Saturday, December 28, 2013

one more french toast

always nice to have people of character stop in to visit.  ; )

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

goodbye, Frederic Back...

Frederic Back died this Christmas Eve. One of my favorite artists. In addition to being an animator, a force for good in the world and a voice for quiet, intelligent people everywhere.

Monday, December 16, 2013

long time no post...

these images are also on the ogre/mermaid blog, but what the heck:

ellen is cold because chris kept the heat off.

chris did some keys.

this is for a school flyer.
but we did get together last thursday, ellen and myself, to push ahead. ellen came in with her usual pile of backgrounds, and I squeezed out keys for sequence 5, shot 5.

school's almost out, and after that, well, the aim is to get all pencil tests done before january and the new year. we're close, pretty darn close, considering all the work that's been done.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

today was thursday

we sketched first, then ate sandwiches, and then came back to work.

and ross bollinger dropped in to say hi.
he's an animator just flew into town, with a great sense of timing and also sense of the funny.

we'll be enjoying a spirited debate over the future of pixar in an upcoming get-together, I am sure.

here's his work:

check it out!

Monday, November 4, 2013

quay brothers at uarts

the Quay Brothers screened their new film "[UN]MISTAKEN HANDS: EX-VOTO F. H.," at UArts this evening, along with their adaptation of Stanislaw Lem's "Maska."

they were in good form, with quick wit and revealingly unrevealing answers during the question and answer session afterwards. I especially liked the comment one of them made about their films having a spine, but with maybe six arms, all on one side.

and I thought, "better get back home and work on the film."

Monday, October 28, 2013

working on ogre

a couple of new posts on our progress to be found at The Ogre and the Mermaid.

Janelle is wrestling a pile of sand.
Ellen is running marathons and painting backgrounds.
Garion, Evan, Meghan, Nishant, Grant, and Mark are learning the ropes.
and Chris is trying to keep everyone busy, including himself.
(photo by Janelle)

Friday, October 11, 2013

animation: storytelling in movement design

movement means life, and life has a story to tell.

what do animators do? animators conceptualize movement, taking reality and interpreting it, reflecting life via motion, the sense that a thing has a path to take and make from the random choices that confront us every moment. animators create that unpredictability that motion brings.

as it moves, it tells a story...

Saturday, October 5, 2013

"Stuck in the Middle"

I love reading Ru's comics, because, having grown up in Hawai'i in mixed circumstances and then having traveled to different places for extended and repeat visits, what she writes about makes a lot of sense to me.

"Stuck in the Middle": comic by Ru Kuwahata of Tiny Inventions.

But it looks like this might be the last one, so enjoy her previous posts!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

ottawa, sep '13

always enjoy the festival, always have mixed feelings about it, mostly because of not having submitted something. this year, no submission, once again, but we are working on a film!

the canal was attractive yesterday. today, it rained.
saw "Get a Horse," the new old Mickey Mouse short from Disney. better than expected. in fact, it was very good!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Saturday, August 31, 2013

eric go bye-bye! : (

well, it's off into the sunset for our background artist Eric - or sunrise, rather.

he worked on sand, water, and sky for us for well nigh over a year, told us jokes, informed us about Apple products, eventually didn't buy an iPad, and mumbled agreeably as he worked. but now, eric is off to less humid pastures, up north-abouts, where love has led him and the high hope of escaping food art via an industrial-strength animation studio await!

of course we will miss our often-bearded co-Head, but eagerly await news of his forthcoming adventures.

farewell, sir eric! and settle in nicely to your new digs!

*of course you realize you're going into the "alumni head" category on the "about" page. : D

make us proud, son.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

timing for animation

"Timing for Animation," by Harold Whitaker and John Halas. the link is a blog post from New York animator Michael Sporn.

this is my favorite animation instructional book, even more than Richard Williams' seminal "Animator's Survival Kit," because it is smaller, more concise, and lets you take off from where it ends without getting involved in semantics.

and here's an article on the artist by John Halas, Whitaker's boss at the Halas and Batchelor Studio in England.

Monday, August 19, 2013

back from vacation

Montreal, Québec City, and the green hills of Vermont were wonderful.

here I am participating in a work by Québec artist Alfred Pellan, featured at the Musée des Beaux Arts du Québec.

it's great to get out and explore, and get photographed with your head in a dish.

but now back it's time to stick my head back into that drawing board...

Saturday, July 27, 2013

ogre at siggraph

what is SIGGRAPH? it's a conference for tech artists and other folks, this year held in Los Angeles. I represented UArts along with two of my colleagues.

what was the ogre doing there? well, I colored him during lulls in the action at the UArts booth.

no rest for the wicked.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Monday, July 8, 2013

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

next summer, the mountains

fair warning, all: next year, we look for a stone farmhouse in the alps! my  ancient(!) friend tyler has agreed to roam the mountains with me in search of the perfect little animation studio candidate.

we're gonna do this thing.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

a little bit of annecy in philadelphia

yesterday's screening was fun - at Eric's request we watched a bit of the most recently refurbished version of "Yellow Submarine" to start off with, and then launched into Annecy 2012, starting with "The Making of Longbird", a quirky graduation film that tread a line between documentary and farce. Then on to "The People Who Never Stop," a non-japanese piece about the japanese. Several other shorts, of which I will make just one more mention: "Une Furtiva Lagrima," a wonderful stop-motion quip that is a great example of a simple idea executed with precision and emotional punch. You can't tell whether to laugh or cry for this poor fish.

and happy almost birthday and anniversary to Ellen (on Sunday), who showed up with marathoning husband Andy and their home-brewed beer, which was very wonderful! here's a link to Ellen's website: for a little of advertising for our newest Head.

