Saturday, June 16, 2018

Anijam tests for IAD '18

The task it to morph between two sets of eyes for this year's poster.  Set #17 goes to #1.
The tests are ....

#1 - 11 drawings to check for color balance and registration, run through Sony Vegas, looped front to back, shot on twos.

And an animated gif test on the first frame for background layering...

And, blending the first second or so...

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Typing on a Manual Anything....

Presenting the opportunity to hash out random noggin noises, a typewriter is faster than legible handwritten notes — and creates an immediate, organic record, without interruption for “improvement.” It allows me to argue with my thoughts instead of those of an algorithm-designed program.
These gatherings allow for tactile experimentation – perhaps an unusual example will become a new extension of these fingertips. We all become percussion performers in the process.

 At work...

On the road...

 With Oswald

With a beer...remember, write drunk but edit sober...

Saturday, June 09, 2018

ASIFA Central and Green Screen Frolix

June 9, 2018 - a rainy afternoon in Grand Rapids, with streets flooding in Battle Creek, and orange pumpkins heading to Singapore.  That calls for some video experimentation:

Part One - Melies as Mentor

Part Two - Koko Kicks Krazy

 Some guy with an old T-shirt and bad color sense

 Things quickly became surreal

 New guard, old glasses...

 A virtual Gary... we had to take a picture

Avatars abounding

Monday, June 04, 2018

ASIFA Central and IAD Anijam Concept - for discussion on June 9 2018

From our noble ASIFA Central President, Brad Yarhouse:

Hi Everyone,

I wanted to get your opinion on the ANI-JAM event happening this week. I am wondering about having the event be a starter for the jam. Those who want to gather locally can come to the Community Media Center, those who wish to Skype in remotely can connect with us there. We announce the ANI-JAM theme, goal, and elements and discuss among the participants the how to share files, whose piece links to whose, and then the participants go off to work on their segments. 

Here is the Theme and particulars:

The theme will be based on the IAD 18 poster which will be revealed on Friday this week. The poster is made up of a series of images of characters faces in extreme closeup with different expressions. Each face is done in a different style of animation. For the ANI-JAM each participant will be organized with a start expression and an end expression that links up with another persons start or end expression. The execution and interpretation of the expressions will be solely up to the participants. Which expressions and who does what will be determined at the start of the jam. Each participant has 3 seconds to animate their expression transforming to the other expression through whatever means they determine. A click track for the beat will be provided, a final soundtrack will be custom created by a member, I am hoping to get Andrew Zesiger, a recent KCAD graduate to do the music, but there could be others. 

The pieces would be due on July 1st, the debut of the completed jam would be at our Retreat. The completed jam would be used as a proof of concept for the other chapters in ASIFA to create their own ANI-JAMS that could be used as openings to IAD or as interstices between films on IAD. 

SO, this Saturday’s event would be less about making something during the event and more about launching the event. The core goal of the event (in my opinion) is to get animators from throughout our wide region connected and working together. The hope is that this would seed and lead to other collaborations.

What do you all think?

(watch this space for updates after Saturday's gathering...)

The assignments have been assigned - the challenge is presented!  Let the morphing (not morphine) begin!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

ASIFA Central August Retreat Planning Notes

A Charge Towards a Retreat - Organizational Meeting Notes
ASIFA Central Subcommittee on Retreats and Elegant Corpses
Phone Conference Call/Zoom: Steve Leeper, Jim Middleton (secty), and Gary Schwartz
Wednesday, May 30, 2018:  8-9pm

Steve and Jim coordinated the general outline, Gary was able to call in during the latter portions of the Zoom experience and contributed several options on workshop activities.  Bob and Gretchen were unable to phone in, so specifics were tabled to our next meeting time, TBA.

The Autumnal Retreat:
Location: Grand Rapids
Dates: Saturday, August 11 and Sunday August 12, 2018

Proposed Outline:
Saturday, August 11
11am - rousing, stretching, arriving at the theatrical location with snacks in hand for general consumption and minimizing distractions due to hypoglycemia
Opening remarks by Brad Yarhouse, ASIFA Central President - let the mayhem BEGIN!

