Thursday, September 10, 2009

Art Of Spumco Book - need an intern for a day or 2

Check out these great paintings by Bill Wray and Scott Wills

Hi folks, thanks for all the birthday wishes!

Hey, Amid Amidi and I am working on an Art Of Spumco book and I have lots of original artwork already, but I am short on background paintings from Ren and Stimpy, so I want to take frame grabs from the DVDs.

I might actually need two people because there are 2 background sections in the book.

1) Gross close up paintings:

Like close ups on faces with bulging eyeballs and swollen tongues, the ball of bandaids, etc.

2) The evolution of the background styles from season 1 through 3...


You need to have a frame grab program that can do nice clean grabs as high res as possible.

Must be organized and thorough. I would need a folder labeled by each episode - number and name. Example: 1.Stimpys Big Day.

Must have the DVDs already.

You can work at home.

Hopefully you are in the LA area, so you can drop off the files to my place when done.

The budget is gone, so I can't pay money, but I can find you a nice cel from first season and a t- shirt, plus a drawing I'll do for you.

If you can do this, take a couple frame grabs now, upload them to your blog and then gimme a link.

thanks to Pumml and Paul for the grabs in this post!


Ted said...

If a higher res scan of the Son of Stimpy background thumbnail at
would be useful to you (which it may very well not be), contact me at the link on that page.

pumml said...

Hey Johnny,

Urine luck... I happen to have screencaps from the entire first season.

I can upload the whole mess to my server for you to download if you can use them.


teyem said...

Here is a few snaps. Hope I can help out.
Snap Shots

PaulW said...

Hey John,

Hope you had a great birthday!

I'm certain that you will be absolutely inundated with people who are able to do screen grabs for you. But just in case you are stuck (and as payback for all the fantastic stuff you have put on this site), here are two grabs for you to have a look at.


I'm not in LA, but if you are really, really stuck, I have the DVD's and the time!

kevin said...

I have the ren n' stimpy dvd's, but this is the only dvd I have on hand. Here's some examples:

Ian Andersen said...

Sounds like fun, too bad I don't have season 3. Do you have a publisher for the book yet, if so, any idea when this'll be coming out? Would love to have this to give as an x-mas gift.

Bob said...

Hey John I hope you had a fantastic birthday!!

I did the heckling hare exercise you posted waaaay back and if you could check it out I would appreciate that.

Here's the link Heckling Hare Exercise

Also on the Jim Tyer post you mentioned Chester Gould and as a birthday gift I scanned this really cool strip he did. It's one of my favorites, not a funny one, but I think it's inked very well and it has a couple of nice compositions. Anyways I hope you enjoy and I will do another exercise next week.


Glen said...

Hey John,

I'm a graphic designer who has worked in film and a Ren & Stimpy fan, so I have the proper tools for this job as well as all the DVDs, including the Adult Party Cartoon set. I have followed and loved your work for years, and I think a Spumco book is long overdue, so I would be thrilled to help you with this in any way I can.

The main problem I think you will run into is that the standard resolution for DVDs is 720 by 480, which isn't very good when you want to use a screen capture for print. So even if you have a good capture program, as long as you're using DVDs the images you capture will always be at that resolution. You can blow up the images after you capture them, but obviously the quality suffers.

This is why when you watch standard-definition movies on high-def TVs you can notice a lot of artifacting (bad qulaity,) especially when you get up close to the screen.

I have set up a test page on my web space here:

so that you can see some captures at their normal ratio, and I have blown one of them up to 150% of its original size so that you can see the level of quality loss that happens with that.

I think the quality issue mainly depends on how big you want these images to be in the book. If, for example, you wanted to lay them out in a grid pattern to show many smaller images at once you might be okay.

That having been said, I am very willing to help you out on this, organization and all. I am on the east coast but there are numerous ways to send large groups of files over the web, so that shouldn't be a problem.

Joseff said...

