Monday, January 14, 2013

On Hiatus

As I broke my wrist yesterday, it will be a while before this blog is updated.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Hardware History

J.J. Sedelmaier has written an interesting history of animation disks for Imprint magazine.

People who entered the animation business in the recent past have  lived totally within a digital world.  But before computers, animation had its own set of very specific hardware, developed from the 1910s onward to facilitate the creation of cartoons.

There were studios with their own peg standards as well as Acme pegs (which dominated the California business) and Oxberry pegs (which dominated in New York).  There was even another standard, not mentioned in the article, that came from the U.S. Signal Corps from World War II and made it into the animation industry as war surplus.

The picture above is a Fleischer set-up.  Note the goose-neck lamp for top lighting.  Fleischer used top pegs, where Disney used bottom pegs.  There's a wire coil at the top right to hold pencils and brushes and the holder on the left for ink and paint.  The disk rotates on rubber rollers (pictured in the article).  As the Fleischers were inventors and very mechanically minded, they put a lot of effort into creating equipment that would make production efficient.

The article shows a great many disks and set-ups.  It's a walk down memory lane for many of us and a history lesson for those who grew up more likely to be manipulating a mouse than a pencil.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Where Characters Come From

If you've ever created stories -- whether written, drawn or filmed -- you are familiar with the experience of having the characters dictate where the story is going to go.  You may start out pushing the characters through your plot, but if you're doing your job right, the characters start to drive events and you, as creator, just follow them to see what's going to happen.

Author Corey Doctorow has an interesting idea about why this occurs.  If you make stories or want to make stories, it's worth reading in full.