Friday, April 23, 2010

First official Spungella Animation Contest

Contest is over, thanks a lot for participating!
You can vote for your favorite clip here:

Alright! Here we go! The topic is:


Welcome to the first official Spungella Animation Contest!

Why a contest? Let me backtrack and explain a bit:

When I started with the first blog I also added those pesky Google Adsense advertisements. I was intrigued by the financial potential and if you have a big site with a lot of good content updates, it can be very lucrative. Animation is pretty specialized, it's not like I have a site about house mortgages, religion or something similar which attracts a lot of interest, so the money I make is minimal. But still, it can average out to $30 a month. Pocket change you might say, but to me, that's my monthly web and domain hosting bill. Sometimes I make more, sometimes less, but it's all coming from visitors clicking on those ads. So after all that time, I wanted to reward the people who click on those. Not that I know who does, but at least I wanted to take some of that "free" money and do something useful and fun with it. And why not use it to fund a prize for an animation contest and give back that way?

So here we are. Hopefully the first of many contests to come (in whatever shape or form). I talked already about it (see here), but let's explain and outline all the aspects of this contest:

  • Challenge: create a shot or sequence based on a specific topic using only 100 frames within one week
  • Medium: whatever you want
  • The topic will be announced this Sunday, April 25th, at midnight. So technically Monday super early morning on the 26th. :)
  • Hand in your work on Monday, May 3rd. Send me the movie file either as an attachment or via a link so I can download it.

You can check out examples of this kind of exercise here and here.

I will not be providing any type of feedback within that time frame. You will have to go from shot idea to final polished end result on your own within a week (peer feedback is fine of course).

Please use a commonly used codec. A quicktime file with an h.264 compression for instance would be great. Render the animation big enough, around 800x600 (widescreen format is fine too of course). Please don't send something like 40x30 or 4000x3000.
If you work in 3D, any rig is fine. You can find free online rigs at Animation Buffet.
You can add sound if you want to as well.

You can do pretty much whatever you want to. Just keep it to 100 frames, no more. Include a frame counter in your submission.
And stay on topic. So let's say the topic is "Nervous", don't have a guy being super relaxed reading a book. The interpretation of the topic can be pretty open though. So if it would be "Dying", then it doesn't have to be just about characters dying. A cell phone signal dying works too. If you have any questions about the topic, just email me.

Ok, what do you win??

  • First prize is an Art-of Book of your choice. I will buy it and ship it anywhere.

As pointed out in the comments already, I'm thinking of Art-of Books like the ones available on Amazon for instance, which hover around the $50 area. I'm open to other ones of course, but a $400 Pixar: 20 Years of Animation book is not exactly realistic. I was expecting common sense, hahaha! But I guess my wording really leaves it open to everything. So there, be realistic. Don't find some crazy rare book on ebay or whatnot. :)

Who decides that?

At first, I will put up all the entries and there will be a poll where everybody can vote for their favorite clip. We will narrow it down to the top 5. After that I will select the winning three entries.

That should be all. If you have any questions, leave a comment or email me and I will update this post.

Cheers and good luck!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Animation Mentor Guest Blogger

Shameless plug, but for those who are interested, a quick note: I wrote a few posts for Animation Mentor as a guest blogger and it looks like AM is starting to post them. The first one What Keeps you Motivated When working on a Long, Tedious Animation Project? is up.

Tribeca Presents New Animated/Sci-Fi Films April 21- in your living room!

I received this great email (thanks Gina!) and wanted to pass this along:

Tribeca in 2010 has become far more than a film festival. Beginning April 21, its new commercial releasing arm, Tribeca Film, is presenting 12 independent films nationwide and into your living room.

I wanted to mention two films which I feel you will be most interested in: Metropia, a darkly visionary animated parable of life in 2024 Europe made with eye-catching techniques invented by director Tarik Saleh; and The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle a dark and humorous tale with striking computer graphics of a shady research company who turns main character Dory and his janitor friends into unwitting guinea pigs (leading to the immaculate conception of tiny blue fish).

Tribeca Film titles will appear in theatres in New York and Los Angeles and in 40 million U.S. homes on video on demand. On April 21, the day the ninth Tribeca Film Festival (TFF) begins, these films will begin a 60-day VOD run on a Tribeca-branded destination on Comcast, Time Warner, Cablevision, Cox, DirecTV and Verizon FiOS and other providers. Other releases will follow on digital, home video, pay-TV and other platforms. Seven of the 12 titles are screening as part of TFF; the remaining five are noted films from the festival circuit.

Below is the full line up of all 12 films for your review. Thank you for your consideration.

Please note: Filmmakers and stars from these films will be available for interviews before and during TFF.

We invite your coverage. Full descriptions of all 12 films are below.

