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February 2006

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* Slowwww .... dead as a "Heart Attack" .... Strider mildly ranted recently, about lackadaisical participation at message board and I also added my small "two cents". As I always do in spite of my other "life" & issues going on, doing maintenance/upkeep on Stop Motion Works. IF only you knew, the time & effort of good webmasters who keep their sites current and do not let it stagnate. I still have not really completed SMW site since it went online some years ago. You know though, I'm usually here & alive and also that SMW does not "feel" abandoned (like "other" sites or blogs ). I do not get paid for this. Do not take SMW for granted ....if you do ... I will shut-down this site! Where is all the buzz & rumors? How many times have I said? .... You will remain anonymous! Your ears stuffed with foam latex? I do not need to know who you are. Geeeez people .... get motivated .... do something, say something, anything .... at message board, or "whatever"!

* Stop Motion Creature Effects ..... Everyone brainwashed that only CGI can do that now. I have always said that is B.S.. That is what you believe, Mr. Suit, Producer, or Director .... all of you pigeon holing and stereo-typing Stop Motion as suppposedly only good for puppet/cartoon style animation? You all are just a bunch of myopic sheep and I probably can never convince you of Stop Motion's use for creature effects. Maybe not for the mega-million wannabie blockbuster movies .... however .... I say ....Stop Mo creature FX very viable for direct to DVD productions aka B movies. I always mention Randy Cook's work on The Gate & Gate 2 and I, Madman .... the potential of what Stop Motion could be. Today, with all the advantages of acessible computer tools, we can really digitally turbo-charge Stop Motion. Yes .... I know CGI is easier to integrate & more seamlessly composite with live action and you can clone thousands of creatures. Also, CGI people seem to like masturbating the moving camera. To me, many times a distraction. Thousands of stories can be imagined & told, and one does not need a plethora of CGI cloned creatures or the barf inducing excess camera motion. BEFORE CGI took over the minds of the masses in movie theaters then on TV (such as the CGI, Walking with Dinosaurs .... the glowy & floaty stuff) ..... there was Hall Train Studios ..... using Stop Motion techniques to portray dinosaurs in a realistic manner. Tim Synder worked for Hall Train in those years. For your viewing, here are what seems to be rare, very brief clips (Quicktime) of some Dino shots done at Hall Train, Clip 1 & Clip 2. Looks good to me and "real enough" in the context of the documentary .... "real-surreal" as I like to describe Harryhausen-esque Creature Stop Mo. These Hall Train Stop Mo animated dinos have a solidness you can almost touch & feel (because they are real figures). IMO, hyper smoothness motion is not the holy grail and that is what CGI creatures generally feel/look like to me. They have their own artificiality about them too, and the public has been suckered to accept only that type of digitally created synthetic imagery as supposed "reality". Edit 02..23.06 Added Still Image links ...... 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 .... Yeah .... Stop Motion Digitally Turbo-charged

* Don Hahn head of Disney for a little while .... With all the turmoil of the big D aquiring Pixar, it seems like Hahn will act as fill-in head of animation. Article says ..... "Hahn is known to be an advocate of the many styles and techniques of animation, from 3-D to hand-drawn 2-D and stop-motion as well as integration of 2-D and live action". Stop Motion? Yeah .... we will have to wait and see. I am usually skeptical about mainstream biz. Pixar's John Lasseter is the one who will eventually make the creative decisions. I kind of did my ramble - pleading - begging at this topic (SMA message board) .... but most likely it will fall upon DEAF EARS. In general ..... Tinsel-Town Movie Biz does not think "out of the box" or they are very much cowards in experimenting or try new things .... hence .... all the current homogenized entertainment movie products. Here is that brief soundbyte news ..... Hahn tapped interim chief of Disney Animation

* Duck Studios .... the "new" Colossal Pictures? CP were located in San Francisco years ago. Don't know if the ADD internet generation here remembers them. Colossal was everything Disney was not ..... loose, organic, all manner of mixed media animation and special effects. They were on top for a long while, then downsized some years ago and I think eventually closed shop. Anyway ..... check out Duck Studio .... they have many clips and you can select them by categories ..... 2d, 3d, Stop Mo, etc. It is friggin refreshing to see a plethoric "Salad Bowl" of styles & aesthetics ..... compared to other studios with the same ol' tired pure 100% CGI .... can get boring and very sterile look & feel. BTW .... Duck Studios did the recent incredible United Airlines Stop Mo commercial

