Sunday, June 29, 2008

Whetting My Animation Appetite

When Richard Williams book "Animator's Survival Kit" came out I said I wished I would have had it thirty years ago. Now this new one has got me waiting like a kid for Christmas to come.

Book Description
Character Animation Crash Course! is a veritable Genie's lamp stuffed with everything the aspiring animator could wish for! Renowned animator Eric Goldberg's detailed text and drawings illuminate how to conceive characters "from the inside out" to create strong personalities. Classic animation techniques are analyzed and brought to life through this unique book and its accompanying CD that offers readers animated movie examples that show, in real time or frame-by-frame, the author's principles at work. Add to this Goldberg's discussions of classic cartoons and his witty, informative observations based on the wealth of knowledge he's gained during his 30-plus years in professional animation, and you have a tour-de-force guide to character animation with the classic touch.

From the Author
Foreword When I first started making films, books about character animation were rare, and most were written from the distant, historical perspective of an observer. Of the meager handful of books that actually discussed how to do animation, only two were really good: Walt Disney's Tips On Animation from the Disneyland Art Corner and the classic Advanced Animation by Preston Blair. In the half century since, many animation books have been written, but still few are considered indispensable to people interested in doing animation themselves. To that exclusive club we must add the book you now hold in your hand: Character Animation Crash Course. Among Eric's many achievements is the "Friend Like Me" sequence from Walt Disney Pictures' Aladdin, a chunk of pure cartoon magic so dense that it can be enjoyed two ways: at regular speed or one frame at a time... where every aspect of Eric's astonishing embellishments, caricature, and razor-sharp timing can be savored like fine wine. In this jam-packed book and CD Eric will show you the rules for getting the most out of your animation. If you learn them well, you'll be good. If you can internalize these rules to the point where you can call upon them without thinking, you'll be exceptional. And if you learn them as well as Eric, you might even be able to successfully break a few of these rules and add to cumulative knowledge of how to make pencil lines (or pixels, clay, stop-motion models, etc.) come to life. You might even become accomplished enough to write the next great animation book. Good thing the rest of us don't have to wait until then. We have this terrific book right now. Brad Bird -- Writer / Director, The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, Ratatouille

From the Inside Flap
"As Disney Animation great Ollie Johnston always told me, "It's not the tools that create great character animation, it's what you do with those tools." Eric's book is a terrific how-to that clearly explains the tools and the techniques for great animation in any medium. People always ask me, "How do I get started in animation?" Now I know the the Character Animation Crash Course book by Eric Goldberg!" John Lasseter - Chief Creative Officer, Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios
"Eric's book and CD are a first in the industry. They represent a one-of-a-kind bible for artists, teachers and fans of animation from one of the modern masters of the craft." Don Hahn - Producer, The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast

"I can't think of anyone more qualified to put together a book like this. Eric covers everything, from basic nuts and bolts to advanced technique in a clear, simple, entertaining way, just like his animation. This should be on the bookshelf of anyone who wants to know more about this elusive art form." Ron Clements - Director, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Hercules

About the Author
Eric Goldberg, a veteran director, designer, and animator, has worked extensively in Hollywood, New York, and London, creating feature films, commercials, title sequences, and television specials. He is equally at home with traditional hand-drawn animation and the most up-to-date computer animation, and has pioneered ground-breaking techniques in both worlds.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Raymond Scott Documentary

My favorite mad scientist other than Nichola Tesla is musician/technician Raymond Scott. Carl Stalling used the Scott themes to great effect in the Warner Brothers Cartoons. Ray was also a father to electronic music and so much more.

Scott's son Stan Warnow is making a documentary about his father's life, and it looks wonderful. The Raymond Scott Documentary will be called 'On to Something'. Check out the trailer here:

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Stereoscopic Drawing

Awhile back I did a post on ViewMasters' intriguing series of stereoscopic drawings begun in the 50's. How were they accomplished? I still don't know specifically but I came across this devise called a 3DD, (three dimensional drawing device), built by Vladimir Tamari in 1973. He says the original was invented in Palestine in 1964. This makes it ten years after ViewMasters' series began. The drawing size of the 3DD is very small too which would limit the detail one could achieve.

I think I'm getting closer. But if anyone who actually worked at ViewMaster or knows someone who did would get a hold of me I would greatly appreciate it.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


I don’t mean this to be critical of Mr. Jerry Beck and his baby “Cartoon Dump”. I’ve had correspondence with Mr. Beck and he is a pleasant and knowledgeable guy in all matters cartoon. That’s why I’m having difficulty with the whole premise of Cartoon Dump. It’s easy to mock something blatantly awful, (and there are truly awful cartoons), but the truth is the bad cartoons far outweigh the good. It is easy pickings to show a bad cartoon and make fun of it.

