Blog Post #8: Animation on the Metro/Subway

Over the summer I went into D.C. by Metro and was amused to see some animations on the walls in the tunnels. I find this completely fascinating that they take advantage of the motion of the Metro to put ads on the wall that when seen in succession play like a commercial on TV. This post will talk about the recent innovation of using animation for ads on Metros and subways across the world and also show videos of them.

The one I saw over the summer was the Nestle Quik rabbit ad while riding on the Metro into D.C. The ads are not only seen in D.C. but also in New York, Boston, Los Angeles and Tokyo. It is such a good idea but not everyone likes the intrusion of ads into the Metro riding experience. Although many riders (when I saw the animation)  were amused  by the Nestle rabbit bouncing around. It really helps alleviate your riding experience if you are nervous about the bumpiness and loud noises.

For Los Angeles, by implementing these animated ads the annual revenue will be raised by $240,000. They are placed between the Hollywood/Highland and Universal City stations. The pictures consist of 360 LED strips that light up when a train passes, forming an animated video. The really neat thing is that the company who controls the ads, Sidetrack Technologies, can change them from online. Bradley Caruk is the inventor, from Sidetrack Technologies, for using the LED light system to create the animations on the wall. He explains the system, which won the Manning Innovation award, here in this youtube video:

Using advertisement in subways and Metros is very smart. They work like billboards, you are stuck on the road so you see the advertisement. You can not escape it but the amusement factor helps with drawing the attention towards the animations.

Here are a few videos of the Metro/subway ads:

Corvette ad in NYC:

The Metro Nestle Quik Ad:

I responded to Andrew Steward and Chuck Soo-Hoo.

This entry was posted on March 21, 2010. 4 Comments

Blog Specimens Post

Blog Specimen #1: I chose my Blog Post #4: Pigeon: Impossible. I still am amazed that the creator, Lucas Martell, took five years to make the six minute short animation!

Blog Specimen #2: I also chose my Blog Post #3: Disney Bridging the Gap. It was noticed as one of the blog posts of the week and I enjoyed writing it! It really shows the impact Disney has had culturally on the wedding business.

I did not make any major changes to either posts.

Blog Post #7: Animation at the Oscars

The 82nd annual Academy Awards recently took place on Sunday March 7th. There were a record 10 films nominated for Best Picture. This list of ten included Avatar, a heavily computerized/animated film and as well a full animation, Up. For this blog post, I will be talking about the Animation seen in the recent Academy Awards. I will not be talking about Avatar, rather just the fully animated films that were nominated.

Up is only the second animated film to be nominated under Best Picture at the Oscars. First was Beauty and the Beast in 1991. Not only was Up nominated for Best Picture but also Animated Feature Film, Music (Original Score), Sound Editing, and Writing (Original Screenplay). Up ended up winning for best Music (Original Score) done by Michael Giacchino. Up also beat out Coraline, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Princess and the Frog, and The Secret of Kells for best Animated Feature Film. The music, animation, and storyline went amazingly together to make this film stand out against the other animated films as well as try to make a stand among the live action films under Best Picture.

There were only two other animated films which were nominated for an additional category besides best Animated Feature Film. These were The Princess and the Frog and Fantastic Mr. Fox. The Princess and the Frog was also nominated under best Music (Original Song) for two different songs. These were “Almost There” and “Down in New Orleans” performed by Randy Newman. (They were beaten out by the movie Crazy Heart.) The two songs were definitely very unique to the New Orleans jazz style of the overall movie. It is unfortunate that the songs lost because they were enjoyable to listen to and the animation completed the New Orleans style. The second film nominated for more than just best Animated Feature Film was Fantastic Mr. Fox, which received a nomination for best Music (Original Score) done by Alexandre Desplat. (Reminder to reader: Original Score is for the main song of the movie usually heard at the opening of the film and through out the film, while Original Song is one of the many songs within the movie.) Fantastic Mr. Fox ended up losing to Up.

Animation was also seen in the Oscar category best Short Film (Animated). The short films nominated were French Roast, Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty, The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte), Logorama, and A Matter of Loaf and Death. The film that won was Logorama. Logorama is a french film about “a world made up entirely of trademarks and brand names, [where] the Michelin Man cops pursue a criminal Ronald McDonald.”

To sum up the Oscar count for the feature length animated films: Up won for best Music (Original Score), and Animated Feature Film. And for the animated short films nominated Logorama took home the Oscar.

This was a great year for animated films. Even though there were only two different animation works to win, the other animated films did not go unnoticed as seen with the amount of nominations. This year’s Oscars showcased the amazing strides in animation and I hope to see more films that will be just as good as Up and The Princess and the Frog in the future.

