Friday, November 30, 2007

Kaj Pindal's Birthday Anijam!

Let's end the week with a special sumthin' for a special someone. Master animator Kaj Pindal celebrates his 80th on Dec. 1st, and TAIS members Ruth Tait, Madi Piller, Bryce Hallett, Craig Marshall and meself whipped up a special birthday greeting just fer him! Extra kudos to Bryce for editing and prepping everything for the film, which was screened for Kaj at the big event at the NFB cinematheque last night. Go Kaj!

What can I say about the man and the event? Well, I'll leave that up to fellow animation blogger and industry vet Mark Mayerson...he's posted an excellent summary including a list of words from well-wishers over at his Mayerson on Animation blog. Glad to see another local animation blogger! Mark's the cat behind Monster by Mistake, and has been workin' in the animation industry for almost 30 years, so he can say more about Kaj and better than this scruffy pooch. Raise a glass to one of Canada's best. Cheers!

Yo Jeaux! Q and A with Fred

Jeaux Janovsky over at Channel Frederator (remember them? Toon podcast, cool-ass red robot? Yeah, that's the guys, swell fellas.) tossed a few questions my way about 'First Time Out', featured in Fred 108. Here's me chewin' his ear off:

1) How long have you been animating Neil?

I got out of school summer of '95, been workin' since then, so...sweet joosy jebus, 12 years?!? Man, I'm old.

2) Mech-rabbits battling makes for awesome. What was the inspiration of this short Neil?

Too many episodes of Gundam Wing. After seeing yet another mechstravaganza where big awesome robots were being piloted by blank-eyed teens with all the emotive properties of a squashed banana slug, I thought to myself "Man, why don't they create a toon with giant mecha suits piloted by sumthin' that could actually USE a giant mecha suit?" Then an episode of Hamtaro came on, and something clicked. Or snapped, depending on yer point o' view. Originally, the main characters were actually gonna be hamsters, and I may still do that. If I do, it'll be one big valentine to Go Nagai.

3) The short could very well be a cut scene from the GunBunnies video game, do you have any video game aspirations for these cute and cuddly hardcore mech battling robots?

You hit the video game aspirations right on the nose, man! 'First Time Out' was meant to be a great lil' short film, but I also wrote and designed it to introduce the characters and story as a game environment. I'll be posting a 'proof of concept' of sorts, including a demo of how the game would play on the Wii (my platform o' choice) to the GUNBunnies website in early 2008. (

All of the vehicles and characters are game-ready art assets...I could drop 'em into an online game tomorrow if'n I wanted! I originally meant the film to be a realtime machinima piece, running online in Shockwave 3d...couldn't figure out how to code the cameras and lighting, so I decided to render it, but I kept all the art assets 'low poly' to evoke the look of an early/mid era GameCube or PS2 game. The realtime demos still exist, and I'll be putting 'em up online as well when I do the update. I'll update everyone on the RAW site when that happens.

4) What's your favorite videogame?

Tim Schaeffer's Psychonauts. Best combo of animation, design, story, music, voiceover work and gameplay ever, hands down. All that plus Richard Horvitz. Woot.

5) What are you currently working on?

A short lil' Christmas thang in Flash, featuring Emilio the Whooping Llama, a gaming podcast mascot character I designed about a year ago. There's a sample walk cycle and animatic snippet on my RAW page. ( Hoping to have it ready to submit for the Fred Xmas Xtravaganza, but if not, I'll post it on RAW.

I also included this pic...Zav in her battle armor with shield and OmniRifle. Originally, Zav was going to be the main character, but I decided I wanted the fact that all the characters are bunnies (or bunny-like aliens) to be a suprise reveal at the end of the film. So now she's relegated to a small role standing next to Deg (the green 'tech bunny') in the simpod hangar at the end of the film.

Thus ends self-promotion Fridays here on the TAIS blog. More later!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Pes for Christmas: The Pes Fireplace!

Just in time for the holidays, it's the Pes Fireplace! Yep, Pes, one of my fave New-Yawk animator-type people, has come up with this cheery holiday looping fire animation, done up with candy-corn and pretzels...perfect for animation-themed christmas shindigs, which is why I'm getting a copy for the TAIS Xmas party!

By the way, the TAIS general meeting and Xmas party are both on the 18th of December. All board members must attend. I'll be bringing the Pes. Go on and by one...10 bucks, cheep!

