Bishop Animation Classes in 2007

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

We've batted around the idea of classes for a while, and we're finally ready to get started. We're thinking of doing two Saturday classes a month.

One of the class days would be focused on beginners. Topics covered would include an introduction to computer modelling, and introduction to texturing, an introduction to rigging, an introduction to animation, etc. There would be three classes a day, each two hours a piece. You can take each class individually for $12.00 per class, or take all three for $30.00.

The second type of class day would focus more on people who already know a bit about the process to expert level. Some of those classes would include topics such as how to animate a bit of dialog, hair and fur simulation, fluid simulation, particle effects, etc. There would be three classes a day, each two hours a piece. You can take each class individually for $15.00 per class, or take all three for $40.00.

If you would like to sign up for classes, keep watching our website for the official schedule and topics.

If you have a topic you would really like to see covered, either in the beginner or advanced classes, let us know!

Disneyland's Golden Horseshoe

Thursday, December 21, 2006

One of my favorite parts of Disneyland is the Golden Horseshoe. One of the reasons is that it was a part of the park since opening day, but the other reason is Billy Hill and the Hillbillies. If you're ever in Disneyland, do yourself a favor and check out their show. You'll be glad you did.

Death Cab for Cutie "Crooked Teeth" video by Rob Schrab

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I thought this was cool. His animatic is fun to watch as well.

Interview with Shane Glines

Thursday, December 07, 2006

I usually don't like to double post, but this was a cool one. I'm a blogger for Channel Frederator, and today I posted an interview I did with Shane Glines, a character designer who has worked on shows such as "Superman", "Batman", "Justice League", "Samurai Jack", and many more.

You can download my audio interview with him HERE.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Bishop Animation reel

Sunday, November 26, 2006

We just finished up our latest reel. Have a look and let us know what you think.

Alex Toth and animation

Saturday, November 11, 2006

What do "Jonny Quest", "Space Ghost", and "The Herculoids" have in common? Well, if you read my posts over at Channel Frederator, you already know. The answer is Alex Toth.

You can read more about Alex Toth on his official website.

If you are interested in solid design, adventure stories, comics, or animation design in general, he's a great person to study.

Fartbot learns to use an iPod

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Fartbot didn't know what an iPod was, then someone told him you put your music in it. I still don't think he understands though.

This image will appear (along with others featuring robots and iPods)in a book given out to attendees of the Channel Frederator awards show next year.

Sparse blog posts... blame the robot

Saturday, October 28, 2006

image by Jessica Borutski

You may have noticed that the blog posts here have been few and far between lately. That's because I'm now blogging for Channel Frederator. If you don't know what that is, and you are a fan of animation, you should.

One of the coolest things about blogging for them is the weekly interviews. Recently I got to interview one of my childhood animation idols, Will Vinton. There's a 27 minute interview with him if you follow that link. It's an easy to listen to MP3 file.

Anyway, keep checking out Channel Frederator for the latest in animation, and keep checking this blog for our Bishop Animation posts. I'm going to try and keep posting here once a day as well... wish me luck!


Figure Drawing every Wednesday night!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Figure Drawing at Bishop Animation
Every Wednesday night
7PM - 10PM
Bishop Animation

Pro, hobbyist, student...whatever. Everyone is welcome.

$7.00 per person

Please RSVP so we have an idea

of how many people to expect!

(570) 251-7749

Muppet Design

Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Jim Henson had a great sense of design. I've been doing some research for a project and was impressed with the range of emotions and character traits his characters posess. While much of this comes from how well the characters are performed by their Muppeteers, the design of the characters has a lot to do with it as well.

While everyone knows the Muppets and what they look like, I'd like to look at an animated segment from Sesame Street:

It's a short piece, so you need to establish your characters pretty quickly. Based on appearance alone, you can tell that the king is a kind fellow. He loves his daughters so much that he'd be happy to tell you all about them in song. He probably carries around a bunch of photos of them as well.

The daughters are hard to see in this clip, but on the close-up you can see that this daughter is beautiful yet humble. The eyes and posing of the head are especially nice.

The knights have a nice design to them. Their bodies make it seem as though they are mainly ceremonial in their duties. I doubt they slay dragons or fight in battles.

My favorite character in the piece is the Messenger that shows up at the end. His eyes show his excitement, and his mouth opens wide to help him deliver the great news.

While one could argue that the song and voice work are the strong suit of this piece, for me the character design choices are what make it memorable. The simple shapes and minimal facial details help sell the characters in a fast yet convincing way. This is one of my favorite bits from Sesame Street. Jim Henson and his creative team have a great way of using design elements to help sell a character by looks alone, before the first MEEP, Wakka-wakka, or Yep yep yep.

