Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Other Hollywood cartoon stars

In class we looked at other characters that become popular that weren't Disney characters.
Felix the cat
Felix the cat
Felix the cat was first created by the cartoonist Otto Messmer. Straight away Felix became popular and was as famous as or even more famous than the silent comedians of the time. The first film Felix appeared in was “Feline Folloies”. Soon after this Felix’s name become known worldwide. Felix is known to be the first cartoon super star and is based on Charlie Chaplin who also appeared in the episode “ Felix in Hollywood(1923)”.

Otto Messmer

Felix the cat in "Feline Folloies(1919)"

A funny animation, this was the first appearance of Felix in an animated film. I think this animation is quite interesting even though the animation quality isn’t as good as the work that would follow.

Felix the cat in "Felix in Hollywood(1923)"

I very much liked this episode mostly because of the silent comedy and the fact Felix runs into a few stars of the time.  I also liked the way the story unfolded as well as the expression changed done by Felix.I don’t think it needed text to help tell the story as I could understand what was going on without reading it.

Koko the clown
KoKo the clown

 KoKo the clown was created by the animator Max Fleischer.  KoKo was created along the same time Max Fleischer created the rotoscope. The rotoscope was used to take human moments and put them onto a cartoon. Max Fleischer used he’s brother dressed as a clown to create KoKo the clown.
In 1919 the animation”out of the inkwell” was created under the studio John Bray Studios.  After this KoKo became quite popular and Max Fleischer was able to set up a studio called Fleischer Studios. The animations KoKo would star in would usually combine both life action and animation and would have both the animated character KoKo the clown and Max Fleischer in the same film and world usually interacting with each other.

KoKo the clown in "Out of the inkwell"

I very much like the way the animations featuring KoKo the clown feature interaction between humans and the drawings.  Almost as if the drawings are able to go between worlds.


Betty Boop
Betty Boop

Betty Boop was created by Max Fleischer in the 1930’s. I find her a bit different than all the other cartoon characters created around her time. Betty Boop was created to be a sexy character which was acceptable because she’s only a cartoon character but around those times anything done by a human actress that was slightly sexy would be looked down upon. Betty Boop is also looked at being one of the first cartoon sex symbols because of the things she could do that wouldn’t be acceptable if done by a human. Betty Boop first appears in the animated cartoon “Dizzy Dishes”.
Helen Kane and Clara Bow are two people who Betty Boop may have been created from since they all share similar traits and were all active during that time period. In April 1934 Helen Kane filed a lawsuit against Fleischer Studios for $250,000 claiming that Betty Boop was stealing her fans by acting just like her. Everything down to the voices are very similar.

 Helen Kane in " I have to have you"

Betty Boop in " Dizzy Dishes"

 Just by watching these two videos i can see the similarities. between Betty Boop and Helen Kane.

Popeye the Sailor

Popeye is a cartoon fictional character created by Elzie Crisler Segar.Popeye started appearing in animated cartoons in 1933 and was released by Paramount Pictures. Popeye is one of the most memorable cartoon characters because of he’s unique looks, he has a Popeye, smoking pipe, big forearms and a sailor suit. Popeye also influenced children to eat spinach because in the animated series by eating Spanish Popeye is able to gains incredible strength.

Popeye as he appears in he’s first animated episode
I’m a big fan of the Popeye the Sailor cartoon series, this episode is especially funny there is even a cameo by Betty Boop doing a dance identical to one seen in one episode of Betty Boop's cartoon show.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Further look at characters and how they have been used

During World War 2 characters were used to convey powerful messages through short animated films. 

The spirit of 43
We looked at a few during a lecture one of which was banned. The banned cartoon was " The spirit of 43” it was an animated cartoon that featured Donald Duck who was trying to decide whether or not to pay he’s taxes. Although he does decide to pay he’s taxes the animation gets very violent and quite bizarre turning enemies into monsters and showing that if you pay your taxes you will help create weapons that will kill your enemies. I think it was banned because some people who saw this would feel like they are creating weapons that were being used to kill other humans in the end of the day enemies or not they are all humans. Another reason the animation may have been banned was because it might have scared the younger generation.                                                        

The spirit of 43

Mickey and the beanstalk
I also watched another animation where Donald loses he’s mind which I found quite bizarre.
Mickey and the beanstalk

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Disney history & characters

Walter Elias Disney was born in 1901 was an animator that set the foundation of Disney films and is the initial soul and mastermind behind Walt Disney, he created characters that would become some of the largest names in film and animation.  The most popular character that Disney created is Mickey Mouse, whose popularity would help fund Disney. And would prove to be their most useful asset.

