close personal and professional relationships with such Golden Age greats as Milt Kahl, Grim Natwick, Art Babbitt, Emery Hawkins and Ken Harris, not to mention having won two Academy Awards. That animator is, of course, Richard Williams.
Williams’s indispensable The Animator’s Survival Kit is a book that everyone should already own. It should be sitting next to your Illusion of Life, wherever you do your animation. I no longer even list this as a recommended book on my syllabus because I expect students to already own it when they enter my classroom. Thankfully, most artists starting animation school have picked up the book and have already begun applying the knowledge to their projects.
Then, there’s the 16-dvd set of the Animator’s Survival Kit in which Williams teaches a room full of staff at Blue Sky Studios. The $950 price tag on this set has made its amazing wealth of knowledge unattainable to most art students, enlightened amateurs, and even ordinary working professionals.
The latest incarnation of the Animator’s Survival Kit is the iPad app, which sells for $34.99 at the iTunes store. The app, published by Faber & Faber, is an interactive blend of William’s excellent book and DVD set. While the app doesn’t include the Blue Sky lectures/William’s dry erase board lessons, it is much more personal in nature, with new clips of Williams speaking directly to the viewer. The app also includes the expanded edition of the book—a treat for all of us first edition book owners—with sections dedicated to animating quadrupeds and winged creatures, as well as extra animation exercises and personal anecdotes from Williams himself.
The app interface retains the homey look and feel of the original book, using Williams’s handwriting rather than a print typeface. Each chapter is clearly laid out and accompanied by dozens of clips of animation exercises. One of the real highlights is the playback function available on all the animation exercises which allows the user to play back the animation frame-by-frame, at full speed, or to scrub back and forth through the action. Some of the exercises have an onion-skinning feature that allows the user to closely gauge each drawing in succession, guided by the animation’s motion charts.
Completing the app is an extras section, showcasing both new and previously seen work by Williams. The most intriguing is the nine-minute short film Circus Drawings that spans sixty years of Williams’ progress as a draftsman. Beginning as a montage of circus drawings by young Williams (oh, to draw like that at twenty-years-old!), the figures come to life by his contemporary hand. It’s an unusual but fun film for any artist with an interest in visual progression.
While I highly recommend this app, I realize that not all students own iPads (or Apple products for that matter). PC users are out of luck for now. Perhaps the next installment will address this discrepancy. For those who are unable to purchase the app, the traditional book still contains all the essentials of Williams’ advice, even if its format is not as glitzy.
The clarity, draftsmanship, and knowledge of Williams comes through in all three formats—book, DVD series and now, iPad app. Who knows what digital learning tools will come next, but Williams’ Survival Kit will continue to be the standard textbook for generations to come.
Purchase the Animator’s Survival Kit app at the iTunes store.
CELIA BULLWINKEL has worked on feature films (Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Chicago 10, Hair High), TV shows (Little Bill, MTV’s Friday, Ugly Americans, Wonder Pets), and far too many commercial projects. “Alpha’s Bet,” her music video collaboration with visual artist and hip-hop pioneer Rammellzee, was exhibited in 2011 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. She is a faculty member at the School of Visual Arts animation department, and teaches at the Fashion Institute of Technology’s MFA Illustration program. Her first short film, Sidewalk, recently won first place for independent film at the ASIFA-East Animation Festival.Add a Comment
Filmmaker and animator Arthur Metcalf (Fantaisie in Bubblewrap, It Took A While To Figure Shit Out) has taken a moment between short films to create Stress Baal, a new game app that is now available for iPhone and Android phones. The game, which features a high-strung imp ready to be tortured for the amusement of the player, is like an interactive Duck Amuck, in which the user chooses how often to inflict agony on their character. “You beat him up with your fingertip,” Metcalf told Cartoon Brew. “There’s no score, no goals. It’s meant to just be entertaining rather than addictive.”
His approach to creating the game is not unlike that of one of his films, and the small moments of personality are just as important as the big action scenes. “As a kid, I spent a lot of time just playing with Sonic on my Genesis,” said Metcalf. “Not playing the game, just playing with Sonic’s animation. If you left him alone for a few seconds, he’d cross his arms, kick the ground and so forth. It was this one simple animation, but it added a lot to the game – it made it feel like Sonic was more than just a sprite box sliding around.”
Rather than moving towards digital puppetry with simulated physics, Metcalf challenged himself by sticking to his traditional animation background while simultaneously pushing the number of reactions he could get out of the character. “Part of my decision to make Stress Baal was to try to figure out if this kind of animation would work at all in a game. I was told by a lot of tech guys that it would probably be impossible due to technical limitations, that there was a reason characters had to only have one animation for each action. I’m glad to find out it wasn’t so.”
As a result, the action in Stress Baal is a combination of repetition and surprises that makes the game charming, fun and comically sadistic. “It’s meant to be sort of an easter egg hunt. You will see animation repeated, but I can tell you from having done the game testing myself, that it can take an entire day of nonstop play to actually see it all.”
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Here’s my view of Truro, Massachusetts, where we visited old friends. I used the ArtRage app with my Sensu Brush on my iPad. I seem to “paint” mostly when I’m on vacation. Love Cape Cod!
I did these while spending a week with the family at Lake Winnepesaukee in July. I used my Sensu brush/ stylist (except on the last one, where I used my fingers—you can totally tell) with the Artrage app on my iPad.
