Saturday, December 28, 2019

And Just Cannot Leave Halloween Alone

A final, really, it's final this time, tweak from earlier versions, with about an 8 frame trim...

(cc) 2019 The Animating Apothecary

Sunday, December 01, 2019

Friday, November 01, 2019

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Wrapping Up Halloween GIFiness

Up to 14 seconds of basic animation - another few dozen sketches and it'll be ready to render into video.  Here's the ongoing GIFiness.

And another --

And the last gif version before going into "post"

Friday, October 11, 2019

The Season Approaches


V1a - corrected the "catch" in the cycle - cleared the keyframe at the end of the animated symbol layer - it was saving old data:

V2 - continuing with additional layers:

V3 - nearly 6 seconds now....the suspense is killing me!

V4 - 8 seconds, my my...may get this done by Christmas...

V5 - up to 10 seconds, getting ready for the next two basic actions

Update 6 - Adjusting colors, continuing -- this is taking FOREVER

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Consequences of an Animation Conference - the OIAF experience

Soul Töd - Animation Outline

Music - 1917 Italian mandolin recording, 78rpm played at 45rpm
Italic text represents translation from the narrator/characters.

Man in dark green room, window blinds drawn, TV on, door closed.

Mia animo mortis.  My soul is dead.
Ii batas al la muro. It sticks to the wall.
Mia animo pikas.  My soul stinks.
Miaj internaj demonoj malaperis. My inner demon is gone.

Television is running poorly received broadcast.

The mail slot has a note appear, it retracts.
He opens the door.
A screaming mouth is there.  Spit sprays.  Teeth threaten.  The note is on the tongue.
No response.  Man takes the note.  Closes the door.
It is dripping and illegible.

He opens the door again.  The screaming continues, uninterrupted.  He puts the note back on the tongue and closes the door.

He is drenched in spit.  He goes to the bathroom.  A giant eye is peering into the window.
He looks in the broken mirror.

Rasulo prizorgos ĉi tiun salaton. A shave will take care of this mess.

He leaves through the back of his house.  Demons encircle all houses on his street, screaming into the front door as they embrace the building.

He goes to a barber shop. 

The pole is slowly spinning, the white stripe unraveling onto the ground, the red area oozing out.

One man is there ahead of him in the chair.  He has a marble eye.

Mia okulo ofendas min. My eye offends me.

The barber approaches him from behind, and in a shot to mimic Un Chien d’Anadalou, looks out the window at a cloud bisecting the sun, then draws his razor over the marble eye of the customer.  The blade cracks and splits.

The customer stands.

Via klingo estas tiel obtuza kiel via spriteco Your blade is as dull as your wit.  

He plucks out his marble eye and slams it into the forehead of the barber.  It sets off a blaze of psychedelic colors behind him.

Mia bardisto havis religian sperton. Li komencis preĝejon. My barber had a religious experience.  He started a church.

The skies are bright and cheerful, the church is surrounded by marble eyes and broken razors.  The barber, now aglow with his marble eye in the center of his forehead, preaches a sermon.

The barber:
Mia okulo lasas aeron al mia cerbo por ke miaj oreloj kantu. My eye lets air to my brain so my ears can sing.
Kristaloj dissiris miajn pensojn kaj la koloroj estas bongustaj. Crystals shred my thoughts and the colors are delicious. 
Morta animo ne povas kanti, barba vizago kasas niajn cikatrojn. A dead soul cannot sing, a bearded face hides our inner scars.
Kuketoj felicigas min. Cookies make me happy.
Ciu laudo al kuketoj. All praise to cookies.

Liaj vortoj estis potencaj. Unu post unu, la demonoj komencis foriri.  His words were powerful.  One by one, the demons started to leave.

We see the reverse of the earlier shots, with the embracing demons slowly pfft’ing into dust as he walks home.

The man gets another note in the mail slot.  He opens the door.  It is a sunny day, no screaming demon mouth.  He reads the note.  It is junk mail.

Mi nun ne devas fari mian lavilon. I don’t have to do my laundry as often now. 
Mi pensas, ke mi kreskos barbon. I think I’ll grow a beard.
Mankas al mi demonoj. I miss my demons.

Fade to black.

Voice in the dark:

Surbaze de la rakonto, "La Bloto", de Francesca Kafka
Grava financado de Koseraj Eksteruloj de Beogrado
Perceptita de Jim Middleton

The Ottawa International Animation Festival - OIAF - Notes from September, 2008

After a decade, a return to Ottawa, seeming oddly changed, or realigned, or ... something.  So this note came from a file from a 2008 visit.  The return visits will not be separated by 10 years, that's for certain...

