28 12 2011

from a seventies commercial animated by RICHARD WILLIAMS ANIMATION – the good old days!

© richard williams animation



5 09 2009

truman 2 comp

williams-trumann comm 1

in 1977 ANDREAS DEJA and I went to london and visited all the major animation studios, – HALAS&BATCHELOR, WHYATT&CATTANEO, DRAGON, TV-CARTOON, GRAND SLAM and of course RICHARD WILLIAMS ANIMATION. dick williams was not in london at that time, we met him a few years later. but they showed us their latest showreel with a selection of animated commercials. this showreel had a devastating effect, we were depressed for the rest of our london stay. it was the kind of animation we had never seen before, a quality that rivaled disney animation and was very, very different. especially a unique dissolve technique fascinated me. dick williams had developed that technique for his numerous animated titles for live action films like CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE and WHAT’S NEW PUSSYCAT. within the commercial-collection there was especially one that looked stunning – PUSHKIN WODKA. the dissolves seemed to go on without stopping and made the animation of more complicated mass-scenes easier. the cameraman explained to me that it was several dissolves on top of each other and even split in speed with masks. I asked him for more details but he did not want to explain it more. well, back at home I started doing endless tests. at that time I did all the camerawork for my animation myself and I wanted to find out how that technique worked. it took me over a year with endless tests. below is a diagram that shows you how it works, it is a mix of 3 exposures they are planned careful that the full exposure of all three is at any frame 100%. that way you only need 5 animation drawings to get 28 frames. usually you need 12 drawings on two’s for 24 frames. from that time on I did most of my tv-work using that technique, it looked like full animation and took only half the drawings. history! today it is probably a software you get for free as a download.

triple diss

© richard williams animation


8 07 2009

in the late seventies RICHARD WILLIAMS opened next to RICHARD WILLIAMS ANIMATION in london soho square his second studio in los angeles. it was located corner barham/cahuenga. the first job the L.A. studio got was a 30 sec commercial for JOVAN and the j. walter thompson advertising agency. dick williams animated and inbetweened everything himself in six weeks, he only had help from an illustrator, REBECCA MILLS, who painted the backgrounds, in oil. the animation was done straight on cels with a black grease pencil. the advertising agency had bought the rights for a FRAZETTA painting of a prehistoric conan-like muscle guy with a sword on top of a mountain. they wanted to use that poster for their campaign and first thought of arnold schwarzenegger and a live action version for the commercial, until dick convinced them he could do it in the frazetta-style in animation. every other studio would have been proud just to have that character animated climbing up the cliff. in dick’s version additional to the climbing the whole background is animated with a camera constantly flying around the character with lightning effects and additional flying prehistoric creatures. it is a masterpiece, probably the most stunning animation I have seen. in the fall 1978 issue of MIKE BARRIER’S FUNNYWORLD # 19 is an interview with richard williams where he talks in detail about the making of this commercial. following are some captured images to give you an idea.

williams jovan comm


williams still23

© frank frazetta
© richard williams
© thompson + jovan

errol le cain

4 07 2009

ERROL LE CAIN ( 1941 – 1989 ) is well known for his numerous illustrated children books. always fascinated by animation he joined RICHARD WILLIAMS animation studio in london in 1965 and worked on a wide range of animation projects, amongst them the titles for CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE, A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM and CASINO ROYALE. but his most important contribution was the stylistic work on the COBBLER AND THE THIEF, his beautifully painted backgrounds for this masterpiece. richard williams told me that errol made an animated short without any help after he had started to work in the studio. dick called it his ‘apprentice-work’. THE SAILOR AND THE DEVIL is a stylistic masterpiece, and the limited animation is fresh and unusual. according to dick williams there was a fire in the upper floor of his 13 soho square studio after the completion of the short, and unfortunately most of the artwork of that film burned or got badly damaged. following are a few screen captures of that short masterpiece…

errol le cain anim

© richard williams animation/errol le cain

lucky chance

20 09 2008

that must have been sometime in spring 1986, in duesseldorf, germany. dick williams came over from london for a few days. we were sitting in my office, he was on the phone with someone in london and during that short talk he did this doodle. it was the same afternoon when he told me about a project he had been offered to direct, something about a rabbit and a sexy woman. he was not quite sure if he should do it. well, that changed my whole life. dick took the job and directed the animation in WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT. I got involved in the storyboard work and then everything else just happened…