Animated Shorts & Cartoony & CG & Funny & Inspiration & Musical

Aria for a Cow

Aria for a Cow – Final H263 Stereo HD from Aria for a Cow on Vimeo.

Aria for a Cow is an animated musical short based on a previously unreleased song by the Oscar winning team of Howard Ashman and Alan Menken (“Little Shop of Horrors”, “Little Mermaid”, “Beauty and the Beast”, “Aladdin”).
When a callow young farmer shows himself to be completely uninterested in the sensitive art of milking a dairy cow, Aria, a bovine diva, along with her singing and dancing back up bulls, belts out a tune demanding to be respected for more than just dairy products. Aria and her friends take us through a fast- paced musical journey. In the end, our young farmer learns to respect the collaborative effort that made Krelborn farms and its cows an award winning dairy farm.

Behind the Scenes & Character Designers & Cinematography & Concept Artists & Illustrators & Learning

Movie Geometry – Shaping the Way You Think

Have you ever noticed that villains in a story have pointy features and the lovable characters appear to be round-faced?

A new video has revealed why – and how Disney and other filmmakers use the trick to get us to empathize with the hero and hate the villain in movies.

It shows how characters such as Darth Vader and Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty have sharp, angular faces made from triangles, while lovable characters such as Baloo from ‘The Jungle Book’ are made entirely of circles.

Animated Commercials & Animated Features & Animated Shorts & Animation History & Behind the Scenes & Geek Stuff & Inspiration & Stop Mo


THE EVOLUTION OF STOP-MOTION from Vugar Efendi on Vimeo.

With the release of Kubo and the Two Strings, it is a perfect moment to go back in time and see the evolution of stop-motion animation throughout the years.

The films included are:
– The Enchanted Drawing (1900)
-Fun at the Bakery Shop (1902)
-El Hotel Electrico (1905)
-Humorous Phases of Funny Faces (1906)
-The Cameraman’s Revenge (1912)
-The Night before Christmas (1913)
-Häxan (1922)
-The Lost World (1925)
-The Tale of Fox (1930 version)
-King Kong (1933)
-The New Gulliver (1935)
-The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953)
-It Came Beneath The Sea (1955)
-Earth vs Flying Saucers (1956)
-The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad (1958)
-Jason and the Argonauts (1963)
-Closed Mondays (1975)
-Star wars IV: A New Hope (1977)
-Star Wars V: Empire Strikes Back (1980)
-Clash of the Titans (1981)
-The Terminator (1984)
-Robocop (1987)
-Beetlejuice (1988)
-Wallace and Gromit: A grand day out (1990)
-The Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb (1993)
-The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
-James and the Giant Peach (1996)
-Chicken Run (2000)
-Corpse Bride (2005)
-Coraline (2009)
-Mary and Max (2009)
-Fantastic Mr.Fox (2009)
-The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! (2012)
-Paranorman (2012)
-Frankenweenie (2012)
-Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens (2015)
-The Little Prince (2015)
-Anomalisa (2015)
-Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)

Music: Mychael Danna- The Streak (Moneyball OST)

2 1/2 D & 2D & Animated Television & Geek Stuff & Inspiration

MIDDLE SCHOOL – Exploring Rafe’s Mind Featurette

That’s my co-author at :36 in, Jamie Oliff, at Duncan Studio!

Making of Middle School . A real image film that combines animation 2d when we get into the head of the teenager.The animation is made Duncan Studio and have participated grandísimos Spanish artists Borja Montoro, Joseph Mansuy and Juan Pablo Navas .

Rafe has an epic imagination…and a slight problem with authority. Both collide when he transfers to an oppressive, rule-crazy middle school. Drowning in do’s and don’ts, Rafe and his scheming best friend Leo hatch a plan to break every rule in the school’s Code of Conduct. It’s Ferris Bueller meets Home Alone as their battle with Principal Dwight explodes into chaos both real and imagined. But Dwight displays his own fiendish creativity, striking back at the rulebreakers. Meanwhile, Rafe struggles to hide his misbehavior from Jeanne, the straight-A, overachieving girl of his dreams, and at home, his mother’s boyfriend — a moochy, jack-of-no-trades named Bear — threatens to become his stepfather.

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Geek Stuff & Learning & Resources & Tools

Best Tools for Maya Animators from Lester Banks

Lester Banks has posted the Best Tools for Maya Animators on his blog.

The BH Ghost Tool was created by one of my iAnimate students Brian Horgan. I encourage you to check out his website too for more tools.

The only issue with plugins vs mel scripts is many studios will not install tools on the machine for you.  They do not want their image corrupted with plugins (especially those using java in any way). But leaning on these tools for your own films at home is perfectly acceptable.

Below, are the tools I use the most… for the complete list go to Lester Banks Blog.

14. MG Tools

mgToolsby Miguel Winfield for Maya 7.0 and up – One day, somewhere out there, Winfield decided to cull all of his Maya tools together into one massive set and release it online. The result was the famously useful MGTools, which includes timesavers for just about every part of the workflow, including animation.

