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

Virus trading cards, animated and 3D-printable

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Eleanor Lutz used files from the Protein Data Bank to model the molecules comprising the viruses that are the scourge of our human race. Read the rest

New Walter Robot animated video for Death Cab for Cutie

Our pals in Death Cab for Cutie have just released a terrific new animated video by Walter Robot (BB contributor Bill Barminski and Christopher Louie) for the track "Good Help (Is So Hard To Find)" from DCfC's sublime album Kintsugi! You can catch Death Cab for Cutie live at numerous festivals this summer and a handful of co-headline shows with Chvrches!

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An animated series about women who dared defy history

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Ordinary Women: Daring to Defy History is a video series about women overlooked by history raising production funds at crowdfunding site Seed & Spark. Creators Anita Sarkeesian, Laura Hudson (recently of Boing Boing and Offworld) and Elizabeth Aultman plan to feature Murasaki Shikibu, credited as the first modern novelist, 19th-century computer pioneer Ada Lovelace, womens' rights advocate Emma Goldman and others.

Unusually for a crowdfunded production, the series will be lavishly animated, reports Bustle, creating a work of art in its own right.

It's an exploration of women throughout history who have decimated gender stereotypes and contributed to humanity in truly impactful ways. The series will seek to remind us not only that these kinds of women — the rabble-rousers, the undercover reporters, the activists, the pirates — are extraordinary individuals, but also that women doing extraordinary things is actually quite ordinary. And that's a good thing. Here's why.

Women kicking ass and taking names shouldn't come as too much of a surprise, because we've been here all along, propping up society with our accomplishments. Unfortunately, the telling of history has a way of being whitewashed, male-focused, and more, excluding the contributions of far too many women, people of color, LGBTQ people, and other marginalized groups. With this new video series, Feminist Frequency hopes to address that glaring imbalance by bringing to life the stories of some of history's most rebellious and remarkable women.

USA Today reports that the creators hope it will inspire more women.

“We want to normalize these women in history,” says Sarkeesian.
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Why Ren and Stimpy was one of the greatest cartoon series ever

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Nerdwriter Evan Puschak put together a video about The Ren & Stimpy Show, a "seminal cartoon of the animation renaissance." When the psychotic chihuahua and imbecilic cat debuted in 1991, I couldn't believe how fantastically funny and weird it was. There was nothing else like it on TV at the time. Before Ren & Stimpy, television cartoons were awful. Show creator John Kricfalusi paved the way for all the great cartoon series we've seen since.

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Vintage demo reel from computer graphics firm behind the original Tron lightcycles

Marvel at this computer graphics demo reel created c.1980 by the company Mathematical Applications Group (MAGI). More specifically, you're seeing the work of the firm's MAGI/SynthaVision group, one of the main outfits that created the CGI for Tron, including the light cycles (clip below)! From Wikipedia:

In 1981, MAGI was hired by Disney to create half of the majority of the 20 minutes of CGI needed for the film Tron. Twenty minutes of CGI animation, in the early 1980s, was extremely gutsy, and so MAGI was a portion of the CGI animation, while other companies were hired to do the other animation shots. Since Synthavision was easy to animate and could create fluid motion and movement, MAGI was assigned with most of Tron's action sequences. These classic scenes include the light cycle sequence and Clu's tank and recognizer pursuit scene. Despite the high quality images that Synthavision was able to create, the CSG solids modeling could not create anything with complex shapes and multiple curves, so simpler objects like the light cycles and tanks were assigned to MAGI. MAGI was given $1.2 million to finance the animation needed for Tron. MAGI needed more R&D and many other engineers who were working in government contacts at MAGI were assigned back into MAGI's "Synthavision" division.

MAGI sped up the process of supplying its work to Disney Studios in Burbank by a transcontinental computer hook-up. Before each scene was finalized in MAGI's lab in Elmsford, New York, it was previewed on a computer monitor at Disney.

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The Art of Zootopia – A fantastic companion book to a fantastic movie

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See sample pages from this book at Wink.

I got my hands on a copy of The Art of Zootopia last week, days before the movie opened, and was so enamored with the fresh yet classic Disney-inspired art that I was already set on reviewing the book. Then over the weekend I watched the movie with my 12-year-old daughter and friends, and wow! What a brilliantly humorous and moving winner of a movie it was. Bravo to directors Byron Howard and Rich Moore! But this is Wink, so back to the book…

The Art of Zootopia is such a treat in the way that it not only revisits the movie’s delightfully heartwarming characters and fantastic art, but gives us an engaging look at what went into the making of Zootopia. The book starts with author Jessica Julius describing the movie’s original story pitch – a 1960s spy story – and how it evolved over four years into the modern day tale of underdogs, prejudice, and fighting for justice for all. She gives us the scoop on how the characters were developed (balancing a feminine yet tough, naïve yet sharp, optimistic yet challenged bunny cop isn’t so easy!), shows us amazing “sets” I don’t even remember in the fast-moving film, and she lets us in on all kinds of fun details, like the fact that it took eight months to get the various animals’ fur just right (color, texture, and direction of fur growth takes more contemplation than I realized). We are also privy to many sketches and scenes that were eventually cut from the film. Read the rest

4 artists 1 tree

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4 Artists Paint 1 Tree is a short documentary released by Disney in 1958, in which four of its best animators (then working on Sleeping Beauty) each paint the same old oak tree. An illustration of the depth of artistic brilliance and individuality informing the technical uniformity of an animated feature, it's well worth 15 minutes of your day.

They're all great, but my favorite is Eyvind Earle's, top, closely followed by Josh Meador's on the left. To the right, Walt Peregoy ("Walt Disney was a shit. We made Walt. Walt didn’t make Walt. Walt was an asshole.") holds his modernist rendering. At bottom is Mark Davis, whose technique seems delightfully contemporary. [Thanks, Wendy!] Read the rest

How a sewing machine works (gif edition)

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An ancient mystery revealed. Read the rest

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