zustifer: (comics: Warlock)
A Thing: New Venture Bros: June 1. Also, toys? But blind-box toys, oh fie.

Another Thing: High-res Wanderlust video. Yay. I am finding myself missing Björk's more harmonic work, though.

A Third Thing: I like how such a large proportion of comments on del.icio.us entries for that japanese flash attentional mouse-following girl-thing mention how creepy it is.
zustifer: (Beetlejuice: Delia day-o)
Fa fa fa, I so, SO wish that Robert Carlyle was going to play Dr. Who. A touch of horrible crazy is exactly what's needed.

I think this post is about the style of cooking portrayed in Lunch Queen. That is neat.

This is the most badass sculpture I've seen in a while. There is a lot more if you click on the different years, but the most recent ones are I think the most successful.

Madeofmeat lunk this page a little while ago, and it's got some interesting stuff, but good christ, the type on the splash page! The pain!

Kinda cute music video with an attractive visual treatment. Too bad about the facially dead dead deadski 3d protagonist.
zustifer: (comics: Karma)
Doctor Strange (2007), Jay Oliva. August 27, 8pm-ish. View count: One.

This is a straight-to video 2d-animated thing. It had something of a budget, but that wasn't really used to great effect. It's apparently a very condensed version of Dr. Strange's actual origin story, which I was too young/nonexistent for back in the day, and which I never picked up due to not really paying attention. The basics (asshole gets comeuppance, goes to Tibet to be magical) are pretty dull, really. I suspect that some of the fun lay in the details, which were somewhat elided and glossed over by the inexpressive mouth-flappin' characters.

There was some fun in the creatures, and Dormammu looked pretty cute. The elementally-aligned monks and nuns were amusing and fun to watch deploying their stuff, but they felt like their fights were laid out by someone who didn't really understand why superhero fights happen like they do. They never really worked together or planned anything much, they just each threw their individual gimmick at the face of the monster of the moment. Maybe this was intended in some way, and this was why they mostly all ate shit and died, but, really. There are better ways to show incompetence.

I didn't much like the message inherent in Dr. Strange's being chosen for Sorcerous Supremity, either; it seemed that all the well-trained monks were just unable to do much against the random errands of Dormammu, but Strange's RAW ULTIMATE POWER was totally what they wanted in a Sorceror Supreme. Just jam that Dracula Trophy into his hands. Wha? Especially with him having proven that he doesn't really know what to do with power, even if he didn't really outright abuse it. The Dead Sister of Damocles that'd been harrying him for however many years, that we were supposed to believe was the one thing that made him bitter and assy, was dismissed in ten seconds of conversation with the head monk. Would it have killed him to go talk to her in the afterlife or something, and come back with an "Everything's cool, Steve! It was Just My Time to Go and they have as much lipstick as I could ever want here! Also I've been rapping on tables for ten years, pay more attention!" No idea if that ruins some kind of actual occurrence in the timeline, but this version really needed it.

Compression hurts storytelling. I wish people would understand this better. When events feel like they're rushing past at a ludicrous rate, and people have to have their emotions compressed and amplified so that they are clear and obvious to the audience, it's pretty hard to really feel like actions are motivated.

PS: Dracula Trophy.
zustifer: (JFK with psi-rays)
The Incredibles (2004), Brad Bird. August 12, 10am and 5pm (Brad Bird and producer commentary). View count: Three.

Mulholland Dr. (2001), David Lynch. August 12, 1pm. View count: One.

Ah, the Incredibles. Still mighty good stuff. Still a little bit uncomfortable in the areas butting up against the weird elitist agenda in regards to 'specialness', and the impropriety of hiding it under a bushel, but to me that added to the movie. I liked the way that people die in this universe, no matter how candy-colored it may appear, and I like the somewhat dark underpinnings that at the very least make it possible for Mr. Incredible to contemplate killing. His is not a complex mind, presumably, but, still.

It's a little weird how emotion-centric this movie is; it's weirdly affecting even when it doesn't quite seem appropriate. It must be something to do with the safe distance from the uncanny valley (the exaggerated, doll-like characters), and of course the Brad Bird, I imagine. Listening to the commentary, one of my less favorite scenes (the which-exit-to-take argument scene) was apparently instigated by Lasseter, which completely does not surprise me.

Visually it's pretty stunning, of course; the production design and lighting are freakishly awesome, the characters are imaginative, and the wet hair still looks really, really good. I think there were three or four things that bugged me, which I must in good conscience list.