Films Premiering on VOD and the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival

· The Birth of Big Air, directed by Jeff Tremaine. (USA) - World Premiere, Documentary. In 1985, at the tender age of 13, Mat Hoffman entered into the BMX circuit as an amateur. By 16, he had risen to the professional level. Throughout his storied career, Hoffman has ignored conventional limitations and pushed the boundaries of gravity. Academy Award® nominee Spike Jonze and extreme sports fanatic Johnny Knoxville, along with director Jeff Tremaine, showcase the inner workings and exploits of the man who gave birth to "Big Air."

* Climate of Change, directed by Brian Hill. (USA, UK) - North American Premiere, Documentary. A group of 13-year-olds in India rally against the use of plastics. A renaissance man in Africa teaches villagers to harness solar power. Self-described "hillbillies" in Appalachia battle the big business behind strip mining. Tilda Swinton beautifully narrates this rich and inspiring documentary about a world of regular people taking action in the fight to save our environment. This extraordinary environmental documentary is executive produced by Participant Media and the Alliance for Climate Protection.

* The Infidel, directed by Josh Appignanesi, written by David Baddiel. (UK) - International Premiere, Narrative. Mahmud Nasir (comedian Omid Djalili) may not be the most observant Muslim, but deep down he is a true believer. His life is turned upside down when he learns he was adopted-but most scandalous is that his birth mother was Jewish! And his given name was Solly Shimshillewitz! As Mahmud tumbles into a full-scale identity crisis, a true comedy of religious errors unfolds. With Richard Schiff and Matt Lucas.

· Metropia, directed by Tarik Saleh, written by Fredrik Edin, Stig Larsson, and Tarik Saleh. (Sweden, Denmark, Norway) - New York Premiere. In the year 2024, all of Europe is united by a vast web of underground railways, populated by an army of downtrodden worker bees. When one such cog starts hearing voices and encounters a femme fatale shampoo model who seems to hold some answers, he finds himself unearthing a vast Orwellian conspiracy in this visually arresting animated noir. With the voices of Vincent Gallo, Juliette Lewis, Udo Kier, Stellan Skarsgård, and Alexander Skarsgård.

· Road, Movie, directed by Dev Benegal. (USA, India) - US Premiere, Narrative. Loath to take over the family hair-oil business, young Vishnu jumps at the chance to drive his uncle's beat-up Chevy truck across India to its new owner. The young runaway, wandering old entertainer, and beautiful woman he picks up along the way make for a magical journey that will change Vishnu's life. With the sumptuous landscape of India as his canvas, director Dev Benegal paints a delightfully original road movie.

* sex & drugs & rock & roll, directed by Mat Whitecross. (UK) - North American Premiere, Narrative. Awards: Nominated, Best Leading Actor, Best Music, 2010 BAFTA Awards; Nominated, Best Actor, British Independent Film Awards; Nominated, British Actor of the Year, Young British Performer of the Year, London Critics Circle Film Awards. sex & drugs & rock & roll is The Road to Guantanamo codirector Mat Whitecross' ripsnorting portrait of mercurial British punk rock pioneer Ian Dury (BAFTA nominee Andy Serkis). From a troubled childhood and a battle with debilitating polio to the effects of fame on relationships and fatherhood, here are the highs and lows of a life lived sneeringly, unapologetically out loud.

* The Trotksy, directed and written by Jacob Tierney. (Canada) - US Premiere, Narrative. Like most high schoolers, Leon Bronstein (Jay Baruchel, Tropic Thunder) is having an identity crisis. What differentiates Leon, however, is that he believes he is the reincarnation of Soviet thinker Leon Trotksy and predestined to follow the same path as his namesake. Tackling issues from students' rights to semi-formal dances, this "revolutionary" comedy will have you united in laughter.

Independent Feature Premieres

· My Last Five Girlfriends, directed and written by Julian Kemp. (UK) - Narrative. Based on the international best seller On Love by Alain de Botton, this delightful romantic comedy explores with delicious wit and whimsy just how modern urban relationships go wrong. Surveying the wreckage of his last five relationships, thirtysomething Duncan (Brendan Patricks) concludes that love is a battleground where only the fittest survive.

· The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle, written and directed by David Russo
(USA) - Narrative. After losing his cubicle job in Seattle, spiritually confused Dory feels like his life is going down the drain. Forced to take a job as a night janitor at a shady research firm, he and his cast-off coworkers are unwittingly used as guinea pigs for new products that are doing strange things to their bodies and minds. Quirky, humorous, and dark, David Russo's feature debut is a stylish, bittersweet fable about the search for meaning in our throwaway society. With Marshall Allman and Natasha Lyonne.

