Animation techniques and effects from the classic era. For more vintage movie geekery, check out my Old Hollywood Special Effects, and my Early Color Film Processes posts! (And while you’re at it, take a look at my art blog, why don’t ya?)


Hey here’s my second year film, Goodbye Forever Party! It’s about a person named Lilith and her struggles with her job, mental illnesses and relationships. 

Most of the film is registered cutouts on a multiplane, which means that I would traditionally animate the scenes, cut out each frame but keep it registered to the pegbar, and then layer the pieces of paper on different planes of glass to create an illusion of depth.

This is the hardest I’ve ever worked on anything in my life, most of the animation was completed within the span of 3 months. If you like it, it would mean the world to me if you could share it and/or show it to people! 

Thanks for watching! 


up - Professor Zerbe’s multiplane is attempting to take-off on Dominguez Field, with a gas-filled balloon in flight in the background, Los Angeles, 1910

middle - This photograph depicts the aftermath of Zerbe’s multiplane crash just after it hit a hole on the runway during its take-off attempt. LA, 1910

bottom - View showing two men running toward the “multiplane” after its crash, LA, 1910


hey everyone! here’s my first year film at CalArts… in glorious intentional vhs quality

so this project started out with me trying to convey a vague uneasy feeling ive had for my entire life through a surrealist narrative.. its evolved and changed a lot since then but i think the heart of that is still there

i made most of the film by drawing the characters digitally for each frame, printing each frame out, cutting out each frame and putting the shot together on a multiplane… any shot with the stop motion puppet had to be put together on a stop motion stage…

hope you guys like it! it was an insane amount of work and im so glad to be done…

Popeye Meets Ali Baba’s Forty Thieves was produced while Fleischer competitor Walt Disney was entering the final months of production on his first animated feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It made full use of Fleischer Studios‘s multiplane camera, which they had been experimenting with for some time. Disney had just released The Old Mill, their first 3-D cartoon, and were advertising their upcoming Snow White as multiplanal as well. As such, advertising for “Forty Thieves” accented the fact that it was 3-dimensional. It was released just weeks before the seasonal Los Angeles premiere of Snow White and was essentially the only animated competition for the feature.


Lately I’ve been working on a short multiplane animation about tooth fairies as part of a college project. It was meant to be an opportunity to try new techniques so I opted for the glass multiplane because I love doing everything in-camera! I also really like the idea of having cut-out animation but with extra depth and texture so I used lots of fluffy fabric and textured papers and even a few three-dimensional objects thrown in there too.

I’m hoping to get the last few shots finished this week but in the meantime here are some sneaky peeks of how it’s looking! I’ve included a horrendously blurry photo of the setup so you can see how the different elements are separated. I had three layers in total so I was able to animate the eyes and mouths without disturbing anything underneath. The camera is suspended above the whole thing and hooked up to Dragonframe (a terrific software program for stop motion animation) so I get a better view of how everything is looking. 

Just for fun, and to make the bad fairies look extra scary, I also tried to incorporate some UV lighting. For the shot in the first picture, I used glow in the dark paint for the evil fairy’s teeth and then blasted it with a UV torch before quickly grabbing each frame. The paint is charged briefly by the UV light and glows just long enough to grab the frame!


The Innovations of Fleischer Studios  

Besides changing the face of animation by bringing the world the invention of the Rotoscope, as well as the concept and animation technique of “Follow the Bouncing Ball” sing-alongs, Max Fleischer and his studio also pioneered a revolutionary technique in animation, known as the “Stereoptical Process”.

In this process, a circular, 3-D model of a background - a diorama - is built to the scale of the animation cells.  It allowed for a spectacular sense of depth and dimension, long before Ub Iwerks came up with the Multiplane.   Within the model setup, the animation cells could be placed at varying levels from the scenery, and even between objects, so that foreground elements could pass in front of them, adding to the dimensional effect.  It was an effective method for panning and tracking shots, which would require a turn of the table with each photographed cell of animation.

The process was used in many of the studio’s cartoons, particularly in their longer, “two-reel” shorts, such as Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor (1936), Popeye the Sailor Meets Ali Baba’s Forty Thieves (1937), and Betty Boop in Poor Cinderella (1934) - the only color (albeit in two-strip Cinecolor), theatrical cartoon ever made starring the iconic animated songstress, which features her as a redhead!

ottenebrare  asked:

Do you have any tips on backgrounds? Yours are so stunning! (ʃƪ ˘ ³˘) ・*♡

OH gosh, well a good place to start would be these:

using focal plane for the illusion of space

background tutorial from Over the Garden Wall

Another thing that got me started on thinking of depth within a flat space was this aftereffects tutorial.  DEFINITELY look around their website, they have lots of free tutorials, they’re the same people who did the VFX for the holograms in SW:TFA, and a lot of their effects cant really be applied if you dont have aftereffects and their plug-ins, but their method of thinking can(which is more important). Their attention to detail is exquisite, if a bit dry to listen to.  

A lot of their work is creating the illusion of something that doesn’t exist in as a realistic manner as possible, and that means of thinking in a 3D space, anticipating motion, wind, lighting effects, and how all of this affects not only your area of focus, but the area surrounding it.  They think in terms of how an 3d object is presented in a 2d space and how the eye is drawn around the picture. Yeah their technology is expensive, and you probably don’t have it either, but their basics are super solid and they usually have tips that can be applied to all types of digital art. Its a good look into how the pros do it. It isnt strictly background work, but it all definitely applies when youre thinking of constructing a background that interacts with your character properly

But if you want example of how I do it, Ill put in under a cut:

Keep reading


Really really honored to have done the Google Doodle today for one of my animation heroes Lotte Reiniger! She made the oldest surviving feature length animation, and created the predecessor to the multiplane camera, predating disney. Her films still hold up as extremely beautiful and witty fairy tales.

I’m really thankful to my team, who trusted me when I said I was going to build my own rig and puppets and film a 90 second short in a few months. 

Check it out [here] if you have a minute! 

anonymous asked:

which program do you find the most comfortable for animation? photoshop toon boom or tvpaint? also which one do you use at uni/ is used in the industry?

I’ve never used tvpaint but I’ve heard awesome things about it! From what I’ve heard it’s trying to kinda emulate paper animation?

Between toon boom and photoshop toon boom is definitely more convenient for animation bc that’s what it was built for. It has tweening, camera, multiplaning n stuff as well as x sheets and better onion skinning etc. Its a big program used in the industry so it has lotsa stuff

Photoshop is definitely not built for animation and you kinda need to know your way around the program to make animation more bareable but I still like animating in it and it’s totally possible! Some things are just a bit more straight forward in photoshop in comparison to toon boom, but I think that’s purely just bc I have more photoshop experience

I use toon boom at uni and it’s used a lot in the industry but I don’t think it’s the same everywhere O:

tel-stories-blog  asked:

tel-stories-blog asked: Doesn't Magic Origins set a good precedent for a set set on multiple planes?Magic Origins caused all sorts of internal strains, so nit a great precedent from our side. I was only thinking of the audience side of things, I can see why a multiplane set might be difficult on the creative side. Still though doesn't Magic Origins at least show that the audience can handle "screen wipe to other plane" cards?

The issue has always been more on our side creating it than on your side enjoying it.