Blog Specimens: Final

For my final blog specimens I chose to tune up:

Blog Post 10

Blog Post 9

Published in: on April 25, 2010 at 1:45 PM  Leave a Comment  

Blog Post #13: Because This is What History of Animation is All About… Teaching History through Animation.

While surfing youtube for my final blog post, I stumbled upon a video that a 7th grade teacher made in order to showcase her teaching style. This style is all about getting the kids engaged in World History by using popular culture as a incentive.

(Embedding was disabled)

When I thought about how effective that style was for teaching history, I began to think about our class as a whole. Not only do we learn about the history of the animation but we learn history through animation. There are just so many animated shows that teach us about history every day.

In the video, the teacher uses clips from popular shows like Family Guy and the Simpsons. Both of these shows use history as a foil in order to perfect the parody. Like in this Family guy clip, it uses the Nazis as a way to parody the McCain/Palin campaign.

Now of course this clip doesn’t lay out a lecture about Nazis or the McCain/Palin campaign but it does touch on some popular feelings about McCain/Palin being like the classic evil during World War II, the Nazis. This tiny sliver of history justs goes to show how history is in a lot of popular culture nowadays and no one really notices.

I commented on Samantha Francis’s blog and Ian Crawford’s blog.

Published in: on April 25, 2010 at 10:57 AM  Comments (6)  

Blog Post #12: Because They Want Your Vote… Animation Helped The Presidential Race!

Our last Presidential race was one of the most publicized events in our nations history. Everyone, I mean everyone, was talking about either John McCain or Barack Obama. The political sphere was overrun with pundit news coverage and confusion about the candidates was rampant with the younger generation. A good way to level out confusion was to make animation that highlighted a specific candidate, had visual reference, and was easy to understand.

This Pro-Obama animation talks about the war in Iraq and how the other candidate did not do the right thing when it came to September 11th. It is simple to watch with animated characters we know and an easy to follow commentary.

It is easy to understand exactly what the animator wanted people to understand about the War and who to vote for. When I tried to find a Pro-McCain animation, I came up with basically nothing but anti-McCain and Palin. Is this because the liberals focused towards the younger people? I believe so. Make something easy for the Youth and convert them to your belief, you just might win. Barack Obama did.

I commented on Brittany Alberry’s blog and Danyael Hughes’s blog.

Published in: on April 18, 2010 at 3:17 PM  Comments (3)  

Blog Post #11: Because Comics Integrate So Well… Comics Are Lost to Animated Features.

Sunday morning newspaper comic strips, paper back comic books, and online comic strips are all animated mediums of their own right. Their characters are rich, storied, and part of many of our childhoods. Also, they translate over to animated action particularly well because the work is already half done. But the problem is the overshadowing effect and the lack of knowledge of the original work.

Charlie Brown is best known in my parent’s generation as the lead character in a comic strip by Charles Schulz called Peanuts. This strip ran all the way from 1950 to 2000 and still has re-runs in many newspapers today. But the newer generations know Charlie Brown better as the lead in many seasonal and holiday themed specials that run every year in tandem with particular holidays. When I asked my 20 year old roommate what she knows about Charlie Brown, her first response was, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!” When I asked further, she had only heard in passing that Charlie Brown used to be in a comic strip but that she most associated it with the holiday specials and television shows.

But how could my roommate feel wrong when it is just so easy to make a comic strip into a animated feature? Look at the similarities of this peanuts strip and Charlie Brown special.

Peanuts - January 1, 2010

Besides color, music, voices, and more detailed mats the character design, characters, and plot are the same. But the reason it resounds more with a newer generation is because it has things like sound and color. Comic Strips seemed to have become dull to the newer generations and the best way to have a good comic like Charlie Brown become popular was to make specials like It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. More evidence to this argument would be the sheer amount of comic characters who have become part of feature films. Almost every Marvel and DC comic character has a feature film now (i.e. Superman), online comic strips like Cyanide and Happiness have started doing animated shorts, and the television industry has taken comic characters and made them TV shows for years now. So can we say for sure if the mediums have totally crossed into one another or are we seeing the disintegration of the comic?

I commented on Ian Crawford’s Blog and Bonnie Hansen’s Blog.

Published in: on April 10, 2010 at 2:31 PM  Comments (8)  

Animation Project: The Horny Little Toaster

By far the hardest creative project I have ever put together.

Published in: on April 7, 2010 at 10:08 AM  Leave a Comment  

Blog Post #10: Because The Eyes Are The Key… Animated Sequence From Kill Bill Vol. 1!

