Animation Archive

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    ‘Tis the mating season! Let us breed! Summer is HOT, and not just in terms of the weather. Everyone looks great in summer with their shiny hair, tanned skin and lack of layers – people you didn’t look twice at in winter are now incredibly alluring, which is why there are so many babies born in winter. Seed Animation Studio are in on this notion, and have made a somewhat steamy little animation entitled Cream Tease – a scintillating series of moving images that lead up to a summer twist to cool you off before you pop. If this was an actual film it probably wouldn’t be allowed on It’s Nice That, hence the beauty of animation. Nice one Seed Studio, phew!

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    I’d venture to say that there are few things better than when a fresh new graduate who you’d imagined was bumbling around in the wasteland that usually follows the end of a degree at art school, suddenly presents an incredible piece of work. You’d assumed they were slugging back Bacardi Breezers and sleeping on their mum’s sofa, when the whole time they were actually grafting away on a project to make your eyes widen and your mouth drool.

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    Being neither a rapper nor an illustrator I can’t be sure, but I imagine that when a hiphop artist comes to you asking you to make a video for his new song Superfuck it could go one of several ways. Rest assured that illustrator and animator Ewen Farr chose the absolute best one when he decided to make a joyfully lo-fi felt-tip animation playing on the song’s ludicrously filthy sexy workout themes. It’s colourful, cheeky, and it’s delivered with a great big dirty wink, and you have to admire his dedication to a concept that must have taken a lot of man hours to complete.

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    There’s nothing fishy about Thomas Traum’s films. Apart from all the fish. These five animations made for Kenzo’s Spring/Summer 2014 collection are oozing cool. Taking ten patterns from this season and riffing on its Pacific coast theme, the German designer has reminded us why we once called films “motion pictures.” The way these prints are made to move and the manner in which he has magicked up a story from a pattern is exactly what is interesting about the films. His animated illustrations whirl you along with the waves and through the water, past palm fronds swaying in the breeze, flocks of wiggling fish and almost imperceptible little surfboards. It’s simple, yet mesmerising.

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    If the sole intention of animation was to create visuals nothing short of magical then Parabella would get my vote as the very best in the game every single time. The “young but experienced Bafta award-winning animation studio” (their words) co-founded by Mikey Please and Daniel Ojari has made truly astounding work from the off, gathering up awards alike they were marbles hard-won in the playground. Hard-won being the operative term here; the six minute-long stop-motion film was a year in the making, and features, as Parabella explain, “the voice of comedy wiz Josie Long, one zillion hand-carved tiny things, literally tens of carved foam puppets, two eyefuls of in-camera, long-exposure light trickery and a pair of tiny dolphins, smooching.” Safe to say, the efforts paid off; the final short is a masterpiece of patience and enchanting filmmaking.

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    Ever since it was announced earlier this year that FOX was working on a Simpsons and Family Guy crossover hour-long special, fans of one or both shows have been interested to see how it would work. And yesterday they got their first glimpse when a five-minute excerpt was screened at Comic_Con which gives us a taste how these two cartoon competitors will be joined in creative matrimony. So it seems we can expect beer, bonding, brawls and bitchiness when the Griffins wind up in Springfield; consider our appetites well and truly whetted.

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    Simple story, this one. A man gets a new next door neighbour and watches her through a hole in the wall (don’t try this at home, folks) and one day when she returns from a jog he gives her an ice lolly. Wanting to see her eat the lolly he looks through the hole but sees her instead dabbing it on her sweaty armpits. Enraged, he breaks into her house every day for the next few weeks when she’s out and wrings out her clothes into a bottle to make sweat ice lollies from there-on out. You know someone’s a consistently entertaining animator if the top comment on their Vimeo is: “Wow! you finally made something that is safe for work.” Bravo Wong Ping, bravo!

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    To tell the truth, when I heard that Morph’s creator was bringing him back around again for another go, I wanted to hate it. Being a true child of the 90s I feel like our little orange plasticine friend belongs solely to that era, and to attempt to bring him back for the soiled, desensitised, X-Box-obsessed youth of today is akin to animating Rosie & Jim and plonking them on a speedboat with a robot where the duck should be.

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    Self-initiated projects are the best, aren’t they? I think of them as an excuse to peel the dollar signs off your eyeballs and replace them with love-hearts for a while, and more often than not it’s a transaction that pays off a hundredfold in the long run.

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    There’s nothing quite like when someone takes something you associate with your innocent childhood and uses it to slap you across the face with a controversial, dark statement. That’s what Greenpeace tend to do to get their point across, and boy does it work. Their most recent plea is directed at LEGO, urging them to discontinue the production of kits for children that are emblazoned with the Shell logo. I’ve seen a lot of LEGO parodies in my time here at It’s Nice That, but none have made me feel dark to my very core like this one did – nothing says wake up and address this horrible issue more than smiling children’s toys drowning in a sea of black oil. Bravo Greenpeace.