Emilio Xmas Toon: Animatic sample

O.k., just to show I've been doin' SUMTHIN' besides playin' Super Mario Galaxy these past few weeks, here's a sample of the animatic for my Xmas short. I'm not bein' too clean, here...this isn't going over to Korea or nuthin' so I can afford to be quick n' sloppy. Decided to just sketch the panels in Flash with the Wacom. Probably the way I'll be doing animatics from now on, it's a great way to work out ideas quickly without having to scan in post-its. More later!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Fred 108: Masturbation and GUNBunnies! (no, not all at once...)

Oh, damn. This week's Frederator is the shiz-nizzle. We've got a music video about goths. A surreal black n' white bumper. A filthy scot tellin' you how to be a man. And GUNBunnies. Yep, 'First Time Out' is the third featured short in this weeks installment. Which means a whole SCHPITload of peoples are gonna be watchin' it. Ever been happy as a clam and nervous as a bridegroom at a mafia wedding? Good thing I had a light lunch. Kudos to the Frederator crew...hell, I only done submitted it two weeks ago! Now, watch and enjoy!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Joe Murray's site done be ups!

Looks like good ol' Joe Murray, he of Rocko and Lazlo (dunno what's with the names ending in O, must be a fetish) finally came back from wherever he done went and posted a brand-spankin' new shiny website. Go n' look. Seems he's workin' on a short film right about now, lookin' forward to see it.

Friday, November 23, 2007

¿Qué Gigantes?

My attempt to end the week by distracting you with some abstraction has yielded less than favorable results. I'll endeavor to track down some more experimental offerings next week. Meanwhile, howzabout a slice of the surreal? "¿Qué Gigantes?" is a cyber-hallucinatory take on Cervante's illustrious hero Don Quixote's encounter with the windmills. I'll post some more work and info about the filmmakers next week. Later!

Thanksgiving greetings from Lev!

Here's a greeting card from animation's kid fireball Lev Polyakov. 18 and already workin' on his THIRD short film, due out in early 2008. Crazy, man. Happy turkey day, dood! And greetings to the animeister, Jerry Beck, for the post. Cheers!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Nick Hilligoss: L'animateur

Speakin' of stuff found on MyToons (sorry, no embeds yet), here's a delicious slice of Grand Guignol cake from master animator Nick Hilligoss. His sly take on Adam and Eve is told through some of the smoothest puppet animation this ol' pooch has ever lay his eyes on. When he's not droppin' jaws on video and animation sharing sites, he's busy at the dayjob...workin' for ABC in his native Australia. Current project: A stop-mo animated series called Good Riddance, "which chronicles the exploits of an eco-friendly pest controller and his uninvited house guests, a streetwise gang of rats." I'll see if'n any of it's done. If so, I'll post it tomorrow. Man, they've got some animation chops down under. More later.

Apple Nikki

Apple Nikki is the online nom de plume of Sasapitt Rujirat, an animator workin' out of Thailand. Stock n' trade? Cute characters, buttery smoove camera work and a knack for pickin' out catchy tunes. That piece in Zoey is from fave PSP game Loco Roco by the way. Loverly stuff. Rediscovered Apple Nikki's work through MyToons, which I just signed up fer. Enjoy!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Down with the Rabbits at the ReelAsian fest!

Just a lightnin' quick post about an event TANIGHT!


Losing control, afraid of emptiness, or hungry for imaginative mayhem? Head
down the rabbit hole for these fantastical shorts. Beautiful black and white
drawings, wacky cardboard cutouts, surreal adventures, and stylized
nightmares all make up an unusual late night platter of frightening

Fri, Nov. 16 10:30pm
Innis Town Hall (2 Sussex)

Co-presented by Asian Community AIDS Services (ACAS), Toronto After Dark
Film Festival, Toronto Animated Image Society

10 Free tickets for TAIS MEMBERS - first Come first Serve _ (Show your TAIS
card !)

Toronto Animated Image Society
60 Atlantic Avenue, suite 102
Toronto, Ontario
M6K 1X9

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Marc Beurteaux animates big. Real big.

Former TAIS board dood Marc Beurteaux (say it with me, Bee Air Toe. Good!) had to jump ship for a full-time gig a couple of months back, and in a recent blog post he reveals what this full-time gig involves. Animating cars. And trucks. And fire engines. All of 'em the real, big-ass, full sized things. Sadly, no footage yet, but I'll keep y'all posted. Hey, Marc, e-mail me some joosy details, dood!