· The Swimsuit Issue (Allt flyter), directed by Måns Herngren, written by Jane Magnusson, Brian Cordray and Herngren. (Sweden) - Narrative. What begins as a joke turns into a new shot at glory for a group of over-the-hill athletes who decide to form Sweden's only all-male synchronized swimming team. The less they're taken seriously, the more determined they are to win the world championship in this fun, feel-good comedy about friendship and family. In Swedish with English subtitles. Part of the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival.

· The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia, directed by Julien Nitzberg. (USA) - Documentary. Shoot-outs, robberies, gas-huffing, drug dealing, pill popping, murders, and tap dancing - what do these all have in common? The White Family. From executive producers Johnny Knoxville and Jeff Tremaine comes a shocking portrait of Boone County, West Virginia's most notorious and surly family. Nitzberg spends a year with multiple generations of the White family in this outlandish doc featuring the family's dancing muse, Jesco White (star of the cult classic documentary Dancing Outlaw). Also with Hank Williams III.

· TiMER, directed and written by Jac Schaeffer. (USA) - Narrative. Finding true love is easier than ever thanks to a bio-technological implant called the TiMER, which counts down to the exact time people meet their soul mates. Love-starved Oona (Emma Caulfield, TV's Buffy the Vampire Slayer) is pushing 30, but her TiMER hasn't even started counting down yet. What's worse, she's falling for a guy (John Patrick Amedori, Gossip Girl) who is set to meet his true love in four months. Newcomer Jac Schaeffer crafts a smart romantic comedy that leaves behind the burning question... would you want to know?

Free Titles

Through Tribeca's ongoing partnership with ESPN, Tribeca Film is also presenting a selection of free titles via most of its video-on-demand partners courtesy of ESPN. Those films include:

* Hellfighters, directed by Jon Frankel (USA) - Documentary. In 2003, former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Doug Ferguson founded Harlem's first high school football team and one of the only such teams in all of New York City. The film follows the Harlem Hellfighters though the peaks and valleys of their third season as players fight formidable odds in pursuit of greatness both on and off the field.

* Kobe Doin' Work, directed by Spike Lee (USA) - Documentary. From celebrated filmmaker and die-hard, front-row basketball fan Spike Lee comes a remarkable all-access portrait of one of the NBA's all-time greats, Kobe Bryant. Lee uses 30 cameras and his storytelling panache to show a day in the life of a basketball star, following Bryant before, during and after a single late-season game against the San Antonio Spurs.

* Muhammad and Larry, directed by Albert Maysles and Bradley Kaplan. (USA) - Documentary. Relying on vintage 1980 footage, the filmmakers trace the story of the much-hyped fight between Muhammad Ali and Larry Holmes, in which the 38-year-old Ali was relentlessly pummeled by Holmes, then 30. The fight is considered by most to be the end of an era, one in which Ali was truly "The Greatest." The film captures not only the fight itself, but also months of lead-up and hype during which the two champions (and former sparring partners) trash-talked in the media, albeit with mutual respect and obvious affection.

* Through The Fire, directed by Alistair Christopher and Jonathan Hock. (USA) - Documentary. This up-close-and-personal look inside the life of Brooklyn basketball prodigy Sebastian Telfair examines his decision whether or not to leap from high school to the NBA. But the film is far more than just a sports documentary. It's also the story of the star-making industry in America, and how the lure of riches and fame exert their magnetic pull on the Chosen One, and those who surround him.

Photos are courtesy of: Trust/Nordisk

Dinocroc vs. Supergator Official Trailer

So. Awesome.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Critique - Slide and push-up

First, the push up:

- it looks great! The only thing that stands out a bit, are the feet. The roll in a bit late, way after he goes down. You can start that earlier and ease more into that change, so it feels like the feet are reacting to all the leg changes. Then you can offset the foot roll by a frame or two.

The girl:

The first clip is definitely more layout style, which is good for overall ideas, camera orientation for framing and the time it will take her to do everything.

The blocking_more is quite longer but works given her actions. You could break it up with different camera angles, but for now I'd concentrate on separate moments.

Running up to the ladder is definitely one, then getting up there another one. Just don't forget the emotion behind all the movements. Is she happy? Happy clumsy? Happy experienced?

Does that make sense?

For the run, you could break it up and not have her just run in straight, but she could enter frame walking backwards, waving to her parents and then turning around to the slide. It would break it up nicely and when she's up there, sitting, she could give another look to her parents right before she goes. Kids love an audience, so you could bring that aspect in.

Hope that helps!


Friday, April 16, 2010

Leonardo - short

Head over to, register (free) and watch the short Leonardo:

‘LEONARDO' is about Leonardo da Vinci and his dream of flight. From inspiration and creation, through trail and error, to failure and achievement. An allegory for the creative spirit, 'LEONARDO' shows that creation is not an easy road nor does the artist end up where they thought they would.