Noon - 3pm
Specifics depending on spaces and material - Notions from Gary include, but are not limited to:
metamorphosis, meat puppetry, sand, exquisite corpsing/Anijamming, paper collage, shadow puppets, white boarding with dry erasery, and lip sychronism. 
The thought of animating food, possibly the result of hypoglycemia, brought up a Movable Feast, or Paschkemation, idea - as a Michigan tribute to Hemingway

Show and Tell, aka “Whatever the Hell We Just Made” (official ASIFA Central Sanctioned Term)
Beginning with the fruits of paschkemation and the workshop, moving to individual show and tell projects, with liberal time for not just the showing of, but the How It Was Done - what software, what production pipeline, what elaborate ruse for obtaining adequate funding was necessary...
Exhausted from the experience, this calls for

5/5:30pm - 7pm
FOOD - on one’s own recognizances - such a variety, perhaps a deli, perhaps a bag of pork rinds

7pm - the end of the night as we know it
Ottawa showreel - Steve may be able to obtain, Jim will be glad to provide funding for the bootleggery

Sunday, August 12
Exhausted from animation and food, the only recourse for Sunday will be –
an 11am barbeque - perhaps with leftovers of Paschkemation!

Jim will provide Steve with meeting notes, to be shared with rest of committee and other interested parties for input and comment.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Linkage test between sites

Just a test to see if blogger connects with this creaky website.  It is a Flash animation, so a Flash player is needed to view it in all its glitchy glory:

And that, is that...

Sunday, May 20, 2018

1940 - Night time CBS comes to Kalamazoo

After nearly a decade on the air in Kalamazoo, WKZO was granted evening broadcast permission in 1940 - and they produced this memento to celebrate.  CBS came to western Michigan!

Edward R. Murrow, a very young Eric Sevareid, Conrad Nagle, Helen Hayes, Kate Smith, Dale Evans, Amos and Andy, and Gene Autry crackled forth with high fidelity and 1000 watts of broadcast power!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

ASIFA Central/Midwest US Chapter Meeting Notes for April 25, 2018

Disjointed notes to the casual observer.
But these notes are for my quick reference for the next ASIFA Central Meeting...
this was a nice 2 hours I was able to contribute to...

ASIFA Board Agenda and notes, April 25, 2018 8pm on a phone near you
  • An amazing evening, a light breeze, a joy about us all, and it’s only the 25th.  
  • The office curtains wave at the setting sun…. Lucretius begs us consider the Epicurean life,
  • and the dog
  • begs for attention at the office doors … sweet spring …
Present: Julie, Brad, Chuck, Jim, Gretchen, Steve, Chris (enjoying the congestion), and Deanna
in the
car with her family, and Gary is in limbo, suffering from technical problems beyond his control

  1. Updates on sub party meetings
  2. Next Meeting - socks optional - coherence optional - May 30, 8pm,
  3. conference call , 2 weeks after the retreat conference call on 14 May at 8pm

