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Cigarette Break

It’s becoming a tradition for us to have a Christmassy collaboration with Pete Styles. This year he’s brought some life to an old GIF Ross Butter and I made for Skwigly. Merry Christmas, and may you get as much quality time with your loved ones as Santa and Rudolf are getting.

Interview with Bar Shorts


Bar Short Interview

Gregory Is A Dancer recently screened at Bar Shorts, run by Chris Shepherd and 12foot6. By all accounts (Ian’s) it went down a treat, and as a result Bar Shorts decided to do a little interview with us. You can read the results on Bar Shorts’ blog:

Here’s a pic of Ian and Chris Shepherd ‘on stage’ with Imogen Woolley and Matt King.

Bar Shorts with Chris Shepherd

The image is taken from the promo video for event, which was filmed by Nich Kelleher.


Scourge of the Smirk

There’s been enough chat about the creep of Californian Animation Smirk Disease, but each new film that comes out of the system winds me up that little bit more.

It’s only a matter of time before it contaminates unwitting British intellectual property.

Mr Benn: Bigger and Benner


Merry Sproutmas!

Here’s a little video for everyone who’s farting out the last of their Christmas leftovers.

… and a merry GIFmas one and all.

Animation and Sound

A long time ago (2009-2010?) Dave Allen from Animation Forum WM asked me to throw in my two pence worth for an article in Imagine Magazine about the relationship between animation and sound. So I thought I might as well share out those two pence before they disappear into the ether.

AFWM – Why do you think animation works so well with music?

Animation lets you do absolutely anything you want, so when it comes to interpreting/accompanying some music you’re limitless. Animation obviously isn’t real-life either, so when people watch it they’re more willing to suspend their disbelief, meaning you can push the boundaries of ‘weird’ or ‘unusual’ a lot more than with live action. Animation can also be used to create purely abstract interpretations of music which can capture the essence of the music in a much more interesting way than more literal imagery can sometimes.

AFWM – What are your all-time favourite animated music videos?

Bit of overload with the choices here but I’m quite indecisive… I think.


A Colour Box (dir. Len Lye, 1935)

For historical context.


Coffee & TV – Blur, (dir. Hammer & Tongs)

It takes the song and makes it a soundtrack to its own story. Funny too.


Most of Chad VanGaalen’s videos

Trippy madness, being a good example of how far you can push taste with animation.


Let Forever Be – Chemical Brothers (dir. Michael Gondry)

More effects based, but it twists your brain trying to work out how it was done.


The White Stripes – Fell In Love With A Girl, (dir. Michael Gondry)

Doing stuff no-one would have the balls to do with Lego, although there is some CGI cheating in there. Also shows you don’t need any structure, story or literal interpretation to pull off a video when you’ve got some music to hold it together.


Feel Good Inc. – Gorillaz (dir. Jamie Hewlett)

Best and most animated examples of the Gorillaz’s videos.


Sledgehammer – Peter Gabriel (dir. Stephen R. Johnson)

Not really a favourite, but that video took some pulling off.


AFWM – How dependent is your animation on having a good quality soundtrack?

Just about any animation could do with some sound, even if it’s just the atmosphere of an empty room or the rustle of clothes. Sound adds extra information to what you’re watching. You don’t NEED sound for an animation to be good, it just makes making an impression a lot harder. On the flip side, if you have bad sound you’ll potentially ruin all the hard work of the animation. I’ve seen lots of work where that’s happened and it’s just a shame. It makes the animation unwatchable.

In terms of music, I try to make the physical acting do most of the work. Inappropriate music, or even any music can interfere with that acting and make it not as strong. But nearly every animator has had times where a character doesn’t move a pixel for over 5 seconds. Without any sound, that’d just be a picture. With sound it’s an emotion, an event or a story. The same applies to abstract animation. The music gives you extra information to bind everything you see together.

There we go. There’s been a been a huge amount of videos made since that I love and there’s many more live action music videos I love too. Check out Adam Buxton’s BUG round up for more awesome moments in music video history. For any more videos we like, head over to our YouTube Channel or Tumblr.

Aha! Here’s a bonus Take on Me with added literal interpretation lyrics:



Annecy Round up

It’s been over a week since I got back from my first trip to Annecy and I’m still feeling a little topsy-turvy. By all accounts this happens to most people and that’s exactly why I forced myself along to possibly the world’s best animation gathering.

One of the best parts of the Festival was bumping into so many people from the animation industry who I’ve known for ages but have never actually met in real life. This was particularly easy to do in a tiny medieval town playing host to a relatively small industry of enthusiastic obsessives. The serendipitous fun was also fuelled by manic screenings, friendly hangout areas, private parties, pedalos, delicious food, wine, and occasional blasts of sunshine.

Thanks to Jess Ashman I found myself as part of a Scottish stronghold with Elaine McElroy from Red Kite, and fellow ECA alumni, Hazel Leszczynska and Will ‘Festival Smasher’ Anderson. Another highlight included accidentally having lunch with Peter Lord, Peter Peake (who had Pythagasaurus in competition), Sara Barbas and Rumpus‘ Joe Wood (Even if it did cost me a screening of Secret Fort Mount Awesome). It was also a pleasure hanging out with Anna Humphries and Gena Buto.

It’s difficult not to be gushing when this was the setting:


This year the focus was on Irish animation, which meant I was introduced to jaw-achingly good An Inside Job made by Aidan Hickey in 1987. I’ve kept the image from the programme as a motivational poster for when I’m brushing my teeth.

The film I was most looking forward to was the felt oddity, Oh Willy… by Emma De Swaef and Marc James Roels. It stood up to my expectations:

Étude is Ania Hazel Leszczynska‘s SECOND graduation film. It’s funny, beautiful and has some of the best character animation and set ups I’ve seen from multiplane animation.

The Making Of Longbird by Will Anderson won Best Graduation Film and is scooping up prizes around the world. That man’s going to go far:

Extracto de Lagrima by former Gobelins and CalArts alumni, and now Pixar animator, Carlo Vogele. Here’s him talking about the trials making a dead fish sing.

Tram by Michaela Pavlátová was the big winner of the festival, despite her protests otherwise.

And finally, this wasn’t the first or last Gimp on a leash I saw in Annecy. Maybe there was a convention. Also, why is that man with the sunglasses buried up to his neck? His girlfriend looks worried. Too many questions.



Merry Spookmas

Here’s Dracula forgetting he’s got a garlic allergy.

Guess The Celebrity – Boat… Alan?

Guess The Celebrity‘s back!

First one right gets the obligatory prime slice of Cadbury Cream Egg.

Raquel Squelch

I Hexagon Blockbusters

Here’s a little something for all the people who think Only Connect is a bit too highbrow and doesn’t have enough Bob Holness.

Here it is modelled in it’s presumed environment.