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.