Richard Williams

Richard Williams –

What does he make and how? 

Richard Williams was passionate about animation from the age of ten. He started with cell animation, moving onto in recent years computer animation. He is most famous for his work on ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’, a film combining  acting and animation.

What is the idea behind his work?

Richard animates fictional characters in an extremely life-like fashion. He captures expressions, personalities and characters all with humour in his films. Also, he is very detailed in the movements that he shows in his characters.  The way Williams shows animals with human characteristics (anthropomorphism) is unique.

Abe's Laugh

Abe’s Laugh Williams, R. (2001)

What can I extract from his work to help in the development of my work? 

Richard Williams was given the great advice from Disney Guru Dick Kelsey:

“First of all kid, learn to draw you can always do the animation stuff later.” p25 Williams, R. (2001).

This is really important to me as I don’t have knowledge of editing work, but I do have the drawing techniques! He was told this at fifteen. From this he has become very stylised with perspective, colour and detail. Reading this made me ‘re-realise’ that drawing is essential to have good quality animations.

Dressing

p 255 An exam in flexibility Williams, R. (2001)

“Emery Hawkins said to me ‘The only limitation in animation is the person doing it, otherwise there is no limit to what you can do. And why shouldn’t you do it?’ “ p20 Williams, R. (2001).

You can have no boundaries in animation- you can make the most ridiculous and impossible idea come true- this is what I find inspiring about this field.

How and why is he important in his field?

Williams has over his career, won three Oscars and three British Academy Awards (as well as 250 other achievements).

In the 1960’s he could be described as having saved the industry by hiring experienced animators when other companies were letting them go. Richards hired key personnel from DIsney to Warner Brothers to work with his company.

Recently, he can be credited with revamping modern animation and saving it from becoming outdated. His animation masterclasses were turned into a best selling book, series of DVD’s and now a Ipad App.

Are there any related practitioners who are relevant?

Within Cell animation the studios of Hanna Barbera and Disney are directly comparable. However, it should be noted that The Pixar team, having just finished Toy Story , attended his Animated Workshop Series (Wroe, N.   (2013)).

Movement

Body action Predominating Williams, R. (2001)

What has been said about his work, do I agree?

Who Framed Roger Rabbit was the first feature length movie to blend live action and animation. At the time the critics were very excited about it:

“Dense, satisfying, feverishly inventive and a technical marvel…” (Benson S. 1988)

Still to this day, I watch and enjoy this film, not just due to it’s intense and smooth animation but also the fantastic character design. Not forgetting Jessica Rabbit…

jessica-rabbit Click on Jessica for the trailer….

I agree that he is a  “pioneer of hand-drawn animation” (Wroe, N. (2013)).

Benson, S (1988), Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), Critic Reviews writing for Los Angeles Times, At: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0096438/criticreviews , (Accessed on 26.10.13)

Williams, R. ( 2013) The Animator Survival Kit online, At: http://www.theanimatorssurvivalkit.com/biography.html ( Accessed on 26.10.13)

Wroe, N   (2013), Richard Williams: the master animator for The Guardian  At: http://www.theguardian.com/film/2013/apr/19/richard-williams-master-animation,( Accessed on 26.10.13)

Wells, P (2013) , Williams, Richard (1933-), Written for the BFI Reference Guide to British and Irish Film Directors, At: http://www.screenonline.org.uk/people/id/868599/ (Accessed on 26.10.13)

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Life Drawing- Mixed Media

My first life Drawing session since 1997. I was nervous of being quite rusty at this! This was a life drawing exercise that didn’t solely focus on pencil skills- we had to use graphite sticks, charcoal- crushed and normal, white paints and indian inks.

Challenges for me throughout the day included: successfully remembering and implementing the measuring method, setting up a stable easel, drawing quickly and with precision. Life drawing is normally time bonded – but we only had 3 minutes per pose! Our final composition was a longer session involving all the materials and techniques.

