Monday, September 24, 2012

Disney; King of the hill since 1937

Topic 2_2: What was Disney’s greatest contribution?

No single studio has contributed the the animation industry more then Disney. The studio brought the industry many innovations. Everything from the use of sound in their early cartoons, to the refining of digital 3D. Disney’s technical innovations have always redefined the edge. But the greatest contribution of the Disney Empire was the creation and employ of the storyboard. “I had never seen a storyboard until I came to Disney’s in 1933. We outside of of Disney’s had always thought that he had some great secret that made his cartoons so perfect. When I saw the the storyboards I thought, AHa! That is it!” said Dick Huemer(Maltin, 30). Although there were many other pieces of the production that lead to “perfect” cartoons the use of storyboards allowed the animation teams to see the story as a whole before a single frame was animated. The boards along with the creation of a team of artist squarely focused on story would help to make the Disney animation stand alone. All of Disney’s cartoons had solid beginnings, middles and endings, full stories in the absence of dialog. Today storyboards are an essential part of all video production, from live action short films to visual effects heavy summer blockbusters. The term is storyboard has even made it way into the world of software development as a tool for visualizing user interfaces and customer interactivity. The storyboard is an obvious and perfect bridge from going trom ideas expressed orally or writing to visual mediums, be it user software design or feature production.

Topic 2_4:What do you think is the future of the studio?

 The Disney Studio is now a global corporation that employs over 148,000 people in the United States. Disney has purchased Pixar Studios and Marvel Entertainment Group and with these properties the   studio has an endless library to pull from for merchandising and production. Involved in a number of industries animation is just a part of what they do. The studio is now headed by John Lasseter of Pixar, the studio has the potential of reclaiming its position as the number one animation production house, but there is a terrible trend that plagues studios of Disney’s size the need to constantly generate revenue. This I believe leads to the production of safe film that don’t move the medium forward in any way. Even for its size Disney is not static.Outside of the big pipeline productions small teams work on pet projects that bring new things to the forefront. Paper man a Disney short about two passing strangers is challenging the way 2d and 3d animation can be married on screen. Disney research and Pixar research and development teams are constantly looking for more ways of making the workflow easier and less invasive to the artists allowing them to express and create the beauty that we see on screen. Even for it size I believe Disney will have a place in defining what the animation industry will be.

Although Disney animation has always been a leader in the field of animation. Their wide spread audience forces them into a box. What are some of the genre and subject matter would you like to see Disney explore?

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Collective Conscience

My father in law was one of the few people I let read an early version of the book. He loved the stories, but was frustrated they didn't continue. So he suggested one way to approach a book of incomplete stories was to let the audience decide which one should get finished. So that is what I am doing. I am letting the readers decide which story I should complete for Emerald City Comic Con. I want to know which of my stories should I continue. I will take the comic which received the most votes and make it into 23 page book to be debuted on the web and at Emerald City.

To participate get a copy of the book by downloading a copy or by coming to the Jet City Comic Con this weekend and buying a signed copy from the author. Once you have acquired a copy, read through and decide which of the stories you connect with the most. Then make your voice heard by going to my blog ( and completing the single question survey.

The survey runs from September 22nd until October 22nd. so please cast you vote. After the survey closes I will be create a Kickstarter Project to raise funding for a professional print of the winning story.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Here is a little information about some of the stories in the book.

Kat and Bunnie is the story of punk girls in the pacific northwest trying to be heard in the world. Kat the child of a a former pop duo, is reluctantly convinced to start a band by her friend Bunnie. While trying to make a little extra cash modeling for a local artist Bunnie finds out her mother, a former herbivore rights activist had an affair with a carnivore.

 The Head Trip is a roman a clef about my life while living in Los Angeles. Roman a clef is French for "novel with a key," it describes a novel about a real life with a facade of ficition. In my book The Head Trip I have replaced characters from my life with vampires. The story is about a artist searching for his voice while trying to survive in Los Angeles, until a friend introduces to a culture of vampires who use him as puppet on the international art stage.

Path 2 Nowhere is a story about Nick,  a love sick super hero who goes to live on Earth with his friends Roxy and Karma. Roxy and Karma have been exiled to earth where they live their live as house hold pets. Life is good until one of Nick's ex's comes looking for him, and has no problem conquering the planet to find him and win him back.

