Friday, October 29, 2010

Umbilically connected to animation

No animation here, but you can learn a lot from studying the timing, synchronicity and just plain clever business being demonstrated here. The Umbilical Brothers are an Australian comedy duo, composed of David Collins and Shane Dundas. Their animated shenanigans have got them on David Letterman's lil' late night thang and they've done Just For Laughs. Check 'em out for some live-action inspiration. More to come! Thanks to Bob Wiseman for tellin' me bout these doods.

Monday, October 25, 2010

InSitu and AquaJam gone live!

Tara, our erstwhile admin, has informed me that the animation's for Tais's In Situ project and this summer's Aqua Jam have been posted to the Tais YouTube page, as well as the TAIS main site. Here's a sampler from the In Situ films:

More viewable on the TAIS main site. As well, here's the AquaJam! A real treat for me, 'cause thanks to sunspot activity I wasn't able to make the screening at the Tranzac.

The board members will be meeting this week to discuss all the crazy shenanigans planned for the new year. I'll post what we're up to (if I can!) early in November. Meanwhile, enjoy! More to come...

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Housing Crisis made simple. And adorable.

Found this lil' gem online while, uh, searching for lil' gems online. Heh. This one was created by Stephen Neary ('member Chicken Cowboy?) for NPR's Planet Money. A neat 'nick note's' rendition of the U.S. housing crisis and a great straightforward explanation of the 'toxic assets' what led to it, it also includes some great writing (courtesy of the show's hosts), nice sound design by one Rob Arnott and of course, some really clever animation from Mr. Neary. Really like the sketchy/solid style and color design as well. Nicely done! Go on over to his blog and say hey, as in hey, we want more shorts like this one, please mister? O.k., gotta go earn my keep. More to come!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Lego Stop-Mo a Go-Go. God I'm a dork...

If you've got a kid who loves the Legos and the animation, you could do worse than getting him/her one of these lovely lil' Lego Stop-mo cameras. O.k., it's not exactly Dragon software and a Canon SLR (see, I know stuff!) but it is a nice lil' straightforward camera that comes with some basic capture software and two lil' Lego men. Plus it's cute as hell.

Some caveats based on reviews I've read. Image quality is a lil' grainy, but o.k. in a kind of super-8 lo-fi kinda way. See the sample animation below, courtesy of Kid's Tech Review.

The 4-way button on the back is cool, but there's no labeling, so figuring out what does what will require a bit of a read. The software is the same situation, not quite as intuitive as it could be.

It's also a lil' pricey at 100 semolians. A more practical purchase might be a half-decent webcam and a free download of Framethief or AnimatorDV Simple. Still, if you want an all-in-one package for that kid in your life with animation aspirations, it ain't bad.

Flip gets flipped to October

Don't know if I've ever mentioned Frozen North. They're a local Toronto game developer that were slated to drop their first game, 'Flip's Twisted World' on the Wii. Drop date was Sept. 21, which has come and gone. So, whence Flip?

Well, got an email back from one of the dev. team. Turns out you'll have to slot this game as an early Halloween treat. Manufacturing woes have knocked Flip back a month to October 19th.

The guys at Frozen North have been workin' their collective asses off on this, their first game, and if Jim Sterling over at Destructoid is any judge (and he is) it's going to be well worth the money of any TAIS game fans and your families. Plus, the MSRP of $29.99 will be easy on the pocket book.

It's local, it's Canadian, it's they're first Wii game, and it's inexpensive. Go get you one on the 19th of Rocktober. Don't worry, I'll post a reminder. Meanwhile, check out the trailer above. More to come!

Monday, September 20, 2010


Beginning of the week, better get yer cute on. Got a copy of Capcom's Mega Man artbook for a friend. Flippin' through the 8-bit era goodness, got inspired to sketch up the Nemu-Nemu pups as Mega Man and Proto Man, with bird buddy Pollo as Beat. Pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon. More actual news to come!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Eleven in Motion Gallery and DVD launch

Wherf, what a summer. Launched a new Iphone game, sitting on our biggest Flash game ever, so the blog has been neglected. Apologies! More postings in the fall, starting with this announcement. Eleven in Motion, a special melange of abstract painting and animation, will be happening this month! Painting from the 50's meet the animation talents of 11 Canadian contemporaries. The event includes a DVD launch, so you can take in the show, then take it with. Go to the TAIS site for all the details. More to come!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Extra Life 2010

Just a quick post to show y'all my latest. Technically, this was completed last fall, but I delivered so late (the day of the event) that the dude I did it fer, Jeromy 'Doc' Adams (the voice and sound you'll hear) decided to hang onto it for the 2010 event. So, I dusted it off in May, tweaked the animation for the smoothness, and re-shipped it to him in Texas, where he worked his usual audio magic.

