Archive for the ‘stop motion’ Category

Wednesday, March 9th, 2016

REFPACK009: 101 Beautiful Engravings By Gustave Dore


REFPACK 009
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March-April 2016

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Gustave Dore


101 BEAUTIFUL IMAGES BY GUSTAVE DORE

Gustave DoreGustave DoreGustave Dore was probably the most famous illustrator who ever lived. He was born in 1832 in Strasbourg, France and began drawing at the age of five. He was entirely self-taught with an instinctual knack for light, form and composition. At the age of 15, he talked his way into the office of publisher, Charles Philipon to show him his sketches. At first Philipon found it amusing that such a young boy would be so brash, but once the drawings were laid out in front of him, he couldn’t believe his eyes- He thought it must be a trick. Dore sat down at his desk and proceeded to knock out a few more sketches for him on the spot to prove that the work was indeed his. Young Dore was immediately signed to a contract, and within a year, he was the highest paid illustrator in France, exceeding the per page rate of Honore Daumier, France’s most celebrated printmaker at the time.

Gustave Dore
Dore is primarily known as an illustrator today, but his first successes were in the field of cartooning. Thousands of his "grotesque caricatures" were published in various magazines in France in the 1850s and 1860s, as well as appearing in the prestigious British humor magazine, Punch. The cartoons in this article appeared in a book titled 200 Sketches Humorous and Grotesque which was published in London in 1867. (More on that amazing book in the near future…) Dore’s style ranged from the wildest exaggeration to classically constructed human figures- and every variation between the two. In addition to drawing, he was also an accomplished painter, sculptor and engraver.

Gustave Dore
In 1847, Dore decided he wanted to create a book of engravings based on a great literary work, Dante’s Inferno. He visited the offices of Louis Hachette, the most successful publisher in Paris. Even though no book up to that point had sold for more than 15 Francs, Dore told Hachette that he wanted to produce a deluxe oversize book of engravings that would sell for 100 Francs. The publisher scoffed at the idea and assured him that no book would ever sell at that price. But Dore called his bluff, offering to pay the printing and binding expenses if Hachette would manufacture and distribute the book for him. Dore created 76 full page engravings for Inferno, and financed a print run of 100 large format books. Within two weeks, the first printing had sold out and Hachette was eager to eat his words and publish the book on Dore’s terms.

Gustave Dore
With a team of the greatest available engravers working under his supervision, Dore went on to create iconic engravings for Don Quixote, Baron Munchausen, Fontaine’s Fables, Milton’s Paradise Lost and the Bible, among many others. In just three years, he produced over 2,000 engravings, and continued to maintain an incredible pace for another two decades. Although Dore’s paintings and sculptures were exhibited in museums with great success, his most important legacy wasn’t as a fine artist. Vincent Van Gogh called him… "an artist of the people". Dore was the first serious artist to use the power of modern technology, specifically engraving and electrotypes, to deliver his art directly to the masses. His Bible illustrations alone were published in almost 1,000 editions around the world. Just about every serious reader in the late 19th century had at least one volume in his library that included Dore illustrations, and his work continues in print to this day.

Gustave Dore
The influence of the imagery of Gustave Dore can be seen in classic movies like Intolerance, King Kong, Great Expectations and The Ten Commandments. Despite the fact that Dore’s engravings are nothing more than lines etched in black and white, he achieved a remarkable sense of scale, depth and mass, as well as truly spectacular lighting effects. It’s no wonder that the masters of epic filmmaking, D.W. Griffith, Cecil B. DeMille and David Lean referred to Dore’s illustrations for their set designs. Stop-motion animators, Willis O’Brian and Ray Harryhausen have cited Dore as one of their main influences as well. Harryhausen was quoted in an interview as saying, "I’ve always wanted to do Dante’s Inferno, because of Gustave Dore. He had done the first illustrated book of Dante’s Inferno- A Trip Through Hell. I felt that would look terrific in animation, but when I got deeper into it, I thought, ‘Will people be able to sit through an hour and half of tormented souls writhing in Hell?’ Although these days they sit through over two hours of tormented souls!"

Gustave Dore
Set design for D.W. Griffith’s "Intolerance" (1916). See Dore’s depiction of Babylon below.

