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Archive for April, 2007

Pixar – 20 Years of Animation

Caught this exhibition at the Chamber Street Museum on Sunday.    I think that we are now supposed to call it the National Museums of Scotland – have they ditched the Royal title?

The exhibition was pretty crowded, and featured lots of Pixar artwork, with explanations about how characters are developed, and stories storyboarded.    I can’t say I’ve seen many Pixar films:  I did not like Toy Story, but liked The Incredibles, and might have enjoyed this more if I had seen more of the films.   I was hoping to learn much more about the actual process of animation – how the characters are made to move, how the voices are chosen, how the backgrounds work and so on.

Pixar clearly have moved animation on to a different plane, but I wanted to know more.    I am a big fan of animation, particularly films that address serious subjects, as you can often say things there that would be simply impossible  using natural photography.     Clever though Pixar are, I think I actually prefer the attractiveness and childlike quality of simpler techniques.

Best thing in the exhibition was the Toy Story Zoetrope – a revolving sort of merry-go-round of animated characters which go faster and faster until they are a blurry whirl.   A strobe light is then turned on and the whole thing animates.   It was great to just stand and hear the gasps of astonishment from the crowd.

Probably worth it if you are a Pixar fan.   If you want more, this is a bit disappointing.

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What has happened to the oak trees this year?    Round here, they are already bursting into leaf.   That’s ahead of the beeches and of course, the ash.     And it is before the swallows have arrived.    It is really unusual, as oak usually comes into leaf in May. 

As the saying goes:

“If the oak flowers before the ash, then be ready for a splash;    if the ash flowers before the oak, then get ready for a soak”.

We must be in for a really scorching summer then.

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