(Source for Oscars picture).

I responded to Amanda Cole and Rebecca Townsend.

Spring Break Blog: Alice in Wonderland Inspired Fashion

For our Spring Break blog, I went to see the new Alice in Wonderland. I found the 3-D to be fuzzy (might just have been the theatre) but overall I loved the whimsical, fairytale quality of the story. I think that the whimsical style was incredibly expressed by the fashion/style of Alice’s dresses. I think Tim Burton did a great job overall. Alice going back a second time was a good way to change the story around to add the White Queen from Lewis Carrol’s Through the Looking Glass and have the rabbit and twins be her friends.

I will not just be critiquing the movie for this week’s blog. I will be bringing the reader’s attention to another photo campaign by the famous photographer Annie Leibovitz inspired by Lewis Carrol’s Alice in Wonderland and Disney’s original animated film “Alice in Wonderland” which was photographed for Vogue in 2003. I will also bring your attention to Disney’s recent campaign to launch an Alice in Wonderland inspired fashion line based off of the recent Tim Burton inspired Alice in Wonderland remake.

I have showed you before Disney’s wedding line and Annie Leibovitz’s Disney celebrity photographs. Now I will show you her 2003 Vogue photoshoot starring the model Natalia Vodanova which uses the whimsical and crazy styles of Alice in Wonderland as inspiration.

Here are a few of the pictures. Annie Leibovitz really captures the crazy and weird oddities that are what Lewis Carrol has created. (Click on photographs to see larger image).

Annie Leibovitz picked to represent scenes that would resonate with people that have seen Disney’s original Alice in Wonderland but then also used quotations from Lewis Carrol’s book that were not used in the movie. I love the styles of fashion that make use of the fantastical ideas that have come from Lewis Carrol’s books. It takes his creativity from his stories into the fashion world where the visualization is amazing to see as well as the visualization of the older Disney film and the newer one are all eye candy.

Lastly, Disney has released a Spring 2010 Alice in Wonderland inspired fashion line to further add onto their film revenues. I am excited about this because I love the dresses Alice wore in the recent film especially the one she wore as the guest of the Red Queen. I liked all the ruffles and crazy designs, it was a great mix between whimsy and modern styles. The Disney line is designed by Sue Wong and is a bit on the expensive side. They are whimsical, feminine, romantic and toned down enough to wear in the real world.

Source for Annie Leibovitz Alice in Wonderland photo campaign.

I responded to Brittany Alberry and John Lyver.

This entry was posted on March 10, 2010. 3 Comments

Blog Post #6: Avatar on the Moon?

This blog post will talk about how technology from films can branch into the world of science. I will be informing the readers about NASA’s Project M. NASA has been working on using similar Motion Capture technology that was used in filming Avatar for robots on the Moon. Scientists would control the robots through the use of motion capture suits. While this technology may seem years away from being realistic, the scientists said it could be done in less than 1000 days.

This new opportunity is called NASA’s Project M. Unfortunately these “Avatars” will not be anything like those in the movies, they will be robots that the scientists will be able to control from Earth. Now instead of scientists working through the eyes of astronauts, the scientists will be able to look for themselves to see what might be valuable for their research. And since a trip to the moon in this economy is nowhere near close to happening, this is definitely the next best thing. It will also be considerably cheaper.

Who knows what the possibilities are with these. Think about going to a Space Museum within the next 10 years and being able to control one of the robots on the moon yourself! Plus with NASA also working on capture motion technology, think about how much movies will change with the technology getting better and better. There are so many possibilities for education, research, and even entertainment with these types of new discoveries.

Below is a video animation of NASA JSC Project M.

I responded to Brittany Alberry and Jessica Martin.

This entry was posted on February 28, 2010. 1 Comment

Blog Post #5: The Fallen Princesses

I recently blogged about Disney commercializing their Princess movies through producing fairytale weddings and honeymoons. I also talked about the advertising campaign of Annie Leibowitz who took photographs of celebrities portraying various Disney characters. In this post I will talk about the other side of Disney princesses by showing you a humorous take on the reality of Disney princesses portrayed by Dina Goldstein through photographs she took.

Dina Goldstein’s photography project is called, “Fallen Princesses.” She has essentially taken the classic Disney princess characters and showed how they may be in the real world. Although these photographs are supposed to be humorous, they also have a meaning behind them. Women cannot expect their lives to be perfect or dream for a true prince charming like in the movies, they have to think about reality and be able to handle whatever comes their way. There are pressures to be and look perfect but Goldstein shatters this perfection of Disney princesses in her photo campaign.

