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July  2008

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* 'Twice Upon a Time': Everything you wanted to know but afraid to ask .... This ties into last week's news spotlight (see below) about the  'Jasper Morello' animation which was initially thought by many, to have used some hands-on tactile animation methods such as cut-out and/or silhouette animation, which can be considered a subdivision of Stop Motion. Even though the 'Jasper Morello' art direction,  images, visual style and the story, grabbed me, I suspected that it was mouse-clicked, computer created. From what I researched, Anthony Lucas' did not use any of the traditional animation techniques. 

When I saw some of the cityscape images in 'Jasper M.', it kind of reminded me of Twice Upon a Time, an obscure mainstream USA distributed animation from back in the early 1980's; a very Euro-stylized look using a collage of tactile hands-on animation methods which included  still images/photos, cut-outs, and real miniature models. All were combined & composited in-camera (multiple film passes).  When you think of cut-out animation, you probably imagine just a small flat area like in cel animation. Not so. 'Twice' used a coined term, called  Lumage Animation. The word  Lumage is a combination of the words, LuminousImage. It used back-lit backgrounds on huge glass light tables. You can read a description here but it is oversimplied. A little more detail from a 1983 American Cinematographer article:

"Its done with mirrors. Both the artwork & the camera are within reach of the operator at normal height, and the camera is pointed up toward a system of mirrors that reflects the various levels of artwork (multi-plane effect). The artwork is laid on one of three different beds (about 5 x 5 feet or larger surface area), each which 'moves independently' of the others (stepper motor motion control) and is capable of displaying several levels of art. The beds are also referred to as axes .... Though multi-passes (as many as 17) were necessary for many of the shots, the Lumage operation makess it possible to achieve complex Multi-plane shots in a single pass."

That old American Cinematographer article is in depth and I do have the original hard-copy but no software to convert scanned pages into a PDF file. In case you did not know, 'Twice Upon a Time' was produced by George Lucas before he got forever preoccupied with his 'Star Wars' franchise thing (just joking George).'Twice' has a heavy ambiance of the 1980's, and to me, much more innocent times (compared to today's insanity & conjestion). Some heavy detailed reads, Twice Upon A Time:The Movie That Time Forgot Part 2 - Twenty years later, Twice upon a Time still burns - John Korty

Not available on DVD but likely, used VHS copies.As usual, watching any movie/video online in miniature playerwindow, is a poor substitute compared to a full size TV screen, but 'something' is better than nothing.Sorry, no time to do the SMW news exclusive video embedding, so please bear the slight inconvenience. You will have to hit your browser's back arrow to select the carefully chosen (by me) 'links' which are IN order, as follows ..... Watch G rated Version Twice Upon a Time .... OR .... Uncut original version, chapters 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9


* 'Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello' .... An animated film by Anthony Lucas. Apparently, misinformation spread for some years that it used some cut-out silhouette stop mo animation methods, which turned out to be false. It did not seem clear from an A. Lucas early interview, however, a comment here states that it was all done with computers. Anyway, 'Jasper Morello' made its initial debut around 2005. You can watch it here (26 minutes). For better experience on large screen you can purchase Dvd which has special featurettes. Anthony Lucas' website.

Not much else to write here and I am keyboarded-out. I have always known, Stop Motion people seem to be withdrawn-types and even under the cover of the 'Internet' (more anonymous status), that will not get 'you' out of your closets & interact more (express your alter ego through text/writing). I do not have the power to get your butts moving and motivate you to talk it up and/or be more interactive. I might take a break or tone down my Stop Mo Evangilizing and save my mental efforts & energy for myself! EDIT: 07.20.08


* 'Western Spaghetti' by PES. This would NOT work with CGI .... No way, you CGI'ist mouse clickers. Maybe an ILM or a WETA could try and faker-ize Stop Motion but it would maybe cost millions of dollars? Duh .... and what is the point? Saying that CGI is supposedly superior and simply because 'you can'? Is using real objects, things, puppets, traditional special effects so inferior to them now? The Principalities of Powers Technology Pushers , attempting to force feed and convert us to the fake and these diversionary techno-toys. Sure, the masses can get  addicted to them (e.g., 'puters & cell phones, the major toys) however, in my Gandalf-ic observational commonsensical view: Humans through many thousands & thousands of years, have the deep genetic make-up to STILL strongly desire or relate to the REAL. Something you can touch & feel or that is close to the 'real reality'. You cannot breed it out of us in a micro-short period of time. Example: If you present to an Infant/Baby a laptop computer or cell phone, and real Toys or Dolls ..... Which do you think the baby will choose or have a preference for? Imperfection in Animation