 Make War is about a space gun captian who uses her current position to hunt down and destroy the man who broke her heart when she was younger. When she finds him she is willing to sacrifice the lives of an entire city to make him pay.

Love and the Blade is a story of love, revenge and betrayal. The story revolves around Kage, The masked man, and Kin, the blonde assassin, both had been taken from their homes as children and raise a the edge of the sword. The two are alone in this foreign world until the meet on the field of battle. But their blossoming romance is cut short when betrayal brings and end to the reign of Lord Asano, and the lives of these star crossed lovers.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Figurative Journey

Looking forward in this class, please indicate your goals. 
This class will allow me to refine my figure drawing with an emphasis on light and shadow. I understand light and shadow, but I have never really taken the time to master it. I would also like to focus more closely on anatomy, planar surfaces and gradation, and develop a more sculpture feeling in my work. But even with all my focus on detail I would like to achieve a more simplistic accuracy. 

How much do you expect to learn? 
I am hoping to pick up new skills techniques, but mostly I am hoping to develop patience. I have learned in the last few years that the longer you work at a drawing the more polished and refined it becomes. I began figure drawing while pursuing animation, where the focus was more on speed then developing the image. It will be nice to slow down and really think about the form. 

Describe why you are taking this class. It may be just to meet the requirements of the school. It may be to master the human form. 
Life drawing is at the core of everthing in the world of storyboard and 2nd animation. I believe it is the thing that seperates a good animators from a great one. The mastery of the human form gives one the ability to rapidly and easily imagine the characters in any situation from any angle. If I could I would have a figure drawing class every semester, but I will have to supplement with the open drawing session in my area. 

List areas that concern you: Nervousness? Fear of not following through? Looking bad in front of the other students? 
Time, I am very over committed person. I have always had a habit of committing to many things personally and professionally. Since I began school I have not taken on any new projects. My full focus needs to be on school and finishing up the projects I have. 

How much time do you plan to invest each module? 
Study for Libyan Sibyl
red chalk drawing
1510-11 (Italian Renaissance)
The time that I spent on my extracurricular activities averaged about 30 - 40 hours a week, when my family would let me spend that much time at the computer. But I have been trying to manage my time better so that I leave time for family, work,   projects and school. I am hoping to spend the suggested time for each course plus additional time for working on skills improvement. I would like to put at least 30 hours a week in to my school endeavors. 

Also, make a list of all the benefits that you'll get when the class is over. Completion is always a good feeling. Confidence in your drawing abilities, which extend to other areas in your art, is another one. List as many as you can. 
I hope to have a few new pieces for my portfolio
I would like to regain my life drawing speed 
I am hoping find some inspiration for making new works
build a foundation for my future artistic pursuits
Completion, I have always had trouble with follow through

I hope someday to even partially achieve the skill of Michelangelo I would be happy with what I have achieved. 

Nick Butler
September 10, 2012

Animation Pioneers

The animation industry has always been moved forward by people who bridge the gap between technician and artist. John Randolph Bray was perhaps one of the most important figures in the early days of animation. Bray was always looking for the balance between quantity and quality. This drove him to find inventive ways of overcoming hurdles related to producing animation, such as the shear volume of individual drawing it takes to create believable motion. Many of the animators at the time were comic strip artist who worked primarily alone. Although Winsor McCay, creator of Little Nemo, employed his young neighbor to assist with backgrounds for his dinosaur animation Gertie, he primarily worked alone. Bray realized that in order to be successful at animation there needed to be more efficient distributed processes for achieving quality animation. His animation patents helped to document his attempts and allowed others insight into his processes helping to move the entire industry forward.
Although Bray was instrumental in improving the process for creating animation it was Winsor McCay who set the bar on quality. The quality of his drawing was reminiscent of the work of his comic strips. Some historians cite Gertie as the first real animated character, I believe this was due to impact and quality of McCay’s animated image. McCay would stand in front of the screen where Gertie was being projected and interact with her. He would finish the show by entering the cartoon world and riding off with her. Gertie exhibited many of the same emotions as it’s animation predecessors, but Gertie’s constant motion and dog-like portrayal connected with people on a deeper level. 

Animation like many industries tends to move forward with the help of technology and innovation. Animation has seen a wave of changes since the application of 3D techniques, what do you think will be the next big technology in animation?