Art in Motion: Animation Aesthetics/Stop Motion

This article really focused on 3D animation types: clay, objects, and pixilation. Claymation because popular in America because of Will Vinton and many of his animations, such as Closed Mondays (1975), and the production of Gumby. Closed Mondays is a fabulous animation, and I can certainly see how it became a catalyst for boosting the opinions of studious and audiences that claymation could be taken seriously.

Object stop-motion is conned with Eastern Europe, more specifically the Czech artists Jiri Trnka, who did Song of the Prairie and Ruka (The Hand). This form of animation might’ve been more popular than claymation, as it seems to have been used all over the world in the 1990s, and is still used today (by LAIKA Studios).

Lastly, there’s pixilation, which situates itself between live-action and animation. Norman McLaren was famous for this. I haven’t seen too many of these animations (to my knowledge at least), but the one I have see was Neighbors, made in 1952. I can understand why pixilation isn’t as widely used in the commercial industry, however it’s still pretty cool to look at.

Notes on Tomb Raider and other stuff

The article Does Lara Croft Wear Fake Polygons? deals with the perception of the game’s protagonist and how it stacks up against games of the 1990s. Despite it being considered feminist (because of the female protagonist and the work? she does in-game), Tomb Raider is sexist. The fact that the creators/company specifically chose to use the camera angles to fetishize Lara’s figure and that the Nude Raider patch exists speaks volumes about the goals and aims of Tomb Raider.

Interestingly enough, while the article does address this issue and the fact that there’s a female protagonist in a third person shooter game, the heart of the text is that the 1990s were a period of rapid change int he gaming industry, and that hackers and game companies began to play a more active role in creating codes and various other material to supplement games.

In Representations of Race and Place in Static Shock, King of the Hill, and South Park, the American society and its viewers are examined through cartoons. Static Shock (made by Warner Bros) presents viewers with a limited black superhero who for some reason must seek the advice of his white sidekick in order to actually get things done. The article eventually focuses on the episode “Child’s Play” wherein the black culture is defined through speech, clothing, style, etc, and whites were portrayed as victims of systematic economic pressure. Ultimately what the writer is getting at is that despite the fact that a poc was chosen to the the protagonist of a superhero series (and was even the superhero himself), prominent historical stereotypes¬† and racism still remain for blacks in regards to intelligence, abilities/skills and their impact on America. As for King of the Hill, white racial purity is advocated for and apparently is what the characters strive for, and is a show “about/for hicks and bubbas” as the writer says (I don’t watch this show, so I can’t offer more feedback, and hence why I used a quote here), whereas South Park references and addresses America as a whole by dealing with themes of racism, sexism, etc. It displays the many views of our society via Cartman and other characters such as Chef.

Update 2 on final project



My project is entitled Flowers for a Dying World, and I’ve just finished revising it. The comments I received in class were helpful, and were also along the lines of my thinking as far as what I should and shouldn’t change, how the short animation should be edited, etc.

As far as my sound goes, I put a classical music track to it as I thought it would be best. It wasn’t the song I originally wanted (I was going to use one of Chopin’s but decided not to at the last minute). I do think this stop motion animation turned out well considering it was my first time attempting animation in this area. I am determined to amass more Legos and make a few more brickfilms in the future, so there’s that.

Update 1 on my final animation

I’ve finished my brickfilm and have used monkeyjam to assemble it (what was I thinking, it’s such a crappy program, but it serves its function, so …). I’m in the process of putting the entire short together.

The whole filming process was both difficult and easy. I did the entire thing over the course of two days, working off and on, and I’m satisfied with it for the most part. I’m a 2D and 3D animator, so doing stop-motion was a great experience for me which I do not care to repeat unless I really have to. It’s a live and learn thing. But still, the whole thing was really fun and I had a good time.

Early Japanese anime in the U.S. and Disney, Warner Bros., and Japanese Anime

This week’s readings focused on the history of Japanese animation in the United States, more specifically Astro Boy, Tetsuwan Atomu and a few others such as Robotech, Gigantor, Jungle Taitei, and Pokemon.

I found it interesting that NHK (who is still really huge in the anime and television fields) clashed with NTV over whether or not to use American or European technology and standards.

As was typical of licensed up until about the early 2000s (it might’ve extended longer than this, depending on various factors), Japanese anime was drastically changed to suit Western audiences when dubbing the English version. For example, cultural references were removed. This is pretty bad in my opinion, as many differences can arise from this. Just look at Cardcaptor Sakura’s English and Japanese version. Tomoyo was renamed Madison in English, and Sakura’s older brother Toya was also given a name change and called Tori. This extends to their surnames as well (ugh, Syaoran’s (pronounced shao-ron)name was changed to Showron …). A lot of episodes were completely left out in the English version, and provides a kind of disjointed feel to the overall series.