"Open Season"

Monday, October 09, 2006

I saw "Open Season" tonight. The animation was nice, but the stand out for me was the FX. Fur and fluids never looked better. Unfortunately, the story and character development was rather weak.

I didn't really care about the characters. The wild animal with an urban sound has been done to death, and this film has it in spades. There are also snippets of backstory that we learn about some of the characters, but it's explained to us rather than shown to us... which isn't very interesting.

This film also suffers from the same thing that plagues many recent CG films (including Pixar films) - WAY too many characters. I understand that there are many animals in the forest, but there is no reason to show each different kind of animal or give them all business in the film. This is time that could have been spent building up the main characters and making their bond seem more realistic rather than forced.

Animation = A
Effects = A+
Character design = B
Story = C-


Fartbot final animation

Monday, October 02, 2006
HERE it is.

We were recently asked to be part of a collaborative film called "FredEx". We had to come up with ten seconds of animation that featured a robot. Each creative crew was given a topic, and ours was "farts".

Character design: J Chad Erekson
Modelling: Kevin Wisdom
UVs: Mike Kopa
Textures: Veronica Harper, Kevin Wisdom
Rigging: James Jones Jr
Animation: Kevin Wisdom
Lighting: Kevin Wisdom
Effects: Floyd Bishop, Kevin Wisdom
Audio: J Chad Erekson
Final comp: J Chad Erekson, Kevin Wisdom

Fartbot final

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Here's a frame from the final animation.

Fartbot Animation WIP

Friday, September 29, 2006

Character rig: James Jones.
Animation: Kevin Wisdom

Fartbot textures WIP

Thursday, September 28, 2006

So here is what the Fartbot's textures are looking like. Cast iron stomach, rickety joints, and a red hot belly. Textures by Veronica Harper and Kevin Wisdom. Mike Kopa laid out the UVs.


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Character design by J Chad Erekson

We were asked to be part of a collaborative project featuring robots. Our segment features a robot that farts. Based on that brief description, this is what we came up with.

Character model by Kevin Wisdom

As always, let us know what you think.

We need more interviews like this one... from all political figures.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

No Z depth, but tons of great gameplay.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Midway recently put several of their arcade classics online for people to play. Some of these games were released before some of the people who work at Bishop Animation. Take a trip back to the olden days of videogames to see what gameplay and replay value are all about.

Vladimir (Bill) Peter Tytla - One of the Non-Nine Old Men

Saturday, September 23, 2006
There's a lot of talk about the Nine Old Men. I started to blog about them a few posts back. While researching the Nine Old Men, I started to learn more and more about the animators that aren't part of the list.

Bill Tytla is responsible for a lot of great character animation, but perhaps his best work is on Stromboli. Have a look at this sequence from "Pinocchio", and try to count the emotions Stromboli displays. In my opinion, Stromboli's animation outshines Pinocchio's in this sequence, as the burden of acting is on Stromboli. Without such a grand performance, there is nothing for Pinocchio to react to. Take a look and see for yourself:

Even though Bill Tytla was paid well as an animator, he was a part of the Disney strike in 1941. The strike was a dark time for the Disney studios, and many of the artists who did strike were pressured out of the studio in one way or another. Bill Tytla was no different.

Tytla's perception was that he was unwelcome at the Disney studio. Less challenging work, his wife's three-year long illness with tuberculosis, fear of Japanese attack, and a desire to live on his Connecticut farm eventually led him to the decision to leave the studio. He resigned from the Disney studio on February 24, 1943, an action he regretted for the remaining twenty-five years of his life. (source: The Vladimir Tytla Page)

You can bet dollars to doughnuts that this is why Bill Tytla is not on the list of Walt's Nine Old Men, even though he obviously had the talents to be included on such a list.

RIP Steve Irwin

Monday, September 04, 2006
I heard on the news this morning that Steve Irwin was killed by a Stingray. Who would have guessed, after all the crocodiles, snakes, sharks, and more that a stingray would be the animal to kill Steve Irwin?

My kids loved watching all his various shows and specials. We enjoyed watching each week as Steve showed us things about animals that we had never seen or known before. Hopefully his family is well taken care of, and continues to bring attention to animal conservation and education.

Les Clark

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Les Clark is one of the lesser known of the Nine Old Men. Les was once an ice cream server, which was where he met Walt. Shortly after that meeting, when Les was graduating from high school, he asked Walt for a job. Walt had him bring in some drawings, and then hired him for a short stint at the studio. The temp job turned into a career.

The cartoon shown above is from 1927, the year Les started at the studio. He went on to create many memorable performances, including Mickey Mouse in "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" from "Fantasia", and the show opening featuring Tinkerbell from the classic Disneyland TV series.

I plan on doing a post on each of the Nine Old Men over the next few weeks. Keep watching this space.

