Sunday, March 23, 2008

Horton on CG Talk

Check out this article (and pretty pictures) about Horton on CG talk!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Horton is here!

Hey everyone! Horton is finally released! I went to see it tonight at a "real" screening, and it was so crazy to see the name on the marquee, posters in the lobby, and random people watching something that, for me, had only existed in a few floors of a Westchester County office building.

It's a strange sensation to have this project suddenly out there in public view, and existing on its own. It's exciting, and regardless of all the stress of the crunch time during production, I feel very lucky to have worked on this film, and am proud of the team I worked with at Blue Sky. The animation team ballooned up to at least 60 people at one point, about half of which were temps and half staff. As I think I described in an earlier post, it was very intimidating to kinda be thrown into the deep end with no feature film experience. But the leads and other animators really stepped up and helped us temps find our feet, and it was amazing to see how far we came in such a short period of time. Nearly all of JoJo's sequence in the observatory was animated by temps, (Unfortunately my shot was cut, but fortunately before I had started animating it ;).

I'm still realizing how much I learned from the experience. I'm blown away by the talent there, and if you go see Horton you'll know why. The animation is so fluid, flexible, polished and just plain fun to watch. The only shame is that many of the animators' crazy stretch frames are now partially hidden by motion blur, but even still, when this comes out on DVD and you frame through this stuff, you'll be amazed.

I'm also blown away by how much visual appeal there is in the characters, and also by how much of that came from how they were animated. When you opened the Mayor's rig, for example, he didn't look like the mayor. He was plain, straight--exactly like a cartoony rig should be, in order to be able to bend him in any way. The animation team, long before the temps showed up, had figured out a way of animating the Mayor's face to give him appealing asymmetrical expressions (often one eye is slightly bigger than the other, the mouth is at an angle, and the skull is curved slightly), as well as how much to round the elbows, wrists and shoulders. Essentially, you had to animate him and bring him "on model" and in character. The downside to having this control, and what makes it so difficult, is that it is extremely easy to animate him "off model", so that he somehow doesn't quite look like what had been established as the Mayor. The difference can be so subtle, but so important!

Anyway, I could keep rambling but it's late and I need some sleep. Go see Horton this weekend! I've actually really enjoyed the film both times that I've seen it, and so far it has received generally positive reviews. My favorite scenes are the Kangaroo/Vlad sequence, and the Angry Mob sequence (at the climax), but there are other parts of the movie that work really well too.
Go see it!