One: Mr. Incredible's hands. They were these stubby (but not stubby enough to seem Homer-Simpson intentional) inexpressive things that ended up feeling more generically shaped than designed (viz. Frozone's hands for counterexample), and when in costume (especially when fat), the way his hands bent on his wrists seemed poorly centered. I don't know what was up with that.
Two: Clothing was sadly thick-feeling. Everyone was wearing rubber tarps or something. I know cloth sucks a lot for everyone; really, I do not even want to consider the time put into cloth and hair, so really this is pretty forgiveable.
Three: Clavicles. Clavicles are my favorite thing to harp on to anyone who will hold still. There were a few shots that made me cringe with either not enough or too much of 'em (or isolated left or right ones moving alone), but worse than that was that the default position of everyone's shoulders was freaking zero-degrees rotation straight. Even when you have your shoulders held back, it's more that your shoulder blades are squeezing together, not that your actual shoulder joints are lining up with your spine. You still have a slight concavity between your sternum and your shoulder muscle. Completely stiff, straight clavicles were, if not rampant, then too common (especially after the insurance company sequences, when Mr. Incredible becomes less beaten down). And there was a really painful shot at the end (Dash's track meet) where everyone in the family had busted clavicles. I will take a screenshot later. If you happen to be watching it, keep an eye on Violet's shoulders and tell me that they don't look severely mis-deformed. This pains me.
Four: Eh, I don't know. I had some problems with facial deformation, but they were minor. I'm willing to accept most of this as stylistic tradeoff.

None of these stops this movie from being really quite great. It's just so fully realized and pleasing. And I have a special place in my heart for Bomb Voyage.

Mulholland Dr. This was not David Lynch's best work. It began life as a pilot for a television series, but was recut and had some extra footage shot for it so as to bring it into featurehood. This shows, and not really in a good way. It feels retrofitted; the first half of the movie feels like a series of setups, only a couple of which pay off. The second half is the story of these two women who are in love, or who hate one another, and there's some mirroring which I think that between us chmmr and I have figured out. Mostly. But the first half, and its characters, are all but abandoned for this one plot. And this plot is made more difficult to follow through a casting choice that included two short-haired, nondescript thin blond women as separate characters who never met. Frustrating.

This movie had not a little of Lost Highway about it, which helped to make it hurt more when it didn't work nearly so well. I'm used to Lynch's carefully intertwined method of showing things, and it's just off-putting when characters are dropped off the face of the movie for no apparent reason. It's all too clear that this thing was chopped to pieces. I am lining up The Straight Story and Inland Empire to be watched instead.
zustifer: (Beetlejuice: flamefingers)
I am so completely and thoroughly psyched for Madame Tutli-Putli. Film Board of Canada is animation's saviour nowadays, as it has honestly been for a pretty long time.
This is seriously the best animated thing I've seen in years. The animators apparently worked with a human actor to develop the personality of the protagonist, which, from the small clips available, looks freaking insanely excellent. The granularity of the movements is amazing on its own, and the movements themselves are so well-observed and wonderful. Here's another little clip; little bits of footage here and there.
zustifer: (Beetlejuice: Grace grimacing)
Schwa linked to a freely-available extra-long clip of Scanner Darkly (the first 24 minutes, including don't-copy message fore and aft). So of course I had to sit through it. I don't really see a lot of promise, esp given nick's capsule review. At the very end of the 24 minutes it was sort of getting snappy, but before that the pacing was sort of a mess, and the visual effect was, as I predicted, transparent (except for the suit, which was not working well for me). Also, did Keanu disappear at the end? I don't want to watch it again to check.

Here, to make you hate me, is my degenerative process, time-stamped for your convenience.

I guess I will cut. )

Why not go look at the Big Snit instead. It's like, the golden epitome of the Canada Film Board.
zustifer: (Beetlejuice: Miss Argentina)
This animation school was lunk yesterday by mefi, and although I'd seen all the 2d stuff already, I thought to myself, Self, lettuce see how their 3d stuff looks, because kids doing their thesis are probably going to be inspirationally good at such an obviously good school. And thus I looked. And in close juxtaposition, the 3d stuff looked... dead. Something was wrong. And I think I have finally worked out what it is, and it's not even complicated. Minimal deformation (in the 2d sense of outline & mass distribution change) and squash/stretch. 3d models never deform nearly as much as their 2d counterparts. And yet, they're animated similarly otherwise, and sometimes the gestures are cranked way up to compensate for lack of form change. This looks in the end like a half-finished process, where stuff sure does move fancy (and OFTEN, GOD, every damn word has to have a hand-flail), but there's no overextension of limbs to wind up an extravagant gesture, there's no head squish in wacky takes. Damn it! And ALL THIS TIME, I thought I just sucked at 3d, because I couldn't make anything look good (in my favored style). I thought that Dreamworks was hiring the wrong people, or... I don't know. But it's all in the rig. In short, you can make it move the way you want, but you can't make it change shape the way you want. Unless you have a superfancy setup.