I did some captures with my DVD player.I posted them on my blog, you can check em' out HERE. I want to help with the project. Anything else leave a comment if you're interested.
Talk to you later John!
- Joseph Candelaria

Anonymous said...

Any way for the out of staters to get involved?

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday John! I'm sorry I was late.

I.D.R.C. said...

I have a couple of BG's I took from some animation auctions. Some nice layouts from SPACE MADNESS, STIMPY'S INVENTION and POWDERED TOAST MAN, too. Take 'em if you want 'em.

If you'd like to maintain control over these images drop a comment and I'll take them down. No one will know they are there except readers of this comment, anyway.

:: smo :: said...

hey john, [happy belated by the way!] i'm just finishing up some freelance and will have the weekend free.

i live in new york city but have a lot of dvd ripping/video editing stuff and all the dvds and can try and get images for you. maybe i could give files to amid? any specific episodes in mind? or just sort of a sweep of the series?

i'll try to go at it as soon as i wrap up this project and post them on my old blog. i'll check in here first to see if you got it covered. good luck!

TheHyperCarnivore said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TheHyperCarnivore said...

Hi, I have all the dvds and I'm willing to help you out anytime, I have a lot of spare time!

Anyway here is the link for four relevant screen captures from the second episode of Ren and Stimpy:

My e-mail is:

I can take higer res captures if you'd like, I'd love to help you out John, thanks.

theredeye said...

How the heck are you getting 720x480 grabs? The show was shot in 4:3, I would think the largest grabs you could get are 640x480. Is your media player stretching these images to be widescreen?

JohnK said...

Hi Glen

those images you grabbed are stretched horizontally...

Sven Hoek said...

I would love to work on that for you John. I will check the resolution of my program and see how it looks.

I will send you my link in this post when I'm done.

LeoBro said...

Glen is correct that the resolution of DVDs is 720 by 480. This is true regardless of the aspect ratio it is shown at (4:3, widescreen, etc). These grabs are meant to be displayed in 4:3 ratio. So after doing the capture like Glen has done, in Photoshop you need to change the image height from 480 to 540, without constraining the proportions, so that the width stays 720. Now you have the proper 4:3 aspect ratio.

You could also keep the height at 480 and adjust the width to 640, but then you'd lose a bit of horizontal resolution.

Hope that helps. Best of luck with the book!

SGP said...

i cant wait to see this book! thank you sir.

Iron maiden said...

all the mean also the games episodes that you didnt worked and that had nothing to do with spumco
why would you put that In the spumco book?

David Mackenzie said...

Yes, US-style DVD is 720x480. The difference is that TV screens use non-square pixels, and computer screens use square pixels. 640x480 will show the pictures in their correct proportions.

Joseff said...

Thanks John!

All the captures are in TIFF format. How do i send em to you? Email?
Do we have a deal then?

Zoran Taylor said...

Why use the DVDs? The lines are broken, the saturation is wrong, there are some really ugly artefacts - and these are WELL-DONE DVDs compared to most! You've said yourself that it's impossible to get the technicians to play it straight, and you're right. And if you don't have any other sources at your disposal, what's with the perfect-looking print of Big House Blues in all those scene breakdowns you did?

Niki said...

I'm really liking all the ones I've seen from everybody! I wish I could join in, but what little money I have goes to learning.

Glen said...

Hey again John,

You are correct about the images being wider than normal, and Leo is right about why and how to correct them.

I was just focused on retaining as much quality as possible, as that practice is typically beat into the heads of us graphic designers.

Like Leo said, you lose some resolution if you squish it to the proper size horizontally, and while stretching them to the proper size vertically does technically cause some quality loss, it's virtually undetectable since it's such a small amount.

Resizing the images is no problem.

I have updated that test page at the top with a few shots resized to be the correct ratio, at both 720 x 540 and 640 x 480 just to compare.

SoleilSmile said...