Once a year, I am physically moved to a foreign land of ambulating masses, where the most revolutionary of gothic jaywalkers performs her disobedience with civility, and where the creamy foam head of a Guinness pint is measured in centimeters.
Aside from my home base of Battle Creek, I have spent more time in Ottawa over the past decade than practically any other city on this planet. I find myself giving directions to places along Elgin Street, knowing the hours of the Rideau Centre, and even knowing that Centre is French for Center. I have even sampled the gravied cheese curd comfort food called poutain, although it still remains under the category of “acquired taste.”
The draw has never been Parliament, although their sessions are lively and drip in delicious sarcasm, and while the museums are striking and the scenery evocative of lost forests in central European, what pulls me to the most civilized of North American capitols is the OIAF. Some of this is purely force of habit: before video and DVD, and even before KAFI, the OIAF is where you had to go to see international animation on a large screen, or absorb the latest 90-second test film from that upstart bunch at Pixar. Even once the novelty was diluted by the expanding availability of animation on video and cable, there remained the sense of community-- first of old-school animators, then of increasingly-earnest afficionados. And now of a new generation, able to create and share their work quickly and electronically, can converge and experience what the internet can only emulate–human contact.
Chris Robinson has grown into his role as master of these ceremonies, from his hesitant and seemingly hostile beginnings to that of – dare one use the word congenial? – young fogey who delights in the occasional outrage while poking at the perimeter of propriety. He certainly seems to be using his time efficiently while on his ship of state–this visit served to premiere not one, but two books on animation (a biography of the late Ryan Larkin and a collection of interviews with Canadian animators).
To this setting, this sense of community, and its inherent enthusiasm, add a series of astonishing films and programs. This OIAF was a case of delicious sensory overloads. The feature films in competition included two created in Flash– Waltz with Bashir, a blend of documentary and Apocalypse Now surrealism by Ari Folman, and the astonishing Sita Sings the Blues, presented in multiple stylistic forms by Nina Paley, who bankrupted herself to create this five year labor of love.
The short films ranged from the stark Dark Years to the utterly giddy Lollypop to the bloodfest Super Jail. Five sets of films, only moderately overpriced popcorn and soda, and generally great weather for the walk between theaters. Even the picnic, with its ritualized pumpkin carving competition, left participants unscathed and winners with prizes that will soon show up on Ebay.
Morning meetings with the animators became increasingly bleary-eyed as the festival continued, catalyzed by late screenings and parties. “War stories” of producers and educators continued on panels ranging from animation software to curricula, culminating in an evening with Richard Williams moderated by John Canemaker, in itself worth the journey to Canada (I am so petitioning my school to get the DVD series by Williams, budgets be hanged!). And in a performance redefining old-school techniques, Daniel Barrow related his life in manually-moved overheads, creating a 19th century animated magic lantern show.
Concerns surrounding sliced budgets have made the OIAF subject to the generosity of strangers, but this year remained a celebration. Let’s hope for more projected light from Canada in 2009.
Until then, we’ll always have KAFI in May! (updated note - KAFI is no more - we are but KAFI in Exile now - watch for the T-shirts!)

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Revisiting Sfumata - Number Two

After completing #1 in 1998, #2 should have been a breeze.  After all, it had been begun two years before that, using the unsupported Autodesk Animator Pro, designed for DOS.  Well, after 30 seconds and 90 layers, this much was finished.  Began with adjusting timing and colors, now that technology permits such luxuries on a budget of $35 and paper clips.

Time to wrap up the last 70%.  Let's hope for fewer distractions this time!  After all, #3 is becoming impatient.

Friday, September 20, 2019

"We only have to sell one!" - Chain Pharmacy Pricing Philosophy

And, my, isn't that just ducky....

An international student came into my old pharmacy in January of this year, stricken with anxiety, migraines, and confusion.  She presented this price quote from a nearby chain for three generic medications and wondered if my little clinic pharmacy would have a better price.  Her international insurance told her that this chain was able to fill for her and that she could get 20% of her cost reimbursed.
So I looked at the meds in question, knowing they were all rather inexpensive generics, and ran a quick price comparison with the usual charges from the clinic site.
Topiramate (generic for Topamax) would have cost her $50 with them.  My cost was $15.
Sumatriptan (generic for Imitrex) was originally quoted to her as over $330, but the manager there said they could cut it as a discount for $156.  My usual cost was $45.
Ondansetron (generic for Zofran) was quoted at over $120.  My clinic's cost was $15.
I checked with the prescriber to make the ondansetron a regular tablet vs the ODT version, and cut the price further to $10.  
So the chain wanted over $320 as their best price.  Mine turned out to be $65.

This year seems to be The Big One for crushing independent pharmacies, with slaughtered reimbursement from the major insurance companies and their Pharmacy Benefits Managers (PBMs).  Chains will just throw the burden on the backs of the uninsured.  Independents will become a faded memory.

ASIFA Central Notes of Thursday, September 19, 2019

ASIFA Board Agenda Thursday, September 19, 2019, 8:30pm (11th meeting cancelled due to
monster weather challenges in Grand Rapids, but oh the candlelit stories we can tell…)

Ghosts of Summer Present: Deanna, Julie, Brad, Jim, Chris, Chuck, Bob; Gary, Gretchen, and Steve elsewhere

ASIFA Magazine
Chuck has made plans to meet up with Thomas Renolder to get the magazines at the Ottawa Animation Festival. Chuck will start mailing them out when he gets back in town. The St. Louis members received theirs at the retreat. Deanna has hers, too.