I believe Pixar has brought in some deformation to their characters, and CERTAINLY they have in Cars. This is probably why they made it, as proof of concept for mobile form-changin' characters. So that's why everything with a budget less than Pixar Feature Film still looks like Jimmy Neutron.

Now, of course, 'hyper-realistic' game anims shouldn't probably be able to do any of this, except... maybe a little.

* Title from the dinosaur mailing list I follow.
zustifer: (Default)
Okay, well, to make up for bad news comes good news: missmonster brings news of an AQUABATS MONSTER-SUIT KIDS' SHOW. I am seriously going to plotz. Here's the trailer.
I wonder how one gets in on that kind of thing. I would step over puppies to do goofy kids' show animation.
zustifer: (Five)
Holy wow, they finally movieified Taiyo Matsumoto's Black and White. Looks moderately faithful, visually. Honestly I don't see why it all had to be in color, but, oh well. I hope it's fansubbed lickety split.

Also, handy term:

"The new meaning of 'moe' is entirely caught up in issues surrounding hobbies and taste. Specifically, 'moe' means be attracted to a specific character or its specific partial element and to have a favor feeling toward it. 'Moe' suggests the condition of being infatuated with one character or thing and implies an image of someone burning with desire.

"The picture becomes clearer when we hear the frequent use of 'moe' referring to specific elements or characteristics, such as 'weak girl moe,' 'young lady moe,' and 'glasses moe.' The meaning of 'glasses moe' refers to a taste that is taken with a character who wears glasses; furthermore, this taste fetishizes the feature itself of glasses-wearing. In this case, glasses are the 'moe' element."
zustifer: (Ted Forth)
Okay, because I should be still reading my papers for class but I'm completely not, here's ANOTHER really short post.
Oh em gee, a lousy Carmen Sandiego soundtrack! I found that cd in the 99 cent bin back in college, and I completely listened to it, although there isn't much there that's decent except for Cake for Breakfast. And by the time I found the album, I already had taped Why Does the Sun Shine off of someone, so it wasn't even really a win. The tracklist, if you're curious.
I think I'd like an album that contains the little character ID stings they used to do on the show, like the EARTHA BRUTE HUH! and naturally the INNNN JAILLLLLL. Recipients of my mixes would hate me even more, and possibly give me money to leave them alone.
zustifer: (Default)
This guy has recreated the kind of cloyingly cute Sazae-san intro, in live-action. Man, it's good. I wish people would fansub Sazae-san and make it available to us. I mean, the everyday doings of a japanese housewife! What's not to love?
zustifer: (pseudorca crassidens)
Lookit, it's official: Brad Bird is on the Pixar rat movie. I maintain that Steve Purcell is involved, but it's possible that he's doing something else over there and everyone is a big idiot for not letting him have a hand in the rats.
Also there's the cg (!) Aardman rat movie for Dreamworks (I think that one has Jean Reno doing a voice). Oh, rats, and your amazing cross-generational box office appeal. Will you never disappoint audiences hungry for gnawing, scuttling, and drinking milk in the rat temple?
zustifer: (Default)
Brrrring, brrrring, this is the burn ward! We're calling to tell you that the unpleasant-looking Wayans cartoon admitted earlier today is stable, but its burns are quite serious.

Quote from the article lunk from cartoonbrew:
the Wayans brothers most-recent film project, "White Chicks," featured co-writers Shawn and Marlon as race-swapping, cross-dressing FBI agents.

