Friday, July 31, 2009

Betty Boop Wallpapers

Here are my first wallpapers. Unsurprisingly, they're of Betty.

The 16:10 resolution is good for widescreen monitors, with resolutions like 1920x1200, or 1280x800. The 4:3 is the standard monitor resolutions, like 1024x768, or 1600x1200. Ignore the fact that this wallpaper is titles #2, it's because I was working on the more detailed wallpaper #1 when this simpler design struck me.

I've branded the lower-left of the wallpaper, but the brand is in complete white, so it'll be easy enough to edit out if you want to.

For these large files, Google is down-sizing them. I'm working on a way to get them full-sized. I'm a little pissed. The damned images are a measly 50k.

UPDATE AGAIN! Ok, this is comically stupid. Follow these directions to get the full-sized images as they were meant to be. After clicking on an image, to the right it says "Belongs to Cartoon Vixens." Click the Cartoon Vixens link.

That brings up the full album. Find the wallpaper you want and click on it. That gives you a NEW and DIFFERENT download button, with more power than the previous download button (so fucking dumb). When you click "download image," you'll do a standard download. Go find that image that you just downloaded and IT will be the full-sized image.

FINAL UPDATE, I SWEAR. I've put up a link to the right that goes directly to my now-open Picasa feed. If you go there, click on the image you want, then click "download" above the link, you should get the high-res version no problem.

Betty Boop Wallpaper #2. 16:10 ratio:
From Cartoon Vixens

Betty Boop Wallpaper #2. 4:3 ratio:
From Cartoon Vixens

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Betty Boop Film Class.

Dizzy Dishes- 1930: Make sure to click the HQ button for the best audio.

This is Betty Boop's very first appearance in the Talkartoon series of cartoons produced as the first audio cartoons by Fleischer Studios. Fleischer had been working in cartoons for some time, but his real masterworks were yet to come, with Betty Boop, Popeye, and the stunningly animated Superman shorts.

This was Fleischer's second cartoon with voice, and all his timing and skills were associated with communicating jokes and ideas with pantomime and exaggerated animations. More so than any future cartoons, that's apparent in this one. The dialogue is completely unnecessary. You can almost imagine various instruments, like trumpets or trombones, being used for the voices of the characters. When the hulking thug orders the roast duck, we even see Bimbo the waiter/chef draw out a duck. The words weren't needed. The nascent nature of Fleischer's work with voice is also pretty glaring in the comically bad lip-syncing. Characters speak slowly, with drawn out syllables and simple sentence structure. If you watch Minnie the Moocher, the advancements made in less than two years in the lip-syncing is very impressive.

On a side note, if I was the thug, I'd be pissed as well. Six bucks was probably specified to show how expensive and fancy the club was. In today's money, six dollars is equal to almost eighty. Remember, the average annual income was only $1,970.00. That duck was an entire day's wages.

Watch all the lips closely. Notice how they stretch and balloon out of shape. It's one of the very first talking cartoons and they already have most of the basic lip motions in place. All they really needed to do was speed up the transitions to achieve normal talking speed and thus a real sense of fluidity.

I talked about how crude the animation appeared in Minnie the Moocher, but that's even more exaggerated in this short. It's also more of a true cartoon insofar as cartoonish warping of perspective, size, and shape is more pronounced. Betty spends her entire time on screen changing shape. You can also see Betty in her original anthropomorphic dog-thing style, before she became a spoof of a teenage flapper. You'll also notice how Bimbo is a lot taller in this than he is in future cartoons.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Red Hot Riding Hood Proto 2

She's coming along. Slowly.

First poll.

Well I've posted my first poll on Cartoon Vixens. I guess I'll keep it going for... ever. It's the only question that seems to apply to the blog. I also hope I got in everyone's favorite vixen. There are so many obscure cartoons I could have put in, but I think this pretty well lists the biggies.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


I discussed character a couple of posts ago, and how it exists more so in the eyes than any other element of the cartoon construct.

After working on Red Hot Riding Hood for a number of days, I think that requires a qualification. John Kricfalusi (who recently posted about Betty Boop), the creator of Ren & Stimpy and the Ripping Friends, is something of a cartoon evangelist. He is a true believer in the hardest sense. He is hyper-critical of most modern animation, sacrifices animals to a shrine for Tex Avery, and says that the best cartoons use the cartoon medium to express character and story through graphic manipulation not possible in reality.

