Saturday, December 18, 2010


Mike sent me these Wolvertons, which almost made me fall out of the chair.  According to Mike the artist's name is Colin Batty.  Man, Batty's done a service to the whole cartoon world here! Nice job, Colin!

Batty's site:

You have to wonder if characters like this could work in 3D animation.

The underlighting (above) makes this "Lena the Hyena" look menacing.

Aaaah...true art!

What program were these pictures done on? My first guess was ZBrush, but maybe they were done on "Sculptris," which is something I just found out about. It's a free program.

Here's some Wolverton-style stop motion animation courtesy of commenter Ben Leeser. It's a YouTube video called "Ugly Girl," posted by Necrofinger (!). This got over 11,000,000 hits! Thanks, Ben!


Steven M. said...

Those are fantastic. I'm against the idea of Wolverton characters in a CGI film, but if it can be done right like these renderings, then I'll reconsider.

thomas said...

Wolverton works really well with digital rendering, just takes the type of rendering/ shading he did up a notch.

But to have them move, I think would be a bad idea. There's a quality to W's drawings that give the impression of being frozen, like hieroglyphs, or bugs in amber, essentially specimens. To have them move in 3D space would ruin something fundimental to them.

Luis María Benítez said...

This is the kind of stuff that needs to be done with CGI.

Allen said...

A agree with thomas. It's something about these pictures being frozen in time that makes them so amazing. Having them move would ruin that.

Though have you seen the claymation video of ugly girl? That looks great. I sure wish claymation would make a come back.

The Modesto Kid said...

Three-d renderings of Wolverton faces make the best-ever Facebook avatars.

Anonymous said...

The problem with 3d animation I think is that if wolverton were to draw a storyline ocmic involving these characters their faces would probably change and morph dramatically throughout the comic with no fixed model for the characters. Kind of like a blog post of John K's I read where he showed how dramatically Rocky and Bullwinkle changed from shot to shot, the whole "characters are a set of principles with no exact fixed dimensions" thing.

My problem with 3d is that the intense amount of work that goes into every object and location leads to a lack of whimsy during the creative process. Since every object must be meticulously modeled you can't just erase a tree and replace it with a weirder one in a minute or do a lot of the great cartoonish effects you used to see in Avery and Clampett cartoons.

I always find it depressing when they show behind the scenes of a 3d movie and an animator hits a button and everything becomes a black and green 3d wireframe. They actually have to make characters subtlely vibrate when they are still or else they look like plastic dolls. When every object has fixed dimensions in space you can't draw impossible things anymore.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Thomas, Allen: I agree. Also, there are perspective cheats that make the Wolverton images work which would be hard to incorporate into 3D. Even so... I can still see a 3D short cartoon working if the story were right, and if the right cartoonists did it. Look what Clampet did with his Horton cartoon. For me it's the only Seuss adaption that worked, though I suppose the Grinch film had moments.

Anon: Very well said! I completely agree. 3D will eventually be able to incorporate lots of flukey, funny poses, but it hasn't done it so far, and I'm getting tired of waiting. Can we have some funny 2D films while we're waiting for the 3D programs to improve?

thomas said...

Seuss doesn't have the :frozen quality that wolverton does, so the animation doesn't hurt it, as long as it stays flat 2D, and especially with Clampett doing it.

I watched a bit of the recent 3D Horton, and what a mess. It was untolerable for a 4 year old to watch, literally, Which means I saw a four year old say, what is this? I can't watch it. Shut it off.

The only way I could imagine Wolverton the be animated is as a sort of moving bas- relief, with the movement only happening in a very shallow frontral space. Basically like flat puppets, i guess, like what you said, E, about the perspective cheats.

As much bas I like the digital renderings, even they lose some of those perspective cheats.

BTW a bad Christmas joke I just made up.

what do you call drawings made by Santa Claus?


Ben Leeser said...

Here's an animation I found by just searching "Basil Wolverton animation" on YouTube.

It's stop-motion, not CG, sorry, but I still think it's pretty good.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Thomas: Gro-o-oan!

Ben: Thanks a million for the link! I added it to the post!

Jorge: I haven't forgot to check out the Wagner links you sent. I'll do it, even if it takes me a couple more days to get around to it!

Aaronphilby said...

HAHAHA. This is soooooo coooool.

Jorge Garrido said...

No problem, Eddie!