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Early CG Animation

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Early CG Animation

Postby Charles » Tue Dec 28, 2010 3:12 pm

This is from Disney, directed by John Lasseter in 1983.

On the heels of the first Tron movie, Disney widened their foray unto computer generated animation. Here's something I found on YouTube that involved some of their very first attempts.

Experimental footage from "Where the Wild Things Are".

Man, it's come a long way since then. At the time, this was absolutely ground breaking.

Check it out...

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Re: Early CG Animation

Postby Charles » Tue Dec 28, 2010 3:22 pm

It's startling to discover that CG character animation was being done at least as early as 1972. Take a look at this footage from the University of Utah nearly 40 years ago.

Who would've thought back then that this approach to animation would within a generation get to the point where it would universally dominate the art form in ways that few people could've imagined.

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Re: Early CG Animation

Postby Charles » Wed Dec 29, 2010 2:27 am

I'm sure there are people out there who remember this, and how astonishing it was at the time.

From 1984, "The Adventures of Andre and Wally B". It was remarkable. No one had seen anything like it.

Produced by Lucasfilm, designed and animated by John Lasseter.

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Re: Early CG Animation

Postby Charles » Wed Dec 29, 2010 12:05 pm

This was really ahead of the curve in 1985. Animated chrome dinosaurs running in a pack in a landscape?!? This must be what they call the future...

And indeed it was a very real and lucid glimpse at what we could expect from computer technology in the years to come.

"Chromasaurus" was produced by Pacific Data Images, also kown as PDI. They eventually hooked up with DreamWorks and created many movies for them including Shrek and Madagascar.

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Re: Early CG Animation

Postby Charles » Wed Dec 29, 2010 3:58 pm

In 1986, Pixar produced its first film. It was only a couple of minutes long, yet was extraordinary and still holds up to this day, nearly 25 years later.

The characters, two lamps, animated inanimate objects, became the trademark for the Pixar Corporation.

Here's "Luxo Jr."...

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Re: Early CG Animation

Postby Charles » Wed Dec 29, 2010 8:54 pm

In 1987, Pixar produced another animated short film entitled "Red's Dream". It was ground breaking in many ways and gave audiences a look at what we could expect from CG animation as a storytelling medium of its own.

As in Luxo Jr, the central character is an inanimate object, a unicycle in this case. But we see a clown as well, and it was far more sophisticated than what John Lasseter did a few years earlier on Andre and Wally B.

Something else that made this film unique. Even though it was animated using computers, and featured an object as the main character, it compelled the viewer to feel empathy for the unicycle. A little one wheeled bike was acting.

Check it out.

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Re: Early CG Animation

Postby Charles » Thu Dec 30, 2010 12:32 am

The following year in 1988, Pixar came up with this aniated short film.

It's called "Tin Toy" and you get a sense that that Toy Story is on the way.

The interesting thing about this film is the baby character. It could be the first human character the studio attempted to model and animate, and underscores just how far they've come and CG animation in general since those days. The character is clumsy and crude, but it's still a marvel considering where the state of the art was at the time. Baby characters can be difficult to do even in traditional animation.

Compare this baby character to the baby in The Incredibles and you can see the growth.

Pixar had the courage to try and work on difficult subjects early on.

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Re: Early CG Animation

Postby Charles » Thu Dec 30, 2010 12:29 pm

In 1989 Pixar came up with this great little film called "Knick Knack" which involved more animated inanimate objects. In this case, souvenirs from different places.

A snowman tries to break out of his glass bubble and join the fun, but to no avail as he's continuously frustrated by his attempts at doing so.

It's another precursor to Toy Story and shows a great deal of improvement in both story telling and production quality for the studio and for the times. I don't think there was anyone else around who could compare to what Pixar was doing with CG animation.

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Re: Early CG Animation

Postby Charles » Thu Dec 30, 2010 3:16 pm

Another significant film in the development of CG animation was "Technological Threat" by Bill Kroyer and others.

It came out in 1988 and was nominated for an Oscar, but Pixar's "Tin Toy" won it that year.

It's a combination of 2D and 3D.

This film seems to anticipate the emergence of computer animation replacing hand drawn animation. It's almost prophetic in that regard.

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