Monday, 30 June 2008

Tony White "Fire Gods"

Fire Gods is not the movie I had intended to feature by Tony White but it will act as an introduction to one of the most creative animators in the commercial and educational world. Burnie and Ash are two Fire Gods who take the viewer through the history of glass making for the Tacoma Museum of Glass. The pair are traditional cartoon characters, one rather bored by the whole thing to be honest, though Burnie is knowledgeable and attempts to keep his partner interested. It is a collaborative piece made by the Digipen Institute of Technology in Redmond, Washington where Tony is head of the Animation Department. The work is the fruits of an expert animator from a commercial background and some talented post graduate students. Made with a combination of hand drawn, computer, and Flash animation the eight minute piece is a mixed bag of styles including live action towards the end when Dale Chihuly appears although he is dressed in a fancy wig and tells us that glass mystifies him and is the most magical material you can work with. I showed it my students more, to be frank, as an exercise in coordinating different styles of animation than a history lesson in glass making. It fits the bill as an introduction for the museum in a lively and informative way. Tomorrow I will look at some of the finest television advertising of recent years as I explore Tony's earlier work.

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