Well it's ABOUT TIME you made an art of book! What took you so long??!
Will the Heartaches be in it? Will they? Will they?

Oliver_A said...

>>>Yes, US-style DVD is 720x480. The difference is that TV screens use non-square pixels, and computer screens use square pixels.<<<

That's not correct. Cathode ray tube screens don't have any discrete pixels. They have a phosphor layer which is scanned by an electron beam. LCD or plasma displays however do have discrete pixels which can be manipulated individually.

That being said, it's sad to see that you rely on badly compressed NTSC framegrabs to make your art book. If the original BG's are somehow lost, what about trying to locate the original film elements from those episodes? They still do exist, right? Those elements could also be used to do an HD transfer of R&S.

Anonymous said...

Hey John,

Sincere apologies for being pushy re. my studies. I'll continue practicing & cease bothering! Maybe pester you in the future when i finish the exercises :)

Regards & thanks,


(P.s - no need for you to publish this comment.)

John said...

Sorry I can't help out John, but I can't wait for the book!

Pablo said...

Happy Birthday, John!!!

JohnK said...

>>That being said, it's sad to see that you rely on badly compressed NTSC framegrabs to make your art book.<<

For the most part, I'm not. There will be lots of actual production art in the books.

I just don't have a lot of the backgrounds from Ren and Stimpy, so this is the best I can do. I talk about them a lot and need to illustrate what I'm talking about any way I can.

mortarpestleproductions said...

Heya John,

I have an animation team free and ready to grab frames. I'll get them started grabbing DVDs now. Will post back here when I have I folder uploaded at my account. Once I have that I'll just need your email address to invite you to the folder.

My email is

David Shreve

LeoBro said...

OliverA wrote:
>>> That's not correct. Cathode ray tube screens don't have any discrete pixels.

Oliver, the statement IS correct. A television set is not the same thing as a DVD. (Even though I usually try to avoid sarcasm.)

Sven Hoek said...

Do you also need grabs from the third season on? I don't have those DVDs yet but if you need them I will buy them too.

I think those are the only DVDs I dont have.

assbackward said...

you keep saying 'GRAB'! he! he! That's one of my fav words! However-I do not know how to do such screengrabs and i don't live in LA, but I see you have some good help! I admire you and Jim very much! Grab!-Jme

mortarpestleproductions said...

Heya John,

Heres a link to the beggining backgrounds for episode: Sven Hoek


Lohen said...

Hi, I have a question about Layouts.
Maybe this is not the best moment, but Im sure someone could explain me.
What´s the meaning of "S/A", when it appears in a held part of the character?
I want to use it in my layouts too, but im not really sure what it means.


PaulW said...

Just read Oliver_A's comment...

Just for info, CRT's do in fact have pixels, they are referred to as phosphor dots.

TV's have rectangular pixels (the phosphors are coated as stripes, but the shadow mask breaks up these stripes into rectangular pixels).

Monitors have proper phosphor dots, they are more elliptical towards the edges.

If you don't believe me, look at a CRT though a magnifying glass.

I used to work for LG/Philips displays, so I know this from painful experience! I used to have to measure each pixel/dot by eye on a daily basis before I found a better way of making money.



JohnK said...

>>What´s the meaning of "S/A", when it appears in a held part of the character?<<

it means "same as"

it's for when you re-use a part of an earlier drawings


drawing 13 is s/a drawing 9

it's used in limited animation mostly

Taco Wiz said...

A behind the scenes Spumco book?

*shells out thirty bucks*

BTW, will you ever sell Blen and Klubercheeebie shirts? I WANT ONE!

Oliver_A said...


>>>Oliver, the statement IS correct. A television set is not the same thing as a DVD. (Even though I usually try to avoid sarcasm.)<<<

Your original statement, to which I was referring to, was:

>>>Yes, US-style DVD is 720x480. The difference is that TV screens use non-square pixels, and computer screens use square pixels.<<<

And this is NOT correct. You are talking about TV screens having non-square pixels by looking at the NTSC DVD specification. This is a digital standard. CRT'S are ANALOGUE.

