Animations Curated by John Miller

frame capture from 'Canon'
Frame capture from 'Canon', by Norman McLaren

Compilation of animation from Norman McLaren, John Whitney, et al, that I saw as a younger person — high school through college on public TV, and later at animated film festivals in Portland @ C21.

Norman McLaren

There is a McLaren page on National Film Board of Canada [NFB] site. See also [Wikipedia] for background info.

Norman McLaren, Abstract Animations

These consist of geometric patterns, blobs, lines, etc, and various sounds.

Dots (1940) 1 minute 37 seconds → 1:37

Drawn directly on film. Sound was also drawn onto the film. [Dots]

Pen Point Percussion (1951) ~6 minutes

Shows how sounds were put on McLaren animations. [Pen Point Percussion]

Canon (1964) 9:25

Animation done to a Bach canon. (2nd half of Canon is the dance below, under Done with People). [Whole Thing]

Begone Dull Care (1949) 7:50

Done right on the film itself, synched to the music. [Begone Dull Care]

Lines Vertical (1959) 5:45

Drawn on film, along the length of it! [Lines Vertical]

Lines Horizontales (1962) 5:54

Norman McLaren et Evelyn Lambart (added color). This is Lines Vertical, rotated 90 degrees! Music Pete Seeger! [Lines Horizontales]

Mosaic (1965) 5:27

Richard Revees (below) says this was done by taking vertical lines running the length of the film, rotating copy of each 'frame' and superimposing the horiz & vert... white squares are where the lines intersect. [Mosaic]

Synchromy (1971) 7:26

Animation created by using an optical film printer. Mostly all viz of soundtrack. [Synchromy]

Blinkety-Blank (1955) 5:16

Older... experimental, fantasia like, quintet plus crude drawings. [Blinkety-Blank] Entry [on Wikipedia]

Boogie Doodle (1950?) 3:18

An animation film, made without the use of a camera, in which 'boogie' played by Albert Ammons and 'doodle' drawn by Norman McLaren combine to make a rhythmic, brightly colored film experiment. [Boogie Doodle]

Fiddle-De-Dee (1947) 3:22

Very early Drawn on Film, primitive. Inspired by Len Lye's 'A Colour Box'. (?) Music: Eugene Desormaux, folk-fiddle. [Fiddle-De-Dee]

A Phantasy in Colors (1949) 7:48

Drawn on Film. Visually interpreting the Music of the Oscar Peterson Trio. Seems like some film of Trio may have been used (painted over) in some segments. [A Phantasy in Colors]

La Merle, (1958) 4:38

Silly Blackbird story done with white lines and geometric figures. [La Merle]

Rythmetic (1956)

Reviewer: Wonderful imagery, and the willingness to experiment; RYTHMETIC may be one of the only true miss-steps in his otherwise wonderful film career... John says: Interesting idea, but HORRIBLE. No link.

Norman McLaren, Done with People

People appear in these animations. In chronological order.

Neighbours (1952) 8 min

'Neighbors' is particulary poignant. McLaren was a canadian with strong anti-war feelings. Neighbors was included in an animated film festival probably in early 80's.

In this Oscar-winning short film, Norman McLaren employs the principles normally used to put drawings or puppets into motion, to animate live actors. The story is a parable about two people who come to blows over the possession of a flower. [Neighbors]

A Chairy Tale (1957) ~10 minutes

Crazy - I hadn't seen this one till this year. I realized after a minute that this was stop motion animation! Music my Ravi Shankar is perfectly matched to the Tale.. [A Chairy Tale]

Canon - Dance Only (1964) 4:43

The dance sequence extracted from 'Canon'. (Cats are hard to see at 3:00) The little story-dance that get's out of hand. [Canon - Dance Only]

Pas De Duex (1968) 13:20

Ballet as seen via strobo-scopic, time-shifted frames. Stunning. [Pas De Duex]

Norman McLaren, Animated Motion: Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Done by McClaren 1976-77. Kind of like 'The Making of Animation'. Not amusing, just fascinating.

Woman moving discs to make animation
Frame by frame construction of moving from point A to Point B.

Explains/demonstrates various principles of Animation. 7-10 minutes each. (40+ total)

General Information About Drawn on Film Animation

[Drawn on Film Animation]

James & John Whitney

Lapis (1966) 9 m

very geometric. rotating, changing [Lapis] (1968) 8 m

Computer Program by Jack Citron, music by Balachandrer []

Matrix III (1972) 10:35 minutes

[Matrix III]

Arabesque (1975) 7 minutes

Opens with Pyramid Films trailer. [Arabesque]

Richard R. Reeves

On February 21, 2019, I (John Miller) heard and saw Richard Reeves give a Film Study Center presentation. He played, explained, and discussed McLaren's and Whitney's work as well as his own.

Richard R. Reeves on [wikipedia]. His website [flickerfilms animation] has short clips from his longer animations.

Walther Ruttmann

Yantra (1924!) 4 minutes

[Yantra] There are more on YouTube!

Lichtspiel Opus I (1921)

Lichtspiel means 'Light Play' in german. Geometric visualization of a score by Max Butting (1920) flags, blobs, triangles, circles. animated with paper pcs (cut or torn), paintings, etc. [Lichtspiel Opus I]

Misc Animators

Would love to add more from Animated Film Festivals, as available, eg Bill Plympton, Will Vinton (Closed Mondays) but many of those are mainstream. May add some early computer animation..

Geom-e-Trees (1980, 2012)

by John Miller. [Original, 8mm Film 1980] [Digitally generated images, 2012]

Constant Motion (2019) 0:21

Reproduction by John Miller, as a Processing sketch. (See Animated Motion: Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 above) This 512 frame sequence appeared at the very end of Part 1. [Constant Motion]

Love & Theft (2010) 6:49

Crazy psycho-delic cartoon and morphing by Andreas Hykade. WARNING! Not Safe for children!! Also, This may give adults nighmares. LOL. It has a calm sensuous ending. [Love & Theft] [Andreas Hykade website]

Allures (1961) 1:02

by Jordan Belson. (Spiral) Vortex appears with new diamonds added at center (around dark circle) [Allures]

Cows With Guns (1996?) 5:11

by Bjorn-Magne Stuesol - Animated Cartoon - Song by Dana Lyons [Cows With Guns]

Articulation Copy (2) !?

spekulativ digital biology (they/thee) //// 3d + photogrammetry algorithms. [mxsage on Twitter]

Some YouTube Comments on James Whitney stuff

on, on YouTube: Begins with a PYRAMID films trailer. From Wikipedia: Sundaram Balachander (18 January 1927 – 13 April 1990) was an Indian veena player. He was also an accomplished filmmaker. He directed and produced while also having composed music for a few of them. Win Schutten - These are made from computer motion controlled plate with gells and a light source and a computer controlled camera. Computer controlled but still light hitting film.

on Lapis, comment on YouTube: For those wondering how this was done, look up the Wikipedia articles on James Whitney (filmmaker) and John Whitney (animator). He basically used an analog computer developed by his brother John - based on a gear-driven WWII surplus ballistics computer - to move many layers of hand-painted cels, frame-by-frame. I believe the video here on YouTube was recorded on VHS from a broadcast on Canadian TV back in the 80s? The original film is much sharper, with more vivid colors, and totally breathtaking. I think "Lapis" was released at one point on Laserdisc, and some libraries (especially at colleges) have film prints. A digitally restored version can be viewed occasionally at the Center for Visual Music in LA and the Centre Pompidou in Paris, but for some reason the Whitney estate refuses to allow this masterpiece to see wider release. It's really a shame that more people can't see this in all its glory!