Toonboom Aquires Animo
January 18, 2009
For many years, I've been using the software Animo for most of my animation projects. My short film, Prelude to Eden, was the first to test Animo at film resolution and output to 35mm. My friend Jon Hooper and I were instrumental in the early development phase of the software, writing long reports on how the interface should be laid out and what tools should be created so that the software would be attractive to animation companies. I did a couple of stints in Cambridge, UK where I worked with the developers and programmers to help them perfect the software. Being one of the first Animo experts, I demonstrated the software to many companies including Warner Bros and Dreamworks. Early on, I was given a lifetime license to thank me for all my services.
A few weeks ago, when I heard that Animo might be in trouble, I hoped for the best. This week, I learned that ToonBoom, one of the prime 2D animation software companies, bought Animo. I'm extensively using Animo in my upcoming animated projects and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Toonboom will keep providing proper support and upgrades. I hope to be using Animo for many more years to come. Read the press release here.
Fan Art Wood Work
January 9, 2009
Fans have sent me interpretations of my ideas in all sorts of media, but this is a first. This cute wood diorama inspired by this image, was emailed to me by Art Bellen:
Dear Mr. Michel Gagné,
I had the good fortune to read your blog and be entertained by your art and writing. I teach mathematics and I am cautious to not copy the original work of others, but when referenced, feel obligated to site any sources. I previewed your fan art section and decided to integrate your art form with some wood work.
I worked with veneer's, (no paints were used) to generate the work illustrated in the attached photos. Please fill free to comment and critique. The woods are dyed white/black/green/yellow and includes some English maple.
I've been taking advantage of the Holiday season to get rolling on the last chapter of The Saga of Rex which will be featured in the upcoming "Flight Volume 6". My deadline is January 12th and I still have quite a few more pages to complete - I really need to buckle up and get my butt in gear. I'm excited about this particular installment as this will wrap up the saga in what I hope to be a spectacular fashion. The final chapter will clock in at 40+ pages!
Then, I'll start tackling the movie... but let's not get ahead of ourselves for now.
December 25, 2008
December 18, 2008
BliNet.org is a non-profit organization fighting the idea of expanding the Bellingham airport for bigger jets. People can fly internationaly from either Vancouver, BC or Seattle, WA which are both less than two hours away from Bellingham, so there's really no need for such expansion. The drawbacks, such as pollution, noise and wildlife disturbance seem to far outweight the pros. I was delighted to be commissioned to do an illustration for the cause.
Click for larger view.
"On a New York-to-Denver flight, a commercial jet would generate 840 to 1,660 pounds of carbon dioxide per passenger. That's about what an SUV generates in a month." - USA TODAY 12/19/2006
Wholesale for US Customers
December 11, 2008
In the past weeks, we've received many emails and phone calls from retailers telling us how difficult it is for them to get our books through the regular distribution channels. The problem is this: our distributor, Diamond, is no longer keeping an inventory of our titles. They let back orders accumulate, and once those back orders reach a certain level, they place an order with us to fill the demand. The delays are multiplied since many of our wholesalers (Ingram, Baker and Taylor etc.) depend on Diamond to supply them.
Therefore, we've decided to set up an easy way for our US customers to order wholesale from us, with discounts ranging from 50% to 70% off the cover price. We charge a fixed shipping rate of $4.00 per order, no matter how much you buy. Sounds like a deal? Check it out here.
December 7, 2008
I was recently interviewed by Conch on his radio show "Words and Pictures". I enjoyed meeting Conch, but for some reason I had a very hard time concentrating. We had to start the interview over three times. I've been hesitant about posting a link to the archived interview because I thought I made a fool of myself.
A few days ago, my friend Joe told me he heard the interview and he thought it was very good. He told me that I shouldn't be embarassed to post it on my site. My beloved wife Nancy also approved. So there!
November 30, 2008
For years, people have been asking me about a good book on special effects animation and I've never been able to recommend one.
This is about to change.
My friend, Joe Gilland, has written and illustrated a phenomenal manuscript on the subject. The book is called Elemental Magic: The Classical Art of Hand Drawn Animation and it will be published by Focal Press this coming March.
Joe sent me a PDF mock up a few weeks ago and I thought it was fantastic. I can assure everyone that this will be a "must have" reference for animation students and those interested in the art. The book will feature step by step demonstrations covering all the main categories: liquids, fire, smoke, explosions, magic, transformations, and spiritual entities. In addition to Joe's art, the book will display photographs, diagrams and artwork from various artists in the field. I was honored that Joe used several of my illustrations, designs and film frames. He also asked me to write the foreword.
The last sentence of my foreword is:
"I hope that the wealth of knowledge and gorgeous artwork contained in these pages will ignite passion within the hearts of young animators, and will encourage a whole new generation to carry on the swirling, smoking and sparkling torch of classical effects animation."
And because of it, Joe asked me to draw a "swirling, smoking and sparkling torch of classical effects animation" to go with the text as a signature piece. This is what I gave him:
Click for larger view.
Prelude to Eden on Family Guy
November 24, 2008
In the "Road to Germany" episode of The Family Guy, a familiar looking piece of FX design is seen when a time-machine materializes. Check out this link and skip to 4:16. Then, check out the beginning of my short film, Prelude to Eden.
-Thanks to Kenny for the link.