I loved watching the water and sky at different times of day and in different weather. The colors changed so dramatically in a short space of time.
Which one is your favorite?
Copyright 2013 Emily Smith Pearce
Walt Disney Animation Studios has partnered with Touch Press, the digital book publishers behind Elements and Leonardo DaVinci: Anatomy, to create Disney Animated, a new premium iPad app that provides “unprecedented access” to the art and technology behind all 53 of Disney’s animated feature films from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to the upcoming Frozen.
Disney Animated, which is available today in the iTunes app store for $13.99, contains 750 interactive illustrations, over 400 short animation clips and 350 backgrounds, concept drawings and storyboards. “The promise of Disney Animated is that it is a serious work about the history and present day practice of making animated feature films, in which the medium is finally able to speak for itself”, explains Theodore Gray, Touch Press COO and co-author of the new app, on the Touch Press blog, “where every image from every film is in fact a short clip, complete with sound, music, and life.”
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In conjunction with the release of sci-fi graphic novel Anomaly, an app (for iPhone/iPad/Android) brings the book’s characters to life through augmented reality technology. As seen in the trailer, the user points his or her smartphone at the pages of the book, transforming two-dimensional static characters into fully animated 3D models with interactive features. Additionally, the app reveals plot details and images that cannot be experienced through simply reading the book.
Augmented reality, defined as a screen or other device that overlays computer-generated data onto the real world, has been around for a while, with Google Glass being the most recent and talked about iteration. But augmented reality has never quite caught on with the mainstream, perhaps because there’s an underlying Minority Report-like creepiness that’s unsettling for most. But if you move past that, augmented reality could become a promising experimental playground for visual artists. At the very least, as is the case with Anomaly, it has the potential to offer more opportunities for collaboration between storytellers, illustrators and animators.Add a Comment
There are so many animation apps out there that it’s easy to forget a time when the most basic software wasn’t affordable. Within today’s wealth of tools, Loop (available for $0.99 on iPad) stands out for its spare, hand drawn interface and simplified features. Created by Universal Everything, it allows users to trace over video frames, choose pen widths and do some quick-and-dirty onion skinning.
What I like most about this app is that it was inspired by UI designers who like to use pen and paper during the creative process. For many non-animators, animation is a key tool in the ideation process–there are times when a sketch just isn’t enough to convey a vision to your team. Loop values fast sketching and expressiveness over polish, making it a potentially valuable tool for animators and beyond. Visit the Loop gallery to see how people are using the app so far.Add a Comment
American food chain Chipotle eschews TV advertising and stopped using external ad agencies a few years ago, but when they create ad campaigns, they go all out. Their latest project is “The Scarecrow,” a game-and-film collaboration with Bill Joyce’s Moonbot Studios based in Shreveport, Lousiana.
“The Scarecrow”, conceived in collaboaration with CAA Marketing (a division of Creative Artists Agency), is a free arcade-style adventure game for iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch that encourages players to think about industrial food production and the processed foods that they consume. Players can win coupons for free Chipotle food if they achieve certain goals within the game. There’s also an accompanying short film directed by Brandon Oldenburg and Limbert Fabian, and music by Fiona Apple:
Like their earlier “Back to the Start” campaign, Chipotle’s “Scarecrow” campaign is being praised for putting across its message in an entertaining, classy package. Adweek says, “Branded entertainment goes doesn’t get much more well rounded or better executed than this.”
Moonbot, which won the animated short Oscar in 2012 for The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, has created a lush and well-conceived feature film-quality universe for The Scarecrow. The golden-hued nostalgia that defines the studio’s visual aesthetic is a perfect complement to the environmental themes of Chipotle’s campaign.
This making-of video reveals some of the effort that went into creating The Scarecrow:Add a Comment
In August, iTunes changed affiliate partners to PHG, which means that if you want to provide affiliate links for people to buy your books in the iBookstore, you had to change all your links. Updating has been a breeze and it makes book marketing more efficient.
First, why add links to your website, blog or your social media platforms? The links take readers directly to the iTunes page about your book. Not only does it encourage readers to buy your book for the iBookStore, it also gives you a small commission. I am currently earning about $100/month on this type of affiliate and by adding in the iTunes affiliate, I hope that figure goes up. (Thanks for your support!)
If you just want a link to your book and don’t care about the affiliate links, then use the iTunes Link Maker tool. If you are writing books for children or teens, this is a great time to add these links because more and more schools are adopting iPads in their classroom. For example, the Los Angles School District spent more than $30 million this summer to purchase iPads for every student. Of course, on the iPad, you can choose to read books from the Kindle or Kobo apps; however, the iBookstore is becoming easier and easier and I expect Apple to start pushing it more.
Becoming an iTunes affiliate is now an easy task: simply apply now. It’s free.
After your application is approved and you provide the proper financial information, you just need to snag links to your books. This used to be a cumbersome process and I was lousy at doing it. With the switch to PHG, it’s as simple as any Amazon affiliate links. More on creating affiliate links.
You simply login to your iTunes Affiliate Dashboard and click on the iTunes Link Maker Tool; it will take you directly to the tool, but this time, it will automatically add in your affiliate ID. The resulting links will still take readers to your iBook page, but will also record that they came from your affiliate link.
So, here’s the list of my books now available on the iBookStore. For more information on each title, see here.