Mickey Mouse first appear on May 15th 1928 in the animated film dubbed “plane crazy” which was a “sound cartoon” which also featured a number of characters that would appear in future animations being Minnie Mouse, Pete and Carolyn Cow. Mickey Mouse’s design would change over time to make him more appealing to the ever changing time and target audiences the character would change a great deal over the years he has existed for (although I prefer the 3 earliest designs the most).
        Mickey Mouse - changes & development
        Mickey Mouse - changes & development 2

In contrast to Mickey Mouse there are many other Disney characters that have completely different characters that are nothing like Mickey Mouse, The two most known being Goofy and Donald Duck(Donald Fauntleroy Duck). Goofy is a very cheerful clumsy character that has long limbs and doesn’t seem very intelligent while Donald Duck is very easy to anger and quite irritable. Donald Duck as changed quite a bit over the years, at first he appears to be a trickster but in more modern animation he seems to be more impatient and faster to get violent. Either way he’s nothing like Mickey Mouse almost a complete opposite.
Donald Duck - changes & development

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Sound in animation

Walt Disney -  Flowers and Trees
I very much liked the way sound was used in this animation, because there is a sound to go with almost every movement. And the music would also change as the mood and situation in the animation changed. I liked the way the music changes from a peaceful track to more violent soundtrack when the trees are fighting and the forest fire started, then to the soundtrack Morning Mood which was composed by Edvard Grieg which is a happier music which suits the ending.

Santa's workshop
Here is another animation I looked at with sound. I liked the use of sound effects in this animation in general but I though it was really good at 2:18 where they are making presents, the whole sequence has a lot of different sounds and for some reason I enjoyed this more than the last animation I watched.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

History of animation - Early animation

What is animation?
The first thing the class was asked was “what is animation?”  In my head i prepared the response “it is the ability to create and portray movement using a series of images , it can be used for a Varity of things such as communication and storytelling.” but when I was asked this question I reminded of a moment in the anime Genshiken when a character called Madarame explains the word animation.
After we gave our answers we was told the history and evolution of the word animation and it matched what the character said quite closely.

Early animation – cave paintings
We looked at some cave painting that show movement some of which are over 32,000 years old and are found all over the world. The earliest cave paintings found were the chauvet cave paintings with paintings done over 32,000 years old in southern France. And they were found in 1994
we also looked at Iranian and Egyptian cave paintings, with the oldest animation been found in Iran and to have said to been made over 5200 years ago, it’s a sequence of images that show a deer jumping up to a tree to get food( I presume).
                                                            Animation found in Iran

Early animation – development
The zoetrope was developed by Ting Tuan in 180AD and is something that give the views an illusion by spinning numerous static pictures to give the effect something is moving, we watched a really good Toy Story one found in Disneyland. I liked this because it makes it look as if they are alive right in front of your eyes.

we also watched "What the butler saw" this film was more of a short series of images that was on an arcade machine that tell some sort of story. This is very much like a flipbook.

Early animation – films
The first animation on film was “the enchanted drawing” by James Stuart Blackton  who made an animation of a man and wine where it would seems as if he was interacting with the picture he drew by taking things out and putting them back in. I liked this animation and it gives a similar feeling to the toy story zoetrope because its almost as if you are able to see the animation in real life.

Winsor Mccay
Winsor Mccay was a brilliant drafts man who created the animation “The sinking of the Lusitania” and many others. He’s most famous piece being “Gertie the dinosaur”.
Gertie the dinosaur(1914)
This has to be one of my favorite early animations just because of the movements. I think the animation was really good for early animation, although the timing could be better. at some points it seems as if everything is moving at the same speed.

The sinking of the Lusitania(1918)
I think this film is a good old animation i liked the smoke animation the best along with the fishes. Not as entertaining as Gertie the dinosaur.

Max Fleischer

Out of the ink well(1921)
We can see the realistic animation from the rotoscope, but why bother using this method to create animations? I think it’s because of the control you get when giving the characters and environment realistic or cartoon like movement in their animations. In this animation i like the how there is interaction between the artist and the cartoon character.