Citizens Against Safety Goggles get StupidFaced

Well, it looks like merry animation nutbar Mike L. Mayfield is at it agin'. He's created a series of shorts for Fuel TV, featuring his most loveable, cuddly character to date, Uncle Hell. Marv Newland would be proud. Hey, has Marv seen these? I posted about these back when I first discovered The Rooster Project, my fave CASG film. The short series is called 'Stupidface' and feature the adorable Uncle Hell shillin' some fine nonexistent merch. Nice to see Mike still carryin' the torch for animation in the 'Lupo the Butcher' vein...More later.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Prophet Buddy on Itunes and TAIS board meeting

Just to letcha know three things. One, Prophet Buddy, a most excellent flash animated short series, is available free on Itunes. Two, there's a TAIS board meeting at TAIS h.q. on Thursday at 6...all board members must attend! Three, I'm the dude what got the first comment on Prophet Buddy on Itunes. Yay, me. More later.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Xmas toon production blog: Walk Cycle

I've been dyin' to do my own Christmassy-type cartoon show, so I decided to kill several birds with one animated stone and do a Xmas toon featuring a character I designed for the fellas over at the Gamer Cast network! Here's the model sheet with the clean up line layed down.

Here's the filled and shaded version, showin' the parts exploded. Keepin' it pretty basic here; the point being to have some silly fun and keep the production time to a fair minimum while still getting some good, silly animation down.

Here, som preliminary nested animation frames, for the arms and the legs. Gonna try to push the broad actions with Emilio on this one. My animations tend not to be wild enough, so I'm just gonna go nuts with this one.

A quick walk cycle to test out the character's look on the move. The Black n' White stroke line on the outside is very cool, but very time consuming...gotta see if there's some way to keep it while speeding up the post process required to add it to each frame. More later!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Killer Bean Forever


Oft times, when I describe my desire to make my short, "First Time Out", I tell people I wanted to make my own "Killer Bean". Jeff Lew's Hong Kong Blood Opera bean fest still remains one of the most popular indy animated shorts ever, and served as big-time inspiration for yours truly.

Not good enuff fer Jeff, though. He's been workin', according to his website, '14 hours a day, seven days a week' since his stint on the Matrix movies some 4 years ago to bring us a full-length CGI animated bean adventure.

That's right. We're livin' in the age where one dude, with the talent and the sheer bloody-minded Chutzpah, can make his own damn feature animated film. Damn. I may just have to break down and make my own, now. Here's the trailer...enjoy!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

TAIS Nooze! Sorry, I mean News...

And now...TAIS news update! Sorry for the lack of posts. Here's a spinning head of Kaj Pindal to make you feel better. Without further ado:

Upcoming Events :

1.1- Reel Asian International Film Festival : Animation Program

1.2- Kaj Pindal : Tribute and 80th Birhday celebration!

1.3- Patrick Jenkins : New Documentary Work


1:1- Reel Asian International Film Festival :

Animation program presented by TAIS : Down The Rabbit Hole

Friday , November 16
10:30pm Screening
Innis Town Hall – 2 Sussex Ave.
10 Free Tickets at the door for TAIS members (first come first serve)
30% discount on regular ticket admission with TAIS card = $7


1.2- A Tribute to Kaj Pindal:

An evening of film and discussion in honour of Kaj’s 80th Birthday !
Thursday, November 29

6:30pm Screenings & Presentations
8:30pm Reception
NFB Mediatheque, 150 John Street (corner Richmond St. W.)


1.3- TAIS proudly presents 2 new works of Patrick Jenkins, animator and documentary filmmaker.
- Of Lines and Men: The Animation of Jonathan

This documentary explores Jonathan Amitay’s life and how his personal experiences growing up in Palestine/Israel during the Second World War shaped his approach to animation.

- Death is in trouble Now: Explores the powerful artwork of Toronto Artist Mark Adair who creates gothic sculpture on contemporary themes like war, pollution and sexual politics.

Saturday, December 8
6:30pm Reception
7:00pm Screening
NFB Mediatheque, 150 John Street (corner Richmond St. W.)
FREE for TAIS members - $5 General Admission
Toronto Animated Image Society
60 Atlantic Avenue, suite 102
Toronto, Ontario
M6K 1X9

Friday, November 2, 2007

Pilar at GIRAF3

Just a quick post to end the week. Congrats to New Yawk's own animatin' female firecracker, Pilar Newton! She managed to get three of her Kaballa Toons programmed into Quickdraw's GIRAF 3 Fest. Nice! And yes, I'm flippin' jealous. But my Happy Beaver arrived, so everything's cool. More later.