Oh I forgot, what was the news topic? I remember now; formally, secretive Stop Mo animator/director known as PES. Why does someone want to remain anonymous and mysterious but also desires the notoriety of celebrity-dom & popularity?? Well PES, you can thank 'The Internet' and no more being undercover, as you already know now, PES is Adam Pesapane. I have plugged him a number of times here at SMW News and a pleasure to do it again. Watch his most recent, pure genious and thinking-out-of-box creative Stop Motion piece .... EDIT: 07.13.08


* 'Clash of the Titans' Remake: An appeal to Legendary Pictures ....  I am not really a blogger / writer like the millions of people out here who choose to reveal your personal lives to the masses . I usually post on weekends, however an exception here. Geeez, I am posting on a frigg'n Monday! This is TOO IMPORTANT to wait. Just last month (June) Stop Motion Works, posted news item about the 'Clash of the Titans' Remake being put on the fast-track. That got the ball rolling and we then had a small group of Stop Motionists do some brainstorming. We have to thank the amazing talents of Paul J. McConnochie (a Stop Mo Brother), and through his solo efforts, has made this a reality: Paul put together a video response & appeal to the Remake. It is self explanatory and you can watch it here (below). Spread the word, link to, or embed the YouTube Clash remake appeal to your websites, blogs, go to other forums & announce, etc. etc..  

* I am 'mild mannered' compared to Guillermo ..... Talking about my Spanish/Latino soul brother, Film director 'Guillermo del Toro' who has completed Hellboy 2 which debuts in USA, this Friday, July 11. He is a big fan of Uncle Ray. Guillermo likes to use traditional special effects and mix-it-up with CGI. Hellboy 2 getting some notoriety & people buzzing about some very slick and advanced Animatronics. Even though Hellboy 2 boasts practical (on the set) special effects, from the teasers & articles though, I see that HB2 will still be very heavy with CGI animation & digital special effects. Oh well . You know how I 'go on' about the 'Suits'? During those ocassional tirades, I am very much controlling the words to reduce the harshness. If I were to uncensor myself, I would maybe sound like Guillermo! Watch & listen as he briefly talks straight & truthful to an audience about mainstream movie biz! 'Right-on' Guillermo! He seems pretty cool, approachable, easygoing, and no airs of being full of himself (not egotistical). Hmmmm ..... I bet Guillermo might be curious about Turbo-charged Stop Mo if he saw some proof of concept demos .

* 'Bob the Builder' goes over to the Dark Side .... I hear it is a popular syndicated worldwide TV
show for the kiddies. This show, from the beginning has used Stop Motion to produce the animation.  Well, no more. It is now going to be all CGI as per 'Suits'. They give a bunch of bull crap reasons why they switching to computer animation. My sense is, that it is all about the 'money'. They can crank out cheap, air brushy, sterile looking CGI, faster than the tactile real Stop Motion. Also, maybe cheaper and 'Suits' get higher profit. Oh, another kids show Thomas & Friends which is not Stop Motion but that will also go all CGI. Read this. I told you in the past that CGI wants to take over the world and now, contaminate the minds of the youngest of kids!

* They spent 6.50 on Stop Mo ad and won 20,000 .... The UK to USA money conversion is  $12.88 and $39,942., respectively. A national contest sponsored
by the chips maker Doritos. From about 1000 entries (can be any format not just animation), a Stop Motion submission got the prize. IMO, it is kind of okay & creative but not necessarily outstanding. Many of us out here could have maybe done & submitted a Stop Mo ad, however none of us had any knowledge about this contest. Here is article. Watch the Stop Mo Ad. Along similar lines, if you have not seen this at forum, check out Wild Pitch TV

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