Archive for September, 2012
I’m an editor by trade, but there’s so much more out there that interests me. One thing that has always piqued my interest is stereoscopic 3D and, in particular, stereoscopic 3D workflow.
Like everyone, I watched “Avatar,” but to be honest, I wasn’t blown away. I’d seen that type of stereoscopic 3D long before “Avatar” and all the other “3D craze” movies that have come out in the last few years.
Oh Captain EO, my Captain
I saw it when I was 8 years old at Epcot Center (still called “Center” back then) at Walt Disney World. The movie was called “Magic Journeys” and was like nothing I had ever seen before in my life. This was followed up four years later by “Captain EO,” a 3D sci-fi film starring Michael Jackson, directed by Frances Ford Coppola and produced by George Lucas.
(If you happen to be planning a trip to Walt Disney World soon, you can still check out “Captain EO,” as it was brought back after the death of Michael Jackson. It’s a fantastic trip back to 1986 and at what was to come as far as stereoscopic 3D production went.)
These two short films are what got me excited about stereoscopic 3D. Then nothing really came of 3D until the last few years, when it’s seemingly become all the rage, with the ability to see films in 3D not only in theatres, but now in the comfort of your own home.
But with the onslaught of 3D films, a new issue has arisen: the ridiculously high cost of 3D production, at least for the prosumer out there. I consider myself a television professional, but how can someone like me get out there and start creating stereoscopic productions?
Attention Human-ographers. Your puny planet is under attack. Lay down your Wacoms and surrender to the awesome might of PX Micron and Calculord 3!
Don’t worry, we’re not really under attack, so don’t go throwing yourselves out of the window (If you had windows, as most of you work from light-deprived basements) as happened when Orson Welles’s ‘The War of the Worlds’ was first broadcast in 1938. But I digress…
PX Micron and Calculord 3 are two rubbish robots. Not rubbish in the sense that they are badly animated or rendered, far from it, they’re great. But rubbish in the sense that they have more chance of taking over the world than I do not digressing on a post, but I digress…
These two tiny robot desperados spring forth from the new comic minds of Tom & Mark Perrett, who go under the cryptic moniker of ‘Tom & Mark’ on the Nexus Productions roster. That’s right, Tom & Mark are commercials directors who’ve adeptly turned their hands to comedy writing.
Now must of us consider ourselves to be pretty funny and now and again we can perhaps crack a funny down the pub and raise a chortle from sympathetic friends. But comedy writing, that’s another thing. So I thought I’d catch up with Tom & Mark (Who actually look a bit like the two robots) to find out a bit about invade ALL OF THE humans!!
Hey Tom & Mark! For those who don’t know, please tell us a little bit about yourselves, what you’ve been up to over the years and what you do for a living.
Hi. We are Tom and Mark! And we are animation directors and brothers from Cornwall in the South-West of England. Now based in London we have been directing commercials with Nexus Productions for the last ten or so years and that’s how we make our living. As well as making commercials to sell things like cars and ovens and different kinds of drinks (both fizzy and yoghurt based) we also perform live animation using an overhead projector to accompany the music of the London Snorkelling Team.
Do yourself a favor: Stop what you’re doing and, for the next 9 minutes devote your attention to “The Renter,” an animated short by CalArts alum Jason Carpenter.
Powered by a haunting score from Jeff Shiffman, “The Renter” gets under your skin. The relationships between the characters are fraught with ambiguity, making them feel more authentic than the tidy roles often found in student films. From the animal-like prowling of the old man to the cowering hesitancy of the little boy, each movement of each character imparts dramatic weight, even as it stokes uncertainties about the characters’ motivations.
Despite the film’s painterly look and bounty of textures, the process behind it was nearly all digital:
Except for some early drawings and thumbnails, I didn’t use any paper. I really tried to approach the digital production the same way I would if I were using traditional mediums. Before I started the animation, I blocked out rough layouts and animatics in Flash. With some basic brushes and a couple of paper textures I got from a friend, I started working on the backgrounds in Photoshop. The “texture” of the film results more from how I worked with the tools I had and not so much what tools they were.
In a time of backlash against digital processes and stilted romanticism for analogue techniques, I find Jason’s attitude refreshing. All tools, whether digital or analogue, are tools. Their superiority is only judged by the artist who wields them and the purposes to which they are applied.
For more information, check out the official site.