Thursday, July 27, 2023

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Post 584 - Bragging Rights

 And a chance to play with some masks, some dissolves, some Photoshop, and some sumpthin'

Now to make a six minute film to put in front of it!

(c) 2023 Jim Middleton, The Animating Apothecary

Sunday, July 16, 2023

Post 583 - Preludium to Any Final Resume - Let's Prefer a "Curriculum Vitae"

From compounding potions in sterile air,

To worlds when colors dance upon the screen -

A departure from a path so linear

To realms of art, where dreams are pristine.

No longer bound by formulae and pills

I trade the mortar and pestle's chore

For brushes, pens, and digital skills

To weave enchantment, woven to unbore.

With every stroke, imagination soars

As stories unfold, vibrant and alive,

In animated motion's boundless shores

Where creativities, encapsuled, thrive.

Farewell, pharmacy, with platitudes depart

Embracing this journey, a work of heart.

-- Burma Shave

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Post 582 - More Archival Photos - 1983, Filming "Alpha"

Paper cels, adapted copy stand, and Super 8mm silent Bolex 160

Pretending to feel comfortable in an unconditioned kitchen in July

"This ain't no party/This ain't no disco/This ain't no foolin' around..."

Corner office - typewriter, contemporary maps, homemade light table, Elmo editor

A bit heavy on the earth tones in the "filming studio"

Multiple layer paper cel setup - Alpha

And, if you crave the eventual outcome - here's the link to "Alpha" PRESS ME! PRESS ME!

Monday, July 10, 2023

Post 581 - Now for Some Dangling Furniture!


Oh it's time to dance now!

And a first render for adjustment:

And take two:

(c) 2023 Jim Middleton, The Animating Apothecary

Post 580 - Flashback Comment on "Inside-Out" from 2015


Regarding "Inside Out" (from a 2015 notebook)
I attended a two-day Pixar "masterclass" seminar in Toronto a few years back, and have just finished reading an extensive analysis on the Pixar methods in Jonah Lehrer's book, "Imagine," where committees gather for long breakfasts to dissect seconds-long shots frame-by-frame. "Inside Out" suffers from that sort of over-thinking. 
The technique and craft are there, almost shockingly realistic during moments in the girl's hockey game, but soooooo much effort is spent for us to "understand" the character of internal Sadness, so much that Sadness starts sucking the life from the story:  it takes cutaways to what the parents' minds are processing to slice some of the melancholy and pre-pubescent angst out of the air. 
There are many possible setups in the school scenes to explore - the cliques, the classroom - but this "What Dreams May Come" for tweens provides slow-motion crumbling of personality islands and repetitive starts and stops in the story instead.  And with everyone seeking out the "central control" (like some rogue agents from "24"), they miss that the workers sucking up unnecessary memories have a direct line to their destination, about halfway into the film!
Some of the musical choices seem committee-determined as well, with "It Only Takes a Moment" creeping out of the background (another "Hello Dolly" reference? A "Wall-E" connection from some trending internet flowchart?). Emotionally, it tugged the right strings, but "Inside Out" seemed a LOT longer than its 94 minutes.  But why should we care so much about Sadness, and why should a company whose entire product and apparent mission seem to be about imagination have a subplot that celebrates the loss of an imaginary friend from childhood?
And, as if to confirm my suspicions, just before the final credits came a collection of scenes visualizing the emotions of some background characters and even a few random animals -- and then, suddenly, briefly, and after an hour and a half, I finally experienced a Pixar movie.


Thursday, July 06, 2023

Post 578 - Well, so much for the assistance of AI

The Original Image - The Subsequent Prompt:  "Have Benny reach for the camera negative."

 The consequences of that request:

(c) 2023 Jim Middleton, The Animating Apothecary


I'll stick with the paper tablet for now...

Sunday, July 02, 2023

Post 577 - Trying to Salvage Old Files

It may just need a complete do-over.  Trying to make use of scans from the days of "hand scanners" and Win95.  Here is test #1 (silent):


(c) 2023 Jim Middleton, The Animating Apothecary

 Take two - "the next morning" --

 And with a "projector effect" worked into it:

And even that received a "do over" the next morning!


(c) 2023 Jim Middleton, The Animating Apothecary

(A heated exchange followed)

Post 576 - Introducing the Goddess Flora to A.I.

Flora watches over our herb garden by day and night, coercing rabbits to seek succor elsewhere and vanquishing blight and fungi from the plants in her charge.

She's an alabaster guard here, but perhaps in other media she might be as, if not more, effective.  Hence some experiments with NightCafe's AI text and graphic programming were brought into the project.  Here are some of the consequences of asking it to interpret, "The statue of the Goddess Flora gazes over her lush garden, contemplating a life of giving life to other beings." 

Thoughtful Flora

Melancholy Flora

Wistful Flora, flushed with annoyance at a disobedient rabbit.

Defiant Flora

Contemplative Flora, fretting about the wrinkles in her tunic

Flora the Drama Goddess

Homecoming Queen Goddess Flora, glad that Daddy Zeus finally provided proper lighting and that the AI program finally gave her visible hands with the proper number of fingers.  "I require a sacrifice," says Flora, "I want potato chips!"

And, of course, the obligatory GIF test:

And, yeah, all (c) 2023 Jim Middleton, The Animating Apothecary, etc etc

Saturday, July 01, 2023

Post 575 - Harry in 3D for his 95th

He would have been 95 on the second.  The Eternal Gardener in moments  of repose, here in the THIRD DIMENSION.

With the birds, 1979:

 And with the oddly doglike cat, Saomi, 1980: