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Archive for the News & Updates category

The end of my “Shame Film Festival”

Alright everyone,

It’s been a great week with some eye-popping animation. I hope you all have enjoyed watching these vignettes and hope that you were also able to learn from your experience here. After all, that’s why we keep this blog; to share ideas, designs, diversions and creativity.

To close this week, I thought I’d post two additional pieces of animation. One is a stop motion piece called Her Morning Elegance.

Her Morning Elegance


Directed by: Oren Lavie, Yuval & Merav Nathan
Featuring: Shir Shomron
Photography: Eyal Landesman
Color: Todd Iorio at Resolution
© 2009 A Quarter Past Wonderful

The next is a piece is a traditional Cell animation called “Beautiful Music” by Yoann Lemoine. This piece shares a very similar style to Clover Studio’s “Okami” which we reference in many of our own brand materials as one of the quintessential “technology-meets-traditional” works of the last decade.

Beautiful Music


Ushuaïa – Evergreen – réalisé par Yoann Lemoine

Thank you all for being here this week. As always, we’ll be back next week with more tip, tricks, news and updates. Have a great weekend everyone!

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Anime Blues

In the late 1980′s I was attending the University of Pittsburgh and trying to cut my teeth at Pittsburgh Filmmakers. At that time Filmmakers were the only gig in town for limited-release, avante garde films and one weekend we had the honor of hosting a film from Japan called Akira.

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Image courtesy of Bandai and Geneon Entertainment

At the time, American audiences were familiar with Japanese animation pretty much exclusively through Speed Racer and maybe Astro Boy. The US was the heavyweight in producing high-quality masterworks of animation and between Disney, Ralph Bakshi or Don Bluth studios, America had the theatrical animation market cornered.

Akira was an atom-bomb to the animation landscape declaring that America is no longer the only game in town. Simply stunning.

Since that time, Anime has grown at an exponential rate in the US. Studio Ghibli has given us titles like “My Neighbor Totoro,” “Kiki’s Delivery Service,” “Princess Mononoke” and “Spirited Away” which won an Oscar for Best Animated Feature, the first anime film to win an Academy Award. However, if you still ask many people, especially people of my parent’s generation, when asked about Japanese animation they will still only be able to muster up “Speed Racer.”

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Kiki’s Delivery service is STILL my favorite of all the Ghibli films.

Well, if you haven’t seen the Studio Ghibli stuff by now, I would of course recommend that you stop reading this and add it to your Netflix cue or run to your local video store tonight to watch them this weekend.

If you don’t feel like sitting down with your parents for two hours to try to indoctrinate them into Anime I highly recommend the following two series instead:

Cowboy BeBop


Great series if your are into are Space/Bounty Hunter movies

Samurai Champloo


Great series if your audience are Clint Eastwood westerns

These two shows are reminiscent of the old “post-1950′s serials” or “chapter plays,” that were broken into 15, or so, chapters. The characters all have a pulp magazine fiction backstory and are easy to grasp on to.

My favorite is definitely Cowboy BeBop for it’s subject matter and brilliant story arc. There is even one episode that focuses on people in the 21st century trying to figure out the difference between VHS and BETA tapes…seriously, how cool is THAT?

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Sweet Dreams

I completely forgot about posting this today alongside Kirsten Lepore’s “Story from North America.” She has a stop motion animation piece entitled “Sweet Dreams” which just received a Special Jury Award at SXSW 2009.


At the artist’s request, please watch in ‘HQ’ (high quality) mode on YouTube

Don’t worry Anime fans, I’ll get to you tomorrow ;)

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Story from North America

My kids and I are HUGE fans of Thurop Van Orman’s “The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack” about an excitable, adventure-loving boy and his washed-up, old sailor mentor. If you haven’t watched it, the show is downright brilliant.


Thurop Van Orman’s “The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack”

This post isn’t about that show, but about the style of animation. Animators were worried in the late 70′s and early 80′s because their craft was being destroyed by simpleton, mass-produced pieces of clap-trap coming in from overseas (not slamming Anime AT ALL! See my post tomorrow to see why). Captain Planet, Ghostbusters and shows that revolved around talking heads with moving mouths (I’m looking at you SuperFriends), were swiftly mass-producing and effectively destroying the craft.

Flash forward to today to see that all of their worry was for naught. With animation becoming more and more of a challenge as to who can create more obtuse, dramatic forms of life, the craft is now in the hands of incredibly gifted and talented animators like Kirsten Lepore.


Story From North America animation by Kirsten Lepore

I stumbled across this gem of animation which shows an unbelievable amount of expression in semi-rudimentary illustration. The song’s message is delivered simply, effectively and powerfully using animation that matches the musics playfulness and simplicity.

This girl will go very, very far and if I were working at Viacom, I’d sign her up right away. Oh, and Kirsten, if you are listening, if Viacom comes asking, please take as much money up front as possible because you will receive nothing on the back end.

Just ask Vasquez and Kricfalusi how much they got when they got the boot ;)

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My 15 year anniversary…

Many of our clients don’t know that years ago I studied animation under legendary animator Chuck Jones (thanks to the extraordinary efforts of professor David Weinkauf). In fact, my first 16mm animations were done using the same equipment used by the team Warner Brothers (Tex Avery, Friz Freeling, etc) back in the golden age of animation.

Mr. Jones was the creator of classic characters like the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote. He also collaborated with Dr. Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss), producing and directing animated film adaptations of the Seuss’ children’s books Horton Hears a Who and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. I, on the other hand, have managed to sink into obscurity in corporate-middle-management during the first five years of this century.


