Viewing entries tagged with 'storytelling'

Guano in 3D

A couple of excerpts from a rare interview (MP3 file, 32 minutes) with independent animator Don Hertzfeldt ( on Scene Unseen Podcast.

Don Hertzfeldt on progress:

"I feel like I'm constantly learning and I think that's the key to keep making new stuff because I think the moment you think you know everything you kind of turn into an asshole and I would think the process is not as much fun any more."

Don Hertzfeldt on Computer Graphics (CG) and traditional animation:

"First of all I don't want to sound anti CG because I'm not. It's just an amazing set of tools. The cool thing about animation is you can literally do anything. It's technically speaking the purest form of film-making because you are literally working one frame at a time, sometimes working with your hands on every single frame of the picture. So you're free to do anything. Anything you can imagine you can put on film which you can never do in live action. So it's just really stupid and ironic to me that with all this amazing new technology here we can push the boundaries of cinema, we can change the language of cinema – they're trying to just get towards photo realism.

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The Right Number

Scott McCloud - The Wrong Number

Chrome is the new browser developed by Google. I just tried it and well, it's really fast. It also promises to be very secure and to have a good memory usage/garbage collection model and to be better equipped for up-to-date web applications using Javascript and Ajax (such as Google Mail).

A very good (yet still very geeky) introduction to the Chrome browser was done in comic book form by Scott McCloud, better known for his awesome comic books Understanding ComicsReinventing Comics and Making Comics. I read the first two, the last one is now on my list of books to read. He also made some online comics, based on his own suggestions in Reinventing Comics about using comics in a different medium in an appropriate way. The Right Number looks pretty good.

Shady Art from a Sunny Place

Gosh, if you are having a great time right now but you would rather be slightly depressed then go and see one of the Van Morsel/Wiseguy Productions animations. It's very interesting animated art with amazing dialogue. It sounds like audio recordings inspired by automatic writing and one wonders from what depths of the writer's unconscious it comes from. Interesting, yet deeply disturbing.

I am lucky enough to know the artist – but I won't blow his cover here. Let me just say that he lives in a town called Nelson, the most sunny place in all of New Zealand. His art can probably be best described as the opposite.

As a start I recommend Rook but there are heaps of other yet unpublished animations by Van Morsel which I hope will be available some time on YouTube or elsewhere.

The Hero with a Thousand Faces

Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces was the most interesting non-fiction book that I have read in a long time – if not in all time. I can understand that it is often described as one of the most influential works of the 20th century. The book was first published in 1949. Campbell (1904 - 1987), a scholar who spent his life studying mythology of different cultures, reveals in this book of comparative mythology what he calls the monomyth. This, in blunt terms, is a common pattern or structure of all myths and stories regardless of their cultural background, based on what Jung would call the collective unconscious.

A big part of the book attends to the Hero's Journey, the said common story structure, i.e. the call to adventure, the refusal of the call, initiation, thresholds, the road of trials, the return, and a lot more that may happen in one form or another during the hero's adventure.

But this is not merely a book about structure, it is a book about the transformation of the hero, the role of mythology as a vehicle to understand life and to create value for self and society, the task of gods as icons to "transport the mind and spirit, not up to, but past them, into the yonder void" (p. 180); it is about the often underestimated or even ignored power of the unconsciousness, and how all of this can serve us today not as in opposition to modern life and science but as a precious and often forgotten enrichment to everyday life.

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Spending some part of my last two weekends I finally managed to bring my diploma thesis online. It's a »Manual for Story and Character Development with a Guideline for the Realization as Animation«.

It's quite large (the book has 200 pages) and some people asked me to publish it. So I thought a online version might help to get it a bit more public. Maybe it's of some use for you.

Now having made your mouth water here comes the drawback: It's in German only. (Sorry.)

So for those of you who speak German, take a look at

For those of you who speak html, the code is absolutely pure and clean W3C-conform.


Magister Nugob


Now comes to an end what started about four years ago: On Wednesday, September 22nd 2004, I had my final exam at uni, that is the presentation of my diploma thesis, it´s plea and the two courses »Human Machine Interface« and »Project Management«.

My diploma thesis is called »RALPH«. To be more precise, it is a »Manual for Character and Story Development with a Guideline for the Realization as Animation«. The bad news: it´s only in German. You can download RALPH in a printerfriendly version (low-res pictures only to keep the filesize at handy 1.3 MB).

That´s all for now, although I really have to update this page. So much happened: What about the wedding of Yuki and me? My holiday in Tokyo? My latest animation? My conclusion of four years of studies in Austria and Australia? What will happen next? All those questions will be answered soon, but I don´t have the time right now.

Stay tuned.


I decided to add a books section to So far it´s just plain and simple. To be precise: it´s so simple that you´ll only find one book there at the moment. »The Comic Toolbox« by John Vorhaus (thanks Tim for this excellent tip). This section will only grow slowly because I want to offer a bit more information than just the titles.

I wonder if my menue does not become a bit too complex or, more to the point: "unreadable". The menue typo really wouldn´t win the first price (of any contest ever), but somehow it´s kind of unique. I know it´s not a question of vital importance these days but if you like just let me know if this one works or if the thing in the upper left of this page is just a graphic display error to you.

Computers are Useless, They Just Give Answers.

That´s a graffito on a wall in Melbourne. And the most important thing I learnt here in my semester abroad in Melbourne so far. Computers are a tool to realize ideas, but not to develop them. It´s as simple as that. However, it´s the main problem of in the first place multimedia students and also of people working in other fields. The approach of assignments is completely different here. Whilst at the FH Vorarlberg in Austria most of the students started to work on the computer at once, here at RMIT in Melbourne the computer enters the stage at a very late moment. I don´t say that the Austrian uni is that bad at all (it is not), but the kind of understanding multimedia work is obvious: on the one hand the technical equipment is really great, on the other hand there is not offered a drawing course to improve (or even get into) drawing scetches. There is nothing that´s worth more in developing ideas than to roughly (and quickly) bring it to paper. Technique is more important than ideas? This is wrong. It makes us to people who just do their jobs without thinking about it. The modern assembly line designer.
What´s worth more? A perfect 3d animation with a lousy idea or a simple scetch people can laugh about? Final Fantasy or Gary Larson? Without a good idea it´s not worth to start a work. You might love your photorealistic scenery, the audience doesn´t give a shit on the technique if you bore them. And THEY are right.

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