The 'event' I referred to is Extra Life, a gaming charity Doc started to honor a young friend who died of cancer. Money used to go to one fine establishment, but now the charity is connected with the Children's Miracle Network, so whatever cash is raised can be designated to go to a particular hospital in the CMN. So visit the EL website, get yer game on and help out some kids in the process. Cheers!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

U900 -Twist And Shout

Hotter than it needs to be out there in the big smoke today, so here's some crazy cute to cool you down. Amigurumi animation sensei Yosuke Kihara, aka KeroKeroKingDX (I hear he takes his moniker from a fave video game) has once again teamed up with Japan's U900 to give us a cover of the Phil Medley and Bert Russell song 'Twist and Shout' (as made famous by them Beatles).

As it turns out, this is just one track of a whole album of uke-flavored Beatles covers. So if you like your McCartney with a side o' poi, get yerself a copy of 'Ukulele Mystery Tour'. Oh, and while yer at it, go buy the rest of U900's albums and throw sensei Kihara some love on his YouTube page. Late!

TAIS summer showcase hilights

By all accounts this year's Summer Showcase was a beaut, with tons of great films and filmmakers in attendance. Madi managed to snap a few shots at the show, and sent 'em along to me along with the list of lucky (make that talented) winners. Good on ya, everyone! More cool events to come.

Jury Prizes:
Best of Show - Gold - AMOEBA by Patrick Jenkins
2nd place - Silver - THE ISLAND by Trevor Anderson
honourable mention - Bronze - SKETCHI by Lily Sun
Best Aqua Jam - "Where Are You?" by Jonathan Cheeseman

Audience Choice Awards:
Best of Show - WEENIE WAGON WOE by Willy Ashworth
Best Aqua Jam - (tie!) "Surf Film" by Marc Beurteaux and "Water" by Mike

Award winners and jury photo:
(from L to R) Patrick Jenkins, Jonathan Cheeseman, Willy Ashworth, Ellen
Besen (jury member), Marc Beurteaux, Mike Weiss, Renata Mohamed (jury

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Best of Ottawa screening next week!

Quick post to let y'all know that if you missed Ottawa '09, you can still catch some hilights and enjoy air-conditioned comfyness at our Best of Ottawa screening next Thursday! Here's the skinny:

1.2 Best of Ottawa International Animation Festival Screening

Enjoy highlights from the 2009 edition of the OIAF, co-presented by the Toronto Animated Image Society and the NFB Mediatheque. The Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF) is the largest of its kind in North America, attracting film buffs, art lovers, filmmakers, and cartoon fans from around the world to the nation's capital. The 2010 Festival takes place October 20th-24th.

Best of Ottawa International Animation Festival Screening
Thursday, July 15, 2010, 7 PM
NFB Cinema, 150 John Street
$6, $4 for TAIS members, students, seniors, Front Row passholders

Films screening include:
Love on the Line, Postalolio, Please Say Something, The Bellow’s March, Chick, The Black Dog’s Progress, Magic Cube and Ping-Pong, The Art of Drowning, History of the Meat Packing District, MGMT Kids, The Terrible Thing of Alpha-9! And Inherent Obligations

Come on downs, bring friends, and decompress with some cool toons. Later!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Run for the Toad

Ottawa animation fans will instantly recognize the above character as Mistletoad from the 1999 series "Toad Patrol". Seems Peggy and George Sarson, series creators, have organized a wee bit of a jog 'round and about Paris, Ontario...if you can call a 25 or 50 click trail run a bit of a jog. Buddy of mine Eric shot this poster to word yet if the Sarsons have or plan to print any wall-size (please!). Meanwhile, the event happens in the fall, so if you wanna get yer run on, check out the event FAQ. Have a happy weekend, and stay the hades away from downtown T'rawna. Out!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

TAIS Summer Showcase 2010

Whee, what a summer! Games galore, but work galore too! Don't worry, we've got toons galore comin' up next week for our Summer Showcase! Being on the board I was privy to the selection of the films, and we've got a hell of a lineup for ya. Here's them details:

You are cordially invited to join TAIS for an evening celebrating the best new animations from Toronto and beyond! Short animated films of all styles and genres will be screened, along with entries from our animated jam session, the Aqua Jam. We’ll also screen the cameraless animations created over the year at our monthly Incubator sessions. Awards and reception will follow screening. An event not to be missed! Come out and support your local animation scene.

