July 3rd, 2019

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Animation: Musical Timing Rediscovered

Shuffle Off To Buffalo

A few weeks ago, John K posted an article by Milt Gray about timing. If you haven’t read it yet, by all means, click on that link before you go any further in this post. Milt explains how cartoons before the TV era were timed to a musical beat, and how musical timing has become a lost art.

Rudy Ising and Hugh HarmanRudy Ising and Hugh HarmanWell, almost lost… I happened to be speaking to Mark Kausler about the article, and he mentioned that he had a complete set of bar sheets, given to him by Rudy Ising, for an early Merrie Melodies cartoon- "Shuffle Off To Buffalo". He graciously offered to let us digitize it and share it with you. This document is the "smoking gun" that animators interested in timing theories of the past have been looking for. It’s a highly detailed plan for the timing of a typical cartoon from the early days of sound. This isn’t a particularly good cartoon, but it gives us a clear look at the process. That makes it invaluable.

I’ve gathered together all the reference you need to analyze these bar sheets… I’ve supplied you with frame grabs from each scene to act as a storyboard, and I’ve posted a 24 fps movie file of "Shuffle Off To Buffalo". My own knowledge of animation timing theory is extremely limited, so I would appreciate it if the professional animators who are reading this blog would share their expertise through the comments link below, or by posting analysis to their own blogs. Nick Cross and Michael Sporn are the first to weigh in with their comments. I’ll add links to other blogs discussing this topic as I am made aware of them.

Musical timing is one of the principle aspects of early cartoons that set them apart from modern animation. The perfect rhythm of cartoons is what makes them so appealing and magical. Rhythmic timing doesn’t cost any more, in fact, careful planning saves money. “Shuffle Off To Buffalo” was planned down to the frame by two men- a director and a musician- before a single animation drawing had been done. The results are "magical perfection". Modern animation timing requires constant testing and revising by teams of artists and technicians to look "natural". Who wants cartoons that look natural? How many manhours could be saved with this technique? Let’s share info and try to recapture the "lost art" of Musical Timing!

RUDY ISING’S BAR SHEETS

Shuffle Off To Buffalo Bar Sheets

These 20 pages comprise the complete "detail sheets" (aka "bar sheets") for the 1933 Merrie Melodies cartoon, "Shuffle Off To Buffalo". This document was prepared by the director, Rudy Ising in collaboration with the musical director, Frank Marsales.

Shuffle Off To Buffalo Page 01
Shuffle Off To Buffalo Page 02
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Shuffle Off To Buffalo Page 05
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Shuffle Off To Buffalo Page 15
Shuffle Off To Buffalo Page 16
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Shuffle Off To Buffalo Page 18
Shuffle Off To Buffalo Page 19
Shuffle Off To Buffalo Page 20

STORYBOARD

Feel free to print out these images to use as a visual reference when you’re studying the bar sheets. Every scene in the picture is depicted here, along with its scene number.

Shuffle Off To Buffalo Storyboard
Shuffle Off To Buffalo Storyboard
Shuffle Off To Buffalo Storyboard
Shuffle Off To Buffalo Storyboard
Shuffle Off To Buffalo Storyboard
Shuffle Off To Buffalo Storyboard
Shuffle Off To Buffalo Storyboard
Shuffle Off To Buffalo Storyboard
Shuffle Off To Buffalo Storyboard
Shuffle Off To Buffalo Storyboard
Shuffle Off To Buffalo Storyboard
Shuffle Off To Buffalo Storyboard
Shuffle Off To Buffalo Storyboard

24 FPS MOVIE FILE

Shuffle Off To Buffalo Movie

I have encoded this Quicktime movie at 24 frames per second, so you can count frames and compare to the bar sheets. If the movie fails to load quickly, check back a little later.

Shuffle Off To Buffalo (WB/1933)
(Quicktime 7 / 30.6 megs)

COMMENTARY AND RELATED LINKS

Director, Michael Sporn provides examples of other formats of bar sheets and a discussion regarding how timing theory morphed over time

Kevin Langley discusses how he is applying musical timing principles to his own work, and offers scans of bar sheets by Bill Hanna and Scott Bradley

Mark Mayerson explains how to use a metronome to time animation

Hans Perk posts lecture notes by Disney composer, Albert Hay Malotte and bar sheets by Dave Hand for Trader Mickey. More on bar sheets at afilmla.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

Animated CartoonsAnimated Cartoons

This posting is part of the online Encyclopedia of Cartooning under the subject heading, Animation.