Goldstein has photographs of Snow White, Cinderella, Beauty, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, Jasmine, Ariel, and a few other fairytale stories that have yet to be made into Disney princess movies. Snow White is seen holding two kids at her hip and another tugging on her dress, while her prince charming cares more about what is on TV than helping his wife. This is far from the Disney portrayal of Snow White being saved by her loving prince and the viewers imagining they will be together happily ever after.

Snow White Fallen Princess

Another photo that I will discuss, (all can be seen through first link to her website) is the photo of Beauty from Beauty and the Beast. This one had the biggest impact on me. From watching reality shows like the Housewives on Bravo and MTV shows, all women are competing with each other to look perfect. This can be somewhat achieved through plastic surgery which is widely popular today. Beauty getting older and getting a face lift and lip injections to have fuller lips, really reflects the reality of what beauty and looks have become today. It is a constant battle with yourself and in culture that Disney has somewhat helped create.

Beauty Fallen Princess

These girls grow up wanting to be beautiful princesses and their insecurities brought up when they realize life doesn’t work that way, leads them to wanting/seeking any way to achieve that standard of perfection which leads to plastic surgery. And we all know that does not turn out well. I think a good example is Heidi Montag from The Hills. I think Disney has helped with contributing to this perfection seeking culture that we have today but it is not Disney alone.

Dina Goldstein’s photos have definitely made an impact on everyone just as how the original animated movies did and still do today. Dina’s Snow White photograph was a runner-up for 2009 American Photo’s Images of the Year. I think that girls who have grown up watching Disney fairytales and hoping for her perfect guy, perfect wedding, and perfect ever after can find these photos humorous because they know how life really is compared to what they thought it would be as a Disney kid. But it also is a little sad because life could not be the way you had hoped for as a child.

I responded to Brittany Alberry and Sandra Kellerhals.

This entry was posted on February 22, 2010. 1 Comment

Blog Post #4: Pigeon: Impossible

I want to introduce you to Pigeon: Impossible, an award-winning short film I found browsing the internet. (Posted at bottom of this entry) It was created by Lucas Martell of Martell Animation. His website says that the film took five whole years to make and it is only six minutes and fourteen seconds long! Just reading that makes you realize how hard it is to create a good animation with a plot and great visual qualities. What drew me to this film was that it looked like it was of Pixar-like quality. I would easily favorably compare and argue that this short film is on par with and quite possibly even better than Pixar short films. There was a plot, the animation was done well and the music as well added to the story and overall experience for the viewer.

The film starts out with the spy character, Walter Beckett, pulling the logo of ‘Martell animation’ out onto the screen. (If you look closely you can see the pigeon on top of the “M.”) This reminded me of the Pixar lamp and the beginning animation of the lamp crushing the letter “I.” Both are unique ways to show the makers of the film’s company before viewing the film. The music in the opening clip sets the mood for a spy-type film. It is much like the music in Mission: Impossible and James Bond movies.

I found many great uses of animation in this short film. The way the animator scopes the location and character out at the beginning with just a circle and the rest of the screen black makes one think they are looking through binoculars like they are spying on someone. This sets up the spy/secret agent theme even more and works well for the film.

The writing of “Washington, D.C.” and the information being analyzed on screen about Walter Beckett also hearkens to spy movies: the way it looks like a computer typing in the information. Many movies and not just animations do this where it makes one think of the high tech gadgets that go along with special ops duties.

While watching the film, keep an eye on the eyes of both the pigeon and Walter through out the film. They show so much of their mood through their eyes especially on the stand off in the air towards the end. As well watch Walter be clumsy from the beginning: almost being run over by two cars and then almost running into a tree. If you notice when he is being analyzed, he is only a “junior agent,” which lends itself to why he was so clumsy with the whole job! The animator also did a great job of animating the pigeon to have real bird-like qualities. The neck movements, the way he picks at the food, and how he looks to be aloof. He looks like a real pigeon which says a lot about how good the animation was done.

It is an amazing animation done by a guy who was just trying to learn how to do 3D animation. It turned into an entire project where he wanted to end up telling a humorous story. The music in the film, “was performed by two orchestras and required 74 musicians!” This is mind boggling to me for a six minute short film! I am learning to be ever more appreciative of how much hard work goes into animation.

Please enjoy the film as much as I did! This was made “entirely in people’s spare time,” but it is definitely just as funny and as good as Pixar short films I have seen in the past.

I responded to Brittany Alberry and Danyael Hughes and Kristina Wade.

This entry was posted on February 14, 2010. 4 Comments