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    Anyone that played (and now misses) Monument Valley will love this new animation from Fabrice Le Nezet. It was a bit weird to get an email from Fabrice with this animation, as last time we checked up on him he was making enormous sculptures of metal and stone. People change I guess. Anyway, what he’s doing now with the help of Benjamin Mousquet and Raphael Azel Martinez is totally fine by us, as it’s one of the most spectacular and unique animations we’ve seen in a very long while. Watch as teeny little men manoeuvre their way around a monochromatic, cubist landscape and get chased by enormous marbles and climb the infinite stairs of winding minarets. It isn’t as weird as it sounds, but it is seriously impressive, enjoy.

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    There’s no shortage of comics, books, films and radio programmes that deal with the subject of dystopian futures. If you believe the predictions of our greatest sci-fi auteurs, the distant future will be one in which governmental control is complete and our civil liberties and basic human rights lie in tatters; emotion, procreation and relaxation banned in favour of order and efficiency.

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    One of my favourite columns in the New York Times, apart from all of the important news bits of course, is Modern Love. While I’ve only been able to read the ones they publish online, it’s still a fascinating glimmer into the absolute highs and desperate lows of love. The stories and the honesty within them are what make them so compelling and because love is so universal you can somehow connect with each author.

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    Whenever Tom Darracott and Carl Burgess join forces the results are spectacular. The two directors and digital specialists are experts at creating polished 3D-generated worlds that feel part computer game, part hyper-real dream – every element a slightly altered version of a recognisable, real-world object. Even when they’re advertising clothes the pair produce unconventional results that delight and disorientate your eyes with their effortless surrealism. Their latest campaign for Loft is no exception, showing the brand’s brightly coloured collection folding itself into a state of geometric order.

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    Of all of the areas of art and design that I write about on a daily basis, animation is probably the one that falls furthest from my realm of understanding. No matter how many behind-the-scenes pictures I stare open-mouthed at, or how many conversations I have about the hours that went into constructing one perfect shot, I’m absolutely torn between disbelief that anybody has the patience for such a meticulous process and relief that somebody has the right composure for it.

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    If you haven’t yet found yourself clicking waywardly through to Patatap only to while away several hours idly composing beautiful melodies and weirdly syncopated rhythms when you were meant to be working towards that deadline, then frankly I don’t know what you’ve been doing. We found the website a little while back, but little did we know at the time that it was created by the spectacular mind of Jono Brandel who was also responsible for Anitype, or that it would swiftly be used to create some incredibly elaborate pieces which spread like wildfire online.

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    I’m going to admit to a certain bias towards Nicos Livesey’s latest animation before I say anything more about it. As a teenager every bag and garment I owned was plastered with patches that I’d picked up in Camden – or at a horrible little shop in my hometown called Tiger Lily – paying homage to any number of death metal bands I was obsessing over at the time (and some embarrassingly poor nu-metal ones too). I couldn’t get enough of them. But in spite of this penchant for embroidered badges I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Tharsis Sleeps will appeal even to those who don’t like to wear their bands on their sleeves.

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    Prolific Twitter gagsmith Pundamentalism Tweeted this morning: “I hope there will be some tweets about the World Cup – seems crazy that nobody is talking about it yet.” Of course he was actually being a bit of a tinker because it seems like that’s all anybody’s talking about as we near the big kick-off in Brazil. Over the coming days we too will undoubtedly start to showcase some of the many creative projects inspired by the tournament, but we’re going to start a little closer to home.

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    An audio-visual match made in heaven, animator Daniela Scherer got together with musician Tom Rosenthal to create the video for his new music video for As Luck Would Have It, and her Western theme, minimal colour palette and cowgirl-come-mother central character turned out to be the perfect animated accompaniment to Tom’s dulcet tones. The video is simple in approach, following a young pregnant woman as she becomes a mother, interspersed with effortlessly composed images of cowboys laid across train tracks, magic 8-balls which always tell the truth, and one particularly arresting shot of a woman absent-mindedly whistling while singing the ukelele. It’s a wonderful music video, and if you’re anything like me, one that you’ll feel inclined to watch on repeat for a full 15 minutes before you can click away.

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    The Mill’s Aran Quinn and Jeffrey Dates have just finished work on an utterly charming animated rendition of American poet Kenn Nesbitt’s Wayne The Stegosaurus. The poem details the shortcomings of a dinosaur named Wayne, who’s bizarre antics are the result of a tiny brain. “He can’t remember up from down. He thinks the sky is chocolate brown. He wears his bow tie on his tail and likes to eat the daily mail.” In spite of this stupidity, Wayne’s life is incredibly entertaining when brought to life by Aran and Jeffrey, and their bug-eyed and gormless, pink protagonist is sure to warm even the iciest of hearts.

