Saturday, November 8, 2008

Pixar's Up and the general trend towards Blandness

[disclaimer: As I mentioned in a comment, Up, the movie, will probably be less reliant on formulaic animation and style than the teaser trailer (due to its inherent time constraints) which triggered the following thoughts. This is really a comment on general trends in theatrical animation that disappoint me, and should not be construed as criticism of the superb artists at Pixar, some of whom I've had the pleasure of working with in the past.]

I just watched the trailer for Pixar's Up, and I'm underwhelmed again. Maybe I'm just getting old and cranky, but does anyone else think Pixar's films get blander every time out? The design, the lighting, the rendering and even the animation is all...there's no other word for it: bland.

Well, maybe there is: verisimilitude. Why have they gone so far down this road of pursuing realism? Why even start down that road? Can't we have some fun with the backgrounds and designs anymore?

And in the animation, I recognized about 5 different standard Pixar moves (which are also imitated by every other studio) in that short little clip [this is probably due to time constraints]. Come one, guys! Surprise us! Entertain us! You're the best in the business. You've got the skill and resources to push the limits!

Well, maybe I'm all wet. And I owe a lot to Pixar for pioneering the CG animation industry which I enjoy working in. I just wish they'd show some of the spunk they used to show in their early days.

And there's some things I like about the concept of the movie; It reminds me a little of a G.K. Chesterton story. But if Chesterton was an animator I can't imagine him limiting himself with the slavish pursuit of verisimilitude.

[edited after a good night's sleep]

Ooh a new group of friends!

Hello all. I want to first thank Thom for inviting me and allowing me to join. This is super exciting.

My name is Gregory Gillis. I am currently a fifth year senior at Borromeo College Seminary and John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio. I am graduating in December with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications. While JCU does not offer any real animation classes, I had to teach myself and make my own courses. While I not continuing in the seminary at this point, I hope to use everything I have learned and experienced to teach others.

I am currently in the process of working on things for getting into grad school or a job at some point. Until then, I will be working as a youth minister and computer technician and teach computer classes. The big project I am looking to be doing starting in December is actually how I stumbled onto this site.

A few seminarians encouraged me to start a web site and company doing religious education videos. We wanted it to be along the lines of "Adventures in Odyssey" (Focus on the Family) and "Veggie Tales" (Big Idea). Except we would maintain a purely Catholic stance in all of the messages. We would release 14 videos a year. One each month and a special at Christmas and Easter. Each video would be accompanied by games and activities as well as references and sources for teachers adn parents. A few people have already signed up to help out with translating the site into Spanish and supplying Spanish subtitles. This project is still a little ways off being a poor college student, but I plan to make it work at some point in the near future. I will post things on here hoping to get feedback whenever I can.

If anyone wishes to help, please let me know. I am unable to pay anyone at this point and it would be strictly for the fun of it, but I am being told this could hit big and we could make a large amount. At which point I could pay those who contributed while taking portions out for donations to Catholic Charities and the curch of course.

Thanks again for allowing me to join. Hopefully I will post more things when I get some fere time between classes and semianry formation.

~Gregory Gillis
GSquared Films

Hey Catholics!

Hey everybody! I'm Blake Landry. I'm so excited to see an gathering of Catholic Animators. It's really great to see people who are called to this field of ministry! I'm on the verge of graduating from College at the moment. I also did Animation Mentor, which is where I realized that it's exactly the line of work that I want to be in! I love animation of all Kinds. Especially if it's backed with Good Morels. Anyway, here is my animation reel so far:

Click To Play

Right now all my life is going to is my senior thesis! I think it's coming along great. I'll show you guys as soon as I'm done. Which is in 2 weeks :)

Again it's great to find a Catholic community of animators. I really want this group to go somewhere :)

God Bless!