Topics of Capricorn:
OIAF - possible ASIFA meeting on Friday evening, September 27 after screenings? 10:30pm?
- Chuck has his amazing grid of events planned - Jim will tag along and be sure everyone stays hydrated (see other notes below)

Thriller Chiller - Tom and Tony seem to be chatting about final specifics (he doesn’t
need a place to stay, and the large theatre should be room enough for his projectile
needs) $10/person. (no discounts)
Bob will arrange for Postcards from (I am sure there are other places on
line, but I have used Vistaprint a bunch. Good quality and good prices. Fairly quick,
too…) Chuck is working on getting pdf info to the group.
Banner is available for the event (Gretchen), fliers and postcards promoting the chapter,
IAD, and membership will also be available at the theater.
Date: 10-12-19, with Tom Sullivan at 6:30 and the screenings of Evil Dead (with or
without commentary) at 7:30/8pm
Costumes for the film? BYOC (bring your own catsup)
Contact Info for chapters
Jim is assembling contact info for other ASIFA Chapters - email, etc - for Board notes,
emails, and sharing newsletters - digital handshakes already being made - if anyone
has contact info to share at that level, drop Jim a line - who is the contact for uploading
newsletter info at (we need to ask Corrie Francis Parks to make you the
contact person if you want to be that person, Jim - says Jim, that’s ok with me)
History of the Retreat?

Does anyone know when our retreat started? What is the anniversary date of the
ASIFA/Central Midwest Animator’s retreat?
1992 was the first year.

International Animation Day update
New website for . Who is interested in doing showings in their areas?
(For 2020 the poster artist will be Regina Pessoa, from Portugal (and NFB). Look for her
film at Ottawa, “Uncle Thomas.”)
Board members checking on additional IAD venues; Brad will provide poster info and
templates for promotion, along with access to submitted films.
ASIFA Hellas is very happy with the Anijam created by ASIFA Central for the event.
Next year’s IAD deadline for submissions to Brad - June 1, 2020

Planning 2020 Events.
Ideas for a December or January event? What about an old fashioned Christmas Animators Party? January event! Christmas Card Boxing Day
Event - movies and projects - stop motion with old holiday cards? Chuck and Jim each
have 100 feet of clear 16mm film and ink pen madness may ensue.

Anything for 60th Anniversary of ASIFA, which is 2020.
1. Festival meetups for ASIFA members at Annecy, OIAF, Hiroshima. The international coordinator is Anastasia Dimitra, from ASIFA Hellas (formerly called Greece).
2. Chuck will float the idea towards Chris Robinson at OIAF.

Other Events:
GLAS coming up in March 2020, Jeanette Bonds of LA
Julie will have an evening at the KIA in March 2020
Project One in GR - Oct 26 - can use to promo IAD on the 28th
GR ComiCon - November 8-10
Current membership 39

Next meeting: Thursday, October 10th at 8:30 p.m. EST
Check on status of Thriller Chiller and other October events.
Assemble outline for next newsletter. -- OIAF, IAD, Thriller Chiller - gather your images and share!

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Because SOMEONE is having one! (now in THREE versions!)

Video to Flash CS5 for initial title overlay, output as an insanely large Quicktime video, then into Vegas for layering, feathering, and speed adjustment - and then an output to mp4.  Easy peasy!

OK, I can't just let well enough alone - another version, tighter cropping, and one second shorter:

Now that the timing is figured out, it can be used with other variations.  Beware, friends with birthdays!

And, oh heck, another version -
...same lousy piano by the animator...

Wednesday, September 18, 2019


About 5 years ago, I sent a note out to the local pharmacy association warning about telepharmacy percolating through the legislature in Michigan - and the likely impact it would have on pharmacist employment. Some goofball from a chain sent it to their legal clods who sent me an email DEMANDING my sources and HOW DARE I spread this sort of information around. Figured I was on to something...this came across from the MPA (Michigan Pharmacists Association) today...I bet some chains plan to "advocate for their special interests." :

Executive Board Discusses SB 340 (Telepharmacy)
Thank you for your input regarding Senate Bill (SB) 340 proposing telepharmacy in Michigan. While the Michigan Pharmacists Association did not initiate this bill, we have been actively engaged to influence this legislation in the best interest of the pharmacy profession and the care of our patients since February. The bill has passed the Senate and has been referred to the House Health Policy Committee chaired by Rep. Vaupel (R-Fowlerville).

The MPA Executive Board met on Monday, Sept. 16 and dedicated a significant portion of their meeting to evaluate and deliberate each and every comment received related to SB 340. Your MPA Executive Board centered their discussion and evaluation of the bill around what’s in the best interest of our patients including ensuring patient safety. The Executive Board is not supporting the bill as passed by the Senate. The bill in now in the House Health Policy Committee. Yesterday at Pharmacy Day at the Capitol (Sept. 17), MPA staff and MPA members met with Rep. Vaupel and discussed the need to have additional changes made to the bill to address the issues of patient safety. While no specific commitments were made, Rep. Vaupel was receptive to the concerns discussed and expressed interest in working with MPA on the issue before the bill is scheduled for a public hearing.

Additional updates will be communicated through MPA publications as we continue to advocate for our profession. We encourage you to continue to monitor this legislation as changes are likely to occur as lobbying groups attempt to advocate for their special interests.