7:30 PM; doors open at 7:00 PM
At the TRANZAC CLUB (292 Brunswick Avenue – off Bloor St. near Bathurst St.)
$8 general admission; $6 for TAIS members

Program includes:
"The Orange" by Nick Fox-Gieg
"Everybody" by Steve Reinke & Jessie Mott
“Weenie Wagon Woe” by Willy Ashworth
"I Need an Escape Plan" by Julie Doucet & Anne-Françoise Jacques
"Beneath the Eye of Time" by Madi Piller
"Recipe" by Martha Griffith
"Birth" by Signe Baumane
"Amoeba" by Patrick Jenkins
"The Animator" by Marc Beurteaux
"The Arctic Circle" by Kevin Parry
"Heavenly Bodies" by Mike Weiss
"Nukie Goes Bonkers" by Jonathan Amitay
"William's Creatures" by Pasquale La Montagna
... And so much more!

With installations:
"Thalé" by Barry Doupé
"A Typical Morning for Green and Blue" by Andrew James Paterson

**Please note: Admittance to the screening is restricted to those 18 years of age or older. Under the Ontario Theatres Act, we are required to adopt a blanket adult rating in order to hold public screenings without having to submit all works to a review board for classification.

**Like with all TAIS Programming and events, the Showcase is generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts (Media Arts Section), the Ontario Arts Council and the Toronto Arts Council.

See you next week!

Toronto Animated Image Society
60 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 102
Toronto, ON M6K 1X9

Monday, May 31, 2010

Thoughts for Kazu

Just learned that comic artist and friend of TAIS Kazu Kibiushi's sister Juri was murdered. Cold comfort that they've caught the freak that did it. Thoughts and prayers with you, man.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

U900- Ukelele Mystery Tour

A quick post on this luverly holiday weekend to letcha know that U900, animated uke band extraordinaire, has a new album dropping in July. Here's an uber-cute take on an old classic. Enjoy!

Friday, May 21, 2010

TAIS Aqujam!

First off, apple-logies for the long absence, the day job has been keeping me hopping, but not so much that I can't spare a lil' time to remind y'all of our upcoming Aquajam! Yep, we've done machines, monsters and chickens, so water was the next logical step. I think. Anyhoo, here's them details:

TAIS AQUA JAM 2010 - Call for Submissions

We are proud to announce that this year¹s theme for the TAIS AniJam, ten
second animations that will screen in rapid succession at the TAIS Showcase
in June, is ... Aqua! Underwater critters and cephalopods, acid rain,
flushing toilets, aqua flora and fauna, and any other idea you may have
related to the life aquatic.

Get those ideas flowing!

Submission deadline: May 31, 2010.

Submit your films as quicktime files on CD/DVD-Rom, via ftp or link to your
webspace with the submission form, a brief bio and two 2 x 3 stills (high
res jpeg) from your film. Format of all Aqua Jam submissions should be 720 x
480 Quicktime files.

Send your submissions to:
Toronto Animated Image Society
Aqua Jam Submission
60 Atlantic Ave. Suite 102
Toronto, Ontario M6K 1X9

If you want to submit your film digitally via email in .zip format, via file
hosting or via ftp link, send to

All Aqua Jam submissions will be screened as part of the TAIS Animation
Showcase at the Tranzac Club (292 Brunswick Ave) in Toronto, Canada on June
24, 2010, 7:00 pm.

So if you've been by the TAIS site and already know about the event, send in yer films! For those what have just heard about it, still time to knock out a quick 10 seconds and send it on in. More posts more often to follow!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Unicef spokesman RAYMAN and friends

Just found these awesome vids featuring Ubisoft mascot Rayman and the Rabbid characters from the Rayman Raving Rabbids games series. Broadly scene in Europe and fairly well known in North America thanks to a series of shorts promoting the first game's release, these were (obviously) made for french television. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Pixilation Weekend!