Perhaps I am picking up my old curmudgeon ways again or I’m a little sensitive about commercialism ruining a difficult art form. You heard me, art form, that’s what I’ve always considered Animation to be. The only reason these monstrosities were made was some greedy attempt at capitalizing on the success and popularity of well crafted cartoons. I don’t know how many unqualified businessmen have tried to become the ‘next’ Walt Disney.

Now Cartoon Dump is cloaked in the guise of a Childrens’ program much like Pee Wees’ Playhouse. But when Pee Wees’ King of Cartoons showed strange cartoons it was used to further the absurdities of the Playhouse parody universe. Cartoon Dump on the other hand has the characters lives influenced by and existing only as a means to show these terrible ‘toons’. There is social commentary of a dark and negative nature too that seems politically biased and heavy handed which only exacerbates the wait for an unpleasant cartoon experience.

Sorry Jerry, it’s just not my cup of tea. I would rather be entertained and learn from the best animated films. I’m already tainted by the cynicism of this world and the prostitution of my chosen profession. If I’m taking this too seriously, at least I’m doing it on my own blog and not in the comment section of Becks’ Cartoon Brew.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Eric Goldbergs' Book

Just pre-ordered this and it will be hard to wait for.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

What To Keep

I was doing some housekeeping and came across these relics of my thirteen years spent at Will Vinton Studios. It again confirmed what a privilege it was to be there and the opportunities that were offered to us as employees. While there I met and unashamedly got the autographs of animator/writer/director Bill Plympton. Another time I had the opportunity to meet writer Buck Henry and again got his autograph. I also had a boat cruise with writer/director/actor Spike Lee and as a previous post called Sentimental Journey records I met other luminaries of the animation world. I feel very blessed to have had these experiences.

At another place I shook hands and talked with William Shatner. But that's another story.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


I don't intent this to be a commercial and I'm certainly not getting any money for this but I can't help being pretty enthusiastic about the game "Spore". I'm not a big gamer but the ability to create your own monster is irresistible. Check out this little vid I found on YouTube and then go to the site and play the tutorial:

Saturday, June 07, 2008

PID Again...

You may not appreciate the blog link above but I hate to admit it's a guilty pleasure of mine. It's almost two years now that a character named Iamaphoney began posting clues about Paul McCartney really being dead on YouTube. This blog has tried to interpret all the vids and the vast amount of seemingly unrelated material that has come out of it. More characters and subplots have emerged and some very sinister implications are put forth. With such universal subjects as the Beatles you could almost relate anything to them and people are. The Rotten Apple Series of videos on YouTube is quite silly at moments and quite scary as you move along through the mind game labyrinth. The blog above has followed each revelation and the comments section opens up a whole new cast with theories and information that further feeds the flames and muddies the waters. I'm sure there is nothing to it all but just maybe NOTHING IS REAL!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Frank and Jim

More Jim Woodring goodness: a 'Frank' animated cartoon. I've see this before but this one is the cleanest version yet. It's also pretty faithful to the actual comic it's based on. I still know nothing about the animator who did it.

Big Bye Bye

My friend Sean Burns who is a talented director and animator has begun a blog that documents the annual road trip his father has taken since Sean was a child. As an adult Sean thought about writing a book and later took the trip making a documentary of it. Now he has taken this material and made a blog which is becoming one of my favorite diversions.

Sean has equated his father as part of the "Beat" generation and you can see the wanderlust of a Kerouac in his spirit. Full of quirks and compulsions ,(dad still uses a Polaroid camera having horded a freezer full of film, and still drives the same car), there are poignant moments and sometimes shear poetry as we vicariously travel back in time seeing the Americana no longer existing and feeling the nostalgia and wonder of family and travel.

Sean's father is preparing another trip and maybe on the road as I type this. Follow his past adventures here:

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Damon Bard

Damon Bard is an artist whose work just gets better and better. I would love to work with him sometime and learn a thing or two about sculpting. Check out more of his work on his site:

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


I'm seeing a resurgence of a philosophical phenomenon known as 'Objectivisim'. This is a term Ayn Rand used to label her view-point taught in her two books "The Fountainhead" and "Atlas Shrugged",(written in 1957 it is strangely enough being made into a movie to be released in 2009) . It's also the same thinking Aleister Crowley taught and that Rock and Roll helped promote through out the 60's. Basically it's everyone for themselves. A Darwinian mentality that tells us we aren't accountable to others and if you can't make it, too bad.

I don't know what it all means and perhaps I'm only paranoid but we are already too selfish. Yet I hate to say it but many people feel the world owes them a living and I don't know how it's going to go down when others suddenly start to see them as a drain and labeled 'looters' of society. I'm a little scared!

Aleister Crowley on the Beatles Sgt. Pepper album