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Posted by admin @ 11:58 am

July 2nd, 2019

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Illustration: Kay Nielsen’s 12 Dancing Princesses and Hansel and Gretel

animationresources.org Nielsen Hansel and Gretel

animationresources.org Nielsen was a Danish illustrator who is best known today for his concept work at Disney on Fantasia. Nielsen’s pastels of Chernabog from the “Night on Bald Mountain” sequence set the mood and gave animator Bill Tytla a big boost. But among illustrators, Nielsen is best known for his illustrations for his masterful work on East of the Sun and West of the Moon. His style was ornate and decorative, blending elements of Aubrey Beardsley and John Bauer with Persian illuminated manuscripts and Oriental motifs.

Here is some of Nielsen’s earliest work, his illustrations for Twelve Dancing Princesses…
kay

animationresources.org Nielsen Twelve Dancing Princesses

animationresources.org Nielsen Twelve Dancing Princesses

animationresources.org Nielsen Twelve Dancing Princesses

animationresources.org Nielsen Twelve Dancing Princesses

animationresources.org Nielsen Twelve Dancing Princesses

animationresources.org Nielsen Twelve Dancing Princesses

animationresources.org Nielsen Twelve Dancing Princesses

animationresources.org Nielsen Twelve Dancing Princesses

animationresources.org Nielsen Twelve Dancing Princesses

animationresources.org Nielsen Twelve Dancing Princesses

animationresources.org Nielsen Twelve Dancing Princesses

And here is a sampling of animationresources.org Nielsen’s later style- the illustrations for Hansel and Gretel and Stories from the Brothers Grimm…

animationresources.org Nielsen Hansel and Gretel
animationresources.org Nielsen Hansel and Gretel
animationresources.org Nielsen Hansel and Gretel
animationresources.org Nielsen Hansel and Gretel
animationresources.org Nielsen Hansel and Gretel
animationresources.org Nielsen Hansel and Gretel
animationresources.org Nielsen Hansel and Gretel
animationresources.org Nielsen Hansel and Gretel
animationresources.org Nielsen Hansel and Gretel
animationresources.org Nielsen Hansel and Gretel
animationresources.org Nielsen Hansel and Gretel

Visit our Kay Nielsen Gallery at Imagekind to order fine art prints of beautiful illustrations from “East of the Sun West of the Moon”. The prints are made from high resolution scans off a pristine first edition from the collection of Animation Resources. You can order individual prints, or a huge sheet with all 25 images from this landmark illustrated children’s book. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of these prints goes to support Animation Resources.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

IllustrationIllustration

This posting is part of a series of articles comprising an online exhibit spotlighting Illustration.

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Posted by admin @ 12:35 pm

June 28th, 2019

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Illustration: Arthur Rackham’s Grimm’s Fairy Tales

Arthur Rackham

Arthur RackhamArthur RackhamArthur Rackham was one of the most influential illustrators who ever lived. If you aren’t familiar with his work, see Bud Plant’s biography. These scans are from a first edition of Grimm’s Fairy Tales from 1909. This book is packed with amazing color plates and ink sketches.

Along with Edmund Dulac, Rackham was one of the most popular book illustrators of the early 20th century.

Arthur RackhamArthur RackhamWalt Disney admired Rackham’s watercolor and pen & ink style, and instructed Gustaf Tenggren to work with Claude Coates and Sam Armstrong to adapt it for use in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. In animation backgrounds however, the sinewy Rackham line was overly busy, distracting from the characters; so Tenggren evolved towards the more dimensional painting style which reached its peak in Pinocchio, setting the standard for Disney cartoons throughout the 1940s.

Of Rackham’s style, Bud Plant writes, “Most obvious, in retrospective, is the calm and good humor of the drawings. They seem imbued with a gentle joy that must have been reassuring to both the children and their parents. Rackham had found his niche. His drawings would convey a non-threatening yet fearful thrill and a beauty that was in no way overtly sexy or lewd. It was a perfect Victorian solution and he seems to have taken to it with an impish delight.”

Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
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Arthur Rackham
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Arthur Rackham
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Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

IllustrationIllustration

This posting is part of a series of articles comprising an online exhibit spotlighting Illustration.

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Posted by admin @ 12:14 pm