John Lennon on his first acid trip

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In 1965, John Lennon, George Harrison, Cynthia Lennon, and Pattie Boyd were having dinner at a dentist friend's house. The dentist put LSD in their coffee without telling them first. When he revealed what he had done, John was pissed off, and rightly so. "How dare you fucking do this to us?" he said. Rolling Stone's Mikal Gilmore has the story and an animated interview with John about their first trip on LSD and the secret history of Revolver:

"It was as if we suddenly found ourselves in the middle of a horror film," Cynthia Lennon said. "The room seemed to get bigger and bigger." The Beatles and their wives fled Riley's home in Harrison's Mini Cooper. (According to Bury, John and George had earlier indicated a willingness to take LSD if they didn't know beforehand that it was being administered.) The Lennons and Harrisons went to Leicester Square's Ad Lib club. In the elevator, they succumbed momentarily to panic. "We all thought there was a fire in the lift," Lennon told Rolling Stone in 1971. "It was just a little red light, and we were all screaming, all hot and hysterical." Once inside at a table, something like reverie began to take hold instead. As Harrison told Rolling Stone, "I had such an overwhelming feeling of well-being, that there was a God, and I could see him in every blade of grass. It was like gaining hundreds of years of experience in 12 hours."

The couples ended up at the Harrisons' home in Esher, outside London.

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Chainamation: collaborative additive animation project

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Take about a dozen animators and give them 72 hours to add a couple of seconds to an animation chain, and you get Chainamation, a fun series of collaborative videos created by Shawn Hight, Ira Hardy, and Kyle Martinez. The most recent one is space-themed. Read the rest

A most amazing animated GIF

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Hypertalented pixelmaster Paul Robertson created this animated GIF for Blackbox, the new logistics company for indie makers that was launched by the creators of Cards Against Humanity. (via Waxy) Read the rest

Report: Sausage Party animators threatened if they didn't work free overtime

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The hit CG-animated movie opened to a strong $33m box office this weekend, but claims emerged that costs were kept low by firing people who refused to work without pay and that many animators were omitted from the film's credits in retaliation for leaving.

The production cost were kept low because Greg would demand people work overtime for free. If you wouldn't work late for free your work would be assigned to someone who would stay late or come in on the weekend. Some artist were even threatened with termination for not staying late to hit a deadline.

The animation department signed a petition for better treatment and paid overtime. When the letter got to Annapurna they stepped in and saw that artist were payed and fed when overtime was needed.

Over 30 animators left during the coarse of the production due to the stress and expectations. Most of them left before the paid overtime was implemented. This was met with animosity and was taken as a personal insult to the owners. Their names were omitted from the final credits despite working for over a year on this film.

No names are named (though the discrepancy between the VFX staff listed at IMDB and those on the movie itself is unusual) but this is a pervasive problem in animation. Sausage Fest is getting good reviews, so stands a reasonable chance of being a reputation-maker for many of those who can prove, one way or another, that they had a hand in it. Read the rest

Stop motion animation: This paper ramen looks delicious!

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Yelldesign: "We thought it would fun to make a complete meal from start to finish, using only paper. Everything you see is made from paper, except for the hands."

See more of their Papermeals here.

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Voice of Postman Pat, charming British claymation series, dies at 83

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Ken Barrie, narrator of the British kids' show Postman Pat, died age 83 this week.

Barrie, who was born Leslie Hulme, provided the voice for Pat and many of the other characters in the animated series, as well as singing the famous theme song. His daughter, Lorraine Peterson, told the Press Association that he died peacefully at home in Denham, Buckinghamshire, of liver cancer.

The show concerned the mundane yet charming adventures of Pat Clifton, a postie in rural England, and his black and white cat, Jess. Most all episodes set out with him delivering mail to the timeless English village of Greendale; his rounds would inevitably be interrupted by some local concern: a lost puppy, sheep clogging a country road, plumbing trouble at the pub, etc.

Wouldn't it be awesome if they did a new series that homed in, in child-friendly fashion, on the vaguely haunting aspect of all this. Pat just delivering the mail when Cthulhu happens. That sort of thing.

"Pat stared at the writhing mass of tentacles under the old flint bridge for a moment, then remembered he'd only yesterday delivered a box of powerful hexes and charms to the coven up by the old windmill. "I bet they know what to do about this," he said to Jess. "Otherwise Mrs. Miggins won't be able to get her subscription to Country Living." Read the rest

Animated fractals in your browser

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Click to zoom into Jonathan Potter's spookily beautiful-animated Julia set. The trick: webGL shaders applied to the scene, making it pulse and glow and coil like a dreaming machine. He also made a Mandelbrot in the same style, without the shaders (which limit how far you can zoom.) [via] Read the rest

Hungary's Cold War cartoons were weird and awesome

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The Cold War was a boon to animators, who were able to express the subversive views that the mainstream wouldn't dare whisper -- see, e.g., Jay Ward's "Boris and Natasha" -- but the toons from the other side of the Iron Curtain are all but unknown in the "Free World." Read the rest

Enjoy the stick figure horror of Metro Los Angeles's grisly new transit safety videos!