* Directed by Jim Capobianco
* Written by Jim Capobianco
* Produced by Jim Capobianco
* Running Time 10 min

- found via @anands1729

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Bouncing Ball - Jim Levasseur - SO Workshop

Jim Levasseur sent me a funny bouncing ball clip he did while taking a break (done in After Effects). It's nice to see an entertaining twist on such a "boring" exercise. You can watch the clip on his website by clicking here.

Jim is currently taking my SO-Workshop and if anybody is interested in seeing the work that people do for this workshop, head over to and if you have time, leave some feedback. I'm sure they will appreciate it.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Animation Progression Reel

The Animation Progression Reel blog is fantastic! Found it via @atsbomb

Here's the latest post, head over there for more animation reels:

... like this one:

We Women - Critique

Nice rig mod and eye anim, thought I'd share my 2 cents and see what you guys think:

Looking good!

The only thing that stands out a bit is the move at the last "are". It's a bit
big and more of
a take, like she's surprised. Plus it's a bit big for the last move with her
hands out. I'd keep it quiet and subtle for the last "are" part. Maybe she can
lower herself as if she's really trying to look at the other girl's eyes, to get
her attention. Then she goes back to the last move. I think something like that
will work better contrast wise and be more in tune with the tone of the audio

gorimosu - 2D animation tests

Thanks Omer!

And there's more when you follow the links after the clip is done:

And this one:

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Spungella Animation Contest - narrowing it down

Some great ideas were posted in the comments section of the "Spungella Contest Idea" post.

I think what I will start with (and I can implement other ideas in future contests) is this:

- a 100 frame exercise with a given "instruction" through a word, like "disgust" or a situation "unreachable goal", etc. with a one week animating time frame, use any rig you want, any medium you want. It starts on a Monday and ends that week on Sunday, then, email file/link on next Monday and whatever I get and save that day will enter for voting. I like the idea of an overall poll voting by everybody down to 5 clips and then I'll decide who's #1 and 2.

I want to include outside animators and all my current workshop takers (online and on-site) for one massive submission (for those who have time). The contest will start in about 2 or 3 weeks, so that people can finish their school thesis and so that everybody gets a heads-up.

Stay tuned!


Old lady - critique

> - In the beginning I have shown the old lady walking a little (Before she
> was just standing and not moving much).

The beginning is great!!! That added movement helps a lot, nicely done!!

> - I have given one more pass to the animation as I thought it to be a little
> jittery/ rough at some places.
> Wanted to know what you feel about the same and where I need to work on
> more?

The pink canister that she puts down pops into place on x61 (the background works much better like that than with all the textures).

The old lady eye blink on x346 feels mechanical. The closing movement is too slow.

Young girl. On the head turn at x87 she turns her head screen right and stops and only then the eyes catch up. For instance on x91 the head is done moving but the eyes are looking left and a bit down, then she moves the head screen left and the eyes finally look at the old lady. I would have her look at her when the head is done turning to the right, so move the eyes faster over there, during the head turn. She can still look at the old lady for a two frames or so, then you have the look back to the left and close her eyes and we see just as the eyes close how the eyes go screen left as well, then you leave what you have going into x100 and on.

When she laughs (young girl), keep the hand like it is on x204, so that there is a visual gap between the index finger and the nose. Right now the hand keeps going up and from x205 to 208 it looks like the finger is going up her nose. So if you keep that exact gab, it will also help the hand from not looking too spliney.

When she moves her hand/arm away from x211 to 214, I would do more in the arm than in the wrist. Look at x214, that wrist looks broken and really bent screen left. Maybe you have some weird translate keys as well? Look at x221, her hand looks like it's disconnected at the wrist part.

Add a nicer finger curl around the x324 part on the screen left hand. They fingers look too L shaped. After the hand switch, leave the hand poses like it's on x368. If you go further than that, to x371 for instance, the screen left hand's pinky looks like it's going through the other wrist.

Hope that helps!


Friday, April 2, 2010

Awesomely bad acting

Watch this awesome "Wormhole Remote Preview" clip for sweet cheesy overacting. It's not super over the top, but just enough to make it "creepy" (as engadget says).

Spungella Contest Ideas

Hey readers!

I want to do a contest here and while I'm thinking about what type, I also wanted to ask you guys what you would like to have as a fun contest.

First price is an art-of book (you choose the one you want and I'll send it to you), second price is the pose able Professor Layton figure! Of course right now I recommend the How to Train Your Dragon book. :)

Unless no one cares about all this, but that's why I'm posting this first. So, anybody up for it and if yes, what type of contest would you like to see?