Coffee Playtime - Experiments in Animated GIF to mp4

Version 1 - Rough animatic (animated gif format)

Version 2 - checking timing (mp4 render in Vegas)

Version 3 - with video effects added (again, mp4, again Vegas)

Version 4 - with music edit added (mp4, Vegas)

Version 5 - just an ever-so-slight adjustment with two keyframes - this is why you make exposure sheets, kids, even for short experimental pieces....the difference is barely perceptible.

Animation using Flash CS5, output as a jpg series, imported into Vegas for edit and adjustment.

A "production note" - the background was from a quick acrylic painting of some 8 years past, quickly photographed and placed into the Flash library, before being converted to a symbol and then given an alpha adjustment. The original imported image was fairly large, even after conversion once introduced to the Flash environment.  As a result, animating even this brief piece became a challenge due to memory restrictions - things slowed down and the system crashed frequently (the laptop being used having only 8megs of RAM).  I ended up deleting the background file until everything was completed, then put it in place for the two sequences where it appears (after the explosion, I darkened it slightly and knocked it askew).
Everything was still exported as a series of about 225 jpgs, then imported as individual frames to the Sony Vegas software (now called MAGIX - Version 15 is used here, since version 16 is a real estate hog on the hard drive).

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

ASIFA Central Meeting Notes - June 24, 2019 - backup notes for September 11th meeting (truncated due to weather)

Present: Jim M (really hoping this phone ap works), Deanna, Chuck, Brad, Gretchen, Chris, Steve (hosting), Julie, Bob

Summer Retreat - Chuck, Julie (maybe), Brad, Steve, Chris, Bob, Deanna

July 19th
Dinner (for the early birds):
University City Loop

July 20th
9:45 - 10:00 / Registration - Media Commons
10:00 - 10:15 / Words from the President - Media Commons
10:15 - 10:30 / What’s Up With ASIFA Central? - Media Commons
10:30 - 11:00 / Workshop I: Six Second Animated Film Strip - Steve Leeper - SVER
11:00 - 12:00 / Workshop II: Painting on Film - Chris Sagovac - SVER
12:00 - 1:00 / Lunch Delivered (pizza maybe?) - Media Commons
1:30 - 3:00 / Workshop III: Pixilation - Media Commons
3:00 - 4:30 / Workshop IV: Putting it all together
5:00 - 6:30 / Dinner - Frisco Barroom
7:00 - 7:10 / Animating In-Between the Lines - Mike Long - Media Commons
7:15 - 7:25 / Ethan Halker - Astro Boy - Media Commons
7:30 - 7:40 / International Animation Day - Brad Yarhouse - Media Commons
7:45 - 7:55 / Something Something Something - Chris Aaron - Media Commons
8:00 - 8:15 / Remembering Suzan Pitt - Charles Wilson - Media Commons
8:30 - 10:00 / Best of Ottawa and Nina Paley - SVER 123

July 21st

Thriller Chiller
Tom Sullivan - he’s available and will be glad to chauffeur himself to GR -  his programs are pretty flexible, he’s a huge fan of Harryhausen and likes to create his own “new versions” of films.


IAD showing

Interactive Animation Event

Committee Gretchen, Julie, Deanna, add Jim to that too

Next month overview of opportunities

Membership numbers report
Number of Comp’d [1]
Honorary [4]
International [28]
Student members [4]

Update on Paypal and Bank balances

Tax-exempt status (re: the renewal e-mail we received this month?)
From Deanna: It was a company, called SImple 990, trying to charge $30 to file for your organization. I just did it online. We need to file an e-postcard, called form 990-N each year, between May 31st and October 15th. We are using Jim’s Battle Creek P.O. Box as our primary address. See image below. It’s easy to file - took about 20 minutes - I can walk a new treasurer through this at some point. We are still good with our non-profit status.

Short international report from Deanna, ASIFA meetings last week at Annecy Festival. I sent my informal report of the informal meeting out to the board now, FYI.

Hey, - Anniversaries: 2020 is ASIFA 60th Anniversary, also the 60th anniversary of the Annecy International Animation Festival… and the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations. ASIFA/Central, founded in 1975, will be 45 years old next year!!! Wow! We persist!
45th is Sapphire, 60 and 75 are both Diamonds!

Saturday, September 07, 2019

Public Domain Observations - Seeking Stokowski

Animation for the Ear (from the ASIFA Central Summer 2019 newsletter)

        A rich musical resource, featuring Leopold Stokowski and his acoustic recordings between 1917 and 1923 (public domain by material, public domain by performance) is available for review and download from:

        For acoustic performances (recorded through a horn to the wax blank, and not with a microphone), these are quite sophisticated and well engineered.  I suspect that the  unusual, comparative roundness of the sound from the strings in these selections is due to the large size of the orchestra, with the additional violins working in close synchrony.  The engineers were giving it all for their attention as well, squeezing as much as possible onto the 12 inch matrices without sacrificing groove width and flexibility.
On the down side, they are all acoustic, with increased surface noise and muted fidelity.
On the plus side, they’re public domain, and of the available examples, are among the best.  Using some creativity with filters and speed adjustment, and you have some impressive sound beds.  The selections come as mp3s, along with the date of recording, just to smear the info into the faces of youtube or FB monitors.
Over the years, many of these 78s have found their way into the shellac-and-wax-based archive here, but these already-converted recordings are a remarkable collection of some very familiar selections waiting to join your digital library.  Through 1923, they include:

Hungarian Dances #1,5, 6, Brahms
Dance of the Blessed Spirits, from Orpheus and Eurydice, Gluck
Anitra’s Dance from Peer Gynt, Greig
Midsummer Night’s Dream, Scherzo, Mendelssohn
Symphony #40, 3rd movement, Mozart
Carmen, Prelude to Act 1, Changing of the Guard, The Smugglers, Bizet
Blue Danube Waltz, Strauss
Hungarian Rhapsody #2, Liszt
Largo from the New World Symphony, Dvorak
Finlandia, Sibelius
Faust, Waltz from Act II, Gounod
Dance of the Tumblers, Rimsky-Korsakov

        Next year, when 1924 opens its public domain vaults, Rachmaninoff’s Piano concerto #2, performed by Rachmaninoff, is at your service.  Like the acoustic version of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue (which is another 1924 release), this first recording provides what some (including your humble typist) consider the better piano performance of the piece.
        The  website is of the nice, old fashioned html variety, and the links were all still connecting to mp3 versions of these recordings as of 30 July 2019.  I had no problem downloading the files for my thumb drive (formerly called, according to my students, as a “memory stick”) of road tripping material.  The site also has in-depth information on early recordings, the evolution of Stokowski’s style, and his influence throughout the acoustic and early electric era of recorded sound.  Someone spent hundreds of hours putting this all together, and you can easily spend a couple of hours here.
        Another source of recordings that are in the public domain can come from the record catalogues themselves - Victor, Columbia, and Edison put out annual promotions.  Remember, the current cut off is 1923, but 1924 kicks in come January, 2020...

Remember - if it's in here, it's public domain! (1922.1923 catalogs)

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Gotta Love the Sanskrit

Nine rules for being human – handed down from ancient Sanskrit

You will receive a body.
You will learn lessons.
There are no mistakes, only lessons.
A lesson is repeated until it is learned.
Learning lessons does not end.
“There” is no better than “Here”.
Others are merely mirrors of you.
What you make of your life is up to you.
The answers lie inside you.

Now, you can make it 
12 rules for being human - handed down from ancient Sanskrit 
If you add

Life is exactly what you think it is
You will forget all of this
You can remember it whenever you want

Choose either one - 64 years of kicking around on this dustball and I have found nothing in that time to contradict these statements, regardless of the source.

But, then, I forget things.
That's why we have dogs.  Dogs make you get up in the morning and remember things.

Now, let's make that
13 rules for being human - handed down from ancient Sanskrit and your dog

Saturday, August 10, 2019

The Home Stretch!

Four days - more layering, more filters, more sound experiments ... oh the pure joy of it all!

Three to go - remembering Wm Buckingham of FSC who trusted us with his car for this one

Two to go - this pulled from a 2018 ASIFA Central Anijam

One day left - and then from a job to one's work...

And out the door with a bit of recycled guidance...

Saturday, August 03, 2019

And down from Day #9

#9 - some sketching, multiple filters, and a sincere thanks to Georges Melies

8 days to go - multiple layers again, discovering some new built-in functions, and finally have the digital tablet working well...

7 days to go - adapting a ca 2005 Flash tutorial demo into the countdown.  Note to self: watch the reconstructed "Metropolis" again!!

6 days to go - a visit to where it all began, nearly 50 years ago...

6 days still, but with better contrast...oh those learning curves!

And a reference to day #25 for day #5, to show what a browbeaten experience the ensuing 20 days has been...

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

And now from day 14 ...

14 days and getting a bit dizzy

13 days and still can't find enough boxes...

12 days and someone's following me!!!

11 days and no time to chill!

10 days ... tick tock tick tock .. original source material from "Diagonal Symphony" by Viking Eggeling - and lots of filters and alpha-channel adjustments

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Starting With Day 19 now.... the countdown continues!

#19 - Need to revisit this stalled project from 18 years ago, too.... in the meantime, the countdown continues!

18 days!  It's all becoming very surreal....

17 days - a bit manic -

16 days - friends offer advice

15 days - another bright morning

Monday, July 22, 2019

Another Countdown Begins at 27 days....

27 days - Eleanor Powell Rotoscope from "Honolulu" (1939)

26 days - Images from a missed ASIFA Central retreat in St. Louis this August

25 days - Life's a gamble after all, isn't it?

24 days - Making use of a previous clip with frames re-inserted

23 days - The storm was over, so I went out to feed the mosquitoes.
Thanks and apologies to Winsor McCay and "How a Mosquito Operates" (1912)

(We'll see how long I can keep this going....)

22 days - rotoscoped a rotoscope ... oh these exercises!

21 days - head dive into the 80's archives...