This is actually somewhat necessary, since an animator can never capture the multitude of minute details in reality that bring life to our perceptions. They must exaggerate and extend beyond the bounds of physical possibility to capture the finer details in a gross fashion. So while I stand by my statement that the eyes make the character, the best animators use the full breadth of design, warping, and motion to capture character within the entirety of the construct.

Compared to simplistic designs and rigid animation, like Freddy from Scooby Doo, the more advanced characters literally pop off the screen. There is zero character in the body and motion of simpler constructs. Take for example, this very early Betty Boop cartoon (and also witness Cab Calloway performing moves that Michael Jackson would later take to the moon).

Watch the warping, the fact that appendages and facial features rarely ever maintain aspect ratios for more than a few frames. Arms grow and shrink, eyes double in size, and, perhaps obviously, his head turns into a phonograph. It looks crude by today's standards, but it's actually much more skilled and more advanced than Scooby Doo and most of the television animation being produced today. Everything bleeds character, as opposed to animation today, like anime. Character in anime constructs exists almost entirely in the color of the hair.

This actually all gets to the point. Betty Boop's design, being very bold, translated easily into mathematical representations of lines called vectors, which are perfect lines. Tex Avery was so good, that the character of Red Hot Riding Hood exists in the very fluctuations of the ink. Translating the lines into perfect vectors robs a great deal of the character. It is proving very, very difficult to faithfully capture everything that Avery injected into Red. I guess that my stumbling is a testament to the skill of the golden age cartoonists.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Twatting Twitter

Damn website. How the hell is Twitter so popular? It's loaded with spam, trolls, and is slower than cold shit. Still, Cartoon Vixens now gets its own account. Watery Gourmet and A Candle in the Dark both get theirs.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

New to Twitter.

I've just started a Twitter account to Tweet my daily musings. I'll also use it to discuss my Candle in the Dark blog. My Watery Gourmet blog will receive its own Twitter account that I think I'll make open.

Documentary Time, Students.

Since I'm working on my first Red Hot Riding Hoods, I've been reading up on her creator, Tex Avery. I found this great documentary from the late 80's about Avery's life and work. This was done about eight years after the maestro's death.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Betty Boop Editable The Sequel!

Well, I promised a Betty Boop standing editable .png file, and here it is. I've tweaked the lines as far as I think I really can. Anything else would just be tweaking for tweaking's sake. This file is fully editable. Enjoy futzing!

A Shadowy Vixen

I've added some shadows to my first Betty Boop. I think that I still prefer the pure lines and colors of the standard render, but this adds some depth, which is pleasant.

Friday, July 10, 2009


What the hell is this? It's so random. I just had to share.


I've started work on my second favorite cartoon vixen, Red Hot Riding Hood.

I have no high-falutin' feminist ideals in this case, only an extreme admiration for the animator behind her. Tex Avery was a genius of the highest order. He, Friz Freleng, and Chuck Jones completely defined American skit animation. While Disney's rigid, more "mature" animation dominated the theatrical releases, skit cartoons, and eventually television cartoons, were the domain of Warner's band of merry maniacs in Termite Terrace.

When Red Hot Riding Hood premiered, many people in the animation world assumed that Avery had rotoscoped a real dancer. Rotoscoping was a pretty common practice even at that early date, and the fact that Avery had not done this, instead using free-styled movement so fluid and real, is a testament to his skill. That the cartoons also have some fan-freaking-tastic slapstick is icing on the cake.

So yeah, this is an early framework build of Red in a dance pose. You can make out some of her grosser characteristics. I'm working on this in between my second Betty Boop and my first Jessica Rabbit.

Here's a video of the Toonheads broadcast of Red Hot Riding Hood. I always laugh hysterically when the wolf drinks the giant cocktail.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Betty Boop Farting Prototype Numero Dos

My second Betty Boop is coming along pretty well. A whole bunch of her lines are still out of whack and it's annoying me how slowly it's going to get her looking just right. I've added her eyebrows, so she doesn't look so dead like in the first prototype. I also added her heart pin and added some real depth to it with gradients. It gives it a general ruby-like quality and makes it seriously stand out from the flat colors of the rest of the image. This is a large image but IS NOT editable. I'll throw that one up when I feel like I've done the drawing justice

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Would The Real Betty Boop, Please Stand Up.

I'm working on the other widely available Betty Boop image: that of her standing and looking like she just popped a fart.

This image is a pretty dirty image as it is, and I've cleaned up the lines a lot. This one has been particularly difficult to get looking right, and I'm not sure why. I tweak and tweak and some aspect of her keeps looking like crap. Just look at her feet. They make me want to cry, I've done such a bad job.

Hopefully I'll have this one done and ready for color swaps soon.