New Slate of Flash Greats

Nicholas Da Silva, founder of FlashTV, has recently launched

the 2nd Annual TGSNT competition. Last year’s inaugural competition was promoted as “a digital storytelling competition, designed to encourage and promote the use of Macromedia Flash MX to produce original stories for the web, video, television, film and interactive entertainment.” This year’s version boasts a bigger software palette, adding Toon Boom Studio, Softimage XSI, LightWave 3D, 3ds Max 6 and Maya 6 into the mix.

The twenty finalists are now displayed on the TGSNT 2 website, and I’d argue that a handful of the Flash-produced shows in the competition are the standouts. In particular:

Prowlies at the River
by Adam Phillips

Adam was a finalist in the first TGSNT competition with his ‘Bitey of Brackenwood‘ short (and should have won if you ask me). He’s a Senior Special Effects animator at Disney’s Australian studio, and it shows. The water, the light rays, the under water light play, the fast-motion blurs, and the Tarzan-esque jungle romp all put Adam’s show into a quality category that the rest of the competition simply can’t match. For what this short lacks in story it makes up two-fold in jaw-dropping effects and timing. And for a Flash production, the drawing count is extremely high, so bravo Adam. Bottom line: your #2 Newgrounds ranking is well deserved, and I foresee a TGSNT championship trophy in your future. I could simply watch your water effects work over and over and over….

Nulbur
by Sylvain Gignac

Sylvain, where have you been hiding? As far as I can tell, this is your first foray into narrative Flash animation, and it’s a good thing you started. Don’t watch this short expecting much substance as ‘Nulbur’ is as pointless as the lead character’s flat, boxy head, but the lavish design of this Mario-inspired nirvana is surely a feast for the eyes. As far as I can tell, Sylvain is from Quebec, and he works at Frima Studio, but I can’t be entirely sure. Regardless, hats off to you, Sylvain – I hope your skills are being put to use on station IDs, a video game, or at least another short.

Plantage
by Jakub Dvorsky

I just posted an interview with Jakub, so point yourself this way to read my thoughts on ‘Plantage.’ Good luck in the competition, Jakub. If Adam doesn’t take the top prize, I’m sure you will.

Everyone Has Had More Sex Than Me
By Bernard Derriman

Bernard Derriman has had his fair share of internet animation success. He’s half of the duo that brought ‘Arj and Poopy‘ to the web, and this resident of New South Wales, Australia also received a great deal of attention for his animated take on legendary convict ‘Chopper‘ Reid. His latest, an animated video for the band TISM, is not only well animated, but it’s just damn funny. It doesn’t hurt that the song itself is clever, but Derriman takes it to the next level. The song is called ‘Everyone Has Had More Sex Than Me,’ and his animation adds a healthy dose of angst to the lyrical message. It’s a sad tale of loneliness, and jealousy, but, as in much of comedy, the pain of others is our pleasure.

Bernard either was or still is an employee at Disney’s Australian studio, and his fluid animation style speaks of professionalism. He uses Flash to it’s fullest, re-using well-drawn mouth comps on multiple poses and clever animation cycles. But it’s the little touches that really take this short over the top. It’s the eye twitch on the pent-up rabbit, the expressive sequence of held poses, and, my favorite, the pathetic looking bunny costume on the keyboard player. Best of luck in the competition, Bernard.

Gaigin – The Tail of a Warrior
By Oren Mashkovshi and MYSH

This short, about a ninja raccoon, if nothing else, it’s a great example of how Adobe’s After Effects software can add so much to a Flash project. The blurs, the rack focus effects, the camera moves and the lighting, were all punched up in AEFX. This teaser was created by Oren Mashkovshi and MYSH, who hail from Israel and a company called PIL Animation.

Of the non-Flash shows in the competition, I’ll give Ernesto Bottger’s

Help! the nod. It’s a bit light on story, but it’s designed well, smooth and it’s replete with clever acting. It’s produced in Softimage, and it’s worth the download.

Now go watch them all, and don’t forget to vote for your favorite.

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