Ren & Stimpy premiered this day in 1991

Friday, August 11, 2006

Happy birthday to one of the best (if not the best) animated, animated television series in modern history.

Mechanical modeling and cartoony action

Here is a sneek peek at our work on the animated opening for Nickelodeon/Frederator's "Random Cartoons" cartoon show. The logo itself is made up of ping pong balls aranged in a random pattern. The device pictured above is how the ping pong balls get hurled around the room.

You can see a WIP animation of the contraption here:

The contraption was designed by J Chad Erekson
Modeled by Veronica Harper and Mike Kopa
Rigged by Chris Boylan
Animated by Kevin Wisdom

Let us know what you think!

Happy Birthday, Saturday morning kids shows!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

56 years young!

The American Broadcasting Company first aired Saturday morning television shows for children on August 19, 1950. The network introduced two shows: Animal Clinic featured live animals, while the variety show Acrobat Ranch had a circus theme. Placed against a Western backdrop, acrobats Tumbling Tim and Flying Flo lent an air of spectacle to Acrobat Ranch. In one segment, Host Uncle Jim presided over a game in which children from the studio audience competed for merchandise prizes.

Back from Siggraph

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Whew! We're back from Siggraph, and what a week it was! There was so much to see, and so many new pieces of software to check out. While Maya 8 was impressive, and the Davey Jones presentation was very cool, I think the best bit of animation I saw at the show was from the upcoming Sony movie "Open Season".

I saw a presentation at the Houdini booth, showing how Houdini was used for a water sequence. Although it was high technology, it looked like a bear and a deer going down a river on a log. The technology served the story, and not the other way around. Very nice. I'm looking forward to this film now more than any other upcoming film.

Speaking of CG, check out the new Disney logo:

I like it alot. It reminds me of the old Disney shows hosted by Walt Disney. If the presentations on "Meet the Robinsons" are any indication, the future of Disney Animation is very bright.

Siggraph in Boston

Friday, July 28, 2006

We're headed up to Boston for Siggraph. It should be a good time. If you're up there, stop by the and say hello. If you're looking for work, drop off your reel at the front desk.

If you aren't going to Siggraph, or would rather not carry around reels, go ahead and mail us your work:

Bishop Animation
ATTN: desired position (ex: "attn: rigging")
214 Ninth Street
Honesdale, PA 18431

Cats playing ping pong... for no particular reason.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Siggraph 2006: Boston

Monday, July 24, 2006
So the biggest computer graphics get together of the year is in Boston this time. Bishop Animation will be heading north. If you plan on being there, let us know so we can meet up!

Floyd the Fruit Fly

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

A character with great character

Tuesday, July 18, 2006
There aren't too many cartoons today with characters that are as well animated as Tom & Jerry. Take a look at the model sheet for Jerry. Every drawing on there gives a great sense of what the character is thinking or feeling.

We've got a few projects right now where we are trying to capture that same sense of character through posing, but using the tools of today to try and do it in 3D.

It's really tough.

How tough? It's so tough that our main rigger (Chris Boylan) has pulled out so much hair, he now has a mohawk.

It's much easier to put in a little bit of fat here or there using your pencil rather than with polygons, but I think we're getting very close though to the poseability that was impossible in CG only a few years ago. Keep watching this space for updates.

Hot enough for you?

Monday, July 17, 2006

I think it was a billion degrees today. It was really only about 93 degrees, but it felt very hot. hopefully tomorrow is cooler. Hooray for Air Conditioning!

"Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" - some of the best CG I've ever seen

Saturday, July 15, 2006

When you do CG as a career, you look at movies in a different way. You can sometimes see some subtle hints as to how things are done, whether it's make-up, compositing, digital doubles, etc. I had no idea while I was watching the film how they were making this character happen. ILM did a fantastic job with this character. If they don't win an Oscar for this phenominal work, there is no justice.

When I saw "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest", I was blown away by the character of Davey Jones. If you like adventure movies, pirates, or special effects, you'll really enjoy this film. Go see it if you get a chance.

The film is the sequel to "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl". Both films are based on the Disneyland ride "Pirates of the Caribbean". Go to to learn more about the ride that inspired the films, and see some of the incredible talent that helped create the attraction.

Evening news getting worse and worse

Friday, July 14, 2006

It looks as though things are bad in a lot of different places right now. It reminded me of this song. If you're in any of the rough spots in the world right now, take care.


On the road again...

Wednesday, July 12, 2006
There was lots of driving on Monday. We had a meeting in Connecticut, and then I had to go to a wake that evening. I drove a total of 365 miles. Fun fun fun.