Metro Los Angeles created a series of fun and terrifyingly gruesome transit safety animations about how not to get killed!

“Safety is our highest priority for Metro riders," said Metro Board Chair and Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. "These videos are edgy by design because we want these messages to stick,” “A lapse of attention at a rail crossing or unsafe behavior at a station can have dire if not deadly consequences. Let’s all do our part to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip."

Above, "Present or Pulverized?" Below, "Careful or Crushed?," "Dismount or Dismembered?," "Mindful or Mangled"," and the always fun "Heads-up or Headless?"

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Beautiful animation about human origins

Design studio Kurzgesagt's latest fantastic "In a Nutshell" animation explores the origin of humanity and "What Happened Before History."

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The Art of Finding Dory – Beneath the surface of Disney's amazing aquatic adventure

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See sample pages from this book at Wink.

The Art of Finding Dory by Disney and Pixar Studios (preface by John Lasseter) Chronicle Books 2016, 176 pages, 9.5 x 11.5 x 1 inches $36 Buy a copy on Amazon

The Art of Finding Dory is more than a companion book to the new Disney Pixar movie – it’s an in-depth look at all aspects of the development and production process for an animated film. Finding Dory the movie explores the life of the forgetful little blue fish known as Dory, while the book not only delves into Dory’s background, but also lets the reader experience the imagination (and magic) of Pixar and Disney. The team behind the movie spent countless hours at beaches, aquariums, marine rehabilitation centers, and along the California coastline to create the most realistic world possible under the sea. They researched how light filters through the ocean, how sea life travels in deep water, and how to make authentic-looking coral reefs out of clay. The Art of Finding Dory chronicles their creative process through photos, hand drawings, computer generated images, story boards, and detailed color palettes. It took four years to bring Finding Dory to the big screen. Once you read The Art of Finding Dory you will understand what a true labor of love the journey was. – Carole Rosner Read the rest

Fantastic psychedelic video for Kraftwerk's Autobahn (1979)

In 1979, Roger Mainwood, just out of the Royal College of Art, created this wonderfully trippy animation for Kraftwerk's "Autobahn." It was a commission from the band's record company but Kraftwerk had no input on the film, and Mainwood says he's unsure if they even saw it. The fan site KraftwerkOnline tracked down Mainwood and interviewed him about the film:

I've never actually had to explain in words exactly what it was all about. There was a lot of what you might call "psychedelic pop" imagery around at the time that to be honest never had a great deal of actual "meaning" to it at all, and I guess I was tapping into that. Thinking back to my thought processes at that time, I remember wanting to specifically not have conventional cars in the film. I wanted a sense of a repetitive journey, and alienation, which I took to be what the music was about,............hence the solitary futuristic figure, protected by large goggles, moving through and trying to connect with the journey he is taking. The automobile "monsters" are deliberately threatening ( I have never been a big fan of cars or motorways ! ) and when our "hero" tries to make human contact (with different coloured clones of himself) he can never do it. In the end he realises he is making the repetitive and circular journey alone but strides forward purposefully at the end as he did in the beginning . All of which sounds rather pretentious..........but I was a young thing in those days !

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A Gift for You From Jacob Frey

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Watch this (please, the whole thing). Its title is "The Present," and it's a gift to you from Jacob Frey. Read the rest

This Simpsons couch gag is a clever Ikea spoof

On last night's episode of The Simpsons, the couch gag was animator Michael Socha's excellent spoof of Ikea's instruction manuals.

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Moving short animation about a boy and his three-legged puppy

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The Present, Jacob Frey's four-minute short about a young boy who's not sure about the three-legged puppy his mom gives him, won more than 50 awards and played more than 180 festivals -- it's got a sting in its tail (and its tale). Read the rest

Doom, remade with ultraviolent claymation kitties

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Animator Lee Hardcastle reimagines the quintessential first-person shooter as an even gorier game, starring Claycat, a fearless and fearsome claymation character. (via JWZ) Read the rest

Belushi widow & Aykroyd produce Blues Brothers animated series

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Judy Belushi and Dan Aykroyd are developing a kid-oriented Blues Brothers animated series with Bento Box, the studio behind Bob's Burgers. Read the rest

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