20 days - at least the source material is from this century!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Complications from Taking Things for Guinness

I like burnt toast. I made a crunchy meatloaf tonight. It has carbon. I am carbon based. If I ever burn my fingers, I may be my own lunch. I also had a bear tonight.  A beer. A bear would be silly. If I were a bear's lunch, I'd be pretty burned. And then I'd have dinner too. Maybe I'd invite the bear for a beer.  A Hamm's. A hemms. Ahem. Time to dream of bears. A bare dream. No that's something completely different.  That's a Python. A python in a bare dream with a beer and a bear. As long as I'm not bare with a bear and a beer.  That would be a bore.

I should write this down.

And later:

There once was a saucy mosquito
Who craved a juicy burrito

But when she lay in the mud

Con-templating blood,
She switched her desire to some Cheetos.

Sleep can only help so much....

(rewrite when awake to...)

Abuzz in jungled mosquitoes
Was an egg-borne pester of cheetas
She hummed o'er the swamp
All primed for a romp
But settled for tartare burritos

And, emerging from the fog:

A submental collection of weasels,
Oleagenous as freshly-lubed diesels,
Tied themselves into knots
On the subject of shots.
News report: they all died of the measles!

Monday, April 08, 2019

Talking Alone to the Phone on a Long, Long Drive....

Maybe an animation narration here...(begun in the mid 1980s, bits found on a micro cassette from that "era"):

Said Laura Palmetto McGregory Toon
“I just read a story that ended too soon!
Oh sure, it had gremlins and dragons unnumbered,
And even a princess in eternal slumber.
The problem’s the story just ended too soon!”
Said Laura Palmetto McGregory Toon

She went to her granny’s, found all the best books
She read them in crannies, she read them in nooks.
She read them with cookies piled high upon lace,
She read them so close she smeared ink on her face.
She read them at night, with her little flash lightie,
She read them all cuddled in a blue flannel nightie. 

A distraction appeared, as a canine named Beet
(But he'd answer to "Boo!" or "Come Here for a Treat!")
She taught him to sit, to roll over, and stay
But found he liked books in a very wrong way... 

She read tawdry romances - novels - adventures!
(And a medical essay on ugly old dentures).
She read about people from Kalamazoo
She read about hormones (and made a few, too). 

She planned a career filled with keyboards and easels,
And was vaccinated against getting three-day-old measles
She never found princes, nor flared dragons, either,
Just boy after boy all determined to tease her. 

She was married once, she was married twice:
The first one for love, the other for vice.
She had a sweet daughter, the usual way,
Who turned 17 and then sauntered away. 

So what was this story that caused all this strife?
It wasn’t a story, it was simply a life.
So while it lacked princes, it gave a good slumber
And moments of happiness too many to number. 

“The problem’s the story just ended too soon!”
Said Laura Palmetto McGregory Toon.

Margaret Millington MacDonald O'Foon
Tina O'Leherity Smith-Wallington Soon
Stacy McMacey Sans-Souci Muldoon
Racheal Fontunis FitzWalletter Moon
Vickie McLitchey Sympatti Racoon

Saturday, March 16, 2019

The View from Paris - 1973

For less than $400 you could get 8 days, 7 nights, in France in the Spring of 1973.  A king's ransom to a 17 year old saving for pharmacy school, but I figured it might give me a memory or two.  Also brought along a new Bolex Super 8mm camera, so I still have at least two memories, attached:

"The Students are Revolting" (and they were - a quarter million took to the streets to protest the mandatory draft while we were there.  I took teenage liberties with the edit.)

And we'll see if the other memory can be uploaded:

Sunday, March 10, 2019

ASIFA Central - notes on Board Meeting Wednesday, March 6 2019

After some entertaining log ons and sound loss, the meeting began, with illumination guiding the proceedings ---

ASIFA Board Agenda and Notes for March 6, 2019
Present: Deanna, Brad, Jim, Julie, Chuck, Steve, Chris


1. ASIFA Website Needs:
Launch date? We didn’t decide on a launch date, though we’re still making some changes beforehand.
** Maybe launch it after Brad updates the heartfelt welcome on the home page? Deanna (that would work -- Chuck)
Where should we place new information: ex. Newsletter Archive - 39 pdfs of the previous newsletters are ready!  This should be along the top of the site - “events” and “join” banner - make a new page and off you go to the races! - other newsletter archives are being gathered at ASIFA East by JJ Sedelmeier (he may even have all the ASIFA Central newsletters in his collection, if we are missing any issues or cannot find them in our digital scans)
Is there a basic tutorial for posting on the website that Julie can recommend?

Brad writes something for the home page - overall vision and goals for this year, mentioning some of the things coming up, and we can look it over, toss in our ideas, we can approve it and then start letting folks know what’s going on! (ie St Louis in July).  This will also be in our spring newsletter.

2. Next Event planning?
-Gretchen was going to check the cost of renting the facility - weekdays are likely less expensive
-DIA has some programs coming up - if someone wants a drive to Detroit...that has some options for activities
-Tom Sullivan - Jim will reach out to Tom for availability and what he’s able to bring - his requirements/needs; it may be a draw for local GR folks, more difficult for at-distance students (even Allendale to Grand Rapids journeys can be a challenge) - some students become so entrenched in their own projects and challenges that they don’t leave their workbenches - Jim will talk with Gretchen for available dates.

