Archive for the ‘refpack’ Category

Friday, August 23rd, 2019

RefPack029: Two Interesting Films By Harman Ising

Reference Pack

REFPACK 029
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Members Only Download

Every other month, members of Animation Resources are given access to an exclusive Members Only Reference Pack. These downloadable files are high resolution e-books on a variety of educational subjects and rare cartoons from the collection of Animation Resources in DVD quality. Our current Reference Pack has just been released. If you are a member, click through the link to access the MEMBERS ONLY DOWNLOAD PAGE. If you aren’t a member yet, please JOIN ANIMATION RESOURCES. It’s well worth it.


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HD QUALITY VIDEO:
Harman Ising

Milky Way
MGM / Rudolph Ising / 1940

Perhaps the most unjustly neglected classic animated shorts are the early MGM cartoons. Hugh Harman and Rudy Ising left Warner Bros in 1934 to join MGM, producing several cartoons starring Bosko, along with a series of musical one-shot cartoons called Happy Harmonies. Roughly patterned after Disney’s Silly Symphonies, these musical cartoons ran far over budget, and in 1937, MGM severed its contract with Harman and Ising and formed their own in-house animation studio under Fred Quimby. Harman and Ising were hired on as contract employees of MGM, directing one-shots and Barney Bear cartoons until they parted company with the studio during WWII.

The two films we are sharing with you today represent the best of Harman and Ising’s work. “Milky Way” was the first non-Disney animated short to be awarded an Oscar, winning over the first Bugs Bunny cartoon and the first of the Tom & Jerry shorts. It richly deserved the honor. The lushness of the production values rivals the most elaborate of Disney’s shorts. In particular note the solidity of the drawing by Mike Lah, Pete Burness and Ray Abrams, the brilliant color palettes of the backgrounds, and the spectacular effects animation. Many of the shots in this short consist of pans with action beginning in one end of the pan and tracking it through to the other end. This contributes to the forward momentum of the film and prevents it from dragging like so many other Harman-Ising cartoons.

REFPACK029: Milky Way
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M4V Video File / HD / 7:28 / 387 MB Download


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SD QUALITY VIDEO:
Harman Ising

The Hungry Wolf
MGM / Hugh Harman / 1942

The other MGM film we are featuring, “The Hungry Wolf” is unique to the Harman-Ising filmography. Produced at the very end of the directing partners’ tenure at MGM, the animation staff includes many of the finest artists ever to work at the studio… in particular, Irv Spence, Ken Muse, Jack Zander and Pete Burness. When this film was made, Rudy Ising had already left MGM to open his own studio. Soon after, Rudy Ising would resign to join the Army Air Force’s First Motion Picture Unit.

A while back, I received a phone call from Ralph Bakshi asking me about this film. He had stumbled across it on YouTube and was blown away. He praised the power and guts of the animation- clarity and directness of purpose quite different than the typical “lily gilding” and excessive polish common in Harman-Ising cartoons. Ralph pointed at a few scenes in particular and asked who the animator was. It turned out to be Bill Tytla, who was picking up work with MGM after the Disney strike. Ralph insisted I share this film with all of you so you can study it too. Here it is!

REFPACK029: The Hungry Wolf
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M4V Video File / SD / 9:02 / 199 MB Download

Many thanks to Advisory Board member Steve Stanchfield for sharing these rare films with Animation Resources. We are very fortunate that Steve uncovers these lost jewels and shares them with us. Steve’s video company, Thunderbean Animation is doing great work transferring and restoring rare animated films. We greatly appreciate his unfailing support of our Animation Archive Project.


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Harman IsingHarman IsingHarman IsingHarman IsingHarman Ising


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Sample RefPack

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Friday, August 16th, 2019

RefPack029: How Does Experimental Animation Apply To Character Animation?

Reference Pack

REFPACK 029
Download Page
Members Only Download

Every other month, members of Animation Resources are given access to an exclusive Members Only Reference Pack. These downloadable files are high resolution e-books on a variety of educational subjects and rare cartoons from the collection of Animation Resources in DVD quality. Our current Reference Pack has just been released. If you are a member, click through the link to access the MEMBERS ONLY DOWNLOAD PAGE. If you aren’t a member yet, please JOIN ANIMATION RESOURCES. It’s well worth it.