Successes: I feel I captured the models proportions and position accurately, I completed them in time ( and for those of you who know me – you understand how little I like to be rushed!) and it was well placed on the page- unlike my other attempts at life drawn pieces his feet didn’t hang off the page.

My prelim 3 min sketches.

Life Drawing

 

 

 

 

Using Inks- you brush water over your sketch, then drop in ink using a paintbrush.

Life Drawing

Life Drawing Life Drawing Life Drawing

The completed image once dried. I was proud of his arm.
IMG_0640

 

 

The final life drawing of the day. For this we had to use a graphite pencil in a stabbing method to create texture and depth. We were advised to think of something that had recently annoyed us. The noise of fifteen angry artists was deafening! Life Drawing

When I next do life drawing I wonder if it would be harder to draw a woman? It might be interesting to draw a person drawing objects. A future post is on Richard Williams who advises every artist to do as much life drawing as possible as it’s important for artists.

Xmas Project – Traces (part 1)

I loved taking the photos for this project as I found this a really intriguing idea to follow. Marks and traces involved initially taking photos of items of things that could have been left behind- specifically after Human activities or festivities.

My initial thought was to: left over food, litter, graffiti, abandoned clothing. As I had a full three weeks to gather the information, I took them whenever possible.

Even though I’m not a fan of detective stories and murder mysteries, I did feel I was on a ‘case’. Or maybe it was the Xmas spirit. Anyway, taking photos around Woking, Farnham, London and Dublin was amusing. Even if my enthusiasm led to me taking photos of bones from Christmas Dinner, discarded umbrellas and crouching in public for the best shots of rubbish! It was pointed out that my photographing in toilets might be a step too far…

Here are a selection of my favourites:

These are a selection of images based on the theme of grafitti. Amazing how much you can find when you look.

  Traces

Traces Traces

Leftovers: Christmas is the season of many dead birds and other animanls- these were what was left….

Traces Traces

Traces

Litter on the streets- Urban litter is really easy to find! I was fascinated by some of the back stories that these items could show us….

Traces Traces TracesTraces

Overall, I found many more interesting things that I thought I would. I found some fascinating objects- you don’t look for how many items we discard until you have a camera attached to your wrist and a need to document it! I really became absorbed in the process behind the project and am pleased with the themes I explored.

If I were to do this project again, I would have only focussed on the projects listed above- Litter, Leftovers and Graffiti. I think that to increase the atmosphere I would have shot a variety of times. A future post is on how we then used these items using Photoshop.

Xmas Projects

Over the the Christmas holidays we all had some homework to do. Storyboards, photos for a project on marks & traces and my essay.  On the plus side, this made me feel young again, and that I was ported back into my youth.  It also gave my brain some exercise after all the booze and Xmas food.

The project consisted of creating, drawing and mounting up three A1 storyboards based on a five minute event in your life.

After using brainstorming strategies, I finally chose the event of my engagement as it’s a wonderful experience for us.

The storyboards were to be shown in three different ways of which one was the event, one focusing on the light and the other signifiying sounds.  The use of materials or medium was left up to yours truly, so I went for one of my favourite style of a comic book format, in black & white and then mounted on black card as I found this effective.

My main influence for this project was Frank Miller of whom has such a powerful unique style for his graphic novels.  Even though my engagement story didn’t go along the lines of Sin City, I had his superb use of angles and view points in mind as well as his strong, bold comic images.

The Spirit by Frank Miller

The Spirit by Frank Miller

Frank Millers amazing works are often distinguished by his fine contrast between the use of black and white with a small section of red in places to bring out certain points of interest.  As these combined together, it really gives a dramatic visual impact.  I was originally going to have this same effect for my storyboards, as a tribute to his style, but after I drew out all my storyboards I figured that it might be too dramatic for what my projects subject.

Storyboard: Event

Storyboard: Event

The Event- focussing on clarity of the story and how it would fit.

IMG_0998

Sound – Focussing on sounds of St Ives- seagulls, seashore, seaside village atmosphere. More realistic in style than the other two- this was to have a ‘comic book’ feel.

IMG_1005

 

Light- Focussing on reflections/ glass/ crystals. Both this, and the event storyboard were to be more abstract.

Even though I’m proud of all three, I did find developing them taxing! My personal favourite was the second board, based on sound, as I liked the different viewpoint filming from a birds eye view could allow. If I were to have more time to improve I would firstly add more shading into the pictures – blocks of black or textured shading could make the images stand out more. A second improvement I’m tempted to add would be to add red hints- but I feel that this may mimic Frank Miller too much! I might trial adding green or blue to these, as they might add to the atmosphere.

My next post will be on the second project we were set over Xmas- Traces!

PES

PES

This is a copy of some work I have in my research file on the Artist PES. More updates to follow on all the work I did over Xmas holidays.

What did he make and how? 

Adam Pesapane, known as ‘PES’, makes witty and cleverly thought out ways to create animated short films. Each of his twenty stop-motion shorts and over twenty commercials, made since early 2000, has it’s own quirky characteristics and peculiar taste (Roof Sex and Pee-Nut for an example).

 

PES Guacamole

Click image  above for video Fresh Guacamole

What was the idea behind his work?

I find that PES’s work gives inanimate objects life and character.  His videos also makes you realise how many items are scattered around your own living environment that can be used in creative ways.  I have noticed that in a lot of his animations he re-uses particular objects for certain effects.  The good use of Halloween Candies (image below) are frequently appeared to capture flames- could be seen as his signature.

These sweets are commonly seen in his works, such as: ‘Fireworks’, ‘Game Over’, ‘Western Spaghetti’ and ‘The Fireplace’ (aka Yule Log).

Candy-Corn

Halloween Candies – not jut great to eat- but useful for animation- click above for the link to one favourites ‘GAME OVER’

What can I extract from his work to help in the development of my work?

Because of my love for animated cartoons I grew up watching from a child, I tend to stereotype animation as being mainly of a drawn form, but of course it isn’t. Animation is a vast, wide ranged creative process that involves all types of mediums and materials.

PES said in an interview about the items used in his works saying:

“It’s all stuff most people are trying to throw away.  There is beauty to be found in these objects” (p68 Robinson, C.)

Therefore I could use this idea for future project ideas. It could be a way of building the animation, or a story around random objects?

“PES’ INVENTIVE USE OF HOUSEHOLD OBJECTS BRINGS A NEW LEVEL OF MEANING…”  Allen, A. (2013)

If I have to be negative about any of PES’s masterpieces, it would be about concept of the idea, not in any way of the animation.  I find Roof Sex disturbing and odd and didn’t like the ending of it as I’m a cat lover!

Roof Sex

Roof Sex

How and why is he important in his field?

PES is very inspiring to any aspiring animator and his work done for advertising is broad and distinctive.  He was nominated for the shortest film ever nominated for an Oscar, with good reason too as they are original and unique. Ironically, “PES doesn’t like to be called an animator as it’s too limiting.” Wilson, H. (2005)

Are there any related practitioners who are relevant?

PES’s style is different from most stop motion animators, but if I had to compare something to him it would remind me of Aardman Animation’s ‘Morph’: the use of objects ( pencils, craft tools etc). However, PES steers away from claymation figures.  Another source of his inspiration are video games : “I still don’t watch TV. I play video games!” (Zahed, R.  2008)

What has been said about his work, do I agree?

Whilst researching this artist ‘Childlike- simple and fun’ were repeatedly used to describe his work. I do agree with this though the adult material he uses and the innuendoes he develops are not always for a younger audience.

When researching the full series of his work so far, I am more drawn to his recent pieces as some of his earlier work is too short- even for  a short film! I prefer his commercials to his early work. I’m looking forward to The Garbage Pail Kids which will be his first collaboration for a film role and this might give him the scope needed to show off his talent.