we also enjoyed the convivial company of Eric, his girlfriend Rebecca (sp?), Maya (back for a return visit - good to see you), and Janelle, once again making herself indispensable by bringing back the dvd that made it possible.

thanks to everyone for coming and making it fun, and now...back to work!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

ogre on the dune

did a bunch of pencil drawing revisions in sequence 14 today. finish those off tomorrow morning and then do a bunch more coloring. check out the blog.

so glad the entryway light isn't filled with water anymore. nothing like the thrill of the possibility of electrocution to make you skip a little faster past the front door to the studio...

another work day, movie night coming up

we spent thursday working together in the studio, animating at the wheel and coloring at the stylus.

with all of us crammed into this little space, I imagine this with forward nostalgia as the "early days," when chairs slid down the wooden floor incline towards the center of the room if you didn't find a way to anchor them down, when you could hear Eric making various sounds to himself, where Janelle occasionally lapsed into staring immobile at the wall for undefined periods of time, where I worked at the filing cabinet because there were only three desks and debated with Eric about the relative mertis of various Apple devices, and where new head Ellen wondered how anyone ever actually got any work done in this environment.

ah, the good ol' days...they happen in the present, you know. remember that.

we didn't use the cintiqs this time because I forgot to take them out of their cases. oh well, definitely next week. to me, the chief advantage was the kickstand, which increased the drawing angle so you could sit up straight and not lean into, bent over like a pretzel, squinting at the screen. but I'm alternating between the digital and the analog world at the moment, drawing with the pencil and coloring with the stylus.

and on saturday we're having another animation movie night, this time with the 2011-12 annecy dvd's, + whatever else is brought up to the table. hooray for home-made beer from ellen and andy!

after some "this and that," the ogre drawings now sit in a single filing cabinet - one with two filing drawers (what a find). Uhuru always has something tempting, walking by it. except of course on mondays, when they're closed.

everyone has a post-ogre project they are considering throwing at Motion Heads, except me - my next film is going to be a solo effort: a moving doodle, stripped down and more improvised, more jazz, less linear. so I'm looking forward to contributing to someone else's notions.

the accordion place moved...wonder how much the rent in that now empty space...big enough to set up a hammock? would have to be big enough to accommodate two or three disc desks, plus...a stop-motion set, workshop area, and the requisite computer stations: a mix of real things with computer things. and a lounge. and a little refrigerator. and a projector/screening area. and the vegetable garden out back, or at least an herbarium on the window sill.

so that's it for now.

see you soon and stay tuned: we're working on putting sequence 02 together in color.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

janelle's annecy blog post

and by the way, Janelle came back from Annecy with goodies (including the 2011-12 dvd), and wrote about it in her blog, which you can check out. there are lots of interesting things going in Janelle World, and she's got some great sketches there, too.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

group shot

Motion Heads at work today. This was a full crew day, with everyone back from adventures to other places (France, Peru, New York, and Cape May).

Animation, coloring, and backgrounds...working our way through Sequence 03.

Friday, June 14, 2013

progress with the ogre

color is making its way into the proceedings..."The Ogre & the Mermaid" is our main project at present. the team is once again expanding, now to include Ellen and, hopefully, Jessica. welcome!

Friday, April 5, 2013

when magoo flew

"When Magoo Flew," by Adam Abraham, is a history of the UPA studio (United Productions of America), that has long held mythical status for me and many animators, along with later offshoots such as the Hubley studio. The notion of animators dedicated to new ideas, sophistication in content, and risk-taking approaches to graphics and art, is one that inspired me as soon as I started learning about it. Occupying a relatively short-lived but highly combustible and exciting place and time in history, UPA participated in America's post-WWII creative outpouring, alongside figures such as Charles and Ray Eames, and allied themselves to innovative trends in contemporary art and industry. Not without their human shortcomings (and perhaps even notable in these), but with energy, verve, intelligence, and idealism - what more could you ask for...

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

an evening of WIP

motion heads is hosting an evening of Works-in-Progress by local animators, including ourselves.

space is limited, so this will be a "by invitation only" event, but we are looking forward to seeing new stuff, previously un-seen stuff, and possibly even other stuff, in an atmosphere of convivial potluck dining.

date and time to be confirmed, so stay tuned...

~ Chris Head

motion heads is hosting an evening of Works-in-Progress by local animators, including ourselves.

space is limited, so this will be a "by invitation only" event, but we are looking forward to seeing new stuff, previously un-seen stuff, and possibly even other stuff, in an atmosphere of convivial potluck dining.

date and time to be confirmed, so stay tuned...

~ Chris Head


wip update, after the fact:

a convivial time was had at chez nous last evening as colleagues and friends gathered to reveal their secret or not secret projects in progress at Motion Heads' potluck lasagna fest, "This is what I am Working On or Finished Not So Long Ago."

Ellen showed a short piece with Mona Lisa hard up for a decent date with no luck amongst her male painter candidates, John gave us his gritty, organ detective story, Marie screened a short piece based on a story her father liked to tell about taking the sun to Canada, Karl revealed bits and pieces of projects involving photograph-based animation of natural (and other) elements, Michael shared and demo'd examples of games he's  working on/has worked on, and Motion Heads played our pencil test animatic for "The Ogre and the Mermaid."

pretty cool to see what others are doing, and thanks to all who gathered the gumption to participate. it can sometimes be lonely, creating in a vacuum, and this was a breath of fresh air and fresh perpective, especially if you've been staring too closely at your drawing board, your monitor, or your navel for too many days, weeks, or months.

looking forward to the next one...