"The Game" Stop motion / Pixilation Music Video from viralmess on Vimeo.

Long time no speaky! Sorry for the long absence, but things are a' brewing at TAIS, and you'll be able to get a taste this weekend. We've got a workshop on Pixilation...what, praytell, is that, you ask?

Pixilation Weekend!
Pixilation is a stop motion technique where live actors are used, often with other props and puppets, as a frame-by-frame subject in an animated film. Over the course of a weekend, learn how to create a pixilation animation from start to finish with plenty of hands-on activities to get you inspired.

Dates: April 10-11
Times: 11 am – 5 pm
Location: TAIS Studio, 60 Atlantic Ave
$65 members, $90 non-members

Check out the embed above, 'The Game', a music video for band Rodeo Massacre, for a prime example of what Pixilation looks like. More to come!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Mike Geiger's Olympic Spirit

New one from Mike Geiger, this time it's a take on the whole Olympic funding thing. I think what Mike has to say here is pretty evident in the animation. Actually, this nicely animated piece of social disturbance was created in conjunction with CITIZENShift, "a National Film Board of Canada website dedicated to citizen engagement and social change." Nice to see the NFB continues to give citizens a voice...written, spoken, filmed or in this case, animated. Good on ya!

Either way, it's typical Geiger goofiness, and nicely done. Check out Mike's other animations on his YouTube page, and check out CITIZENShift, see if you want to contribute. More to come!

UPDATE- Fergot, check out Mike's Blog as well!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Despicable Me: Minions vs. Rabbids FIGHT!

The new Universal feature "Despicable Me" opens soon, a story about the world's #2 supervillain vying for the top-dog position...there's a heartwarming life-affirming tale with 3 orphans mixed in there somewheres. My big thing right now is not the film's main character, but his homies.

Seems the second banana has cooked up some groovy lil' henchman. Now, you get your inspiration where you can find it, hell knows my GUNBunnies short cribs from Robotech and Macross and Gundam (oh, my!). But...well, you be the judge. Here's a promo film featuring a bit o' comic biz with the Minions.

Now here's a bit of goofy goodness featuring Michel Ancel's Rabbid characters, stars of the Ubisoft video game series.

Mebbe it's the non-verbal facial mugging, the deadpan-to-manic delivery or the proportions of the characters, but if the ol' production lounge over at Illumination Ent. doesn't have a Wii and a copy of 'Rabbids Go Home' in it, I'll eat my dog bowl. Whaddya think? Comments welcome, people. More to come!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Animator needs funds badly!

O.k., mebbe not badly, but animator Nick Cross, he of 'Waif of Persephone' and 'Yellow Cake' fame, does need your help. He's started his latest opus, 'The Pig Farmer' and needs people to pitch in a few bucks to help him fund the production. He's got various levels of funding, and if you can see your way to sending him at least 25 dollars, he'll give you a credit in the film! Payday is comin', so pony up a few dollars so we can see Nick's latest sooner rather than later. More to come! Oh, and thanks to Aaron Simpson for the heads up. For anyone not familiar with Nick's work, witness 'Yellow Cake', posted below. Enjoy!


A lil' treat today courtesy of fellow blogger John Martz and Japanese Uke masters U900. Check out this sweet lil' video...cute as hell, simple but nicely animated, damn clever. Their ukulele treatment of old American guitar instrumentals is damn infectious. Check out their MySpace page for more crocheted ukulele goodness. More to come!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Jonathan Amitay strips down to the truth

Just heard from TAIS member and gentle, retiring soul Jonathan Amitay, who is under the weather due to having to go under the knife. Wish him well, dammit! Here's his 2007 take on the ol' 'Emperor's New Clothes' chestnut, which he gives his usual life-affirming touch.

O.k., enough with the sarcasm. Jon's stock n' trade is political commentary...he's one of those guys who can't help but comment on the state of the world and mankind's self-abusive nature, and it informs everything he does, including his dark but apt take on an old classic fairy-tale which is supposed to be a funny story about a naked fat guy. I'll have a full profile of Jon and maybe some new stuff of his to show you, just as soon as he's feeling a bit better. More to come!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

TAIS presents: A Weekend of Visual Music

This weekend we're featuring the improvised abstract animations of Jean Detheux. He'll be discussing his filmmaking process, the idea of 'visual music', and premiering his latest, 'Inemuri 2', along with a screening of his other works, a live performance and even a workshop! I've managed to track down a sample of his work on YouTube...'Jazz' 1 is an excerpt from a live performance in November '09.

