Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘animation’

15 NOVEMBER, 2011

Meat the Future: An Animated Case for In-Vitro Meat

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Petri dish to plate, or how to feed the world of 7 billion without starving the planet.

To anyone who’s read Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma or seen Robert Kenner’s Food, Inc., the wretched state of the meat industry and its noxious impact on the environment is no news. Meat the Future proposes an intriguing alternative to the traditional meat industry that neither requires you to become a granola-crunching vegetarian nor holds the foolish expectation that meat companies will suddenly take responsibility. And while that alternative might not seem appetizing at first, this beautiful and compelling animated short might just make you see the issue with new eyes.

In theory, a single cell from one animal can be used to feed the entire global population, without stressing the environment.”

The film ends with an emphasis on the need for publicly funded science, something we’ve made a case for before.

The project is the brainchild of Afshin Moeini, Christian Poppius and Kim Brundin from Sweden’s Beckmans College of Design.

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15 NOVEMBER, 2011

Celestial Navigations: 5 Conceptual Vintage Science Films by Al Jarnow

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Education meets entertainment in experimental animation, or what Big Bird has to do with the dawn of computing.

Last week, Jason Kottke reminded me of how much I love the vintage short films of painter, educator, museum designer, and software developer Al Jarnow. Between the 1970s and the 1990s, Jarnow created short segments for PBS’s 3-2-1 Contact series, Sesame Street, and various other children’s television programs, using stop-motion, timelapse, cell animation, and other experimental at the time techniques to bring everyday objects to life and illustrate scientific concepts by blending education and entertainment. (Sound familiar?) The films are now collected in Celestial Navigations: Short Films of Al Jarnow — an absolute gem restored from the original 16mm prints, featuring remastered sound, a 30-minute documentary about Jarnow’s work, and a beautiful 60-page book.

For a taste, here are five of my favorite Jarnow films:

COSMIC CLOCK

Cosmic Clock compresses a billion years of time into two delightfully vintage animated minutes.

FACE FILM

Face Film explores human behavior through the computational operations of a typewriter, using a large canvas to tease our inability to recognize an image using incomplete data.

ARCHITECTURE

Architecture was one of Jarnow’s most elaborate and labor-intensive shoots — which makes this photo of the set getting destroyed upon completion all the more mischievously delightful.

TONDO

In Tondo, Jarnow places rectangles on grids made of meticulously measured horizon lines, then moves the camera or leaves each rectangle still for a near-impossible to achieve 3D effect. In fact, this technique is rarely used in animation precisely due to its tedious and time-consuming nature — doing away with the familiar shortcuts of cell animation, Jarnow had to come up with an entirely new kind of shortcut to fill out the 24 frames per second of traditionally projected films … in 1973.

CUBITS

In 1978, Jarnow created one of his most ambitious and groundbreaking films. Far from a mere mesmerizing meditation on the craft of animation itself, Cubits was also essentially a paper model of a computer — the cube sheet on which the film is based consists of a horizontal cubic rotation and a diagonal pan for diagonal rotation, combining these primary moves into complex rotations to explore the relationship between animation procedure and logical numerical operations.

A time-capsule of incredible visual and conceptual innovation, Celestial Navigations is the kind of cultural treasure that makes you sigh with appreciation.

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02 NOVEMBER, 2011

The Art of Pixar: Behind the Scenes of 25 Years of Beloved Animation

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A peek inside the creative process of modern animation’s greatest gems, from sketchbook to screen.

For the past 25 years, Pixar artists have delighted the world with their whimsical short films and charming side projects. More than two years ago, animation historian Amid Amidi brought us The Art of Pixar Short Film — a wonderful journey into the charisma and visual eloquence of Pixar’s storytelling.

Today, to celebrate Pixar’s 25th anniversary this year, Amidi is back with The Art of Pixar: The Complete Color Scripts and Select Art from 25 Years of Animation — a priceless behind-the-scenes tour of Pixar’s 12 beloved feature films, old and new, including Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, Up, Cars 2, and more. The art comes from the Pixar Living Archive, created during the development of A Bug’s Life. From the complete color scripts for each film published in full color for the first time to the stunning visual development art that took these stories from sketchbook to screen, the tome is an absolute treasure for animation aficionados and visual storytellers alike.

Color script: The Incredibles

Color script: Up

A foreword by the legendary John Lasseter adds the ultimate cherry on top.

With 320 magnificent pages of animation magic, The Art of Pixar offers an unprecedented peek inside the creative process of some of Pixar’s greatest gems, a fine addition to our favorite sketchbooks of great creators.

HT @openculture; images via The Awesomer

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