Expression of emotion is one of the crucial parts of an animated feature. Without the ability to humanize a cartoon fully, an animation is only a drawing that moves. I find that the best of human expression can be told through the eyes. The first animation I could think of that is a fine example of eye expression was the animated sequence from Kill Bill Vol. 1. This sequence is part of a Quentin Tarentino movie (so you know that violence is rampant) where” The Bride” is searching for and killing each person who was a part of her daughter’s death and her almost death. O-ren Ishii is one of the Bride’s targets and the story of how she became an assassin is shown as an animated sequence because of its adult nature.

(If excess blood and violence are not your thing, I suggest you do not watch the clip.)

The focus of this animation, besides the moving of the plot, are the eyes of the characters, especially young O-Ren. When the animation starts we see young O-Ren underneath a bed peeping out with large eyes.  If you pause the clip at 30 seconds and use your hands to block everything but her eyes, then you see the emotion of curiosity. She is wondering what is going on in the room and her eyes highlight that emotion so well. When the frame zooms in 2 seconds later curiosity turns to fear with the slight opening and shining of her eyes. The 20 second sequence that follows O-Ren’s eyes sets the stage for the rest of the animation, the situation O-Ren and her parents are in will not end well.

O-Ren’s eyes turn from fear into anger at 2 minutes and 41 seconds after her father is killed right in front of her. Her eyes become larger, the lids slant, and her pupils fill more of the space in the eyes. This makes O-Ren’s eyes carry more emotion through the rest of the animation. With her eyes full of revenge, the animation takes a turn for the worst as O-Ren becomes one of the most feared characters in Kill Bill.

Without the expression of the eyes in this animation, I feel as though it would not be as engaging as it is. The tale of O-Ren is told through the pain and emotion of her eyes not through the blood and violence of the world around her.

I commented on Katherine Danoy’s blog and Gerard Thomas’s blog.

Published in: on April 2, 2010 at 1:56 PM  Comments (4)  

Blog Post 9: Because Our First Amendment Right Exists… A Perfect Circle’s Take on the Bush Presidency.

The use of animation in music videos is an affordable way for musical artists to show off their “artsy” side. Animated music videos also can bring certain controversial topics and symbolize them clearly without the live action element added. One of those videos is by the rock band, A Perfect Circle. A Perfect Circle’s claim to fame is their staunch liberal and anti-war stance in their music. One song that particularly sticks out is “Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums”; a song based on Bush’s war in Iraq and Afghanistan for what the band believes is for oil. Exercising their first amendment rights, A Perfect Circle uses familiar imagery and lyrics to persuade the audience that Bush’s “War on Terror” is not a just war.

(Author’s Note: I attempted to find a version of the video to embed into my post but embedding was disabled by request on most of the places the video was on. Sorry.)

The story of the song and the video is told by many different symbols that represent A Perfect Circle’s view of America when this song was released in 2004. On the heels of the attack on September 11th, 2001 and the “War on Terror” led by President George W. Bush, “Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums” explains how it left A Perfect Circle’s band members feeling about the country; a feeling I believe is shared by many Americans. So I will break down the symbols I found most important to this video’s intention.

The Peace Sign: The very first image in the video is a sixties peace sign used during the anti-war protests of the Vietnam War. As the video moves along to the beat of marching feet, the peace sign crumbles underneath the booming sound. This sets the mood for the whole video, peace is gone and war prevails.

Oil Rig: The oil rig is used throughout the video as a symbol for America’s hunger for oil. It runs continuously as blood spurts up and runs down the screen. The rig has stopped pumping oil but not is pumping up blood, making this symbol one of “Blood for Oil”, a popular liberal sentiment when Bush invaded Iraq.

Televisions: The next image is one then many chomping televisions sets. These anthropomorphic television sets represent the media eating up American minds by morphing the facts and making Americans Pro-War when A Perfect Circle believes that no American should be for this war of “blood for oil” and violence. Even more televisions are added as a caricature of Bush places them in front of un-suspecting Americans and they watch faithfully as War wages in the background. These televisions soon turn the Americans into sheep who are sometimes depicted on fire.

Sheep: Sheep are known for following their master willingly and the word is sometimes used to describe people who just do whatever their superior wants them to do. In this video all of the Americans are turned into these Sheep by a cartoon Bush and he leads them off of a cliff in his venture for oil through war.

