Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Happy 75th Birthday Dick!

It's also Atlanta Green's birthday. Atlanta supervised the checking department on the Thief.
Happy Birthday Atlanta!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Write about your own work!

I hope the blog will feature more posts like the ones that Andreas posted yesterday. I would be happy to add more of our former colleagues as contributors. The more people write about their own work or share some anecdotes the better. I would like to invite and encourage my former colleagues to join in. Send me an email if you are interested. Check my profile for my address. If you want you can write just one post and I could post it for you as a guest post or if you would like to contribute more often we could talk about adding you as a contributor to the blog and you could do your own posts.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


I forgot to include these frames in the last post, but they work here quite well too. Dick decided that Zig Zag would have a handy,little tool that would extend to be whatever was needed in that scene. A telescopic gizmo, that became a fly swatter in this scene. that was fun to animate. Less fun was drawing his six fingered hands with a multitude of rings on every joint, that all needed to be color coded for ink and paint.

In the final scene in this sequence, the iZIGZAG device was to become a torture instrument that would poke each of the courtiers in the nose. I had a lot of fun on this scene , trying to come up with different expressions for those guys. By that time, I was quite good at drawing them in different ways and the design took on a bit of my own flavour, as well.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Here, Phido!

Here are some scenes featuring Phido, Zig Zag's sleepy vulture.They follow Michael Schlingmann's amazing rotating tower and are the biggest chunk of consequential scenes I got to animate on the movie. The sequence finds a flying Phido in the night sky and follows him into Zig Zag's tower. Dick made very clean layout poses of this scene, so the main keys were pretty much done.It was all about breaking the scene down and getting the timing right. Also, as does his master, Phido has an extra joint in his wings (try folding those things convincingly). Keeping the feathers in the proper place and holding the volumes steady, were probably the most challenging aspects of this scene.

The second scene picks Phido up from inside Zig Zag's tower, flying through the window, skeetering down a long table filled with debris and slamming into Zig Zag, who unfolds a fly catcher and smacks him. Dick wanted the feeling of a big plane landing, impressive wings spread,approaching on the runway, then a stumble and a slapstick slide. It took me a few tries at timing the beginning of the scene, slowing Phido down several times to give him a grand and elegant feeling and give the room the proper dimensions.This was also the first time I was allowed to animate Zig Zag.This scene was fairly complicated and today I would be able to get better acting into my animation, but the sheer complexity and line mileage made me play it rather safer than I should have. Dick was very helpful giving me pointers on pushing certain drawings, like the impact between Phido and Zig Zag, or the long, extended leg, when Phido hops onto the globe.Something I use to this day.My thanks to Tzveta, who animated all the flying debris on the table.

The last scene was a very short close up of Phido , that took me more tries than it should have. I claim inexperience. Dick wanted a very staccato move, the way birds move their heads in nature. Had I known a bit more about spacing then, it may have been quicker .Vladimir Shomov ,one of the Bulgarian animators , assisted me at that time. We had a few disagreements when I asked him to animate the secondary action of the tassel on Phido's hat.I remember being somewhat belligerent and think this had to do with my own insecurity. Over the years, working with so many talented animators ( like the enormously generous Eric Goldberg), I would handle it quite differently now. I blame youth.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Photo ScrapBook Part 5

Not much time to post these days. Here just a few more photos:

Dean Roberts, Michael Schlingmann, Tim Watts and Simon Downes

Christmas Party 1990 in the I&P building. Margarte Grieve, Dick, Venelin Veltchev, Tzvetomira Nikolova. With the last two I made my best guess, please correct me if I got it wrong.

The same Christmas Party, Dick brought his friends, the "Dick's Six" and they played Jazz for us all night. One member of the band might also be the composer of the score for the Thief. At least I sort of remember Dick convincing one of his Jazz friends to do the score, despite the person being very hesitant about it, claiming his lack of experience with film scores. The second guy from the left, Malcolm Harrison also worked as a BG painter on the "Thief". If I remember it correctly this also was the night that Dick discovered Andreas' dancing talents which consequently led to Andreas being cast on the Courtiers.

David Byers-Brown

Break on the fire escape. Clockwise from top: Tara Donovan, Steve Evangelatos, Simon Downes, Gary Dunn, Michael Schlingmann , Sharon Smith

Juergen Gross and Judy Howieson