- School reels - and “open mic” from schools - drop box student films from the past 2 years that can be passed along (April 26-28 - Chris’ Kinematifest) - deadlines are pretty informal - April 1.
- Nina Paley: Seder Masochism feature-length animated film
- Ann Arbor Film festival is March 26-31. See below for some selected programs that feature animation…

3. Newsletter: Deadline for articles and how many newsletters we doing this year? Four issues per year is the goal - Jim will send some lists of PD music and open source software for comments.  The next newsletter release will be by April 15.  Taxes and Animation!
Topics for the next newsletter - Brad’s Presidential insights, thoughts from members’ blogs (Chuck’s ongoing reviews and adventures), IAD AniJam (10 participants so far, based on the yet-to-be made public poster for the 2019 October IAD), Public Domain music and material, and open-source software (Storyboarder/Blender 2.8alpha, Grease pencil, etc.) - probably an ongoing examination of available material out there at low cost.

4. Open Projects:
- Call for Writer/Researchers: Deanna and Brad will help Submit in April ?? till Sept.
- Summer Retreat - July 20 and 21 in St Louis - place that on the website with info TBA - Chris will build a promotional for the retreat, now in development
RETREAT Committee: Chris, Gretchen, Bob  details by next meeting
- IDEAS for RETREAT: Pixelation exercises and explorations, TED talk/tech talk/microtalk type presentations (ie, animation history), student involvement - Chris DeWitt from Indiana may be a - Ray Pointer from Michigan - invite the Chicago animators to show their work
- Cut out weekend workshop “Lizzo” the seamonster - replacement animation project - couple pixelated humans with cartoon objects that can be swapped out
- A wall that can be drawn on, with people pixelated in front of it (increase participant involvement)
- The ever popular Show and Tell (Symposium?) - or something that sounds like an Academic Report for the faculty folk

5. Member Enrollment numbers
- We currently have 36 members.
- Julie will review ad Google dollars and opportunities (Corey Francis-Parks -sp) (ASIFA has worked this, using membership size to instill interest)
- Confusion email with the ASIFA international group has dropped considerably - We are .org, they are .net - we have a stealth launch….

6. DRAFT :  Call for Writer/Researchers (Deanna will send out general information to the membership; is someone within ASIFA Central a possibility - letter of intent or note of interest?)
- ASIFA/Central USA has announced a call for writer/researchers to compile and write two pieces for two separate projects.
- Honorarium $400. (for each project)
- Letter of intent with writing sample April 1
- Draft presentation deadline July 1
- Final deadline Sept 1
- To apply, please indicate which project(s) you are interested in pursuing, and send a writing sample or link to previous writing to Deanna Morse (
- The material would be used in some manner to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of ASIFA, in 2020.


ASIFA/Central USA has announced a call for writer/researchers to compile and write two pieces for two separate projects.
Honorarium $400. (for each project)
Letter of intent with writing sample April 1
Draft presentation deadline July 1
Final deadline Sept 1

To apply, please indicate which project(s) you are interested in pursuing, and send a writing sample or link to previous writing to Committee chair Deanna Morse (

The material would be used in some manner to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of ASIFA, in 2020.

Project 1 – ASIFA PRIZE
The ASIFA Prize has been awarded since 1985 to a person or organization that has made “a significant and innovative contribution towards the promotion and preservation of the art of animation”.
We would like to complete a document that gives background on the previous awardees. This material could be printed and also downloaded from a website.

ASIFA has about 40 active chapters around the world, including 7 in the USA. We would like to compile an overview of activities that chapters are undertaking, similar to the articles that profiled chapters in the former series “Who is Who in ASIFA.” For this project, we would like to create profiles of the most active chapters, including the seven in the USA.
This material is useful for chapter to chapter communication, and would also be presented on an ASIFA website, and possibly published in some manner.

For more information on these writing projects, please contact Deanna

8. Ann Arbor Film Festival - Some Animation Programs, although animation is in pretty much all the Competition screenings - Thursday March 28
Juror Presentation: Stacy Steers: Animation and Surrealism
1:00 pm | Michigan Theater Screening Room | Free
Stacey Steers presents four short animated films spanning 20 years of process-focused filmmaking. In her handmade films, Steers experiments with new forms of animation in the surrealist tradition, using found footage in a novel way to create provocative narratives. Her mesmerizing films move with a stream-of-consciousness fluidity and summon disquieting dreamscapes drawn from allegory, myth, and archetype.

- Friday, March 29
Films in Competition 8: Animation
9:15pm | Michigan Theater Main Auditorium
Recent animated films from near and far: Quasi and the Quackadero (Sally Cruikshank), TV (Richard Reeves), Confidence Game (Kathleen Quillian), HEDGE (Amanda Bonaiuto), Intermediate Landscapes (Richard Negre), 32-Rbit (Victor Orozco Ramirez), Sun Zoom Spark (Gina Kamentsky), Cow Palace (Julian Gallese), Silver Seeds (Kim Collmer), Rabbit Tracks (Luke Jaeger), Smoke's Last Thought (Miranda Javids), Shape of the Moment (Mateusz Sadowski), Maze of Noumenon (Tianran Duan), Under Covers (Michaela Olsen).

