Thursday, April 09, 2009

Big House Blues - Spumco 1 - fluffing Stimpy Pillow

Ren and Stimpy
Here's a scene that I posed out in layout and basically had inbetweened. The poses were designed on the storyboard and then polished in the layouts. Then I added charts and had 'em inbetweened.
The mantid nabs the soft pulpy object, without emotion, only intent.
Here's a famous early example of a Ren and Stimpy jump cut. It's theoretically not supposed to work and I'm sure we got notes from Scary Marrington over it.
I had to reposition Ren to make this scene of him fluffing Stimpy like a pillow read. I also painted the cheesy color card.
The fluffing was done basically straight ahead as a cycle. I anticed by stretching Stimpy first,
Then squashed him all the way, and eased him out of the squash back to the antic, and repeated the action a few times.
Note that there is rough timing (the "slug") written on the storyboards.

Since Stimpy is a pillow, of course feathers have to fly out of him. Cartoon logic.
It's also an example of what I call "insect Ren". It's Ren asserting his instinctive rights upon his symbiotic partner and showing absolutely no emotion about it. Stimpy, of course goes along with it out of pure obedience to the insect life form higher on the evolutionary scale than him.
swing right
stretch and add a streaky Anime type BG to help accentuate th quick motion....
This section looks like it might be Lynne's, I can't honestly remember; it's been so long.

Swing Stimpy up into another antic and cushion the antic...
Then squash him down and press him into resistance. The more Ren presses Stimpy, the more Stimpy's nose expands like a balloon filling with air...naturally.
When the insect lets go, Stimpy recoils and wobbles to a stop.
Ren rubs his hands as if doing a professional job.

Then Stimpy slides down the wall into final pillow position.
Ren antics 3 times in a row here. 1 above
2, into layout antic...
3 Into jump antic...

Jump up fast - 1 drawing only
Float in an arc above Stimpy,
Then fall fast and sink into Stimpy's soft underbelly.
The BG btw, is another one of my cheats. Simple and gray, the easiest way to make characters read well.
This is played like it happens every day, so the characters don't show any surprised reactions to it. I like having some scenes where characters merely function by brute instinct. It's what's funny and cute about animals and dumb relatives.

By the way, try to imagine writing this scene in script form. It could only have been storyboarded to make any sense. If you wanna see the original board, go to the Asifa Archive and flip through it. It has many more scenes that we had to cut for time, but the cartoon looks a lot like the poses in the board. I wish I had saved the layouts, because there would have been more poses there than in the storyboards.

High rez that you can step through...

Next...a Dave Feiss scene, then more Bob and Kelly treats.

Oh, and check out Kali and Nico's Devo video:


Trevor Thompson said...

Thanks so much for breaking this down, John! My sister's VCR didn't cut it.

I guess I was wrong about you using layout poses from the storyboard.... although they do look similar and usable.

Can't wait for the next one!

- trevor.

Luke Allen said...

John, please take a look at my blog, any criticism would be really appreciated. Ta!

John A said...

The old disappearing background trick. Is that a 100% Clampett creation? I don't recall ANYONE (outside of some UPA style commercials, I guess, to use this action.

Frank Macchia said...

I never noticed that jump cut until you pointed it out.

It works perfectly though.
I always find that if used proporly, they add to the humour.

I once heard you say on one of the Ren and Stimpy commentaries that when youre boarding, you just focus on what the audience needs to see in order for the action to read. It's just a natural decision.

That always stuck with me. seems like the obvious and natural way to board...the "rules" of the camera are great, but I find that a lot of pople are bound by them or try to get way too "cinematic".
have any other theories on picking your shots, jump cuts, etc?

Thomas said...

>> I like having some scenes where characters merely function by brute instinct. It's what's funny and cute about animals and dumb relatives.<<

That's certainly the case with "Boo Boo Runs Wild". Maybe it could've been titled "Cute Brute"

eric said...

Great analysis, especially to be able to compare to the storyboard at ASIFA. You touched on the backgrounds & jump cut, I think of those both being so pronounced and unique to that era of Spumco.

chrisallison said...

hey john, if you could do a post about sound design for filmmakers, i think that'd be a lot of help. you know, there's so much more to being a director than artwork that you've touched on (timing, etc.), but i want to hear some theories about sound if you get the time and have some interesting thoughts to share.

i don't even know specifics to ask about, so that's why i KNOW i need to hear more about it. i wonder if it's intuitive for you or if you can articulate something comprehensible for those willing to learn.

keep doin the good work

Josh Latta said...

Ha! That DEVO video was great!

Trevor Thompson said...

Did you lose the layouts?

JohnK said...

My guess is we split them up among the artists.

There might be some on Jim's site.

Rick Roberts said...

I always loved the insect, "sleepy eyed" Ren.

Ross Irving said...

OH MY GOD. I was just reading your post, looking at one of the storyboards, to see the sound effect "fap". You probably already know what it means at this point, but in case you don't, it's something...suggestive. To see that sound effect on a storyboard in 1989-1990, before the term heavily came into usage on the internet a whole fifteen years later is just mindboggling.

To say something relevant though, it's weird how I never noticed Ren did three antics before jumping onto Stimpy. I never thought of doing something like that before, and it works surprisingly well when you see it animated. I watched the clip again trying to remember everything you pointed out about it, and was just able to notice everything.

Darkhawk said...

I like the frame by frame of the squash and stretch of Stimpy. The frame where he's all pushed in is the ultimate key of a squash. It's not just simply scaling something, Stimpy really feels like a big fluffy pillow in that scene.

Hernán G. Fuentealba said...

that was one of the tree or two rem and stimpy cartoons I had the chance to see, it was the year 1995 if I am not wrong , it is the first time I see that scene again , it is a quite funny scene,