* CineMagic Magazine .... about 20 years ago, stopped publication .... It focused on amateur-hobbyist, verrry "poor man's" special effects including coverage of some Stop Motion tips, methods, etc.. In those days, mostly using the Super 8mm film format. The publisher was the Starlog group and it appears they are still around with their Fangoria and Starlog magazines. I have all the old CM issues ..... pages are yellowing a little. In hindsight ..... the how-to and other articles were not that detailed or the step by step descriptions not clear and many of the photos on the inside pages were poor or about newspaper quality. The later issues of CM slightly improved but still, the how-to info was so-so. In those days though .... that was almost the only info source around for the Stop Mo Starved . In the 21st century internet era, information about Stop Motion is more accessible with perhaps a little better & more how-to detail. Re-visiting some of the Cinemagic articles, I found a few which are the better ones and are still relevent and useful today. I am guessing, this might be the very first time, these CM Stop Mo articles are on the Internet . I present to you, for your mind edification & for the Stop Mo historical documents preservation cause ... Hinge-Jointed (Rex) Armatures CM #35 (this is full page scanned copies of actual mag pages) ... AND ... Dinosaurs from the Inside Out CM #21 (redone as webpage & I slightly edited text for clarity). Original authors of articles are clearly indicated & credited for their written works Edit 02..11.06 I may periodically post more old articles from CM or other old mags that I have in storage. Like I said, articles may not be as good as currently available how-to info .... but for the sake of Stop Mo history .... they could be interesting reading.

* "Wallace & Gromit" visits San Francisco ..... February 11 .... At Zeum .... pre-registration required. Quoting them, "All visitors to Zeum on this special workshop day will see actual sets and characters from the feature film, including Wallace & Gromit, their rivals Victor & Philip, and Hutch and the other bunnies". Unfortunately or fortunately, this is for kids and young adults. If you do not have kids, maybe borrow one of your friend's kid, your niece, nephew etc. Pre-registratrion required. Teresa Drilling (formerly of the old Vinton Studios) will be host. A direct link to the page (non-framed) about the W&G Event. Zeum verrrrry interesting .... read their About ..... to foster the CREATIVITY of the YOUNG, of all backgrounds. My observation .... the constant onslaught of Video Gaming & plethoric excess of hi-tech toys upon the young minds is numbing and deadening and creates addiction to these diversions. Looks like the Zeum organization depends on dedicated volunteers and probably $$$ donations from a few generous people who deeply care about our children & the value of creativity. Edit 02..09.06

* CGI animation saturation & Oscar agrees? As much as I like Pixar's work .... especially The Incredibles, other Pixar wannabie blockbuster computer created animations (from other studios) have that "signature" to them ..... all looking & feeling like Pixar products. Kind of homogenized or formulaic? Not saying that is a negative, but something that I am always aware of when watching CGI animation, in general. As you may already know, The Academy Award nominations are for three NON-CGI animations .... Howl's Moving Castle (2D drawn), Curse of the Were-rabbit (Stop Motion) and Corpse Bride (Stop Motion). This surprised me as I did not think both Stop Mo flicks would get final nominations. One can get excited about this but I am cautious. I never ever saw Hollywood as helping Stop Motion. It has always been rejected by mainstream biz. If one of the Stop Mo films does win an Oscar, difficult to say what the implications are or if it will make any positive impact for further use of Stop Motion (the cartooon-puppet style of Stop Mo) in "mainstream". Just have to wait and see. For your info absorption .... some articles ..... Oscar shuns computer-animated cartoons ..... Diversity rules Oscar animation picks . Read this .... CBS OK's First Animated Series in 13 Years Could this be a "preview"of the positive effects-karma, if Stop Motion gets an Oscar? More Stop Mo projects? Edit 02..05.06

* Paint Specialty Lab gone .... Duchess Art Products emerges ..... Last year, Leo Bergman of Paint Specialty Labs passed away. He was inventor & chemist and primary person behind PSL. He developed paints for artists & specialty industries. The paints were durable and waterbased non-toxic (no solvents). One of the paint lines was specifically for Foam Rubber Latex. The paints work straight out of the bottle (no involved mixing like PAX paints). Very concentrated paints and the ounce sizes would last for the Stop Mo hobbbyist. Well, I had hopes "someone" would carry on with the foam paints, but I heard there was no one to continue the PSL buisness. Recently, I received an announcement about Duchess Art Products ..... they said they have a paint for foam latex rubber called Foam Coat and it is suppose to be similar to PSL's paints. I received some samples of their paints but have not had a chance to test it. You can read the advantages of PSL's paints. Hopefully, Foam Coat paints will have some of the same properties/characteristics. PSL was in Portland, Oregon and I see that Duchess Art is also located in Portland. That would be good news if there was a connection and perhaps Duchess Art maybe acquired the foam paint formulas!? Here is online copy of a page from Duchess Art Products brochure that they sent to me via postal mail. Contact them for further information or samples. If you test their foam paints, be sure to give them feedback. Edit 02..05.06

* FPS Mag Contest for 4 Curse of Were-Rabbit DVDs ...... Hmmmm .... I just got this from them .... kind-of short, last minute notice. Contest deadline is THIS Monday, Feb 6. If you like, you can give it a shot Entry form/Contest Details

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