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Shrek 3

Oct. 30th, 2006 | 01:50 pm

I read this weblog entry from an animator named Keith Lango about the visual cacophony of the Shrek movies. He displays a still of troll Princess Fiona with four other fairy-tale princesses. It's amazing to consider the amount of money that went into making something that looks fairly horrible. Check out the still, really look it over.

The dresses on all the characters look like solid sheets of plastic. Each woman seems to have an identical half-sneer. On the left, Cinderella and Snow White are obvious ripoffs-- sorry, "parodies"-- of Disney character designs, though in both cases, they've used similar colors while making the overall design look worse.

On the right, Rapunzel is identifiable by her long hair, which is styled into an ugly Conehead 'do. The gold of her gold and red dress is almost the same color as her golden blonde hair, giving the character an overall sallow look. And look at her skirt: where are her knees? I'm sure under that ugly plastic sheet, her legs are perfectly proportioned and rendered, but it's impossible to see that here. She looks as if her thighs must be shrunk to a foot long, with unusually highly-placed knees and three-foot-long shins.

Furthest on the right, check out the brunette princess with a green dress. There's nothing in the design of this fourth character to identify her. IMDb says the fourth princess is Sleeping Beauty, but the Dreamworks geniuses seem to have put no thought into making her identity visually apparent, not even by ripping off Disney's design for Sleeping Beauty as they did with Cinderella and Snow White. They didn't even put her in something that looks like a nightgown, which seems like the least you could do with a Sleeping Beauty character design. Long, slightly unkempt hair after a hundred years of sleep? A deteriorating gown? No. She doesn't look like Sleeping Beauty, she looks like Princess Maura Tierney.

Overall, it just reads as ugly and incoherent. Fiona and Sleeping Beauty are striking martial arts poses. Rapunzel looks like she's trying out for marching band, while Cinderella is poised to win the fifty-yard dash and Snow White is playing with birds. Fiona is looking at the camera. Cinderella is looking at Fiona. Rapunzel is staring into space, while Sleeping Beauty looks off to the right and Snow White looks up. Notice how the background isn't designed at all: there are bright patches of leaves in the upper left, and on the mid-lower right behind Sleeping Beauty's outstretched hand, unbalancing the background and distracting from the figures.

I hate the look of the Shrek movies, and Keith Lango explains how the assembly-line nature of CG animation contributes to the mess. But CG can't be completely to blame, because Pixar movies are beautifully cartooned, as well as better written and better films all around. It still peeves me that the first ugly and barely funny Shrek film won the Best Animated Film Oscar over the superior Monsters, Inc.

I'd love to know exactly what the Pixar people are doing right that the Dreamworks people are getting so wrong.

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Oct. 30th, 2006 | 01:37 pm

Late, for illofriday.


( Ghost )

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Technicolor tears

Oct. 25th, 2006 | 07:36 pm

I used a set of Prismacolor pencils at bluecalico's and loved them. I made this with them!

Sandwich and Pickle Friends

A few weeks ago, I saw a similar 120 Prismacolor pencil set on Dickblick.com on sale for $80.

So why didn't I buy them?

The sale ended. The pencils are $101. I'm about to replace my laptop, so I can't really throw more money around on art supplies now.

I am a fool.

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A Laptop In Every Pot

Oct. 21st, 2006 | 01:00 am

I read that the One Laptop Per Child project (a.k.a. the $100 laptop, but they weren't able to get costs below $140 per unit in the end) is launching next year. Libya has ordered 1.2 million for their schoolchildren.

If the project succeeds at supplying computers to large populations of kids, the next few years are going to be an interesting time to be involved in Internet culture. A lot of people who up til now have had no access to broadcast media are suddenly going to have a voice.

Not only that. People worry about outsourcing to India, but just imagine. There are tons of free programming resources and tutorials online, and programming can be accomplished on a relatively thin client. Within a few years there could be millions of young people with laptops who will all be very, very motivated to learn Ruby on Rails, or Perl, or C++.

Future events like these will affect you, in the future!

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illofriday: Smitten

Oct. 19th, 2006 | 04:42 pm

For the "smitten" prompt:


Sometimes I ask mr_stillhere for drawing ideas, and end up with drawings like this. Crossposted to illofriday, which you should join, if you haven't yet.

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Queen of Hearts

Oct. 18th, 2006 | 10:15 am

bluecalico showed me how to make jointed dolls like hers.

Queen of Hearts

I took a million pictures of this doll, but only this one that came out well, so far. I really need to learn to use that camera.

Thank goodness for scanners. Alice was a gift from bluecalico.

Alice by seaglass, Queen of Hearts by zettai

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illofriday: Trouble

Oct. 13th, 2006 | 08:09 am

A day late for "Trouble."

Grand Old Perverts

( Bigger Trouble )

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Kiwi King of the Hill

Oct. 11th, 2006 | 04:43 am

Kiwi King of the Hill

He's up there!

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True love will find you in the end

Oct. 2nd, 2006 | 10:15 pm

It’s rather touching when the alt-weekly editor Louis Black beats himself up for pressing for Johnston’s committal. He asks: Would he have committed Van Gogh too? You don’t normally think of rock musicians as Samaritans, but members of Sonic Youth comb New Jersey for Johnston, find him babbling about Jesus in a parking lot, and stick him on a bus to his parents’ house in Virginia. A band he ends up performing with first lays eyes on him as he’s being attacked by dogs. His loyal manager returns years after a brusque dismissal (he made the mistake of negotiating with Elektra, a company that Johnston considered satanic) to “spread the word of Daniel Johnston.” The Devil and Daniel Johnston suggests that if art and madness can be sibling-close, so can art appreciation and altruism.

It's a great movie. I was really struck by the moment when Louis Black says that he'd always disdained the people who didn't recognize Van Gogh's genius and committed him, but he did the same thing and committed Johnston because he had no idea what else to do. Everyone in the documentary struggles with the same question, and no matter how hard they try, they seem to come to the same answer in the end.

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Flamingo and Hedgehog

Oct. 2nd, 2006 | 06:11 pm

Flamingo and Hedgehog

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