Animation done by another Edinboro Alumni, Adam Calfee

Working with Bauer Graphics has allowed me to rectify some of this ‘not-living-up-to-my-fullest-potential’ shame and has given me the chance to get back in touch with my past. We have been fortunate enough to have clients who continually need flash and computer animation and we’ve been fortunate enough to find and groom many animators in the classics.

This year, 2009, is the 60th anniversary of the first appearance of these two iconic characters; Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote. This year also marks my 15th year anniversary of not using my animation degree to it’s fullest potential.

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FINALLY! Who knew success was just a pair of ACME glasses away.

Therefore, I will start to make amends by making this week all about sharing animations that you may have missed. Think of it as “Full O’ Shame Film Festival” for the viewers of this blog.

Enjoy!

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The most dynamic public speaker of our generation and why you shouldn’t trust 80% of the press

This week, John Hodgman spoke at the White House Radio & TV Correspondent’s dinner and he, in my opinion, was simply brilliant. He spoke with intelligence, understanding and with an attitude of “you either get what I am saying or you don’t.”

John manages to bring up Revenge of the Nerds, Dune, Superman, Lord of the Rings and Star Trek (to name a few) in front of the President of the United States. From a nerd-core standpoint, one would be absolutely giddy with the fact the President is understanding what John is saying. But it is the way John wraps this speech up which is the most stunning. I don’t want to ruin it for all of you so please just watch it (and yes, it loses its impact if you zip straight to the end missing the crux of the speech).

I have watched this video countless times already, but what is most alarming to me each time through was the cluelessness and lack of comprehension from the press. It was like John was speaking in (or “to”) a vacuum and when the camera turns to the audience, the look on the faces of the press is of complete disinterest or confusion (see image below)

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“Does anyone know where the food is? We were promised food.”

In this video, it would appear the press corps have actually no interest in what John Hodgman is saying and that is a shame. The reaction John gets is almost equal to one of his counterparts a few years ago (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSE_saVX_2A). If you can’t grasp the concepts that are being presented here, or if you cannot remain engaged in what one of the more exciting presenters at the event are saying, shouldn’t you be somewhere else? I have always been to that when it comes to meetings or presentations, you should never be the smartest person in the room. That is because if you aren’t able to learn anything, why in the world would you waste your time attending?

I really think that the best news out there is coming from the likes of satirists like The Onion and The Daily Show these days and that is probably because I am, at my core, a nerd. Watch this speech and know that why we might not always agree, I have been, and always shall be your friend.

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Live long and prosper
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Should games be considered art?

Many of you may know that behind my well respected socialite, philanthropist and multinational-conglomerate-owner facade that I am an avid video game player and games industry advocate. Back in the 90′s I opened a retail location called ‘Temple of Pong’ where I proselytized gaming and worked to enlighten people as to the benefits of play across all age groups. Think of it as a Church of Elvis for kids born in the 70′s and 80′s.

While I am ten years removed from the machinations of ‘shtick-retail operations’ but I still carry with me the burning fire of games evangelism.

Now that I’ve established my video game experience and qualifications, let mr present to you a first look at Fumito Ueda and Team ICO’s upcoming title.



Project Trico (working title)
Please watch in HD if possible

For many of you BG Lounge readers, I know that video games are a little left of your radar. The question posed in the title of this post has been around for more than a decade and generally flares up around the time of the big video game convention known as E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo). Since we all are involved with designs, art, technology and the business of pretty pictures I thought I’d give everyone a barometer as to where games have evolved outside of the Halo/Gears of War/Wii consumer games market.

To me, it is nothing more than stunning and I have difficulty looking at this video without becoming teary eyed. I mean, this is what quantified an adventure game just a few short years ago:

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Adventure – Atari 2600 (1978)

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Final Fantasy – Nintendo (NES 1989)

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Tomb Raider – Saturn (1996)

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Ico – PlayStation 2 (PS2 2001)

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Shadow of the Collossus – PlayStation 2 (PS2 2005)

The last two titles, “Ico” and “Shadow of the Collosus,” are from the same company that is behind the game “Trico” you have just seen in the video above. Fumito Ueda and Team ICO are brilliant artists and storytellers. It is my opinion that their work should be shown to all students of design alongside those of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst and other contemporary 20th century artists.

Even the The Journal of Education, Community and Values agrees.

I had a saying when I ran my Temple of Pong operation that, “Enlightenment is just 13.8 volts away.” That promise is still true today. If any of our clients/artists/vendors are looking to understand games a little more deeply or if you wish to be shown more examples of some stellar game artistry and design, please do not hesitate to call or email me.

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Stay hungry, stay foolish.

When I was sitting at my desk as a middle manager, my boss came by with a printout of this speech.

In my opinion that this speech should be prescribed alongside medications and therapists as a cure for depression.

If you know someone who can use this, here is the link to the .PDF file that I was given almost five years ago.

“Stay hungry, stay foolish. I wish that for all of you.”

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Sage advice

“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”

— Plato


Work less, play more.
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We’ve got that “New Blog Scent!”

Welcome to the re-launch of the BG Lounge; a collection of news, tips, tricks, thoughts, ideas, offers and incentives to share some of our observations and bring a bit more of a voice to Bauer Graphics.

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For many of you, this might be old news, but for our new readers, It is our sincerest hope that you can find some usefulness in our ranting.

ENJOY!

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