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This Week’s Discoveries #5: Peter Hintz, John Abrahamson and V

November 6, 2009 Leave a comment
  1. Peter Hintz
    An interesting post on with us or against us published this Monday linked to the gallery of Peter Hintz. He’s a German illustrator. I can’t really tell much about him since most of the info I found out was in German. But I wanted to note him here because of his inspiring work. I really love the dynamic lines in his art, they’re so free and spontaneous. He adds up to the lines textures and splatters of color and makes interesting compositions. His bizzare and sometimes pervert subjects also fascinate me.

     

  1. The Cat With Hands
    Not a new short, but an interesting horror flick worth noting.
  2. John U. Abrahamson
    A fine dark artist. I love his combination of fallen angels, gas masks, halos and dark atmospheres. His S&M artworks are also awesome.
  3. 9 minutes from the new ABC series “V”
    A remake of the 1983 miniseries, the upcoming V has awesome special effects, as can be seen in this little video here. Totally cool spaceship hovers over New York and excellent chopper explosion. As far as I understand, the main story is of this day’s modern society and how it deals in the face of some motherfucking large motherships hovering over major cities of the world. Yup, much like Independence Day or Immortel (ad vitam). But I must admit this thing looked pretty good. I’m looking forward to see it!
  4. Despicable Me trailer
    Last item for this week:

The Scout’s Briefing – This week’s discoveries

October 9, 2009 Leave a comment

I think of making this a permanent column here.

1. I could subscribe my blog on blog communities sites to increase traffic
Yup. Silly of me for not thinking of it before. But after reading Problogger’s article about increasing traffic I went right away and put my blog on all the sites he mentioned and my traffic did indeed increase. Thanks you, new visitors from near and far.

2. Illustrator Josh Holinaty
He’s one of those artists I like in first glance. His works inspire me and I love his style. I found out about him by reading this Kitsune Noir post.

3. The Fourth Kind Trailer
Dan brought to my attention the trailer for this new crazy film starring Milla Jovovich. It’s supposed to be a documenting and dramatizing strange cases of alien abductions in Nome, Alaska. In the trailer, the victims claimed they see a white owl looking at them, which they link to the abduction. Strange enough, my late grandmother once mentioned seeing an owl in the window and linked it to death. Oh well. Anyway, the trailer is really worth watching. I liked how it was produced.

4. Bored to Death title animation
Found out in The Art of the Title Sequence. Bored to Death is a new comedy series about a writer that turns to the private detective business. Click here to watch.

5. The evolution of Apple ads
Found here on the Web Designer Depot website.

6. The new Chrome themes really suck
I do not endorse calling the mere replacement of the background image a “theme”. And that’s why the new feature in Google Chrome browsers suck. Don’t get me wrong, I’m addicted to Chrome, but the Firefox themes are way better, because they really change the way your browser look, including icons and sizes of menus. But I’m sure they’ll get there eventually with Chrome too. In the meantime, I’m sticking with the regular light blue theme.

7. And finally, I uploaded my demoreel on Vimeo. No more annoying Aniboom embedding crap.

Well, that’s it for this week. Have a fantastic weekend everyone.

Film review: Häxan

September 16, 2009 Leave a comment

This dismal 1922 Danish horror- documentary was a fantastic eye candy.  The film is a study about witch hunts, based on the director’s study of the Malleus Maleficarum (A Latin guide about witches, written by two Inquisitors in the 15th century).

The film starts with an overview of the medieval society in the 15th century Europe and its beliefs in god, Satan, heaven and hell. Then comes the interesting part: Benjamin Christensen, the director, created magnificent dramatizations that illustrate the world of the witches through the eyes of the contemporary people. How one panicked girl so easily convinces an entire village that another person is a witch. How, by means of torment, the suspected witch claims almost all the rest of the villagers are also heretics making deals with the Dark Lord.

Christensen breaks down, through the dramatizations, the entire phenomenon of witch huntings. He shows the tools used to torment the witches and the reason behind some of the techniques, like the infamous trial by drowning: the suspected witch is thrown into the river and if she floats then she’s a witch. If she drowns, she’s not a witch. In any case, the poor woman dies. You can also see throughout the film examples of contemporary habits and manners. For instance, a monk is eating at the table showing crude manners, spilling his gravy all over himself, barfing etc.

I admire the great amount of detail put into the dramatized part of Häxan. In the witch’s hut scenes you can find tools and witchcraft instruments scattered around between piles of hay and dirt. Everything is dark. And the quality of old black & white films adds to the horrific atmosphere similar to other films like Nosferatu and The Man Who Laughs. I think the bad film quality contributes a lot to the “ancient” feeling in this film, especially in comparison to modern cinema technology. Watching silent films, if you have the patience, can be a very rewarding experience. Especially for an enthusiast of morbid entertainment such as myself.