You can also view tons of sample images and Quicktimes on M. Detheux's site.

The venue? Le Labo, in Toronto's groovy Distillery District. Le Labo is " a francophone media and integrated arts lab offering opportunities in production, training & showings." Come in out of the cold and check out this cool event. Thanks to our arts council partners and event hosts, and to M. Detheux for comin' out on a frosty weekend. Later!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

DVD toon bargoon

Just a quick note to let y'all know the Mission Hill DVD boxed set is on sale at the Best Buys for $14.99 in Canuck bucks. Directed by two ex-Simpsons helmers and designed by Lauren MacMullen, also a Simpsons director, this was a series that, like the Oblongs, never really got a chance to evolve in the glut of me-too adult animated series that were being produced at the time, with Warner's cancelling the series after airing just six episodes. All 13 episodes ran on Teletoon in 2000, and it had a pretty big following overseas. Great writing and some funny performances from Brian Posehn and Tom Kenny...and it's fourteen bucks. Go get a copy and enjoy. More to come.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Vintage CG

Browsing through the archives over at the Vintage CG page on YouTubes. Man, things has come a ways! Here's an example. Above, CGI composite shots (no audio, copyrighted musics, sorry) from the 1988 sci-fi series Captain Power.

And here, 'Defective', a short film from 2008 animated by one dude, VFS student Rani Naamani. Quite the evolution our tools have made, neh? A pencil remains a pencil, however, and Rani shows off some great traditional animation chops. Meanwhile, thank the dudes from ARCCA Animation (I think this is them) and other early poly-pioneers for paving the way for shlubs like me to whip up unwrap-mapped goodness on my desktop PC. Cheers! And check out the Vintage CG channel on YouTube for more lo-fi loco-mations. More to come!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

John K. being John K.

Back in the day, think 1994 or so, my college buddy Mike S. and I were tits-deep in the Algonquin College Animation/Television course. Mike was (and I believe still is) a huge Ren and Stimpy fan, and patterned a project he was workin' on after John K.'s style. He got a chance to talk to John, and the dude not only incouraged Mike, he took him and some other lucky so-n'-so's out to lunch, where he whipped out pad and paper and made Mike a mini-bible there on the spot. (Mike, if ya still got it...Jpegs, briddah!)

Apparently, John makes a habit o' this. In 1998 budding animator Amir Avni sent a letter to John, hoping for a few good words. What he got back was an 8-page mini-bible , an original drawing and a copy of one of Preston Blair's immortal animation 'how to' books. The dudes over at the 'Letters of Note' blog got wind, and Amir was nice enough to let 'em post the letter in full...nice!

I think young Amir found the attention inspiring...he's in his 4th year at Sheridan and apparently his stuff is the shizz-nizz. Now this is how you do...senior industry guys take note, if you want to improve the state of animation, inspire them young'uns!

Of course, John K. has been online and sharing his worldly wisdom for freakin' YEARS. His blog is a repository of all things toon, and contains a world of knowledge on drawing skills, layouts, boards, everything you could want. Go and check it out. Meanwhile, thanks to the dudes over at 'Letters of Note' and Digg dude Mr. BabyMan for bringin' this to me attention. Oh, and hey John, if yer readin' this, good on ya, bitch! By the way, just got the Mighty Mouse boxed set...I'll report in at week's end. Later!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

DVD sets is mighty-mighty!

Starting 2010 off right with the release of the cartoon which pretty much started the whole trend of director-based shows in North America. You'll remember the tale...dark lord of amination Ralph Bakshi sought to re-invent a classic. Some religious type got a hair up his ass about something, show cancelled. But, it got John K. off and running, and started the careers of a whole bunch of other good fellas who gave us a whole lot of good shows. Haven't seen many of these, so I'll be ordering up my copy tomorrow. Go and get you one. Thanks to Cartoon Brew for the heads up.

Also like to point out that Robot Chicken season 4 is out on DVD as of early last month! Some inspired craziness to be had here, and some great stop-mo courtesy of a new camera rig that can sweep through shots like a handicam...nice! Bonus is the 'Full-Assed' Christmas special, with what has to be the best animal character since Seth's giraffe, Comet the reindeer. Both sets on sale at Amazon, so go spend them gift cands. More to follow!