Possibly most noteworthy of the features is animRescue, which is a simple, lightweight method of backing up any and all changes to your animation, to be restored at anytime should your system crash.

Touted by industry professionals around the world, this one is definitely worth a look. Free and commercial versions available from MGLand

9. Ghost Tools

Ghost Tool, by Brian Horgan A very clever onion skinning solution for those of you fed up with Maya’s wonky built in Ghost feature. Brians Ghost Tools makes use of strokes to create easy to read line drawings. The tool is fast, compact, and loaded with features. Read the full article about it here. Free Download from Brians site

8. ABX Pickerabx-picker

ABX Picker, by J Adam Burke for Maya 2011 – 2013. A junior entry to the best GUI picker list, the strong selling points of this picker are the functionality and the rapid response from the tools developer. A highly rated, well supported user favorite. $20 on CreativeCrash

7. Snap Keys

Snap Keys, (various). This function got a few votes – whether using Maya’s built in snap key function or the custom Snap Keys included with MGTools – there’s also a very useful script over on the 11secondclub forums that prevents Maya from ever creating sub-frame keys.

6. Frame Counter

Frame Counter, (various). Many options are available if you want to add a custom frame counter to your playblast. Head over to this forum post to find scripts for both Max and Maya, or take the lazy route and just download The Frame Counter from CreativeCrash

Try Blue Pencil, or GPencilTool. More reading on other options over at this forum.

4. AnimSchool Picker

AnimSchool Picker, by AnimSchool for Maya and Softimage, all versions. This free tool has a lot going for it for Maya animators. Easy to use, easy to customize and a great depth of features.

Creating pickers is very simple, even adding multiple buttons at the same time is a snap, assigning sets and adding custom backgrounds is simple. But what really adds to the functionality is the ability to assign commands to buttons.

This tool is not only useful for picking controllers in a character rig, it’s also a catch-all solution for making all sorts GUIs.

Infintely faster than building UIs with mel, this tool is a must try for animators and technical artists alike. Free with signed waiver at AnimSchool.

3. Motion Trails

Motion Trail tools, (various). You can of use the built in Maya Motion Trail option, but if you ask the friendly folks at the 11second club, Mr Motion Trail, Arc Tracker or A Piece of Acetate Paper are all excellent alternatives. All free except the acetate, but if you’re like me you can use a dry erase marker right on your screen, what could possibly go wrong?

1. Pose Library

Pose Library, (various). Far and away the most useful and requested tool is the Pose Library. Whether it’s feature work, TV series or personal projects, there’s no substitute for an easy way to save and import your poses. I can’t imagine a production running smoothly without a way to import animation cycles, hand poses or face shapes. Invaluable to Maya animators.

If I didn’t have a pose library, I’d probably punch a baby elephant in the butt.

Here are three of the best tools for saving and importing animation data. PoseLib, Studio Library and PoseMan.

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2D & Animated Shorts & Events & Festivals & Inspiration & My Students

Academy Reveals 2016 Student Oscar Winners

once-upon-a-line-alicja-jasinaI am so proud of one of my USC students, Alicja Jasina, who one a student academy award in animation for her film – Once upon a Line.

LOS ANGELES — The Academy has voted 17 students as winners of the 43rd Student Academy Awards competition. The Academy received a record number of entries this year — 1,749 films from 286 domestic and 95 international colleges and universities — which were voted by a record number of Academy members. The 2016 winners join the ranks of such past Student Academy Award winners as Pete Docter, Cary Fukunaga, John Lasseter, Spike Lee, Trey Parker and Robert Zemeckis.


The winners are (listed alphabetically by film title):


All These Voices, David Henry Gerson, American Film Institute
Cloud Kumo, Yvonne Ng, City College of New York
The Swan Girl, Johnny Coffeen, Maharishi University of Management

Die Flucht, Carter Boyce, DePaul University
Once upon a Line, Alicja Jasina, USC
The Wishgranter, Echo Wu, Ringling College of Art and Design

Fairy Tales, Rongfei Guo, New York University
4.1 Miles, Daphne Matziaraki, University of California, Berkeley
From Flint: Voices of a Poisoned City, Elise Conklin, Michigan State University

It’s Just a Gun, Brian Robau, Chapman University
Nocturne in Black, Jimmy Keyrouz, Columbia University
Rocket, Brenna Malloy, Chapman University
Foreign Narrative

Invention of Trust, Alex Schaad, University of Television and Film Munich (Germany)
Tenants, Klara Kochanska, The Polish National Film, Television and Theatre School (Poland)
Where the Woods End, Felix Ahrens, Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF (Germany)
Foreign Animation

Ayny, Ahmad Saleh, Academy of Media Arts Cologne (Germany)
Foreign Documentary

The Most Beautiful Woman, Maya Sarfaty, Tel Aviv University (Israel)