Just forget the words and sing along

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Wow. I've got lots of pointless stuff to share.

In case I haven't shared the news from a few weeks back, I caved to temptation. On my last day in Cold Lake, I made a quick swing by the military base and I bought GI Joe: Ninja Battles. That was that huge boxed set of 5 GI Joe ninjas (2 Joes, 3 Cobras), a buttload of weapons, a freaky-cool torii base, a comic book, and a DVD. I'm really tempted to open it. I really wanna watch that DVD.

I think it's time for me start reading Batman comics. Guess who was finally resurrected from the dead? Jason Todd, the Robin that was infamously killed. Only now, he's calling himself the Red Hood and he's Gotham's latest criminal mastermind.

I really want to know why they felt they needed to do this. I think a dead Robin helped make Batman the grim crimefighter he is today. What can I say? I'm curious to see where they're going to take this.

I guess this is why comic books resurrect dead characters.

Today's useless bit of Star Trek trivia. It has to do with the creation of Voyager.

The character of Tom Paris was originally going to be Tom Locarno, who was played by Robert Duncan McNeil. The character of Locarno was introduced on the classic Next Generation episode "The First Duty." Locarno was a classmate of Wesley's, and leader of the elite flight team known as Red Squad. The plot of "The First Duty" invovled a training accident in Red Squad in which a team member was lost. Locarno attempted to cover it up, but Wesley was torn between his friends and his duty, and eventually Wesley chose duty and confessed to the whole thing. Locarno was disgraced and drummed out of the academy.

Well, the writers were fascinated by this character, and wanted Robert Duncan McNeil to reprise Locarno as a member of the crew of Voyager. McNeil wasn't available, so the creators came up with the very-similar Tom Paris, and Paris has a very-similar disgrace-inducing incident in his backstory. Then, as casting was beginning for Voyager, McNeil became available again! He became the first, last, and only choice for Paris.

And now, a brief history of inking in animation.

We've all seen the images of the animator hunched over the drawing table, drawing images on paper. But when they create animation, the drawings on a clear pieces of plastic called "cels." So, the question is, how do the drawings get on the cels?

In the old days, once the animator was done, the drawings were shipped off to the ink & paint department. Here, the drawings would be traced onto cels (inked) and then coloured (painted). Naturally, Walt Disney thought, "There must be an eaiser way."

And thus came the Xerox process. The animators' drawings were simply photocopied onto the cels, and then shipped off to the ink & paint department for coloring. Disney tested it on a few scenes in Sleeping Beauty, and then fully adpoted it with 101 Dalmations.

Time marches on. Things progress. Once again, an easier way was saught. Disney hired Pixar to develop the Computer Assisted Production System, or CAPS. Now, it works like this. The animators' drawings are scanned into a computer, coloured digitally, and then composited onto the scanned-in background. It was tested on a few scenes in The Little Mermaid, and it was fully adopted on the Rescuers Down Under. Cels are no longer used, and the ink & paint department was shut down.

And now, the whole thing is moot as Hollywood believes traditional animation is dead and we're going through the big push to CGI.

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