Monday, 9 April 2012

Animator Profile : Michel Gagné

Fig. 1
Michel Gagné (1965-present) is a Canadian Cartoonist, who studied at Sheridan College on a course called Classical Animation. For six years he worked for Sullivan Bluth Studios. Well known works include films such as The Land Before Time, All Dogs Go to Heaven and A Troll in Central Park. In recent years Gagné has worked for Disney and Pixar, his innovative and refreshing style influenced the visual metaphors for Ratatouille. It is believed his inspiration came from animator Norman McLaren.
Fig. 2
Although Gagné is not as well known as McLaren or Disney, he has definitely been part of the pioneering process within animation. Producing several very successful children's animations, that in history has gone down as classics. Bob Miller observes, "What Michel Gagné does is design and animate special effects for such movies as The Swan Princess, Demolition Man, The Iron Giant and the forthcoming Osmosis Jones. Including his short, Prelude to Eden, it's a body of work that has earned him three Annie Award nominations. Beyond his job, he creates paintings, sculptures and illustrated books, with each work reflecting a common theme."I'm a compulsive creator," he says. "The subject that fascinates me the most is creation."" (Miller 2000) Miller states what Gagné does within the industry and why creation is such a big part of his fascination. Creation and design is arguable the most important successes of an animation as it is what makes the audience warm to the moving imagery on screen.
Fig. 3
Sensology is argueable one of Gagné's most famous works his down in a small group, putting him into the spotlight. Within this short animation is is clear that McLaren's Dots and Boogie-Doodle hace been major influences - the concept of visual music was established by McLaren. Sensology still maintains the same power as McLaren's, but has a touch of sophistication portrayed within shapes and monochrome colour palette. Andrew S Allen explains, "Michel did no storyboarding or pre-production planning, preferring instead to jump in and channel the images that came to him. It also might surprise you to learn there’s no vector animation anywhere in the film. Every frame was hand-drawn one after another using a Wacom stylus in a process that took 4 years. If you notice a similarity to the tasting sequences in Pixar’s Ratatouille, you’re spot on. After Michel posted a 9-second teaser of Sensology online back in 2006, he was contacted by Brad Bird to animate all the tasting sequences for the film (a process involving 1400 hand drawn sketches). The sequences became the most memorable moments of the film and inspiration for designers the world over." (Allen 2010) Allen dates Gagné's process of design and production, which seems to free flow, this is picked up on within the animation itself. It is easy to see why such admiration and praise is given to Gagné, as although seemingly working in the background his is an integral cog in the pioneer process. The revival of visual music is stunning.

Planktonrules argues, "It is a bit mesmerizing but also something very artsy and probably mostly of interest to people who like avant-garde things. For the general public, it's probably easy to skip and for the artsy, it's a 'must-see'." (Planktonrules 2011) The viewer clearly states that the film is not for everyone, yet in tern is worth admiration due to the way it can captivate a willing audience.

List of illustrations

Figure 1. Michel Gagné. At: http://blogue.centrenad.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Michel-Gagne-Couleurs.jpg (Accessed on:2/4/12)

Figure 2. Gagné, Michel (1988) The Land Before Time. At: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/a/ad/The_Land_Before_Time_poster.jpg (Accessed on:2/4/12)

Figure 3. Gangé, Michel (2010) Sensology. At: http://spokanefilmfestival.org/images/stills/2011/sensology.jpg (Accessed on:2/4/12)

Bibliography
Bob Miller (2000) Creativity After Hours: The Visual Evolutions of Michel Gagné. At: http://www.awn.com/articles/people/creativity-after-hours-visual-evolutions-michel-gagne (Accessed on:3/4/12)

Andrew S Allen (2010) Sensology. At: http://www.shortoftheweek.com/2011/10/21/sensology/ (Accessed on:3/4/12)

Planktonrules (2011) Read the Story Line on this one....as it defies my ability to score this one. At: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1800733/reviews (Accessed on:3/4/12)

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