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    You know those dreams you have swiftly after you’ve chomped your way happily through an entire cheese plate and you’ve fallen into a surreal, brie-fuelled adventure? At their most outlandish, mine look something like this video for Russian musician Mumiy Troll by Flakonkishochki. It sees a cute, china-bunned schoolgirl in a pink dress hop onto a train, and walk through carriage after carriage into a acid-trip-fantasy version of Alice’s Wonderland. In this Wonderland though, duck-headed children bathe in baked beans, walruses perch on the train seats and the walls give way to expansive mountain backdrops, and nobody bats an eyelid. Not one. It’s really bloody weird, but that’s exactly why we enjoy it so.

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    Welcome to the surreal and wacky world of Luca Tóth, whose new short film for Fakt 13 had us giggling and squirming in our seats this morning. The site describes Same Old, Same Old as “Two minutes and 48 seconds of pure frustration,” and that’s exactly what it is, filled with enough slurping, slime, oozing pimples and wobbling dancers to make you feel more than a little queasy. The animation is pretty gross but nonetheless a wonder to watch; exhilarating like that moment on kids’ TV shows when someone gets slimed by lime green sludge. Brimming with awkward moments and jarring colours that will make your toes curl, and featuring a cow and a hench dominatrix on a date, after watching this animation you’ll never feel the same old way about frustrating moments again.

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    Ville Savimaa was last on the site a jaw-dropping five years ago when our director Alex Bec described his work as “gaseous.” It’s not as pejorative an adjective as it might seem in this case, as years later it still seems to suit the whimsical shapes and cloud-like forms that the Finnish illustrator is such a dab hand at.

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    Hey remember PES? Sure you do, he’s the guy who does mind-bending stuff with stop motion animation (like this and this), combining incredible technical skill with charm and wit. So when KesselsKramer wanted a film as part of their campaign launching the new citizenM hotel in New York’s Times Square, they knew who to call. OK so they might have emailed, but the point is PES was exactly the person who could take the campaign’s cliche-busting message to dizzy new heights.

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    A well-shot film is judged by its ability to be paused and resemble a beautiful photograph. Similarly, in animation, each time the film is paused it should really resemble a very well-drawn, wall-worthy illustration. This film by the After Effects wizard that is Nexus’ Johnny Kelly and writer Scott Burnett does just that, and simultaneously promotes young people designing stuff at the same time.

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    I have a reputation here in the It’s Nice That studio for being somewhat conservative so excuse me if this is a little awkward. The Jullien brothers aka Jean and Nicolas have produced a new video for The Cowards’ new single Statues and I’m not going to lie to you, it’s pretty smutty. But you know what? These guys can make even the most filth-tastic act seem kind of charming, such is their animation prowess. So sit back and submit to the naughtiness and let’s never talk of this again.

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    Illustration and animation are often typecast as mediums for kids, and while usually we take enormous pleasure in digging up evidence to prove this isn’t the case, occasionally it is true. Especially when it comes to finding a way to take boring, patronising adult advice and making it fun and engaging for younger generations. Cottoning on swiftly to this home truth, the UK’s very dully-named Internet Advertising Bureau commissioned illustrator Dominic Owen and animator Will Samuel to make a short illustration educating kids about internet ads.

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    The rules are you can’t wear a denim jacket with metal patches on unless you are GENUINELY into it. The heavy metal rule book does not state, however, that you can’t make a ludicrously ambitious animation inspired by the patches that have forever been sewn directly on to its very heart. Nice, creative young men Tom Bunker and Nicos Livesy have decided to drop what they’re doing and embark on this very mission, and are in the process of raising money to complete the most intricate, time consuming, metal-inspired, embroidered animation for Nicos’ band, Throne. Is there anything more metal than pouring your blood sweat and tears into something absolutely shitting awesome? Didn’t think so. Get your mind blown even more (particularly in the “process section”) over here on their Kickstarter.

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    Travel back, dear reader, to the day you were struggling with an enormous black portfolio on the way to a town you’d never heard of to blow the trumpet of your questionable artistic merit. If only Andy Baker and Thomas Slater had been in the carriage you eagerly perched in to give you some sage advice on how to go about your art school career. This short animation is a must-see for anyone about to embark, or even midway through a creative degree – full of tongue-in-cheek reminders of token university jargon such as collaboration, self expression and thinking outside the box. Thank you Thomas and Andy! Not just for a really, really enjoyable and informative animation, but also for that little naked alien penis at 1:42.