Gustave DoreGustave DoreAnimation Resources was fortunate to obtain an 1870 edition of the most monumental collection of Dore images ever published, The Dore Gallery. Referred to in the book trade as an "elephant folio" because of its huge size, this two volume set contains hundreds of high quality engravings from many of Dore’s greatest works. Our scanning team has been carefully digitizing this amazing book, resulting in archival quality scans.

REFPACK009: 101 Beautiful Images By Gustave Dore
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Saturday, March 5th, 2016

Inbetweens: Alka-Seltzer Puppet Ad

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Here is a stop-motion animated commercial starring Alka-Seltzer’s mascot, Speedy, who starred in over 200 of such ads between 1954 to 1964. The character was conceived by animator George Pal at the Wade Ad Agency, and designed by illustrator Wally Wood.

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https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=KrvywwqXo9w

-Nicholas John Pozega

Monday, January 11th, 2016

Theory: 3D Design Inspiration- Kachina Dolls

Kachina Dolls

When an artist who animates with drawings looks to reference for stylization techniques, he might look to modern UPA style cartoons. These can often give him ideas for interesting shapes or ways of handling the line. But these sorts of flat designs aren’t much help to a puppet or CGI animator, because 3D characters need to be volumetric so they can inhabit three dimensional space. A flat UPA character won’t translate. So where does a CGI or puppet character designer look for ideas about stylization?

Well… one great source is American Indian Kachina Dolls

Kachina Dolls
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Kachinas are very important spiritual symbols to the Hopi and Zuni tribes in North Eastern Arizona. They represent natural life forces that are able to provide protection, fertility or healing. There are hundreds of different Kachinas in the Hopi culture, each one with a specific personality and representational meaning. The Kachinas aren’t thought of as gods, but rather as a shadow society, with family relationships and lives of their own. There are Kachinas that embody the wind, the sun, stars, thunderstorms, birds, animals and even ideas, like motherhood or fertility. The most important Kachinas are referred to by the Hopi as Wuya.

Kachina Dolls

The Hopis and Zunis dress up as the Kachinas for planting and harvest festivals. They dance and sing in costume and give the children of the pueblo wooden dolls of the characters as gifts to protect them and teach them about the culture. (The Kachinas are looked upon by the children as a cultural equivalent of Santa Claus because of this custom.)

Kachina Dolls

The Navajo tribe didn’t have Kachinas in their culture, but the proximity of the Hopi and Navajo reservations created a sharing of ideas, and now many Navajos carve Kachina dolls too.

Here are some examples of the masks worn by the Kachina dancers…

Kachina Dolls

Kachina Dolls

The word “Kachina” can be used in several contexts… It can be used for the characters representing natural spirit powers, the costumed dancers at the festivals, the dolls given as gifts to the children, or to describe the crude souvenir dolls sold to tourists.

Kachina Dolls
Souvenir Kachinas sold along Route 66 in the 50s and 60s
Kachina Dolls

The simplest way to tell a souvenir Kachina doll from one given to the Hopi children is to look on the feet for a signature. Tourist Kachinas are almost always signed and have the name of the Kachina. Ones given by the Kachina to the Hopi children is never signed, because the children are told that the Kachinas themselves made it for them.

Kachina Dolls

Senator Barry Goldwater had the world’s most significant collection of antique Kachina Dolls, which he willed to the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona. The collection illustrates the progression that Kachina design went through from the 1890s all the way through the 1950s. If you are ever in the area, it’s well worth a visit.

Kachina Dolls

As you look through this gallery of Kachina dolls, take note of the wild stylization and the variations on a single character. Each Hopi artist has his or her own style and approach to carving the dolls and the designs have changed radically over the past century. Earlier examples are more like outer space creatures, while more recent ones have more realistic human proportions.

Kachina Dolls

Kachina Dolls

Kachina Dolls

Kachina Dolls

Kachina Dolls

Kachina Dolls

Kachina Dolls

Kachina Dolls

Kachina Dolls

Kachina Dolls

Kachina Dolls

It’s easy to get stuck in a stylistic rut, designing characters that look just like other character designs. Instead, step outside of the box for inspiration and you’ll find that the possibilities in design for animation are limitless… and a lot of fun too!

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

TheoryTheory

This posting is part of a series of articles comprising an online exhibit entitled Theory.