Rear Window Animated Movie Poster

Alan Levine’s post about watching cool flick’s with Jim Groom finally got me to get of the snide and finish this animated movie poster for the amazing Hitchcock classic Rear Window. I have an older post with animated GIFs from … Continue reading

Alan Levine’s post about watching cool flick’s with Jim Groom finally got me to get of the snide and finish this animated movie poster for the amazing Hitchcock classic Rear Window. I have an older post with animated GIFs from Rear Window, but all things GIF need to ratcheted up a notch every few weeks.

This poster is was created for the limited theatrical re-realease of the movie in 1999 after an extensive restoration. I am a little disappointed with myself as if I were to really make something truly awesome, it would have been modeled after the original theatrical poster, which showcases all the happenings in the many neighbors windows. *Note to self, amazing summer project might include creating a number of Hitchcock animated movie poster GIFs.

To make this poster, I used the James Stewart GIF from the previous post, as well as made a new one for Grace Kelly. The work on Grace Kelly’s GIF was a lot tougher as it required the erasing of the background on ten separate frames (not fun). Here’s what one of the frames looked like beforehand:

To create the animation, I used the animation timeline in Photoshop in which you basically turn on and off different layers per frame. This is also a bit tedious, but it allows you to create some interesting timing options. Each frame can be assigned its own amount of time, which is how the pauses work. Here’s a look at a few frames of the animation timeline:

And here’s a look at the layers:

Since Alan’s post refers to Blow-Up as well as Rear Window, looks like I still have more work to do.

Karateka – Animated Floppy GIF

If there is one videogame I’m certain that I spent a few hundred hours playing, it’s definitely Karateka on the Commodore 64. Karateka a simple fighter game, which like most games of that time was really hard to complete, as … Continue reading

If there is one videogame I’m certain that I spent a few hundred hours playing, it’s definitely Karateka on the Commodore 64. Karateka a simple fighter game, which like most games of that time was really hard to complete, as there was no option to ‘save’ and pick up where you left off. The game gives quite an extensive narrative introduction, defining the role of your quest, including this text which rolled in the beginning with this music:

High atop a craggy cliff, guarded by an army of fierce warriors, stands the fortress of the evil warlord Akuma. Deep in the darkest dungeon of the castle, Akuma gloats over his lovely captive, the Princess Mariko.

You are one trained in the way of karate: a Karateka. Alone and unarmed, you must defeat Akuma and rescue the beautiful Mariko.

Put fear and self-concern behind you. Focus your will on your objective, accepting death as a possibility. This is the way of the Karateka.

This kind of narrative foundation was fairly unusual at the time of Dig Dug and Donkey Kong, and even more compelling to me was the minimalist aesthetic that went into Karateka.

The bottom half of the animated GIF shows Princess Mariko being locked up by Akuma. The color palette is restricted to black, white, gray, and the tan of Akuma’s costume. Also, the game was effectively ‘letter-boxed’ into a more cinematic wide-screen format.

So this is not exactly an remixed game cover, but it is in the spirit of that particular assignment. I wanted to give homage to the media of the day, the floppy disk, which allowed me to participate in my first bit of software piracy.

It was common to have dozens of boot-leg games copied to 5 1/4″ floppy disks. Back in the 80s you could rent videogames on floppy disk from video stores, and the only piece of copy protection was a little piece of aluminum foil sticker. It was a bit of craftsman’s work to remove and replace it without leaving behind a hint of your deviant copying behavior.

To create this particular animated GIF, I used this lovely scanned copy of the original C64 Karateka floppy. And to make the animation of the characters, I used an emulator of the C64 for Mac OS X called Power64 and then loaded up a Karateka ROM. The whole culture around rebuilding games from scratch and creating emulators is quite remarkable actually – there’s some real amazing geek efforts to preserve game history.

Once I loaded the game, I used Quicktime to do a screen capture of the intro and some game play. These movies were then opened in Photoshop to do work on the frame-by-frame animation in multiple layers. More to describe about that another time.

Millions of Unusual Small Creatures Lurking Everywhere

I remember having a little garbage can full of these M.U.S.C.L.E Men back in the 1980s. They were about an inch tall and there were dozens of different characters, each with a lot of detail. I was becoming a little … Continue reading

I remember having a little garbage can full of these M.U.S.C.L.E Men back in the 1980s. They were about an inch tall and there were dozens of different characters, each with a lot of detail. I was becoming a little too old to ‘play’ with them, but I was a bit of a dork and liked to collect them at the time. Sadly they’ve all disappeared, but they were pretty cool.

The above M.U.S.C.L.E Men are Mr. VTR, Canon Baller, and Wounded Ashuraman which I found on a website that sells new and collectable toys. Each of these characters is now three bucks! Also below is a review of M.U.S.C.L.E Men created by a guy who looks at his old toys and gives them some context. The classic commercial that he includes is pretty great, as I love the mixing of old black and white footage with the flesh colored M.U.S.C.L.E Men. There’s a second commercial below as well.

Inspiration for this GIF is thanks to TUJournal’s pop culture GIF Assignment. It wouldn’t feel right to start a semester of ds106 without creating an animated GIF. And these GIFs were created in Photoshop using the puppet warp tool, which I’m madly in love with at this point to create animated GIFs. I will do a tutorial for this one, I promise!