- Saturday, March 30
Wada’s World: Wrestling with Existence - Special Program
9:00pm | Michigan Theater Screening Room
Wada Atsushi is one of the top animators in Japan. This is not that highly conventionalized and capitalized animation also known as anime. Rather, Wada presents his own strange, wonderful, and instantly recognizable world through his .3mm sharp pen. In Wada’s world, humans enjoy a peculiar relationship to the living things around them. His drawings of the animal kingdom may look relatively realistic, but his creatures emit an uncanny sense of anthropomorphization from deep inside their feral forms. Wada writes, “I like animals that give me space for thinking.” Space – or ma in Japanese – is a central concept for Wada’s practice. His visual space has the twisty-turny cyclical structures of Escher, and his soundtrack is punctuated by empty blanks inspired by composer Takemitsu Toru. Thus, ma in Wada’s oeuvre is not a cultural essence, but rather something arriving from Wada’s own artistic sensibility; one can recognize Wada’s world in the first few seconds of a film. Curated and presented by Markus Nornes.

More about the retreat
Next event - opportunities with Tom Sullivan - Jim to check
Next newsletter - April 15
Brad - something for the home page
Website notes - incorporate info from Deanna’s email
Next meeting - Brad will DOODLE

9. International ASIFA news - Deanna’s report
Here is where we are at - the new Executive Board was elected, and the next thing is to elect the Directors of Special Projects - listed on this page as functional directors. These will be three year terms.

It is taking some time to finalize the positions, but I have put stars by the ones that seem to be open/vacant...
If any of these starred positions interest you, please email me directly for more information...

Director of New Chapter Coordination – Vesna Dovnikovic (As Secretary General, she already does this)
***Director of Festival Liaison – Nancy Denney-Phelps (will be multiple directors)
AWG President – Anastasia Dimitra (Elected by AWG)

?**Directors of News and Information: Tsvika Oren, Camille Selvon Abrahams (Thomas may have folks in mind)
?**Directors of Marketing and Public Relations: Jamie Kezlarian Bolio, Annegret Richter (Thomas may have folks in mind)

Special Projects:
IAD Curator – Brad Yarhouse (No one wants a change here. He's great)
ASIFA Prize Curator – Agnes Li (No one wants a change here. She's great)
**Director of New Projects – Deanna Morse - will focus on 60th anniversary celebrations. then new projects

** Position probably eliminated -- Director of Ethics/Audits – Anastasia Dimitria
Director of Technical Operations – Corrie Francis Parks (No one wants a change here. She's great)
**? Probably will be Nelson Shin and someone else Director of Administration and Archives – Sayoko Kinoshita

Agenda and notes assembled for online posting.
Jim Middleton, ASIFA Central Sect’y.
10 March 2019

Saturday, March 09, 2019

Really Rough Pencil tests

Experiment with importing, exporting, and editing - using inexpensive and outdated software, knock-off technology and wrinkled, yellowing tracing paper, because after all, I'm cheap.... an upcoming group project in the guise of an AniJam.

Version #1:

Work process:
The original image is a painting, on canvas, that has been roughed out in 3D for a 10 sequence template.  This permits a right-to-left tracking shot for the project.
It was provided as an mp4, with a 1920x1080 resolution.
I wanted to make the contribution a 2D animation, so.... some work-arounds....
In keeping with my habit of doing things in the most convoluted, irrational method possible with outdated technology, I was able to dissect the animation template provided by inputting it into Sony Vegas (v14, I kept that somewhat up to date), then exporting it as sequential images in four formats (JPG, PNG, TIFF, BMP, just to have all bases covered), then importing those images into (gasp) FLASH CS3 to build a reference layer.  In effect, a panning motion rotoscope.
My use of FLASH these days is not to build a "Flash Animation," but rather, to construct the animated sequences for input into Vegas or some other video editor (I have used Premiere in the past, but it went a bit wonky on its codec, a problem that has reportedly been corrected from Those Who Know Better, but I'm at a stage where my time is spent more in doing instead of twiddling....)
An additional layer atop that was created, with the intention of drawing my 3-second sequence as a test using an "Artist 12" digital tablet.
The tablet worked well, at least for the higher-resolution FLASH environment the project required.  The FLASH pencil tool was used for this portion of the project.
Scribble time - about 90 minutes.
The under-neath, background later will be removed on completion, to create a "green screen" with an export of the Flash sequence as a series of 1920 x 1080 images.  That'll go to the ASIFA coordinator for assembly,
And, after this, ready to collapse by 9pm, such a party animal am I!

Test #2 - first clean up

And, finally with some more detail and color:

And, some more details while experimenting with color splashing at the end:

And some more details:
And some background tests for the second sequence --
After this, time to shuffle frames, adjust timing, and do a Photoshop run on the drawings....

And this should be "it" - 18 May, 2019

Well, there are ALWAYS retakes, you know....
Like this one, so Andrew Z's segment doesn't get obliterated....

And, for the final product, assembled by the phenomenal W. Brad Yarhouse, here is the Vimeo link to cut and paste:

or click on the bit of linkery below!

Vimeo Link to ASIFA Central AniJam for 2019

Or a dumbed-down mp4 version that may play below: