Saturday, February 3, 2007

Animated Shorts

Today I am going to be reviewing a few of my favorite animated shorts. Some of these are new, but some are very old. All of these are available for viewing online, and I'm including links to them all.

Mindscape/Le paysagiste- 1976:
This is in the running for my all time favorite animation. This was animated by Jacques Drouin using pinscreen animation. This is done by taking a white screen and peircing it with pins that can slide back and forth, creating impressions of varying depth. When light is shined on the pins, the varying shadows create the images. This is similer to those toys with the pins where you create the image of you hand or face, etc. The only difference is that instead of a few dozen pins, these full scale versions have hundreds of thousands, and have to be painstakingly moved by hand. This short is beautifully done. Not only is it visually stunning, but it's very emotive- considering it was all done with pins. It centers on an artist who steps inside a painting he is working on, and enters the realm of his own imagination. It truly is one of the most beautiful pieces ever animated.
Watch it here

Notes on a Triangle- 1966:
On first glance this seems to be a very simple animation. It only consists of triangles moving around. In reality, however, it is incredibly complex. René Jodoin uses paper cutouts for his triangles and manipulates them using stop motion. From personal experience (and even the aid of computer animation which he certainly did not have), this is incredibly difficult. This functions as even more than an animation study. Watching it, I find myself holding my breath as the triangles get more and more complex as the music rises to a climax. No other time have simple geometric shapes been so exciting.
Watch it here

Watchdog- 2004:
This Oscar nominated short is just one of many fantastic animations by Bill Plympton. He is one of my favorite artists to still do hand-drawn animations. This short keeps in his traditional extremely sylized cartoony look. His characters are always very exaggerated, and in most cases- violent. This one is no exception. The story follows a man taking his dog out for a walk. The paranoid dog sees danger in everything, and wants to protect his master. It's cute, but has a very surprising ending. Even if you don't read into the potential political undertones that were certainly involved (it was 2004 remember), it's still a fantastic bit of hand drawn, and hand colored animation.
Watch it here

Delivery- 2005:
I had the priveledge of seeing this short screened at 2006's SIGGRAPH conference. It was part of the animation festival (not even in the finals), and it came up on me out of nowhere. It was easily my favorite film there, and I probably saw over fifty. The animation is fantastic. The color, the lighting, the texturing, the music- they all set the perfect mood. The story is powerful, and the main character is intriguing- if a little frightening. The shorts opens as a solitary man, living in a dark and grimy world receives a mysterous package. Once he finds out what it is, he must contemplate what to do with it, and his decisions will greatly effect his life. This is an utterly amazing bit of animation, and I expect great things from Till Nowak.
Watch it here


The Fighting Librarian said...

I love animated shorts. I think I must have been brainwashed as a child. Hey, so were you!!! Wait a minute... is that.. is that Margaret's Mother????

The Fighting Librarian said...

PS I forgot to mention that "Log Driver's Waltz" was temporarily (and llegally) available on YouTube earlier this week. Sadly, now it's gone :(

bassoonchick said...

delivery was amazing, I almost cried, it was so beautiful. I really wish to strive to live that environmentally friendly. to change the world. to make the world a better place...

Shawn said...

Perhaps I shall do this in the order you posted the shorts:

1- Mindscape: The animation itself is just absolutely stunning. A feeling of depth and shadows so vivid it draws you in. The subject matter though gave off a threating feeling of something looming at hand which lasted for to long to make it comfortable to watch.

2- Simply put the most fluid short I have ever seen using that method. This is perhaps my favorite of the selections as so much is done with the limitation of using just triangles.

3- Less is more, kept me laughing the whole way through.

4- Great yes, but all things aside, with such detail achieved on all of the animation, the movements of the man when he was first with the box were jerky and unnatural. Seemingly amateur or just plain lazy rendering when looked at against the rest of the film.