Make Movies Blog - v2.0

The World of Animation News, Trends, Problems, Work, Education,
and anything that moves frame-by-frame.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Alien Skin

One of the problems with movies aliens is that they have a very limited range of emotional expression. It is this lack of subtle facial expressions that makes then unconvincing. The choice is wearing makeup and a mask or having animatronic figures are limited to the mechanics of the system. That might have changed. The method used at shows how various 'skins' can be added to a normal face to produce alien effects.

It is an animated movie about how to make Live-action movies. As I have never been a Live-action scriptwriter, I was surprised to find how many categories of shots and transitions there are in the medium.

My own training in scriptwriting was to simply sit in front of a film (this was in 1958 before TV) and mentally note the shots. It's advice I give to students as being quicker and cheaper than taking a course. Watching TV with the sound off will give much information on how the director is able to set up a scene.

Another interesting site is which teaches basic mathematics using animation. Apart from being easy to use, it teaches the process of visualisation, which is a greatly underused ability.


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Friday, February 09, 2007

Good Intentions

"The Road to Hell is paved with Good Intentions", so they say. I would have thought 'Good Inventions' might be more appropriate. But intentions - good or bad- precede our actions, if in fact we act on them.

I have a diary full of intentions that rarely get fulfilled, and also a shed of equipment that I intend to fix, and drawers of papers I intend to sort out. Somewhere between the Intent and the Action there is a gap.
Scientists have now been able find that gap in the brain - and what is more - make an animation of it.
You can see it at but whether that changes your life waits to be seen.

Is Computer Animation about to take over the world? Well, of course it is, but when? It awaits the time when computers are fast enough, cheap enough, and simple enough for them to replace writing with images. Not much hope of that for a while, but the first commercial Quantum computer has just been launched and that may be a small step for mankind but a giant step for computer animated characters.

Better news is that Disney is bringing back 2D hand-drawn animation; Hooray! Back to the future, or should I say Forward to History.
It heralds in a new era where children will be able to copy the cartoon characters to learn drawing, waste time during school lessons, and produce a better class of grafitti.
Who can name a single 3D character (apart from Wallace and Gromit) that is as memorable as the early Disney and Warner Bros characters.

Of course, 2D hand drawn animation never went away. In fact it has proliferated in the form of animation workshops in schools, community centers, and increasingly on the Internet. You can find some examples at


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Monday, February 05, 2007

The world is doomed. An animated record of it can be seen on 'Global Warming' .

As if that wasn't bad enough it also seems Computing is seriously ill, and might also go the same way Which implies Computer animation is on the way out.

I don't really believe it, at least as far as Computing is concerned. The subject has simply moved down-market, with examples at which enables those without any knowledge of computers to create simple animated characters. Why should any seriously minded programmer want to work in that world?

Ironically animation caused global warming (known as the Hayward theory, though yet to be universally recognised, but remember they also laughed at Columbus).

My first job in animation was to write TV adverts selling beer, ice cream, and toffees; it was my contribution to the obesity epidemic now facing the west. As a copywriter I moved on to selling cars, petrol, and various other things that help pollute the atmosphere.

Like many in the Animation industry, I survived to write my own stuff by the support of the Advertising industry that kept animation going after the Film Industry rejected it.

Advertising has always been to the forefront of image technology, and those of us who buy things we want (as against things we need) do so because we see it advertised.

The solution to Global Warming is simple: cut out advertising. I realise that to do so would mean the collapse of the economy, and life as we (in the western world) know it. But it is not all bad news. We might soon start living in a virtual world where our conspicuous consumption might be of virtual goods, and thereby non-polluting. The article below suggests how.

The Web of TomorrowBy Jason OConnor (c) 2007Oak Web Works, LLC A woman switches on a tiny wireless chip that has been surgically implanted behind her ear, which then synchs up with the Web wherever she is in the world. The simple thought of logging on to the Internet triggers the system to turn on and connect to the Web. She could be on a bus or at the beach and from all outward appearances she's just staring off into space. But she sees a three dimensional artificial world before her that she can manipulate any way she chooses by mere thought alone.
By looking at the trends of today we can begin to develop a image of what the Web of the future will look like. I believe the Web will improve and grow in a way that will dwarf its present existence and will improve and enrich everyone's lives way beyond what we can imagine today. The Net will become as integrated into everyone's everyday lives as much as, and even more so, than the television or telephone (in developed nations first, then everywhere). Television, communications and the Internet will merge.

So, where there's life there's hope, and by implication, where there's Virtual life, there is Virtual Hope. (I am not quite sure what that is, but will be part of my next theory, and when I've worked it out you will be the first to know).


Thursday, February 01, 2007

Glitter heart

A man recently proposed to his girlfriend by making an animated movie of his proposal then taking her to the screening with all his friends. How could she refuse.

If this is something you might like to do, then instructions on how to make this animated heart can be found at

Of course, animation is winning the hearts of many at the moment. It seems animated features are dominating the Box office, and I can only assume that many people have had enough of Wham! Bam! movies. The real world provides more than enough of this, but could animation actually save the world?

From 'Animation' news alerts I've noticed that animation studios are springing up like daisies in the Middle East and Far East. Not all are for commercial movies, so why?
Well in Iran they are making movies for teaching religion

Nothing new about that, except that the split and troubles between East and West so often have a religious basis. Animated movies at least overcome the language problem, and offer the means for each group to understand the attitudes of the other.

Communication problems are not just a matter of language; Special Needs children have a various difficulties in expressing themselves, so it was interesting to see the site at where virtual teachers take over the class.
Though animated teachers are far from new, being able to talk to these avatars and get a sensible answer is way it is heading. It maybe that 'Second Life' is becoming the reality. Check it out at

For Film Students, there is a competition and events festival at City (Broadgate & Paternoster Square) as part of the City of London Festival.

Details can be found at:
Ruth Oakley
Education & Free Events Manager

City of London Festival
12 - 14 Mason's Avenue
London EC2V 5BB

T: +44 (0)20 7796 4949
F: +44 (0)20 7796 4959