There was a major difference between Disney, Warner Bros., and Japanese anime philosophy, that also helped shape how various cartoons were created. Warner Bros. approach was pretty much appalling to Disney, as it was unrestrained, going so far as to break the fourth wall and defy logic and the physicality of the cast of characters. More importantly, there was no clear distinction between good and evil, and it showed “terror” that Disney wouldn’t have included in his words except if introduced by an antagonist.

Disney tended to recycle the idea that anything was possible in America so long as people jumped at the opportunities given to them. And that you could do anything with team power. Interestingly enough, despite not wanting to do realism, Disney had his characters portray a wide range of emotion.

As far as the Japanese animation field went, they eliminated cultural and religion references similarly to what America did with their cartoons in order to make the viewing experience relatable(?) to their audiences.


On Full and Limited Animation + Animatophilia

What’s interesting to me in these two readings (Full and Limited Animation, and Animatophilia, Cultural Production and Corporate Interests) is that they discuss more of the business aspects of the animation field. Limited animation was cheaper to produce compared to full animation, and many studios went this route such as United Productions of America (that made Crusader Rabbit and various other cartoons).


Ren & Stimpy for example, became extremely popular due to the fact that it was designed to appeal not only to children, but to adults as well, and was essentially a throwback to earlier cartoons made by MGM, Hanna-Barbera, and other studious. The idea that coffee table books and other goods began to be produced in addition to scholarly texts, helped to meet the growing demands of animatophiles, and elevated the whole concept of animation up to where it is today.

Some of the cartoons we watched this week includes Ren & Stimpy, Astro Boy (the original), Crusader Rabbit, Baby Looney Tunes, Afro Samurai, The Proud Family, Frisky Dingo, and The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.

Going From Snow to Ice Can Be Tricky

From Snow to Ice: A Study of the Progression of Disney Princesses from 1937-2014 was probably my favorite article thus so far in this class. Not only does the writer address the damsels in distress princess protagonists in Disney’s earlier films, but she also points out how this ties into society.

It’s no secret that Disney paints a flowery, pinkish image of what a princess ought to be, and that in turn affect the views of some girls. In the earlier days of Disney, the female protagonists (if they can be called this cough Aurora cough 17 minutes cough) were always dainty, obedient girls who were happy with their lot in life so long as they had a man. That’s fine, there’s nothing wrong with that, but as Davis points out this negatively impacts the viewers (especially girls).

By the time Beauty and the Beast, The Princess and the Frog and Frozen came about, the animation studio had already revamped itself and backed away from the negative portrayals of princesses.

As a fan of Disney who has a niece, I am glad that they’ve started producing movies with strong, independent female leads who have more substance to them. Best of all, the changing views and opinions on what a woman should be in Disney films are having positive influences. For example, in the ever anticipated Kingdom Hearts III, the world of Tangled will be included, as the creators and developers deemed it important to include a world with a strong female character.

Representations of Masculinity in the Simpsons and King of the Hill

Okay, so this reading pertained to the perception of masculinity and its portrayal in The Simpsons and King of the Hill. Rautiola introduced a new concept to me–wait for it– hegemonic masculinity. I knew all of the traits and definitions it represented, I just didn’t know it had this name.

So, what were my thoughts on this article? If I had to choose a husband between Homer and Hank, I’d probably go (reluctantly) with Hank. Why? He’s slightly better than Homer in my opinion.

My second thoughts were that the ideas of masculinity have slowly started to evolve and change, but very slowly. The men int he above animated series are considered the breadwinners, one of which urges his wife to give up her teaching job, if I remember correctly. This also brings me around to my next point: not only does society try to firmly establish the role of males, but women as well.

While sad, it is true in quite a few countries (except for few the areas of the world that have matriarchy, I suppose).

Other(ed) Latinidades Animated Representations of (Latino) Ethnicity and Nation

This article examined the portrayal of Latinos and Latinas in the media since the 1990s. In it, the writer cross examines the popular movie, Happy Feet, The Road to El Dorado, and The Emperor’s New Groove, and really breaks things down.

I’ve never been a fan of the latter films, but I did enjoy HF, and will never think the same way about that movie again. To think that things are it critiques the American society while maintaining it’s appearance as a children’s movie is incredible. There

The Road to El Dorado was probably where the author(s) got to the real meat of the article, and delved into the unabashed racism interjected into media by portraying a whitewashed perception of history, cultures, and the treatment of people.

The Emperor’s New Groove is tackled heavily as well, going so far as to point out the cultural and historical inconsistencies of the movie. The movie suggests a lot that I won’t go into, however, it’s covered in the article.

I do like this reading assignment, as it sheds truth onto the media and on some parts of American culture and perception when it comes to individuals who are not white.