2. Updates

  1. Members Survey Conversation - Chris and Jim have been chatting about this -
  2. working up the logistics - how do these notions sound for starters?
  3. Who is our focus - students, industry, those within the group or outside the community
  4. (students tend to have a lot of their own community - it’s good to sow those seeds early,
  5. as networking occurs on many levels, something students will discover later) - students
  6. at Webster have a community that could be tapped - how do we open the doors to them
  7. when they leave to join the industry.
Survey Monkey may be an option - Chris has been taking a look at it,
and it is a possibility for the survey process.  
Give students the understanding that connections with ASIFA can be a good draw
for networking - the students can join, but they’re not our primary target (Deanna)
The purpose of the survey is to meet the needs of our population, so perhaps using
the technologies and professionals involved on how they work with the workflow to work-around the shortcomings of the basic softwares and how the basics can be ramped up to an actual production process.  What are the work techniques?
From a questionnaire standpoint, the format of animation could be the starting point -
analog, tech, experimental…
Chris wants to become more connected in the midwest - it would be a great thing
to have a map of everyone - get a feel of location within the community -
the retreats are great to encourage this sort of thing.
Brad: get together a rough draft of the survey and send as an email to everyone
for review.  End of semester mayhem and madness!!!!! Jim and Chris can send notes back and forth over the next couple of weeks.
    1. Chris Sagovac, Jim Middleton - some notes on this subject from Jim and Chris:
    2. For example on FB polls:
      What do you find more valuable?
        Current news in animation
        Ability to network
        Critical feedback on your work
  Screening current animation
    1. How far are you willing to travel for a conference/meeting/festival/retreat?
      10 miles
      100 miles
      1000 miles
    2. How do you animate primarily?
      What is your Process?
Tips and Techniques

    1. We could also directly survey the members through their email or link it to the facebook
    2. page for some more open ended answers.

What are your expectations joining ASIFA Central?
-text box answer-

Do you have any particular passion in animation you'd like to share
as a presentation?
-text box answer-

Personally, facilitating networking, collaboration, and connections is
paramount. So the questions about music, artist groups, and animation festivals. We  can do a basic monthly poll on facebook, and a more in depth survey to the members via email and link the survey to fb for prospective members to learn more about them?
  1. Julie: Website development and amazement!!!!!!!
  • The website is our little storefront
  • Independent and commercial work presence - an opportunity for other regions
  • to peek in at ASIFA Central
  • Formatting, information, color experimentation and design tests
  • Wordpress is fluid with transferring its styles, but content has criteria for
  • proper formatting
  • Who are we?  What and who do we represent?
  • Comments on front page of website and the template:
It might be worthwhile to define our borders, explain our region?  If someone is checking in,
a map to show where our chapter exists?  Expand our presence to be a “midwest” chapter -
Deanna: the international groups were being confused as a “central/secretariat” to ASIFA
International, rather than “ASIFA Central - the Midwest US Chapter” - in the past, ASIFA
Central was the “catch-all” group for those not on the coasts.  Our chapter included folks
from Texas and even Canada before other chapters began to develop.
Chuck has not currently noticed confusion at an international scope, but have more often
confused ASIFA Central with the Colorado chapter.  A physical US Map to show our
membership as a loose border.
“If you’re an animator and you’re close to this region, we would welcome you.” (Steve)
Keep the reference a casual one, as ASIFA Central is a legal non-profit entity with a specific

(Note: this could be a survey question - hey, do you want to be on our member map?
 An Opt In function)

The website is taking shape nicely.  Chuck has preserved the existing material in the drop
box for ASIFA.  He has the scanned pdfs of the current issues - the website can be changed
with the url forwarding set up whenever it is ready to change.  Chuck is an internet magician!!!!

PONY! At the end of a college semester, make that a pony KEG!!!

Chuck/Julie - tech question - can wordpress material be copied and forwarded over to the
new site?  Julie was thankful for the backup that Chuck created - will have to make sure that
the original site coordinators can handle the transferral (network solutions is the host and
holding our domain) because once things are changed, the original material will likely be lost.   
Wordpress premium account is $8/month. Going live deadline will have to consider the
technological aspects, especially with the animator conference approaching (July/August?).

    1. Deanna, Bob, Chuck
  1. Bi-monthly Animators Open Mike
    1. Brad, Steve, Gretchen
    2. Working titles ideas: Animation Pitch, Central Animation Collective,  Central Animation
    3. Studio, “Animeet-up”
      It starts with animators coming together to explore and foster their talents generating
    4. creative energy and support. Often we have ideas, but not the support of a network of
    5. animators, artists, equipment or tools to make them happen. Imagine dedicated creators
    6. sitting down together to discuss their ideas for projects.
      1. A Saturday 12:00-3:00 -- June 3, Saturday - an “Anijam” (a group project along a
      2. determined parameter, bring the materials, a timer goes off, you try to hit the finish
      3. line and everyone presents!) - -
      4. CandyJam 1986
      5. Mo Willem did “Life” anijam

Deanna - a conceptual or technical challenge - something about communicating
animation across corners … tie in with the International Animation Day …
Brad - some ideas on the upcoming IAD poster design/layout - next week we
should see something soon - the rough is coming up….