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DVD QUALITY VIDEOS:
Len Lye

Five Films By Len Lye
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Tusalava (1929) / Kaleidoscoper (1935) / Rainbow Dance (1936) / Doing The Lambeth Walk (1939) / Musical Poster No. 1 (1940)

Len Lye was a revolutionary figure, not only in the history of animation, but of fine art as well. His work explored motion through experimental film and kinetic sculpture. It is well worth taking a few moments to read the Len Lye Wikipedia Page if you aren’t familiar with him. But there are some personal points I need to make about these films to get across their context to you.

Len Lye

Whenever we post experimental films on Animation Resources, inevitably I am asked how any of this relates to what character animators do. Artists will say that abstract animation is interesting, but they don’t see how it applies to their own work. Nothing can be further from the truth. Animation is more than just creating characters and telling stories. Comics and illustration have characters and stories, but the thing that makes animation unique is the element of time. Len Lye strips away all of the narrative and figurative elements and focuses entirely on rhythm and the visual representation of music. Few other animated films are as concentrated when it comes to this kind of unity of sound and image. Lye was essentially distilling animation down to the one thing that makes the medium totally unique.

The technique is drop dead simple and direct… Lye painted directly on blank rolls of film with colored dyes and created layers of movement in an optical printer. But that is just the surface. It goes much deeper than that. The planning required to achieve this complete synthesis of sound and motion required incredible concentration. Think about it a moment… Lye was breaking down the soundtrack into its individual voices and rhythms and representing all that on exposure sheets frame by frame. How did he do that? What did Lye’s notes and plans look like before he began work? I really don’t know, but the level of detail and the abstract thinking involved is staggering.

Len Lye

Too often, animators slug their exposure sheets according to the length of the dialogue and how long it takes to perform an action, with no thought given to pacing or rhythm. Len Lye is operating on a much more sophisticated level. He represents complex syncopated Latin and jazz rhythms visually with abstract shapes that move. The technique of painting little doodles of shapes on film gives it a deceptively simple appearance, but the planning going on under the hood must have required fourth dimensional thinking. Imagine if instead of the action in an animated film happening at a normal pace dictated by the speed the voice actor performs the dialogue, the animator creates a rhythmic pattern for the action that merges the character’s performance with the beats and accents in the music… Are you beginning to understand the importance of these films now?

Len Lye

In the past, animation was planned out to a musical beat. The music established the pace of the footsteps and the rhythm of the action. The way this was achieved was by analyzing the voices in the music and breaking down the rhythms frame by frame. When Len Lye’s and Norman McLaren’s films first were shown, traditional animators sat up and took notice. They were greatly impressed by how these seemingly simple little films effortlessly accomplished amazingly complex things that the Hollywood animators struggled to do in their character animation. When I was first becoming interested in animation in the early 1980s, there was a Len Lye retrospective where many of his films were screened for the first time. I attended the screening and was amazed to look around the audience… it was a virtual who’s who of animators from Disney, Warner Bros, MGM and every other major animation studio. These great animators thought there was something to learn from these films. You should too.

REFPACK029: 5 Films By Len Lye
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M4V Video File / SD / 20:47 / 514 MB Download


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Sample RefPack

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Thursday, August 8th, 2019

Animation Resources RefPack028: What You Missed!

Reference Pack

We just posted Reference Pack 029, so here is a reminder of what you missed in RefPack028. Every other month, Animation Resources shares a new Reference Pack with its members. They consist of an e-book packed with high resolution scans and video downloads set up for still frame study. Make sure you download the Reference Packs before they’re updated. When it’s gone, it’s gone!


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Esquire Cartoons

The latest Animation Reference Pack was just released and it’s jam packed with fantastic material to study and inspire you… It includes a wide variety of things… An e-book featuring cartoons from the pages of Esquire magazine in the 1930s, an industrial film by UPA, a Russian stop motion cartoon, and one of the earliest examples of animation in Japan.

UPA Industrial Film

But that’s not all… This time we launch a new feature, Slapstick Analysis, where we share a great example of physical comedy and break it down to show you how you can use slapstick to strengthen your animation. Plus we are re-running one of our most popular 1950s commercial reels as a bonus!

Crocodile Gena


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Spider and Tulip

At Animation Resources, our Advisory Board includes great artists and animators like Ralph Bakshi, Will Finn, J.J. Sedelmeier and Sherm Cohen. They’ve let us know the things that they use in their own self study so we can share them with you. That’s experience you just can’t find anywhere else. The most important information isn’t what you already know… It’s the information you should know about, but don’t know yet. We bring that to you every other month.

Slapstick


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Commercial Reel

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Check out this SAMPLE REFERENCE PACK! It will give you a taste of what Animation Resources members get to download every other month!

Sample RefPack

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