Results tagged “animation” from Uncivil Society
Betty Boop may be going to live action on Broadway, but rotoscoping--Fleisher Studio's greatest legacy--has proven so successful for Charles Schwab that it may be the wave of the future in video advertising. Ad Age has a new podcast on the successful Schwab campaign. Note how abstracted form makes the ads more personal than more representative filmed images:
Charles Schwab CMO Becky Saeger said the company's long series of rotoscoped ads have drawn some of the strongest reactions she has ever seen. Speaking at the recent Association of National Advertisers conference, she recounted how many viewers would later repeat the scripts verbatim to her.
AdFreak has links to what seems like a great resource for anyone--including charities--who is designing material aimed at kids: a three-part study of children's visual preferences for cartoon characters.
Dupont's cropped curved red logo hovering over the sustainable city in the above ad immediately reminded me of satanic horns, a la the looming demon in the Night on Bald Mountain sequence in Fantasia.
The Hollywood Animation Archive offers this compilation of the brilliant 1950s Piels commercials by Terrytoons with Bob & Ray. Guns, suicide, sex--these adult cartoons selling beer would never play today. Which is a shame, because that rambunctious line-crossing is part of what makes them such an effective satire of advertising itself.
Below: a somewhat more tame example on Youtube:
Another sign of the convergence of all forms of design, the November Vogue has a lengthy (for Vogue) article on Swedish stop-motion animator Nathalie Djurgerg. It's not up on Style.com yet, but here's a video of her recent exhibition at the Prada Foundation:
Djurberg's videos are short animations made using Stop Motion techniques where small plasticine figures create surreal atmospheres and, often, grotesque stories. The staging of these stories is rudimentary but ingenious, infusing an ambiguous sense of anxiety and unease through their sexual reflections, with references to violence, the macabre, gruesome, and subtle pleasure of cruelty and perversion.
Truly compelling work, as relevant to today's uncertain world as Jan Svankmajer's work during the Cold War. I'll never forget seeing Svankmajer's Faust (several times) in NYC back when I was in law school--it was a far more revealing angle on the West's ascendence than talk of an imminent millennial reign of democratic capitalism.
That, and I like puppets.
Anyway, check out Djurberg's video above and this excerpt from Faust, both of which feature rolling heads:
Art Clokey's brilliant USC student film. As related in the Emmy-winning documentary Gumby Dharma, a Warner Brothers producer saw it and asked Art if he could create a clay-based character that would improve the quality of children's television.
Tera Patrick's Mistress Couture runway show approaches the event horizon for do-gooding, sex and design.
TechCrunch has a great intro to the Webkare phenomenon in Japan, the online phenomenon in which girls try to hook up with anime boys. It's a game, and collaboration with other players is key to winning it.
In short, it's a social enterprise, no?
The TC piece goes on to discuss the broader issue of loneliness 2.0--an important subject, since curing loneliness is one of the web's primary social functions.
Speaking of which, here's useful new look at the science of loneliness, aptly called Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection.
This Harvard Business Review essay by Pixar's Ed Catmull is essential reading for anyone interested in, well, life. His nod to academics is nice, but the real story is the way that Pixar--and Pixar University--have subsumed the traditional information processing role of the professor, or "one who speaks forth."
OK, the UK's Social Enterprise Coalition does good work, but this video on "What is Social Enterprise?" effin' blows. Holding hands, doves, snow angels, the gratuitous kiddy cheer at the end--I think the only cliche missing is a puppy. I thought fusing business with charity was supposed to put away stuff like this!
When I was a burbling tyke, one of the shows I had to watch--in the sense of must-see TV absolutely wanted to watch--was Davey and Goliath. As you can see from the recent Mountain Dew (licensed) parody above, a lot of other kids watched it too.
It's easy to make fun of the simplistic religious moralism of the D&G films, although as a kid who mainlined South Park's Butters I have to confess that thought never occurred to me. But the truth is, these shows were genius. Not just because they snuck in controversial social commentary--the whole idea required a leap of thought that is far from typical in do-gooding, let alone religious media strategy.
On one level, you see in Davey and Goliath an ur-text for Calvin and Hobbes, right down to sledding.