      1. Who: ASIFA Members
      2. Goal: Support community animation building
        1. Secondary goals:  develop projects for short film circuit, pitch for films
        2. and television, build and foster skills.
      3. Resources: community media center, our collective skills, collective tools.
      4. Type of work: Collaborative projects, individual artist who just want community
    1. First meeting looks like what??
      1. Share Everyone brings work in progress or ideas to share.
      2. Goal  Perhaps to come up with a short film that everyone can collaborate on.
      3. Build  Whiteboard, storyboarding, think tank session.
      4. Plan who does what, next steps.
A collective idea, a pull-together of skill sets and the range of styles among the
  1. March IWD Event and Workshop - Chuck is conducting interviews
    1. Gretchen, Chuck, Julie
  2. Summer Retreat
    1. Gretchen, Bob, Steve, Jim
    2. Date: Saturday, August 11 -  have a board brunch member brunch or party the night
    3. before or the morning after? let’s make the event a single day  POLL HERE
    4. - get an assigned phone number - we can use Brad’s info …
    5. let’s use the same number and passcode
    6. Get info to the website ASAP as it becomes available to Julie!!!
    7. The group will have a conference call on the conference in May

New business:
Is there any way we can get prior International Animation Day poster images without the text on them
so we can add the ASIFA International logo and ASIFA Central logo ourselves and then use them for
advertising our local chapter? Like print up some postcards with the image on one side and information
about our chapter and a link to our ‘join ASIFA’ webpage on the other. Something that we can send
to university animation programs or hand out to people at our events that are open to the public. --
need to get clearance from the original artist -- could a variation on the theme work?

Can each of us write a paragraph about what we’re working on for ASIFA Central that we can include
in an e-mail to our membership? So, for example: Brad could do a “message from the President”
e-mail that would include a paragraph from Gretchen and I about our ‘Celebration of Women
Animators’ day including our workshop.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

A "Gertie the Dinosaur" Mystery from 1914

The early masterpiece by Winsor McCay, "Gertie the Dinosaur" (1914), was a quarter century ahead of its time for character animation.  Recently, an auction catalog of animation cels and artifacts produced a pair of original rice-paper drawings from the film.  One of them caught my eye, since it was an unfamiliar pose, not seen in the prints known to circulate:

It would have been at the end of the film, past the point when she drank the lake dry.  Could the original stage release of "Gertie" have included a final curtain call for the frisky dinosaur?  An animation mystery!

The closing minute of the film is attached below for comparison - it'll be a bit compressed for this webpage, but the entire version is on line in several formats from several sources.

The auction catalog will probably not have a permanent web presence, but here's a link to it, as of April 2018:


Saturday, April 07, 2018

Testing the AGPtEK light box

It's hardly a box, and it's wonderful because (a) it's cheap, and (b) it's light, and (c) it doesn't heat up and make your hands sweat when you're using it.  And it has three levels of illumination - AND it runs off your powerstrip or through the USB port on your computer.  Here's a quick test of four images into an animated GIF:

And this is just another Photoshop test, using some onionskin sketches from the 1980s... so many boxes of stuff to digitize...
from the "Benny Bugg Workout" (1988)

Monday, February 19, 2018

Random Notes from February 19, 2018 ASIFA Central Phone Meeting

ASIFA Board Agenda February 2018

Welcome - theme for the program - committee creation and use in “moving forward” - let’s call them “parties” as in “party of the first part” - mainly for support, based on needs for the group - “a support group”

