I have been reading quite a bit about hand drawn or traditional animation lately, and thought I would do a quick round-up of some of my favourite short movies that I have come across so far, for the blog- even though it is a bit of a departure from my regular posts! I think the process of animation is so interesting- the amount of thought that needs to go into creating pictures that move convincingly is an art form in itself.
Because most current animation books and resources deal with animating as aided by the computer, I found that older books tend to be the most useful in descibing HOW to create different kinds of traditional animation in detail. The books I have found most useful are:
The Animation Book – a complete guide to animated filmmaking- from flip-books to sound cartoons, by Kit Laybourne (1979)- see here
Disney Animation- The Illusion of Life , by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnson (1984)- see here
While the Disney Illusion of Life book has not been reprinted since 1984 (though there are reproduction copies that have been made and are available, as well as secondhand copies), Laybourne’s book has been reissued in 1995 with added information about digital animation, so that would also be an interesting read.
Ok- now on to the shorts….
5. Lotte Reiniger‘s cut out silhouette movies. Reiniger pioneered the technique of animating cut out cardboard figures in the 1920’s before the Disney style animation (hand drawn on cels) was invented.
There is an interesting video on her technique here. and also quite a few of her movies available on youtube. Interestingly, she apparently inspired the depiction of the Tale of the Three Brothers (from Tales of Beedle the Bard) which was animated in Reinigers cut out style for the Harry Potter movie– Deathly Hallows part 1.
4. This awesome slow-motion animation of cut out paper for Hyundai
3. Caroline Leaf’s work in sand and coloured paint on glass combined with the technique of stop motion animation. She also has a website where you can see how she made her films, and it is also covered in detail in Kit Laybourne’s book.
p.s check out more clips on his instagram
1. And last but certainly not least- Glen Keanes beautiful and awe-inspiring short film Duet, which was premiered at the recent Google I/O Conference. Mr Keane has been an animator at Disney for quite a while and has worked on such movies as The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Tarzan. He created Duet for Motorola to show how traditional techniques could be combined with modern technology to create interactive hand drawn animation. It is a beautiful story – if you don’t watch anything else, make the time to watch this.
I think one of the most fascinating things about animation is that there are such a wide range of styles and techniques, that can be used to tell a story. Have you got any other traditionally animated movies that you could recommend?
Lastly- again, slightly off topic, but you may know I am a fan of hand-lettering (see here, here and here) and have been eagerly awaiting the movie Sign Painters by Faythe Levine and Sam Macon for agggesss (see trailer). Apparently not in New Zealand yet, BUT I discovered that for this week only, www.cinepacks.com is offering Sign Painters plus 3 other art movies in a bundle, for however much you want to pay for them. I have personally already bought and downloaded my copy. If you are interested, the deal is closing on 21st July (2 days left!) and you can buy it here. Please not I am not affiliated with this company in or receiving any compensation for promoting this deal- I simply thought it was really awesome and wanted to share the word with you lovely readers!
And with that said- I hope you enjoy the movies above and the weekend which is almost here! I know I’ll be fitting in some time to watch a documentary or two!