Caricatured Bush: This cartoon version of Bush is seen throughout the video giving the Americans television sets and turning them into sheep. He is the ice cream man, George Washington, a maid who jumps out from inside the couch, and the leader of the country. Bush drives a Roman Carriage and a power boat through blood and sheep pieces; he is the antagonist of the video. To A Perfect Circle, Bush wants to hypnotize and put “to sleep” the Americans so he can reach his goal which is not the goal of the American people.

This video uses these symbols, ones that are very familiar to us, to paint a picture of Bush’s “War on Terror” as being against the American people’s wishes. Whether A Perfect Circle speaks for the American people or not, the symbolism is quite powerful in this video and gives its audience a sliver of doubt to look upon.

I commented on Ian Crawford’s blog and Bonnie Hansen’s blog.

Published in: on March 27, 2010 at 3:06 PM  Comments (1)  

Blog Post #8:Because Feature Films Are Too Long… 30-Second Bunnies Theater!

While trying to find a movie to watch for a film-review in my English 302 class, I stumbled upon a short called 30-Second Bunnies Theater. Wondering what this could be, I poked around and found out it was animated shorts consisting of bunnies re-enacting feature length films in 30-seconds. 30-Second Bunnies Theater uses popular actions and quotes from the films in order to review them in only 30-seconds. But in order to really understand and see the humor in the short, you need to have seen the film first.

Most popular feautre length films have plot points that become part of mainstream popular culture. These points could be the character’s actions or dialogue. For instance, this Bunnies short for the movie Star Wars.

In this short it is obvious which bunny is which because each is wearing costumes alike to their real-life counterparts. But what really moves the short along is the simple “important” dialogue between the bunnies. In Star Wars the focus is teaching Luke “the force” and allowing him to defeat the Death Star. This is brought across with the many mentions of “the force” during the short dialogue scenes. Also seeing Darth Vader and his death grip, the holograph of Princess Leia, Chewbacca’s roar, the killing of Obi-Wan through a light-saber duel, and Luke destroying the death star from his X-Wing give pivotal points from the movie itself. The problem is, if you have never seen the movie and do not know this familiar scenes, then can you understand whats going on?

I believe you cannot see the humor or get the point of these shorts unless you have seen the movie first. Like for instance this short for The Big Chill.

I have never seen the big chill, so the only thing I understand about the movie is that they must have a lot of sex in it because it is highlighted in the short. I’m sure its a big part of the movie but the rest of the plot lines are lost to me and I don’t really find the short all that funny.

30-Second Bunnies Theater is a great way to take some of people’s favorite films and highlight them in a 30-second review. The use of pivotal scenes and dialogue makes these shorts enjoyable but only if you have seen the movie before seeing the short. It is wonderful how such short animation can bring back memories from feature length films.

I commented on Christopher DeMarco’s blog and Brittany Alberry’s blog.

Published in: on March 20, 2010 at 1:20 PM  Comments (11)  

Blog Specimens #1

I chose these two blogs for my first round of blog specimens:

Blog Post #2:

I smoothed out sentences and added to the conclusion.

Blog Post #5:

I smoothed out sentences and added a conclusion to the end.

Published in: on March 17, 2010 at 9:10 AM  Leave a Comment  

Blog Post #7: Because Efficiency Matters… Animated Training Videos.

Our world is run by jobs. Without someone doing work in agriculture we would not have food or without a banker we would not have banks to store our funds. These jobs create options for consumers and money for workers to become consumers; the object of capitalism. In order to keep workers efficient, we train them in specific jobs so the company runs smoothly. Animation can be a great, easy way to train or even excite workers for their job.

When training a new employee it can be hard to have the extra manpower and time needed in order to train. Therefore, making an animated trainer in an interactive training video can be a better option for companies. Lets take the company Cisco for an example. This video is one used to get employees trained in a new system called Sigma in order for their work to get better.

Catchy tune, bright animation, and representation of what the sigma system can do allows for the employees to look further into sigma in order to become “the smart” employee who “works less.” It would have been more expensive for cisco to hire actors to preform this video so animation became the easiest way to get the message across the the employees.

I also remember when I went in for training at Home Depot that they used an interactive video where an animated Home Depot Associate helped me learn safety, theft, and customer service skills. All of this came from the animation and let the managers and other employees do their work instead of worrying about properly training me.

Animation does in fact become helpful when it comes to on the job training. Its fun, interactive and keeps the managers hands free while still adequately training the employee. Making our companies more efficient to provide us with the services we need for our day to day lives.

I commented on Cory Finch’s blog and Alissa Potter’s blog.

Published in: on March 16, 2010 at 4:33 PM  Leave a Comment