  1. Minutes - see January Board Agenda - Jim is putting his notes on his blog, just so it’s kept safe from anyone other than Russian prying eyes...
  2. Updates - Deanna is HERE!  Yay!
  3. Next Meeting

2. Updates

  1. Members Survey Conversation
    1. What does our membership and friends want from ASIFA Central? How do we support local ‘pods’  (ie, small groupings of animators) How do we build community? What opportunities can we provide?  -- if done on FB, we can reach those with the online connection - should place a couple in the development to work with each other - table until we determine items for discussion
    2. Who leads Development? Chris, Jim
  2. Julie: Website development - wordpress technical challenges “screenshot fatal error” - Deanna will check on the site’s expense and what it provides - is there any advantage to starting from scratch?  The biggest challenge is getting the domain to link to the site, via network solutions or the new wordpress processes.  Are there less “buggy” solutions?  May 2018 is the expiration date with the current agreement.  Regardless of the decision, we need to update the web domain. is forwarded to
    Chuck.  A committee about website content would be GREAT.  (technical discussions ensued) The consensus is that we should scrap and start anew.
    1. Support Committee? Deanna, Bob, Chuck is assisting with this - puzzling out the Domain Name and site hosting. Looking into Dropping Network Soln. and just forwarding the domain name and address.
    2. Requirements for photo, video link, Bio length?
    3. Content areas to consider?
    4. Event Calendar?
    5. Authors of content areas and deadline to get info website?
    6. What does Julie need?
    7. Deanna writes: Finally, the international is up, and coordinator Corrie Francis Parks is working to include individual member pages on that site. We sent her the member list, and each member will get an email on how to log in and how to create their member page. Also, although currently, the magazine is only offered to members through their log in, but the board just voted now on changing that, and having the magazine be open to the public.
    8. Be sure to check out Julie’s email with the prototype link
  3. Chuck: Membership numbers - 36 total members, 3 students, 1 comp, 2 honorary, and the rest are paid international!  
    1. Quick update on how many members we have (Intl., Student, Comp/Honorary).
    2. What should we do with Jennifer and Gordon Peterson? Should we ask them to pay for their membership now that they’re not on the board or should we gift them with a Comp’d membership for a year or two given the work they put in during the past? Full disclosure: ttbomk, they took the Comp’d membership option for their dues while they were boardmembers. (Chuck) - the consensus is to continue to comp their membership for 2-3 years in appreciation for their hard work
    3. In the dropbox (Chuck will resend the link to the dropbox), I’ve placed a PDF advertisement that can be printed double-sided and trimmed down to postcard size. Is there any way to get the ASIFA IAD posters without any IAD event text written over the image so we could potentially use the pictures in our advertisement material to be handed out at events?  Deanna: this may be problematic - possibly “dedicated” graphics to the event - perhaps if they indicate IAD?  Alternate: a competition among students or members that we can then use for advertisements… Gretchen: still frames from the bumper films made in 2017?  Brad: resolution may be low, but Mack or Nicki may have higher rez material (300dpi is ideal) - (technological discussion at this point about proper resolution for postcard-sized promotion) - we can add this as part of our “ask up front” in working with ASIFA contributions…
  4. Bi-monthly Animators Open Mike - good turnout in January’s gathering;  25-30 in attendance
    1. Organizational Committee: Brad, Steve, Gretchen (consider - what is the goal of an open mike event?) - building community, mutual support of animators, networking opportunity?  Ask the audience what it wants to support and foster their love of animation (Brad)
    2. What it is:
      1. Inspirational showing
      2. Theater open mike
      3. Collaborative projects
      4. Workshops
      5. Animation Garden - I was hoping you’d ask! (Brad)  A place where you come together and pitch ideas!  A space where you can pitch to a group! Deanna: as in a “makers’ studio” (a place where there are facilities to use, and you can work with an artist or independently - 3D printers, laser cutters… GR Media center is an example, but times should represent available staffing if one were to consider GRMC) … (Brad) to differentiate from a “workshop” - more of a collaboration space where we have the opportunity to foster small group interactions, but it’s really a trip from the grocery store idea (where they have cookies….cookies...cooookies… Jim is hypoglycemic)
    3. Detroit location? Contact Stanchfield? Deanna writes: Or, how about former member Mike Allore who teaches at a high school there and came to several retreats? Alternatively, what resources/ideas does Gary have?
    4. Chicago get together date?
    5. Material to show? These folks can show us stuff and things!
      1. ASIFA East Animated Film Festival
      2. ASIFA South Festival
      3. Asifa Croatian Films
    6. What date is the Open Mike scheduled for March?  

