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* Phil and Travis Knight: Their Journey .... You of course know who they are. Nike founder, Phil Knight and his son Travis, who really did not want to run the father's athletic shoe empirebusiness. I posted this about a month ago. I got feedback by someone, kind of dissing Travis as Rich Kid status and getting privileges & breaks. It was in reference to Travis' attempting to get into the music business as a rapper (about 5 years ago) but it was not successful. In my view, in this case, Wealth did not give Travis advantages.

Brew yourself a
Pot of Java, light up your Gandalf smoking pipe; then, for some personal life revelations about the Knights, deeper understanding about them, and their venture into the Animation business aka Laika Studios; read this in depth article The Knights' Tale

* I Told You So .... You think I am just shooting my mouth off and empty tirades to merely entertain you, while you hide anonymously in the dark?? Why don't you come out here and do this? I am no big ego head pundit, but just very observant, have commonsense instincts and can see the repeatable patterns of people, business, politics, society, etc.. "We" are so predictable and screw up continously and never, ever learn from mistakes. Back to topic: Remember my commentary earlier this month about Creature Comforts? It has just been cancelled by CBS (Link 2) for the exact reasons I stated. Why doesn't someone hire me to do this or buy out Stop Motion Works (I am easy, make me an offer ).

P.S. On a related note; Disney just bought the rights to broadcast Aardman's,
Shaun the Sheep beginning July 8. This is for the Disney Channel in the USA; the cable/satellite niche market, and so, it might have a better chance of success.

* Mike Bates Bites the Dust? .... Some of you might already know; he is an animator/artist who has been online for quite a few years, slowly pursuing his Stop Motion projects. First, there was Skullwell Predicts short, then the unfinished Stop Motion Film Noir, Time and Time Again. In the beggining, regular postings to his blog, then gradually less and less, and eventually, many months not posting. Well, you now click on his website www.skullwell.com and it has vanished. I do not know why. Perhaps personal, or loss of interest and just dropped out? Here is archive.org's cached link of Mike Bates website and of Skullwell Predicts. I do have a link to his site/blog and was considering removing it because of mostly, lack of activity.Wth this discovery of a dead link, I will have to nix it as part of website maintenance.

* Stop Motion Software BUZZ: CSMC Digicam, Stop Motion Recorder, Anasazi, Secret Beta for Macs, Xipster, FrameThief, Stop MotionMaker ....

I was informed about a remote capture program for some Canon digital still cams (like the Powershot line) and it is suppose to be free. The site is in German but partially translated into English. It is called
CSMC Digicam & link 2. If you want more info or do not understand, try contacting them, or maybe the translator of the pages. Edit: 06.24.07

Someone who is a
Brickfilmer (passionate about Stop Mo Legos), created a simple, free framegrabber for Windows & Linux (who uses Linux?). The program is Java based (not sure what that means). Again, it is free and called Stop Motion Recorder. Here are some comments.

Then, we have one of the oldest online available (to general consumer) Stop Mo capture animation
framegrabber software, on the planet , Anasazi. It has been offered for free by AnimateClay site for some years. One of the early Stop Mo capture programs but has some glitches & bugs, however, 'people' insist on using it, inspite of the newer available framegrabbers. I guess, 'free' is the motivator for many. Anasazi is suppose to be updated, tweaked, modified by a group of people at the Brickfilms forum. I have not yet seen any beta version or progress yet. We shall see.

Remember last month,
I wondered about Secret New Beta Stop Motion Software? Well, I got some feedback by someone out there. They revealed the name of the software, to me. It is an existing framegrabber program for Macs that you all probably have heard of, and for now, the updated Beta version is only being disclosed to a select few. Do not ask me why. IMO, with a Beta program, the more you expose it to a wider audience, the faster you will get feedback about any bugs. I was asked by informant, to keep this 'confidential', for now.

If you
click Xipster Company (aka Xow), the original websites have just been removed. They no longer are offering Stop Motion Software products for the consumers but they 'say', available for educational clients. One was called FreeStyle (graphics animation) and the other older one was, FullStop (for Stop Motion). This is an archived page.The company, Xow, I am told by my 'source', that they will be focusing as an animation production studio. Their last venture was Otafuku Rex, a Cool Stop Mo music video. FullStop was the most fun interface for newbies or young users, however, from the beginning, one could not use FullStop (formerly known as Instant Animator ) with DV camcorders. It would only work mostly with USB Webcams. Also, it only allowed you to shoot on Two's. It has been too quiet since Otafuku Rex. We are waiting to see the re-incarnation of Xow. All the best, to them. Edit: 06.24.07

Someone at message board, not too long ago, commented that
FrameThief appears to be AbandonWare. The pay for it link is still working if you wanted to purchase FT, however, Roman Blok who wrote FT, has vanished from public view and seems to not be accessible. He even removed his online FrameThief forum. I do not know about you FT users (using it as 'video assist' with your DSLRs) who give it much praise. Then there are some who kind of Frame Thiefwhine that it needs updating. For myself, I would not feel too secure . You pay for the software but there is no customer service support. Do not get angry at me. I already tiraded about this in the past. I am just calling it as I see it (raw naked truth).

