Saturday, December 31, 2005

The Final Post of 2005

On the last day of 2005, I hope you all look back on the previous year with good memories. It's been fun blogging, meeting new people, and reading other's thoughts as well. Hopefully I can continue bringing you enjoyable links and stories in 2006. Thanks for all the support!

As the final post for 2005, I present some unique New Year's-themed illustrations to enjoy...

Vintage Soviet Holiday Card 01

Vintage Soviet Holiday Card 02

Vintage Soviet Holiday Card 03

Vintage Soviet Holiday Card 04

More great vintage Soviet Space-themed New Year's cards can be found at this link.

Be sure to check out the other galleries too. Link via BoingBoing.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Instant Message Santa Claus

If you have iChat or AIM, try adding 'SantaClaus' into your buddies list. You can chat with him, play games, and tell him what you'd like for Christmas! I keep him around all year long to add some festive cheer during my Internet wanderings.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Clay Animation Brings Audiences to Theaters

Corpse Bride and Wallace and Gromit images

Carole Horst with Variety reports on the charming effect of clay animation on movie-going audiences:
Computer generated 3D images dominate the short history of the animation Oscar. But this year, two front-runners -- DreamWorks' Wallace & Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit and Tim Burton's Corpse Bride from Warner Bros. -- both use film's oldest animation technique: stop motion.

Wallace director Nick Park -- who has already won three Oscars for shorts, two of which starred cheese-loving Wallace and his clever dog Gromit -- fashioned a plasticine Little Britain for the film, with artists painstakingly manipulating the plastic clay figures, then photographing them frame by frame.

"Audiences love the technique. Audiences think (the characters) are real people and they respond to them," says Wallace producer and Aardman Animation principal Peter Lord, adding, "once you've seen an army of 2 million in a CGI movie, you stop being moved," and people react to the reality of claymation.

Tons of clay was used, and CGI was only used briefly -- and only for scenes in which traditional claymation methods would not work.

"The technique doesn't hold you back," says Lord. " There's nothing you couldn't try."

Corpse Bride was shot using two dozen digital cameras and five Power Mac G5 desktops. Tim Burton and animation vet Mike Johnson directed the film that used puppets covered with Latex "Skin" -- inside each puppet was a full animatronic armature that was manipulated to create frame-by-frame movement and facial expressions.

"There's something compelling about the tone and style," says Johnson. "But the most important thing is the story."
Read the full article at the link above.
Tim Burton's Corpse Bride © 2005 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
Wallace and Gromit © 2005 Aardman Animations Ltd. DreamWorks Animation L.L.C.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

That's interesting.

I'm in Iowa right now, home to W.P. Kinsella's 'Field of Dreams,' but I haven't seen any baseball-playing ghosts. However, on the way to Urbandale and Des Moines yesterday, my wife and I witnessed:
  • 1 dead cow on the side of the road with a gaping wound across its chest (I think it was Werewolf damage! ;-)
  • 1 giant candy cane decoration out in the middle of a farmer's field.
  • 3 wild turkeys strutting down a train track.
    If we weren't in a hurry to get to an appointment in the city, I certainly would have taken photos. It was as if we were having one of those dreams where seemingly random images insert themselves. Only this stuff was all real.

    I did snap a shot of the weather on the drive back home. Though it doesn't look like it, the large, fluffy flakes were coming down at a blizzard pace. Our usual 1 hour and 20 return trip was closer to 2 hours this time.

    Photo of near Des Moines, Iowa by Chad Kerychuk.

    I also managed to fire off a quick snapshot of the giant neon mascot for Terrible's Casino near Osceola, Iowa. It's near the interstate highway so all travelers can pass by and cower at the beaming behemoth. It reminds me of an episode of The Simpsons where all the store mascots and giant signs come to life and attack Springfield. I'm not quite sure why you would name a casino 'Terrible's' but I understand there's a chain of them.

    Photo of a casino near Osceola, Iowa by Chad Kerychuk.

    Photos © 2005 Chad Kerychuk
  • Friday, December 02, 2005

    Rankin/Bass Santa and Rudolph Puppets Found

    Thanks to Cartoon Brew for bringing animation fans this news: the original puppets of Santa Claus and Rudolph (from the treasured Rankin/Bass holiday special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer) have been found.

    Photo of Rankin/Bass Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Santa Claus puppets.

    Long thought lost, the puppets were found among the holiday decor of a former Rankin/Bass employee. The puppets have been purchased by and will be restored for public display.

    Check out the article for more information.

    Also, be sure to read last year's lengthy but informative post on the animated holiday classic.

    RUDOLPH animated program © & TM Classic Media.