    1. March IWD Event and Workshop - Chuck is conducting interviews
    2. Organizational Committee: Gretchen, Chuck, Julie
    3. Date: Saturday, March 31st, 2018
    4. Chuck’s Gameshow - morning
    5. Chuck’s 15 min presentation on Lotte Reiniger + Lotte Reiniger Short Film (Chuck)
    6. Chuck’s Hands-on silhouette animation workshop at the CMC
    7. Other activities?
    8. Other guests?
  1. Summer Retreat
    1. Organizational Committee: Gretchen, Bob, Steve, Jim
    2. Date: July?  POLL HERE
    3. Location
    4. Showing: do we want to show Vladimir Leschiov work?
    5. Can Nina Paley be a guest for the Retreat?
      1. A: potentially yes, however we need to get her here as she does not have a car.
      2. Since Nina is in Chicago i’m guessing we could get some of the Chicago animators to arrange a car pool.  Is it our goal to invite them to the retreat as well?-Steve
  2. Dlectricity - defer discussion for later
    1. September
    2. Ideas on engaging Detroit animators
    3. Opportunities for ASIFA regional animators to help too?
    4. Meet and Greet?

7. FYI, International update from Deanna -
  1. Elections - Late in 2018 there will be a General Assembly somewhere, followed by elections for the next three year terms. Consider whether you might want to take a leadership position. I probably will try to remain active in some way - I find it interesting, and I think I am able to offer some useful perspective and energy to this organization.
  2. Magazine - China has offered to donate costs to print one magazine a year. (The magazines will be mailed in bulk to chapters for distribution, one to each international paid member, plus about 5 for distribution to schools and libraries.) A magazine is in production, now.
  3. Website is finally redesigned and working, as mentioned above. The idea is that chapters would upload content, but how and where is not fully clear to me. ALso individual members have been invited to upload personal information, and link to pages. Corrie Francis Parks is the coordinator of this initiative.
  4. We just got another budget proposal for 2018. It will be a balanced budget.
  5. Our Brad Yarhouse volunteered to be interim IAD coordinator for the next 1 - 2 years. Thank you, Brad. The board welcomes his volunteer energy and efforts on behalf of what is referred to as one of our most successful programs. Hooray! The board accepted the offer of donated IAD posters from two chapters: Hellas (formerly called Greece) and Mexico. Also, soon, we just began nominations for the ASIFA Prize. You can see the list of past awardees on Thomas jumped the gun and nominated Georges Sweizgebel, who I would support - he’s an ASIFA member, and a great animator. But if anyone has someone you want to nominate, let me know. Otherwise, I will remain silent.
  6. In terms of what I am doing, other than responding to discussions… I am working on trying to help keep IAD working. I am also trying to figure out how to fix some typos and rewrites in I am trying to figure out some initiatives for chapter to chapter communication. It would be great if the USA chapters, as a start, had more connections with each other. If you have ideas on how to do this, I am interested.
  7. … And, I am trying to speak on behalf of individual member animators, those who are not in a chapter, to lower their dues to match what chapters pay.
  8. I am also doing some work to try to get AWG (ASIFA Workshop Group represented on the asifa website. AWG would like someone to help update their site, but I don’t think I can take this on right now.  Here it is, though, if you are interested:        ~ Deanna

3. Next Meeting  April full Board. -- March for committee meetings