Thursday, October 21, 2010


So something i haven't talked about at all: I have begun to teach an online course for the Academy of Art University down in San Francisco. The AAU has a long distinguished history of offering art instruction and training for the illustration, animation and other visual arts.
I got a call over a year ago from one of my old disney buddies, Dave Nethery, who had been with the Feature unit in Orlando, Florida. The AAU was expanding and wanted to offer online training in animation as well as the classes available on campus. They wanted a course to teach 2D layout.
An almost extinct career, but one with a distinguished past, so why not?
So began a long process of first building the course, which involved writing and sorting out a course outline, a ton of research, and the creation of visual material to support it. At first I thought it would be a side line and not take so long, but it turned out to take almost all my time all last summer of 2009. It was a chance to come up with a course of study that would include all the things I think are important to the layout process, including the history of motion pictures (remember film and projectors?)
After a sumer and fall of putting it together, working with the editors and tech guys who were formatting it for the on line experience, the course has gone out thereand i am in the middle of a semester of teaching it.
It's 15 modules, that is weeks, each module consists of about 12 t0 20 sessions, or pages, that deal with some point concerning layout. There is lots of multi media: still images presented with the text. slideshows that demonstrate a process, I even went down to SF and sat in a TV studio while I demo'd a whole slew of How Tos which were filmed and turned into video tutorials. That was rather fun, although I was nervous and it shows when you watch them.

It'll be interesting to see where it all goes.

I'll provide more details here as things go ... .

Monday, October 18, 2010


Hey, out there, how do you bring a draft post that were working on, forward in time so it's at the top? (please look down below for post on Teaching online for Academy of Art University.)
Above - a screen grab of a page as it appears online. )

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Duellists, Part Two- Next Time, D'Hubert!

Hey, i got some action from that last post and showed the stills in layout class this week, so I want to rave about it a bit more...
Scott had directed a lot of commercials up to this point, including the landmark Apple spot, "1984".
There is some good material about the shoot on the DVD release.
Of course this was before digital post (1977), so much of the sumptuous cinematography was done in camera. He used alot of graduated filters to get the dark skies and in a couple of pan shots you can see the sky move but not the filter area. But overall the lighting and and so on is gorgeous, as are the composition of the shots. Kubrick's "Barry Lyndon" kind of paved the way.
And then he (Scott) went on to his next feature, "Alien", which just changed the face of movies.
But I have soft spot for The Duellists , one of those small pictures that have alot of heart despite the non slickness.
The other thing about this pic is the spot on authenticity of the costumes, uniforms, weapons, etc. He never did that so well again, not in Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven and especially not Robin Hood, which has some real howlers. Why does this happen? my theory: the more stature, the bigger the ego, the less you listen to the experts.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Ridley's Best Film

The Duellists, made in 1977, Ridley Scott's first feature, and still his best.
Amazing compositions.
This may be a page for the book, although I 'm not sure about permissions.