Oh Wayanses. Please stop making movies that only idiots and my dad find amusing. And even then who knows why, really.
zustifer: (SUX dino)
Utterly awesome cup noodle stop-motion ads.
I remember visiting this site a while ago, when looking for Starewicz clips, but, man. I can't even think how to make a good armature for a squid (probably just wire, but, man, that's not friendly).
zustifer: (Default)
Cartoon Brew has got the dichotomy here completely wrong; Gondry's version of the video, in my opinion, is a little enjoy-life-whenever-possible bit of Gondryish frivolity, whereas Plympton's is hackneyed in a way that's much less lovable. As far as I could tell, the song is basically a 'life is hard but it's all we've got' sort of song, which is dull, but okay, sure. Plympton gave it the treatment of 'life is hard, but also singer is beyond this and sits around in some kind of cheesy transcendence,' for some reason. Gondry, however, clearly put the emphasis on the sort of 'forbidden space' trespassing-fun (in which singer PARTICIPATES, rather than being a recording angel (snort)) idea that's been rattling around approximately forever, but in this case it feels like perspective, in a way (a bit hokey, but suspension of cynicism _is_ possible). Like, hey, what can they do to us? Life is hard already. Let's screw around in Harrods at night and make Mike Jittlov sad he didn't get in on this video. Maybe I'm a sucker for Gondry's viewpoint, his sort of overarching love for life or something, but damned if _he_ goes around sticking unironic wings on singers. I mean, seriously, 'oh, we were kidding when we gave him jesus hair, but not about the angel wings!'
Budget isn't even an issue here; it's all in the treatment.
zustifer: (SUX dino)
We had a very low-impact new year's. We went up to the (rented-out in summer, but vacant and full of dead bugs in winter) house of some guy my dad's friends with, in Maine. We cooked some stuff, and Animal Crossing supplied fireworks and everything.

But anyhow, the thing I wanted to mark was that we saw some fluffy special on Aardman Animations, and for the first time I got to see moving footage of Nick Park. It's impossible to see it in stills, but his facial expressions are AWESOME. Not one by one, but you can see the seeds of big ovoid mouth with giant teeth as he moves his face to talk. I RECOGNISED him by knowing what his characters look like. It's normal for animators to use themselves as models for expressions, but I had no idea it would be so pronounced. It also helps that he has enormous protruding front teeth, which sort of fill in the mental gap to some extent, but the cognitive blend can take place regardless. It's just the awesomest thing I've seen in a long time. I love it when people look like their art, and this is even more amusing than usual.
zustifer: (SUX dino)
Like I don't have enough to do today, some doofus has got to write a wrongheaded email about mo-cap. The original post was a little confused as well, merely labelling mo-cap 'creepy' in some cases without trying to work out why. But the email.
Damning quote:
Right now with just putting ping-pong balls on people your only able to capture 80% of the movement, in that I mean your only able to capture where the bones are, you miss the rest of the body. The other 20% is the muscles, and it's the difference between movement and acting. If you compare the video of an actor with the raw data his motion capture you will see what I mean. On the video you have acting, on the motion capture you have movement. So then you then have to rely on an animator to do the muscles or the acting.

Like any action's not reducible to a set of movements. What our magical-thinking pal here wants to talk about is high-res and low-res mo-cap. Yes, if you're only using ping pong balls you can't hope to get any useful resolution in, for example, the face. If your rig, god forbid, doesn't have working collarbones, then no matter how many markers you place in the shoulder area, no good will come of it. I don't really know exactly what was meant by 'muscles', but a good rig can fix that too, if all you want out of it is a bulge when flexed.

The creepiness of Polar Express wasn't strictly because it used mo-cap, it's because it used a bad resolution of joint-markers, and crummy rigging, and lousy cloth, and bad body deformation, and even the models weren't so hot. The recent Final Fantasy movie, I forget its name, but it's got mo-cap falling out of its ears. Most of the time it works really well; certainly far better than the FF movie a few years ago that no one liked and that Nirasawa'a monster design was wasted on. The difference is even visible within the movie: if you compare the crowd-extras with the main characters (all 45 of the bastards), there're two clear tiers of rig-resolution, which are assigned as you'd expect. Instructive, and you get to look at a guy who has doorknockers on his little outfit.

Unrelatedly, I can't stop playing Phoenix Wright. I think the detective is in love with the prosecuting attorney, too.
zustifer: (SUX dino)
Good news, everyone! Someone else entirely is making a Black and White (manga, not the game) movie. I saw a trailer, as is mentioned in the comments, a while ago, and it definitely had problems (although I can't much remember why now, I suspect that they had to do with the aggressively all-cg style). Let us hope that they are no more.
I believe Matsumoto was educated in France, which makes it understandable why his art is so excellently styled. And he's got something else out! I didn't even know!
zustifer: (SUX dino)
This? If it's true? Ideal. I cannot think of a better match than Miyazaki and Le Guin. They have the same sort of tendency to harp on their concepts (which are similar), but when they're getting things right they really do not fuck around. I hope this actually happens.


zustifer: (Default)
Karla Z

February 2012

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