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DECEMBER 2004

12.24.04
* I kind of went off on a ramble at the Stop Motion message board under a topic I started "2D Dying? StopMo Come-back? Ponderings..." I alluded to the possible backlash of public to CGI. I should clarify .... to a certain kind of CGI where it tries to gets too realistic in attempting to represent humans in a pixel synthesized form.CGI seems okay to use as digital stunt doubles, however, public can have a conscious or subconscious rejection when animated characters try to replicate real humans. Even using motion capture does not help. A theory since the late 1970's was lableled by Dr. Masahiro Mori. He calls this phenomenon "The Uncanny Valley". It was in the area of robotics that Mori initially applied his psychological observations: People may start to subconsciously reject what is shown to them if it attempts to appear to look too much like real humans, whether robotic creations, or now, visual moving CGI pixel synthesized images. Remember Disneyland? Those robotic recreations .... The Hall of USA Presidents? I thought that was kind-of creepy ....interesting though. In this CGI bloated era, a couple of films serve as examples .... Final Fantasy (flopped) and now we have The Polar Express (from what I read, has not done well) The "Uncanny Valley" hypothesis is a little too dry & technical for me ... Read it at this link and this other link or this one might be more understandable. I have my own observations why the public may never really respond, emote with, or bond with digitally synthesized humans that are trying to pass off as too human looking: It is just an insult to our senses ....we have hundreds of thousand of years of evolution in our brains & genetic make-up, intimately relating with our own human species. If a human is going to be represented on the movie screen .... it better be a living, flesh & blood human actor. Even an actor in real prosthetic make-up, the public will know it's a real actor. I think it's foolish of the Studio Suits, if they continue going in the direction of that self-impposed Holy Grail .... a completely digitally synthetic human. It may be a short-lived novelty (like "Final Fantasy"). A CGI John Wayne or Marilyn Monroe? What is the point, but only to masturbate special effects? Audiences, identify or emotionally react to the human actor (if it's good role/movie). IMO, no matter how real CGI fake humans get, the audience will always know .... there will be a mental barrier there. Now when it comes to stylized or fantasy-like animated characters/cartoons, aliens, monsters, or anthromorphisized creatures or animals..... the public actually identifies more with that .... because it is taking them in another world separate & away from reality. In LOTR, Gollum was kind-of realistic but it was not human. Gollum was surreal dream-like. If you are curious, here is small sample of reviews of The Polar Express 1 2 3 Many other reviews with similar negative reaction to PE. Remember, I am only the "Messenger"
P.S. All this is somewhat similar to what
Ray has said many times and he did not need any hypothesis or theory. It is just an instinctive natural commonsense about human emotions-feelings. Dr. LIO-
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Weekend Micro Edition
- 12.18.04
* As we posted before, Corky Quakenbush contacted us. His website is not online at this time but he has a temporary site here Space Bass Films Since this is a Yahoo Geocities free website, Corky tells me they may impose download limitations and also some of the movie links might not even work. Later at his more permanent website, he says it should be in working order.
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12.17.04
* Whoooaaaaa ......a five page article/interview with Henry Selick Hydronicus Inverticus: An Interview with Henry Selick. He is getting renewed national notariety with the upcoming release of "The Life Aquatic", opening December 25. Some minor Stop Motion technical details he talks about. In another article here, he reveals what direction Vinton Studios might be going. We are all for Stop Motion but remember I am only the messenger, so don't kill me. Some lukewarm reviews about the movie. I am not familiar or a follower of Wes Anderson. Apparently some die-hard Wes fans like his stuff. I cannot make any comment because I have not seen any of his past films. Anyway ..... you can listen to live stream Ebert&Roeper brief excerpt of their review .... unfortunately both gave it a thumbs down Here are others with their written reviews 1 2 3
Addendum: If there are any unfavorable reviews by those critics, perhaps they're inconsequential. At least Stop Motion is getting more publicity and the public will get a glimpse of an example of the highest state of the art of Stop Motion. Good job to Henry Selick .... keeping Stop Motion Alive .... it's a constant battle for us to survive!
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12.15.04
* If you have taken any art-drawing-painting classes/studies or self-study, some teaching concepts say you should study deep beneath the superficial skin-muscular layers, and be "one" with and absorb the spirit & essence of the skeletal anatomical structures?? Well, maybe apply that philosophy to cartoons? Click Here

