2013 Oscar-Nominated Animated Shorts

With the recent Academy Awards ceremony last weekend, I thought it would be a good idea to list some of the nominations in the ‘Best Animated Short Film’ category. There were some good shorts this year and certainly deserving of the recognition given to them.

1. The first short that I feel should be mentioned, and the one that I feel most strongly about, is “Paperman” by Disney Animation. This wonderful, stylized short about a chance meeting of an office worker and a woman is a clear winner in my opinion. Not only does it have great animation, story, and charm, but it also uses new technical developments to give it its hybrid 2D/3D look. A brief history of other winners in this category will show that technology does play a part in the consideration for a film.

2. The next film in this list is “Adam and Dog.” A great short about the world’s first man and his first best friend, rendered in traditional 2D animation. The style of this film is perhaps my favorite out of all the nominees, and the story is also quite interesting. Further, I would be remiss if I did not mention the involvement of legendary Disney animator Glen Keane.

3. This past year has certainly seemed to be the year for stop-motion animation, and “Head Over Heels” is a fantastic example of the genre. It centers on an elderly couple¬† who are living in the same house, but separated from each other, one living on the floor and the other on the ceiling. For being a student film, I find this film to be full of quirky charm, good storytelling, and solid animation. Also, there is just something memorable about the story points, whether it’s the man giving his wife a gift or him hanging upside down from his chair.

4. Fresh Guacamole is another stop-motion film from the studio PES. This short has a really unique concept, a person preparing a bowl of food. The animation uses pixilation for the person (who we only see his or her arms) who chops up various objects, turning them into other objects, such as dice. One of the most original animations that I have seen in some time.

5. The final film in this list is Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare.” I can’t say that I have ever been a Simpsons fan and do not appreciate the crude humor in the show. However, I was rather pleased with this short overall.

The film is about toddler Maggie Simpson who is dropped off at a miserable-looking daycare center and has to avoid a bully intent on crushing the one beautiful thing in the daycare, a blue butterfly. The pacing is good and has solid story points. “The Longest Daycare” is well-done and a fine animation.



Broken Reality Project

Broken Reality is a new short film that I am working on for my senior animation project at Huntington University. It uses a mix of live-action and animation to create the film’s visuals. The film opens with two thieves breaking into a futuristic computer facility and hacking into one of the computers. They succeed, but are spotted in the process and must escape while being chased by robot guards. It climaxes with a confrontation between human responsible for setting off the alarm and his robots and the two thieves.

The CG elements in the film will mainly consist of set extensions to enhance the exterior environments (buildings, trees, etc.), 3D modeled and rigged robots, screen replacements, and fully CG interiors. Most of the 3D work will be completed in Blender, while also using Maya, Photoshop, and After Effects.

The target date for completion of Broken Reality is May 2012. The work will be done primarily by myself with some assistance from fellow 3D artist James Clugston. Because of the small team and the complexity of the effects work, the full film has been broken down into approximately 7 shots. This should allow for a high level of quality to be achieved.


View the official film blog here.