The main idea of the film was to demonstrate how the people back in Medieval Europe lacked any kind of critical thinking skills and how easily they were influenced. And who can blame them? In these times, being a European meant following a strict set of thought and behavior. Being different or even letting others think you have anything to do with Devil worshiping (or anything that hints as going against the Church) would put you on a slow train to the stake with a stop at the local dungeon for some Inquisition fun and games.
I sometimes wonder what had changed since, if at all. Too many people still put their theist beliefs in front of rational thinking, still argue that bad things happen to people because they sinned against God, still relate morality to religion and even worse – connect lack of faith to immorality. I’m not preaching for atheism here but for critical thinking. I’m leaving atheism for another post.

Tekkonkinkreet

September 13, 2009 Leave a comment

This is a 2006 anime feature directed by Michael Arias and animated by Studio 4°C (makers of Beyond from Animatrix).

I got this from my friend Eran. Took me 2 weeks to get around to watch this. But I was busy 😛

The story is about two orphans, Black and White, living in the fictional city of Treasure Town. Black is the tough punk, intolerant towards strangers claiming his city their own (which happens a lot in this movie) and White is the innocent, sometimes touchy one. Together they’re known as the Cats, and they reign terror over their opponents and seem to be the only rightful owners of the city, at least in the beginning.

The exposition was fun. An elaborate chasing scene, including Black and White chase some kids trying to take over the town, street traffic and a giant clock (with cogwheels and everything!).

The protagonists’ names allude to their personalities in almost every way. White is perceived as a cunning partner of Black and later exposes his softer side (he cries when it’s raining, for instance). His devotion to life and creation opposes Black’s tough nature. White is also portrayed as a very independent child. He can’t even get dressed by himself. Although Black displays  independence  and maturity, his reason and morals become corrupted when he is left alone. White’s naivety brings balance to the duo. The differences between Black and White also appear in their clothes. While White, being the innocent and more infantile one wears funny hats, Black wears a belt with pockets, goggles and wrist bandages. He usually gets his gear broken during fights. One scene even had a tribute to Ghost in the Shell when Black’s goggles exploded when the alien tried to smash his face.

The visual aspect of the film is astounding. The scenes are very detailed and the addition of 3D in some parts integrates very well into the overall design. The characters are not drawn in the classical Anime style but in a more simple way which adds a sense of innocence.

One of my favorite scenes was when the police was separating White from Black. White was sitting in the backseat of the car, and the camera rotates 180 degrees as the car is taking off and White crawls back to look at Black, who stands alone in the middle of the road.

A movie I really recommend to anyone.

Animation and Special Effects evening

August 4, 2009 Leave a comment

Reviewing a little late, I know. It was a fun evening, meeting some fellow Animation Mentor schoolmates, and listening to some professional insight on various topics including working methods and animation.

The event occured last Teusday evening (July 28th), at a convention center that belongs to The Council for Beautiful Israel at Tel Aviv.

Amir Green, who is a special effects supervisor for Sony was the first one to lecture. He talked about explotions and special effects. He explained how he worked on the Shadow monster from Inkheart and the last explosion from a Capcom’s Onimusha 3 video.

Dror Lazar gave a fascinating glimps of how he managed to finish an enormous project in 2 days by doing most of the work in After Effects instead of 3dsmax. By making 2D compilations you can save a lot of time on rendering.

Last but not least, Tal Shwartzman a.k.a Jeremy Shaw, showed how he animated 2 shots from DreamWorks’s Monsters Vs. Aliens, how he wanted to incorporate a special hand gesture into one of the shots and how he managed to do so in the last 10 frames. The first shot he talked about was of the news reporter being prompted Gallaxhar wants to speak to the world. Tal used video reference of Tom Brokaw (I think it was that one) and modified the reporter’s acting according to the director’s request. The second shot he was working on was later omited from the final cut of the movie. It depicted Gallaxhar helping the heroes (for some reason) with directions over his spaceship. He wanted Gallaxhar to pull on his sleeve as a secondary motion while giving directions, but it didn’t work right plot-wise. Eventually he managed to put that idea at the very end of the shot. But then it was cut off the film altogether.

Overall, this was a fun evening. Many people showed up and many friends. I hope I get the chance to participate in more evenings like that one.

The Hilarious trailer for Toy Story in 3D

August 4, 2009 1 comment

Is right here:

Categories: Animation, Cinema Tags: , , ,