More images of Amber

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Give me a hand

Meet Veronica's friend Amber. Veronica is modeling Amber using a variety of anatomy sources, including anatomy books, photos, and Victoria Secret catalogs. As we finish Amber, she'll be decked out in a variety of ways. We plan on putting realistic hair and clothes on her. Her first task will probably be one of a Greek or Roman goddess.

We do a lot of cartoon stuff, which we enjoy greatly, but Amber is our way of showing that we are capable of realism as well. Let us know what you think!

A face only a mother could love

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Recently, we had a challenge to create an appealing character based on a fly. This is the microscopic photo of a fruit fly... not exactly a golden retriever puppy.

I saw a bit about Ward Kimball designing Jiminy Cricket and how he had struggled to get a nice looking character from an animal so repulsive. At first, I thought it wouldn't be too tough, but it's harder than it sounds.

If you strip out too much "flyness", you end up with something that doesn't read as a fly. If you keep too much "flyness", you get something that is not too appealing. Hopefully I can post some of the stuff that J. Chad came up with here soon.

Great music for the 4th of July

Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Happy 4th of July. Have a listen to some music from a somewhat happier time: The Firehouse Five Plus Two.

The Best Chicken Possible

Monday, July 03, 2006

We've pushed back our self-imposed deadline for "Poor Professions for Poultry" in order to create the best chicken we possibly can. Factor in the backyard BBQ's and parties for the 4th of July, and it's going to be a little while before we finish off the project.

In the meantime, here is a link to some delicious grill recipes for grilled chicken:

Grilled Chicken Recipies

My own personal preference when grilling chicken is to use a rub, consisting mostly of Jerk Spice. You can't go wrong.

"One Cab's Family" - a great example of animated cars.

Saturday, July 01, 2006
Long before Lightning McQueen and Benny the Cab, there was "One Cab's Family"

Although this film came out the same year as Disney's "Susie The Little Blue Coupe" (1952), I think "One Cab's Family" is more successful. It's got a lot of great gags, but a lot of emotional impact as well.

Cars were much more expressive fifty four years ago for some reason.

Have a great Fourth of July weekend...

Friday, June 30, 2006
...and if you're not an American, have a great weekend anyway!

Animation greatness on You Tube

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Ward Kimball was one of Walt Disney's Nine Old Men. I never met Mr Kimball, but based on all I have read about him, I think he would have been a fun guy to be around. I found this segment on Ward Kimball via Cartoon Brew.

Animating in high water

Wednesday, June 28, 2006
It's been raining here in Honesdale and the surrounding area since Friday of last week (when we left for Los Angeles). It finally stopped today, but there is major flooding all over north eastern and central Pennsylvania. In this image, you can see a washed out bridge in Waymart. There is usually just a trickle of water under this bridge, but not today.
To keep tabs on what's going on around here, visit the local news station, WNEP.

Hooray for Hollywood

Thursday, June 22, 2006
Six of us are headed out to Hollywood for an event at Gnomon. It should be a good time. We'll be sure to take lots of pictures.

There's nothing funny about a broken humerous

Wednesday, June 21, 2006
I just got back from an unexpected two day trip to the hospitol. My six year old son fell off his bunk beds and broke his left humerous so badly that he needed surgery. Two metal pins and a bunch of pain medication later, he's doing fine. He's expected to make a 100% recovery.

Project Overlord

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Justin Neri stopped by the studio the other day and showed us Project Overlord. It's an asset management program that is in the early stages of development. You can read about it here:

We'll be helping Justin fine tune things by testing out features and suggesting new ones. Hopefully, it turns into something great. It's got a lot of promise!

The next Pixar film - "Ratatouille"

image from the "Ratatouille" trailer

More than a few people disagreed with me about my opinion of "Cars". While I'm sure there weren't any Pixar crew that read our blog and cried themselves to sleep, I thought I'd follow up with some thoughts on Pixar's upcoming film "Ratatouille". First off, here's the teaser trailer:

Of all the CG films headed to theaters in the coming months (and years), this is the film I am most excited about. Judging from the trailer, there's a lot of traditional animation techniques combined with cutting edge technology to create something that is brand new. If the classic MGM "Tom & Jerry" cartoons were done in CG, I have a feeling they would look like this. I only hope they have a mean cat in this film.

part of a model sheet of Jerry the mouse from "Tom & Jerry"

My only let down so far was to hear that Jan Pinkava is not directing the film anymore. For those that aren't familiar with Jan's work, he was the director of "Geri's Game" for Pixar. That film won an Academy Award in 1998. I had the good fortune of meeting Jan at the Ottawa International Animation Festival that year, volunteering on a stop motion piece he was creating during the festival. I was looking forward to seeing what he would do with a feature length piece. I'm sure Brad Bird will do a fine job, but it will be a different film than Jan would have made.