P.S. I suppose, as long as the earlier
Mac OS are available, you can also have an older dedicated Mac station using FT, for just frame-grabbing. Misha Klein's philosophy about video frame capturing tools, pretty much mirror's mine. I can actually, probably get by with just the ability to only toggle back to one previous frame! Anyone know, what the hell is this Secret, 'Misha FrameThief Break-out Box'? (maybe a custom keypad-controller?) Edit: 06.25.07

The new powerhouse
of Stop Motion software for PC/Windows seems to be Stop MotionMaker? It appears to be gaining popularity, similar to the two top players: Stop Motion Pro and Animator DV. Craig is the creator behind Stop MotionMaker. He seems to have much enthusiasm for Stop Motion and is very responsive to feedback and willing to experiment & tweak his products, especially his premiere program called Stop MotionMaker Advance with many features for compositing / special effects. They will soon be offering another Cool feature: Full Screen Mode, for use as a basic framegrabber and will have user assignable hot-keys. Can also be used as a straight "video assist" for all you High Resolutionist Stop Mo DSLR fanatics. Edit: 06.24.07

* LIO Bumps in the Road .... HEY, do not rush me! What about you? Yes YOU with the face in the dark out there. Just lurking? Are you doing anything? Soooo, I am getting accustomed again, to 'wire' armatures. Sure, I can mesmerize you with El Slicko Jointed-O-Rama Stop Mo Armatures , but I want to challenge myself for my participation at StopMoShorts Puppet Training and I should be on similar or equal level to others. I am thinking of the talented Stop Motionist upstart, Justin Rasch, and then we got the white haired Stop Mo Gandalf, in the Land of Oz, Sir Nick Hilligoss. Both of them creating & breathing incredible animated "Life" with Wire Armatured Stop Mo puppets! Okay, back to practice animation sessions and wrestling with these springy armature things . Edit: 06.24.07

* Fast Takes: Born, Robot Chicken, and FBI Zoo .... Guillermo del Toro producing & Clive Barker as exec producer on a movie called 'Born', as reported by Variety. Chiodo Brothers supplying the Stop Motion work. Soooo .... Born is about a Clay Animator Arteest. Just observating: I wonder if the clay puppets might intentionally be designed to look kind of 'extra rough' and animated jerky style, to emphasize that they are puppets? Also, how this may further reinforce the 'image' of Stop Motion in the minds of the Suits & Audiences, by using the misquoted 'Clay Animation' phrase-description. All Stop Motion is NOT Clay Animation. Using the clay material is a subcategory of the general Stop Motion technique. P.S. I am not implying that Clay Animation is inferior in any way. Just 'terminology accuracy', is my point. Updated: 06.17.07

'Robot Chicken: Star Wars', premieres tomorrow Sunday June 17, 10PM. The Official Site. An article.

'FBI Zoo' , from France, a Stop Motion short project by Julien Vray & Yohann Angelvy. The publicity and info seems vague. Maybe because not promoted towards USA audiences, however FBI Zoo is about America in the 1960's era and has French subtitles. The FBI Zoo brief teaser, captures very well, the Retro-ness, in a stylized, dreamy way. This is the filmmaker's MySpace page or, you can try his YouTube page and some Pics. Again, not clear if FBI Zoo is finished yet or maybe now doing the festival route in Europe. You can always email him or invite him to post at SMA.com

* LIO Comeback .... Some slight delays in trying to debug the Stop Mo workflow here for some of my submissions to StopMoShorts', Puppet Training. Minor things; getting the stage set-up the way I want, and also IDshot camera familiarization.

To save me some time, no little decorative, thumbnail photos embedded with this week's SMW News. Can you give me a break? Writing does not come easy for me. Too many re-edits for me to get it 'right'. You know how much work it takes to do this weekly thing? If it is any more frequently, then it becomes too much, or someone would have to pay me to do this more often. I cannot do it all by myself, doing this News/Commentary, to feed YOUR Stop Motion INFO hungry compulsion; in addition to, finally getting my ASS moving and into the trenches to crank-out some Stop Motion.
Updated: 06.17.07

* McDonald's does Stop Mo 'Healthy Food' campaign.... The Burger suits apparently approved an animated ad using Stop Motion Object Animation methods, The big M, attempting to spin their health concerns for you. Maybe they are having some remorse about the plethora of years, pumping out all those artery clogging, hyper-saturated fattening fries & ground up meat and high caloric shakes, or more likely, they want to cash in the health consciousness market. Why does everything that tastes soooo fugg'n good, have to be bad? Read McDs Gets All Stop Motion. We Remain Unconvinced

* Canadian Studio's sudden, different Style/Look ..... One of our Stop Motion Works Underground Spies notified me about a Stop Motion spot that the studio calls a PSA (Public Service Announcement) for a "celebrity", of sorts. The studio is Cuppa Coffee (in Canada) and the Stop Mo ad is for someone by the name, "Dog" Chapman who I have never heard of but in Bounty Hunter circles, he is suppose to be kind of flamboyant and known as a top bounty hunter.