On a CRT, the "squareness" of a pixel just depends on the ratio between the amount of lines, and horizontal size of a pixel, which is NOT discrete on CRT screens. The horizontal size of a pixel is determined by how fast I change the analogue voltage which drives the INTENSITY of the electron beam.

On the contrary, a LCD screen has no electron beam. It has discrete pixels, and needs to digitize analogue signals first in order to display them.

>>>Just for info, CRT's do in fact have pixels, they are referred to as phosphor dots.<<<

Yes, but they are not DISCRETE. You CAN NOT access individual pixels on this mask like on a LCD display.

A TV has a fixed dot pitch of course, but the electron beam scans "between" this mask. You can place it pretty much anywhere on the screen, depending on the ANALOGUE voltage driving the X and Y deflection circuits. A single colour phosphor dot isn't either "activated" or "non-activated". The beam can scan portions of it.

Ever seen a vector arcade game? Those games have practically no resolution. On B/W vector games, you see perfectly drawn lines. On colour games, you get some kind of aliasing, which is smoothed out due to the fact tat the beam activates portions neighboring phosphor dot, but it's no more digital than reading a comic through a fly-screen.

That's why it's wrong to take a DIGITAL standard (NTSC DVD: 720x480) and derive a description for an ANALOGUE technology (CRT screens) from it. If I'm watching a painting through a fly screen, it's still perfectly analogue. Same thing goes for TV's.


Oliver_A said...

Hi John,

>>>For the most part, I'm not. There will be lots of actual production art in the books.<<<

I'm glad to hear this. Sorry if my original post sounded like I was making any implications about the general quality of the book.

I just don't have a lot of the backgrounds from Ren and Stimpy, so this is the best I can do. I talk about them a lot and need to illustrate what I'm talking about any way I can.

It's sad to hear that your work, which stands for high quality, is being compromised this way. Is there no participation from Viacom? What about the original mastertapes from which the DVD's were made?

I'm thinking about ways how to enhance the quality. One could minimize compression artefacts by taking a few consecutive frames of a still shot, and then averaging them together so that compression errors are cancelling each other out.

But no matter how much one tinkers with DVD screengrabs, there is no way to increase their resolution. One would either have to scan the original artwork, or get access to the original film elements.

I guess the European PAL transfers (which might yield 100 lines more resolution) are also straight conversions of the NTSC videotapes.

By the way, it's perfectly okay for me if you don't want to publish this post. The least thing I want is to cause you any harm.

Glen said...

Well it appears you have this covered now that somebody has offered to put an entire animation team to work making screen captures for you.

That's not fair, David, give us little guys a chance! I was really psyched to try and help you out on this; wasn't kidding when I said you were one of my artistic heroes.

The offer to help still stands at any rate.

And I'll still buy the book no matter what :)

Joseff said...

Hi John
did the Rapidshare links worked for you? I sent to your email another one.

Talk to you later.


mortarpestleproductions said...

AHH!!! Didn't mean to take anything away from anybody, wish I had seen this sooner and we could have worked together long distance on this one. I am actually a little guy, too. And am still getting used to creating pipelines on projects. I just recently started a small animation team in OKC, Oklahoma. We are still a very small studio. John K.'s work has been an inspiration to me as well and I just noticed and jumped at a chance to work with him. My team is a handful of little guys some of whom society treats as invisible. I just happened to get lucky enough to find them and their talents.

mangamaxx said...

I only have the first DVD set so far, but I live in the LA area so I can do some delivery work if needed. I put up sample screens at my blog at:

I.D.R.C. said...

I went to delete the post that I put up for you and I discovered that the "calling powdered toast man" would not enlarge to full size. It's such a great drawing, so I put it up again.