* If you are not dead, I am sure you have heard that Pixar's, "The Incredibles", is the darling hit-flavor these past few months. I saw it too and it was very, very good ..... good job Brad Bird and PIxar crew but I am not going gah-gah over it like in the media .... typical of them. All pure Cgi and another so-called boost to that technique. Of course, the myopic studios-suits cannot see beyond that .... that it is also GOOD STORY-CHARACTERS. To me, the 2D, "The Tripletts of Bellville" was just as entertainly good as "Incredibles" ..... but the publicity machine and dollars was not behind "Tripletts". Anyway ..... interesting little behind the scenes article here Tool Time at Pixar about Brad Bird who comes from 2D animation roots and how he liked to communicate with Pixar crew with sketches/drawings. Astounding isn't it? To actually draw something with a pen-pencil and not rely on or be dependent on computer!

* A couple of brief articles about Bent Image Lab doing Stop Mo commercial spots for OfficeMax
Link 1 Link 2
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12.08.04
* Hey Jason .... thanks for reminding me. Oh Susannah! (they should write a song with that title?) Once again, another Freebie article from your book at AWN. It is almost word for word too? What are you doing girl? I can understand teaser articles to promote book, but giving it away? People will not appreciate the info as much if it's so freely available. I have ranted in past that Stop Motion info is a bit scarce but I think that your book is sooooo affordable enough for most people. Aren't your efforts $worth$ something? You need another agent- representative. Me

* Hey, guess who contacted me? Corky Quakenbush! Who is he you ask? Look here As far as I know, he became well known some years ago, for his his Stop Motion parodies on Mad TV. One of my favorites called "Clops" (a parody of "Cops" docmentary/reality type series), in which Corky in Stop Mo reveals Wallace -- of Wallace and Gromit” fame -- in bed with his girlfriend then being arrested for animal abuse and we see a starving, emaciated and rabid Gromit (the dog) who resides tied-up underneath house in a dark basement! Corky has done other Stop Mo "Clops" spoofs and also many other animated works. His IMDb listing does not appear to be up-to-date. His Stop Motion Christmas theme parody, "The Reinfather", will be aired on Comedy Central, December 17, 7:30pm. Corky also just finished a music video for Denis Leary's song, "Merry F#%$in' Christmas", playing late night, also on Comedy Central. This is Corky's website address www.spacebassfilms.com Unfortunately, it does not seem to be working. I will email him to let him know.

* At the SMA message board there was past discussion about Sex and Puppets I am surprised not too much talk of a wild-crazy-spoof-parody .... full length movie currently in production called "Disaster" Do you remember the recently released "Team America"? Well, "Disaster" is kind of similar but all Stop Motion! There are puppet nude scenes which you can see at their website. They have a music video, basically with two words for the lyrics, "Oh S--t". Sooo .....it's kind-of for mature audiences. Through the grapevine, I hear it is being shot using Digital Still Cameras and using the old simpler Lunchboxes for checking in-progress animation. The puppets are all wire armatured with miniature clothes ....resin heads with stick-on mouths. Not the fanciest methods, but maybe relying on, in your face low brow fast paced humor to grab you? They are trying to do as much in-camera traditional effects, however some shots are being done bluescreen. I do know a couple of highly talented-skilled veteran animators who are working on it but I am not sure if I should mention their names yet.
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Sunday Micro Edition
- 12.05.04
* Hmmmmm ..... so it's like over a week since I posted anything in news here. Can you dudes & dudettes please give me a break?! You are not going to abandon me, are you? If you bookmarked this news page it's not that difficult to do just a quick click here. I need the website hits! I do you a favor, you do me a favor? All yous peoples know that I approach Stop Motion in my own off-the-wall or unique manner and if you miss any of it, then it's your fault for not checking-in Okay .... gotta jump here. I might have something tomorrow to post here. Even if I don't, you should still check-in! Stay tuned.....


 

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