Beaky Animation

I’M JUST STARTING to get familiar with a new version of Photoshop and I’m pleased to find that simple animation seems a lot easier than it did with my old version, Photoshop 7, where you had to jump to another program, Image Ready, to save your work as a GIF.

Here’s a first try. Annoyingly repetitive but at least it shows that I’ve understood the basics.


Looking towards the M62 from Starbuck's, Birstall.

There’s a chance to see a sample of the work of the next generation of animators at the cinema today in a short promotional film about the Red Bull Canimation competition. Every entry must prominently feature a can of Red Bull. It doesn’t sound like the most subtle form of product placement but the student animations look suitably impressive.

But I now know why I never made it in the animation world; I just don’t look cool enough, like the young hopefuls in this promo. The other essential is to have a film crew with you – whether you’re wandering in the backwoods or walking along the dreary terraced streets of your hometown – to capture the moment when that surprise call comes to inform you that you’ve made it onto the shortlist.

I like the scene where one young chap runs into the house, phone in hand, gasping excitedly ‘Mum! Dad! I’m going to London!’

Link: Canimation – these competition entries make you feel you don’t always need a Pixar-sized studio behind you to produce a presentable animation. I’ve got a long way to go though.

Game of Shadows

It’s good to see so much illustration in the work of these animators, in some of the advertisements and trailers and in the film we’ve come to see, Sherlock Holmes, A Game of Shadows. The clues to the mystery include a series of charcoal sketches on a very specific type of paper, as you’d expect in a Sherlock Holmes story, and the closing credits include 1890s Strand Magazine style versions of characters and scenes from the movie.

In one scene we see some of the hundreds of details that Sherlock observes as he scans a room, looking for a vital clue.

‘What do you see?’ asks his female companion.

‘I see everything . . . that is my curse!’

It’s such a good line that I feel Conan Doyle himself would have been pleased to come up with it, but I don’t remember it from the stories. It does show that Holmes would have made a good illustrator (like Conan Doyle’s father, grandfather and two of his uncles). In The Greek Interpreter Sherlock claims that he is related, through his grandmother, to the Vernets, a family of French painters.

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