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    Short films can often fall into the trap of a jarring sentimentality, but Alice Dunseath perfectly treads the line between quiet grief and witty observations about those around her in this beautiful animated short. Hunting for Hockney documents the journey she and a friend made to find David Hockney’s Yorkshire home in the midst of the grief of losing a loved one, and the frustrating difficulties of organising a funeral. Sad and funny in equal parts, she succeeds brilliantly in capturing the otherworldly pastel colours of English landscape with fragile snaking lines, intertwining the soft Yorkshire accents of people they happen to meet and elevating Hockney to an lamppost mystical figure in the process.

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    We’ve all been there, sitting on a plane awaiting take-off and the in-flight safety video comes on. For most of us the reaction is apathy and boredom, perhaps even tinged with annoyance – one of air travel’s grating rituals. So when Art&Graft won the commission to re-do Virgin Atlantic’s pre-flight offering, they embraced the truism that passengers tend to endure rather than enjoy these films.

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    You know that weird limbo that occurs halfway between sleep and wakefulness where you can see hundreds of tiny images flickering over the insides of your eyelids in very quick succession but you don’t know quite how to describe it? Imagine that sensation enhanced 100-fold by a strong dose of sleep hormone melatonin, and then imagine trying to recreate the vision with animation. Tricky, no? This is exactly what Emanuele Kabu does with It’s Called “Moon”.

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    We’ve been huge fans of Stefan Glerum’s work since we came across him way back in 2010. His distinctive ligne-claire style is fused with a colour palette that borrows from Toulouse Lautrec and vintage sci-fi posters with extraordinary results. He’s also got a penchant for the weird that we can’t get enough of. That said, we weren’t expecting him ever to venture into animation, or to be as delighted with the results when he did. But his debut piece of film for Dutch electro band RipTide is as stunning a piece of animation as we’ve laid eyes on in ages, drawing on the very best of his illustrative style and elevating it with cinematic storytelling and slick production from crooked line.

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    There are many ways you can go about telling the world how great a table is. You can use technical specifications, photogenic models or testimonials from design world heavyweights. But this is the best way to do it as far as we’re concerned; get illustrator and animation director Celyn to produce a lovely 2D film showing how the Barber and Osgerby designed Vitra Map Table can play an integral role in the creative world. Individualy many of the aspects seem simple – including the storyline of a young woman developing her own studio and the visual elements themselves – but taken as a whole it all comes together to create seething both charming and communicative. Lovely stuff.

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    Sometimes animators are a mysterious little sector of the creative world, no one seems to really understand how they weave the magic that they do, and so it remains rather a wonderful mystery. The Animated Review are a bunch of animation-fiends who have set out to spread the word and curate the best animation from all over the world on their site and in a very nice little printed publication. Want to know which books inspire some moving image and cartoon fanatics? Onwards, dear reader…

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    In honour of the relaunch of Carl Burgess’ More Soon site (the home of his team’s phenomenal work) I’ve gone through and watched every single piece of film and 3D animation to choose the “best bit” to post today. I’ve seen in-store visuals for Prada, a stunning collaboration with Jonathan Zawada, Thomas Traum, Tom Darracott and Pharell Williams, re-watched his video for Ratatat’s Drugs and enjoyed some lovely fashion films for Kenzo.

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    To announce the results of the 2014 Wallpaper* Design Awards, Christian Borstlap and his team at Part Of A Bigger Plan have produced this beautifully simple film that takes us through the roster of judges and winners one by one. But why should you watch this video when you could just read the names from a list? Well, the guys at Part Of A Bigger Plan are particularly adept at crafting terrifically slick animations and this one is no exception to that rule, showing off the winning fashion, architectural and interior collections with geometric precision and style. Enjoy!

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    We’re not ones for gushing, sweeping statements (cough) BUT this is the best film we’ve ever seen. Remember Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared? The video that managed to sum up the perils of creativity in both a hilarious and utterly terrifying way? Well, if you don’t then go and rectify that immediately. Once you’re done, have a look at Becky and Joe’s latest creation – a magnificent, hysterical, gruesome, surprising, spectacular sequel, aptly named Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared 2 which deals with the rather broad, universal theme of time.

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    Berlin-based sound designer David Kamp has worked for all the best animators around. You name them, he’s collaborated with them, from cult directors like David O’Reilly and Johnny Kelly, experimental studios like Quayola and Sagmeister & Walsh to MTV and Google. Why do they all go to him for him music and sound effects? Because he’s really, really good at making sensational sounds that add depth and emotion to already beautiful moving image pieces.

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    This animation is described as “a film for everyone who has ever been on a shit night out,” and is a super-fun tribute to those evenings in dingy clubs where the music is too loud, the drinks are too pricey and the clientele is too dickhead-y. Compiled by Kristian Antonelli, James Duveen, Wesley Louis, Tim McCourt, Jonathan Djob Nkondo, Sam Taylor and Bjorn-Erik Aschim (who also directs), there’s a great deal to identify with alongside some more off-the-wall characters. Also keep your eyes peeled for a little Keith Haring cameo about half way through.