Cuppa Coffee website labels this ad as their Signature Style. Well, if you look at their Stop Mo Reel, nothing looks like the 'Dog' Stop Motion style. I have never seen this 'style' before, from Cuppa. They must have hired new talent or artistic directors?! IMO, this is a departure from Cuppa's previous styles, with this Dog piece looking most awesome. Intricately fabricated Stop Mo puppet. The overall detail; real hair work, the clothing, and also the model work; miniature sets, props. Most especially, the good 'Caricature' design-sculpt resemblance to Dog. The mouth lip-sync most likely animation replacement technique, where you pop in Jaw-Mouth pieces, for the frame by frame talking dialog (like in Jesus the Miracle Worker). Replacement can be a sophisticated Stop Mo method that works well when executed with quality & finesse. Again, I would not call it an existing signature style of Cuppa, but perhaps, a very different or New style for them. Take a look at the YouTubified, Free the Dog, or at Cuppa's site for QuickTime version, small or large (slow download). Updated: 06.10.07

* Buzz, Rumor about LIO .... It appears the vicissitudes in his life, starting to get under control. Come on, let's be real. Is anyone reeaaally all happy Pollyanna about their life? Society, the world, & people, are not like that, and negative forces impact all of us (Yin &Yang). Maybe money can give comfort & pleasure, a false sense of security, but even the Wealthy, have royally Screwed themselves up. Just to remind you, those who are internet active with their blogs, message board postings, My Spacers, etc. etc. .... you do not know what the people are really experiencing or going through, behind the words-text. What the hell was my original topic? Oh yeah; well, it appears that LIO (Lionel Ivan Orozco), will finally be coming out of semi-retirement and participating at Stop MoShorts' Puppet Training, perhaps as early as next week. A Merkle, indeed. Most likely; mistakes will be made, rough animation, and starting slow like the Tortoise, but hopefully, will eventually gain momentum and in the end; beat the Hare. Be afraid, be very afraid. Updated: 06.10.07

* Nick Hilligoss has gone VIRAL? .... He is spotlighted in a local USA online paper/voice from Clarkesville, Tennessee. Read about it, L’Animateur by Nick Hilligoss (StopMoShorts also mentioned). Nick has been YouTubified, Yahoo Videofied, Google videodized, the French Koreus.com site and here, here, etc. etc. and so on. Where are the 'suits' (producers), studios, ad agencies who can perhaps offer Nick some animation gigs, or commissions, contract? Nick shed his own blood, sweat, tears and personal $$$ to create L'Animateur. Always, Stop Motion struggling to get respect & recognition and astounding, the sometimes amazing quality of work with verrrrry low budgets. Can you imagine, the leaps & bounds of Stop Motion, if you threw just a little money at it? This is Nick Hilligoss' Photo Album Site & Showcase Gallery Updated: 06.04.07

* Stop Mo on mainstream TV Network in USA in primetime, June 4 .... An Aardman Studio product. The Americanized version of the Brit Creature Comforts. As much as I would like it to succeed, deep down I think this would have more success & maybe longevity on the cable channels where it targets niche audiences with more selective tastes. The CBS network will be broadcasting this. The suits are addicted to instant meteoric high ratings and many times, they do not give a chance for an audience to develop. CBS, ABC, NBC mostly caters to the LCD masses with the programming tending to be formulized & homogenized. Gary & Mike and Phantom Investigators were short-lived on the smaller major TV networks in USA (Fox & The WB). I think The PJs almost lasted 3 seasons, then got axed.

Maybe mainstream TV networks have had a change of heart, and now willing to be more daring & experiment? (losing audiences & money because of competition from internet, satellite, cable, etc.) Of course, I remember the buzz how costly it was to produce each of The PJs episodes and maybe too high a price is a deterrent. If Stop Motion is to be competitive with other animation styles, you need a reasonable but not bloated or excessive budget. That would be a death knell for Stop Motion in the TV broadcast market. In Euro countries, a different culture & sensibilities and I am guessing that it is more common to see Stop Motion on TV over there. We will see how Creature Comforts does or maybe only for the summer season of TV shows, Creature Comforts Series Premiere and a review and here Updated: 06.03.07

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