Archive for March, 2007

Spicy Cricket Animation and 3-D!

March 13, 2007

Family Pants and I got a great write up on Thinking Animation Book blog the other day! Angie Jones is an accomplished 3-D artist running that blog as well as this site selling flowers for your hair!

Thanks Angie!

Although I’m a 2-D-Flash-kind of guy, I always wondered what Family Pants would look like in 3-D…


Here’s a question for you 3-D peoples. Is 3-D advantageous over 2-D?

I’d think, it would be easier to pair talented, yet totally differently styled artists together yet still keep the production consistant. In other words, if you take a guy like me and a guy who’s great at drawing Spiderman and put them next to each other in a production, we’d have to adapt our styles to match each other to work well together. (Hey, that’s animation… I’d think this difficult aspect is why some animation productions opt for a “crude” style. They’d call it “hip” or “minimal” and some would call it “bad art”, but really it’s a practical way to make it easier to adapt to.)

But, in 3-D, since we’re manipulating a 3-D model, our “styles” wouldn’t matter. You can hire the guy or gal you want, rather than the one guy who works well in your style or spend time training a person to adapt.

I mentioned this to a couple 3-D artists and they countered with the time you save “training to adapt” would be spent building models.

But still, after the model is built, wouldn’t it be faster to manulipulate a model than draw frame by frame?

I guess the only real way to settle the debate would be to buy the book Angie wrote, learn 3-D, make something then compare!  It’d be a kind of animation John Henry race!


Take a ToonBreak!

March 8, 2007

Family Pants is now appearing on!

Shawn McInerney, founder of Moose Mouse Media asked that Family Pants appear on his new video portal dedicated to animation! He’s using Revver technology to hopefully generate revenue for the hard working animators appearing on ToonBreak.

If you’re an animator and have some good stuff, send Shawn a line.

I mentioned Revver in an interview with with Ryan Ritchy. Revver has an interesting idea, splitting advertising money with the creator’s who make the eye-candy. Hopefully it takes off.

Making money on the internet? Ay… there’s the rub!

Forget the Video Store!

March 2, 2007

Family Pants is now available for digital download or for digital renting, through’s UnBox!

FP Digital

How to write a funny picture. It’s called the “Animatic”!

March 2, 2007

I recently read this debate about writing for animation from Something Old, Nothing New blog by Jaime J. Weinman.

Many animators are frustrated by dealing with writers who aren’t cartoonists. Some think that all writers in the old days drew while others say, only some did. Well I can’t say for sure either way, but I do run into trouble with explaining my animation ideas to the people paying for them. Before I can get the idea out and before the client even understands what I’m saying, I’m being revised. It can be frustrating, but ultimately it’s their budget. Hey, making stuff my way?  That’s what Family Pants is for!

(I wrote this in the comment field on Jaime’s blog, but then thought, what the hell, I’ll put it on my blog as well.)

Take a 3-Stooges episode. Watch it. Write it. It won’t be funny to read. Funny to watch, but not read. Writing is the first step of the very long and detailed process of animation. To make judgements on a cartoon based on whether or not you laughed at a script is wrong.

Reading an animation script requires skill. You just don’t read the words and evaluate what you’ve read. You actually have to imagine a finished cartoon, fully animated, with sound effects, in color in you head, then make judgement based on that image.

The previous blogger mentioned Tex Avery worked with real writers. Tex had that skilled tool, called imagination, to evaluate a script, not based on the words he read, but the finished cartoon, 20 steps away, in his head.

Many people in the animation industry as well as clients who hire you to animate for them, do not have this skill. Clearly if they did, they wouldn’t hire you! Often times, they could be holding the greatist cartoon script in their hands and wouldn’t know it.

This is why lots of cartoons today are “wordy”. It requires no skill at all to read a funny piece of dialogue and say, “Hey, this is funny.” But if you read a paragraph describing a funny physical gag, you may not see the humor in it.

You may argue why write at all? Writing is faster than drawing. I could write “100 monkeys dance” much faster than I can draw it. And I could correct it to “100 HIPPOS dance” faster than I can draw it. Unless I had a photographic memory, writing helps get the idea down quickly. A skilled individual, like Tex Avery, looks it over imagining the finished piece, makes some changes, then draws it.

Even without a script, I’ve found clients without the skill of imagination can’t read a story board either. They look at panel 3 when you’re talking about panel 1. They see the board as a comic strip, not a finished moving colorful cartoon with sound.

So, how do you hand feed the client or unimaginative individual your idea? You could film your story board, so the client can only see one panel at a time and in the pacing and tempo you set up. You can add sound effects, dialogue and even music to complete the picture. It’s like “automatic animation” or “animation automated” or an “ANIMATIC”!

Scripts and story boards are very important to the process of animation but should only be seen and used internally by those who know how to use them.

While comic strips and novels are great things, (I’m a comic strip cartoonist at heart) they are only a small part of a bigger thing in animation.