Amazing Jelly Bean Stop-Motion

This music video for Kina Grannis’ song “In Your Arms”, just blows me away. It uses stop motion with Kina in front of a jelly bean background.

Each background is made up of jelly-beans laid out by hand to create the video’s amazing look. This crazy project took 22 months of shooting, 30 people, 2,460 frames, 1,357 hours, and 288,000 jelly beans. What’s even more amazing is that all of the shots with Kina are not created with a green screen — she’s there for every shot.

The making of video is also pretty interesting:

Sayonara

There are only a few people from my elementary school that I’m still in touch with. One of those people is Eric Bates.

I was friends with him all throughout elementary and high school. In particular, I remember playing around on 3D Studio and a very early version of Photoshop with him in Bobby Salmaso’s drafting class. We were also known to play a networked game of Doom during many lunch hours. He had some pretty advanced 3D modelling skills, even in those days, and I have always been a bit jealous of his talent.

Outside of school we worked on a project together to recreate a map of our high school on Duke Nukem 3D. His attention to detail and the way he constructed complex warping methods around the map to give the illusion of a multi-floored building blew me away. I think he liked my ample use of glass and the way one could simulate an experience of shooting out the windows next to the cafeteria. There was something cathartic about seeing all that shattered glass spray out on the floor.*

Eric and I are still in touch — though not very much now that he lives in Japan Australia. He’s still animating and his latest piece, Sayonara was just featured on Cartoon Brew. Here it is:

Sayonara from Eric Bates on Vimeo.

Here’s his description:

A short story about two unlikely friends saying goodbye. A young man named Charles just lost his home. He spends one last day with his best friend, a sea turtle, before moving on.

This graduation project was made while at the Kyoto University of Art and Design. It brings together a lot of the research I had done over the three years I spent in Kyoto, and is based abstractly on my own experiences living in Japan. Most of the concepts relate somehow to my experiences, friends, foods, things I saw, and things I felt over this time; in particular the idea of saying goodbye to close friends.

He’s also created a making of video. Fantastic work, Eric. We always knew you were destined for greatness.

*It turns out, simulating shooting up a school in no way makes one actually want to shoot up a school — but if this had been a few years later, we probably would have been too worried about what others thought to make the map.

Princess and the Frog Trailer

Disney has released the trailer for its newest full length feature animation, The Princess and the Frog. It will be the animation studio’s 49th animated feature and the first traditional animation feature since Home on the Range — my least favorite Disney animation of all time. I’m hoping things have improved…


[Princess and the Frog Trailer – YouTube]

The new movie will add to Disney’s profitable princess franchise, and, more importantly, with directors John Musker and Ron Clements at the helm, I suspect it will have the kind craftsmanship and story that will make it worthy to become part of the Disney Classics canon.

Ron and John’s directing credits include: The Great Mouse Detective, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Hercules, and Treasure Planet. These guys have worked with the masters and, of course, are masters in their own right.

The Animation Podcast has a great interview with Ron and John in three parts.

Repeated Actions in Animation

Back in the early days of Disney animation, it was not uncommon for animators to cycle animation forward and then backward, repeat action more than once, or use a cross-over technique in which two or more characters do the same action.

From The Illusion of Life:

Sometimes an action could be repeated just as it was in a second scene, but more often a new beginning or a different ending were called for. In these cases, the animator could repeat part of the action by borrowing drawings from the earlier scene. In other cases, there would be an action that could be repeated intact in the same scenes—a character climbing a slippery pole, or sliding down an incline, or being knocked down by a mechanical device.

I remember watching the Disney classics as a kid and thinking some of these scenes are very similar to other Disney movies. I never realized that this type of repeated action was so prominent between films until seeing this YouTube compilation:


[Youtube link – Resemblance]

Having said that, I don’t considering this to be as big of a cheat as to deserve a flippant “fail” tag so indiscriminately handed out by the Pharisees of the net.

The copying done here, is not tracing, but transferring poses from one character to another, perhaps even from Disney’s large collection of reference footage. As anyone that’s done any animation knows, putting any animation onto a new character is still a very difficult task regardless of where you get the poses.

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How to Hook Up Your Home Theater

Goofy Poster - How to hook up your home theater

This hilarious Jack Kinney style Goofy short, How to Hook up your Home Theater, isn’t new — it was released in 2007, shown in theatres before National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets — but it is significant because it recaptures the spirit of Disney in the golden era of animation. It aims particularly at recapturing the Jack Kinney classics like Hockey Homicide or a Goofy Gymnastics with a modern twist.

It’s available in the iTunes Store. Search for How to Hook Up Your Home Theater. It think it sells for around $2.

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