More fundamentally, you see a creator who looked at one medium--television--and saw that the traditional mode of communication in another medium--church--would not fit:
Mr. Sutcliffe was director of Lutheran radio and television ministry in New York when he was approached by church leaders about using television to reach young people, said his daughter, J.T. Sutcliffe of Dallas.
"They wanted to do a little sermonette sort of thing, and Dad said, 'In the television medium, people aren't going to put up with that.' "
He proposed a format that would offer sound theology while being entertaining, his daughter said.
Marshall McLuhan generalized this insight in his observation that a new medium initially repeats prior patterns--TV shows plays and symphonies; people post static pages to the web--until the form of the new medium reshapes how we communicate. In the electronic environment, McLuhan argued, if you don't see that education is also entertainment you understand neither.
Sutcliffe saw that merely replicating old content wasn't enough; fun iconic scenes were the wave of the future. And as we can see by all the Youtube links here, he was right.
Below, a landmark avant-garde parody of D&G: He Was Once by Mary Hestand with Todd Haynes.
Don't watch the above video. Really. It's the infamous banned Pokemon scene that gave hundreds of people seizures when first broadcast in Japan. The problem: for some people, the blinking colors acted as a trigger for a neurological disruption known as photosensitive epilepsy.
Why would I post this? Because the effect is in the news again, and this time it involves a nonprofit. Via Wired, there's news that the FBI has begun investigating the infamous (in tech circles, anyway) sabotage on the Epilepsy Foundation online forum, in which hackers used flashing light images to induce seizures in epileptics visiting the site.
The Wired update raises an interesting legal point:
[A]ssuming the Bureau is able to find some of the culprits, it could lead to the first federal prosecution under an anti-cyber terrorism provision passed in 1996 as part of the National Information Infrastructure Protection Act.
The law created a new crime of attacking a computer to cause "physical injury to any person." Some of us laughed at that provision at the time, and as far as I know it's never been used. But in this case it just might fit.
io9 has more from the AP report, including the observation that these hackers were apparently motivated not by money, but malice. In other words, they were nonprofit too.
The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting censorship of sequential art. It recently won a major victory in Georgia, where a local prosecutor dropped charges against a retailer for giving a child a comic that the retailer didn't realize included a panel with Picasso naked. Among its current projects: working with other civil liberties organizations and booksellers to challenge new harmful-to-minors laws in Utah and Oregon.
I'll have more on all this later, but for now, a quick note about a trend that is going to make the CBLDF's work a lot more challenging in year to come: the emerging technology of child porn. Naked City highlights the work of journalist Debbie Nathan, who is researching the state of the art:
While it is illegal to make or look at pornography using real live underage people, it is not illegal to produce and own CGI pornography with figures that appear to be underaged. Five or ten years ago this wasn't a huge issue - it was easy to tell real photos and digital compositions apart. But that's no longer the case. And as Nathan writes, child pornographers are now beginning to make real pictures look digital so they can skate by under the radar.
It's a really creepy fusion of exploitative crime and new technologies, and chances are high that some really weird combination of technophobia, attempts to punish pedophiles, and desire to protect children will meld to forge a new law. Just what that will be remains to be seen.
NC's prediction of yet another new law is as close to a sure thing as you can get in policy analysis, and you can bet the next one will adapt to the objections raised by courts that struck down previous versions. When this happens, expect comics to be an even more tempting target. In contrast to the shady and often inaccessible world of child porn, comics are easily demonized--and indicted--as The Seducer Hidden in Plain Sight.
First they came for alt-comics, then they came for manga, and then . . .
Via Scientific American:
In another of the spate of recent studies to probe the effect of culture on information processing in the brain, Richard Lewis of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor showed that East Asians analyze cartoons differently than Americans do. Using culturally nonspecific cartoons, he found that East Asians first take the background context into account, whereas Americans initially concentrate on objects in the foreground. This holistic-versus-pointed focus matches the findings of other comparative studies and probably results from the different culturesâ€™ outlooks.
Given his strong nearsightedness Mr. Magoo might have been a better fit for an American Academy of Opthalmology vid, but then again, corrective lenses would have ruined his whole shtick.
Via the essential NewsFromME