Friday, November 9, 2007

"O.Ratz in Rat in a Hot Tin Can"

Click here to see VIDEO

I found out that “O.Ratz in Rat in a Hot Tin Can” was no longer available on YouTube, so I decided to put the 7 minute cartoon on our own website for a short time. We made the cartoon with Hanna-Barbera in 1995 for Cartoon Network’s “What A Cartoon Show.” Of course, it didn’t go to series, but it was still a lot of fun to make, and we made some long lasting showbiz friends along the way. ..See the video here and our info page on it here.


Know a Preschool to 1st Grader? Free online cartoons and games - just for them! Visit “”

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Catching up with Mary Anne Barothy

Last night I had the fun experience of catching up with former Perennial Pictures staffer and author Mary Anne Barothy at the signing of her new book “Day at a Time.” Before becoming Director of Publicity for Perennial Pictures (1986-1990), Mary Anne was personal secretary to movie star Doris Day. “Day at a Time” is Mary Anne’s recounting of her time with one of the biggest stars in motion picture history.

It was great seeing Mary Anne and a fun surprise to see our studio mentioned in her book and on the jacket. The book is a fun, informative read! Check it out.

One of the shows Ms Barothy worked with us on was “A Mirthworm Masquerade.” It was the second TV Special we made, and after its initial US broadcasts, it continued to play well for many years overseas.

To see a couple of minutes from it, Click here.


Sunday, October 28, 2007

On The Business End

G. Brian Reynolds ......................Russ Harris

This past Tuesday Brian and I were in New York pounding the pavement. We stopped by the Cartoon Network offices, the MTV Networks offices, and Frederator Studios in NY. It’s always nice to “get outta Dodge” for a day, and “talk turkey” with some new and some old friends. Of course, every time we do, we come back to the studio with a bunch of exciting new ideas we want to pursue - along with all the existing ideas we want to accelerate. But there’s only so many hours in a day, and the current work load keeps us hopping too.

We continue to animate scenes for “The Mr. Men Show” (which is going to be a really fun show for the Cartoon Network that is being produced by Renegade Animation) and we’re producing /developing for our own “Crawford the Cat” property as well as a couple of other projects that we have in the works..

Next week we’re in Chicago for a day. It’s a busy time, and a good time!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

"Crawford The Cat" and "Mr. Men"

We’ve been pretty busy at Perennial Pictures over the last month working on our own “Crawford the Cat “ property as well as picking up some animation for “The Mr. Men Show” from our friends at Renegade Animation. Mr. Men looks like it’s going to be a really fun show, and we’re happy to be working on it. Look for the show on Cartoon Network in the US and on Channel 5 in the UK beginning in February 2008!

For “Crawford the Cat,” we’ve been putting together model packs for the characters, and this week, Crawford’s walk cycles were being honed.

To see some on the walk cycle animation, Click Here.

To visit Crawford the Cat's website, Click Here.



Saturday, September 8, 2007

Makin' It Rain

Here’s a couple of backgrounds from yet another CRAWFORD THE CAT –related product we’re developing. The product is a proposed series of one-minute interstitials for the Internet and/or TV. These would fall into the EI (Educational and Informative) category of programming and content. Our challenge with these is to make them rich with personality, fun and still be EI.

The pilot is called “Rainy Day.” We’ll post it as soon as it’s finished.

These backgrounds were rendered by G. Brian Reynolds. Nice job!

“Crawford the Cat – Interstitials: Rainy Day” is the pilot for a proposed series of 60 second interstitials featuring the characters from “Crawford’s Corner”

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Color Styling Sets the Mood

Another screenshot from “Crawford the Cat Classics: Cinderella.”

For this background, G. Brian Reynolds chose dark reds and magentas for the walls and floors to help underscore the feeling of this scene. It’s interesting how color can affect one’s emotional response, and color styling is one of the few tools we have to help indicate the starker plot points in this version of the Cinderella material. Since the show is geared toward younger audiences, the antagonists can’t be too harsh or too mean. I think the color styling works great to accent what is NOT being said or done by some of the characters.

Nice styling G. Brian Reynolds!

To see some MOS frames of the scene, Click Here!
“Crawford the Cat Classics – Cinderella” is the pilot for a proposed new series of hour-long TV Specials featuring the characters from “Crawford’s Corner”

Sunday, August 19, 2007

CRAWFORD THE CAT in Latin America

Crawford the Cat’s been brushing up on his Spanish and Portuguese ever since he found out he's going to be part of The National Geographic Channel's new kid block called “Nat Geo & Me.”

Click to see larger image.

It’s always fun to see one of our shows on the TV schedule – even if we can’t see the actual telecasts from here in the USA. American audiences, however, can soon see all the shorts online at

Thanks NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CHANNEL for making the “Crawford’s Corner” shorts part of your new Latin American kid block!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


What’s a re-telling of Cinderella without the not-so-nice stepfamily? In our version, a fox, a pig and a stork “fill the bills.” Hopefully the characters will be menacing enough – and at the same time fun enough- for the intended younger audiences.

The character designs are by G. Brian Reynolds. Nice work, G. Brian.

This week at the studio, we had an additional recording session for this show. Actor Will Gould was in recording some Narrator parts. I’ll do a post on that soon.

In the meantime, to enjoy 70 frames of silent animation from this scene, Click Here.

“Crawford the Cat Classics – Cinderella” is the pilot for a proposed new series of hour-long TV Specials featuring the characters from “Crawford’s Corner”


Wednesday, August 1, 2007


Here’s another fun background from G. Brian Reynolds. It’s the theatre from "Crawford the Cat Classics - Cinderella" where Crawford the Cat and his friends perform the “classics” – Fairy Tales Classics, that is.

We’re hoping that these gentler retellings of the stories will mesh well with the pre-school audience. From a creative standpoint, it’s not easy to write a softer adaptation of this oft’ times harsh material, and still remain close in flavor to the original, and keep the show upbeat and energetic. We also have to make sure the characters of Harriet and Crawford remain true to their own personalities while “playing roles” in these other shows. No lines can be written for them that they couldn’t have said in the 13 “How To” shorts that are already made and are telecasting in international markets.
While hard, I must say the challenges have also made the process very exciting. There’s no relying on what's been seen before – most of it won’t work – it has to be all brand new!

Hopefully, our adaptations for these shows will be a nice as the art is!

To see a few seconds of animation on G. Brian’s awesome background, Click Here.


“Crawford the Cat Classics – Cinderella” is the pilot for a proposed new series of hour-long TV Specials featuring the characters from “Crawford’s Corner”

Sunday, July 22, 2007


Voice Over Actress, LISA L. BUETOW was in last week to record some additional Harriet the Hare /Cinderella lines for “Crawford’s Classics – Cinderella.” Lisa has worked with the studio on several productions over the years, including her role as the Mother Swan in “The Ugly Duckling’s Christmas Wish” - a TV movie Perennial Pictures made in 1996. Lisa also performed multiple voices in a couple of half-hour TV specials we produced earlier called “Jolly Old St. Nicholas” and "Jingle Bell Rap."
When we developed the character of Harriet The Hare for the "Crawford's Corner" shorts, we knew Lisa would be perfect for the part due to that special brand of gentleness she can bring to a performance. Thanks Lisa! It's always a pleasure working with you!

To hear a few seconds of Lisa as “Harriet The Hare,” Click here.
“Crawford the Cat Classics – Cinderella” is the pilot for a proposed new series of hour-long TV Specials featuring the characters from “Crawford’s Corner”

Saturday, July 14, 2007

A Cottage for the Heroine


Here’s another background from “Crawford’s Classics – Cinderella.” This is the abode of our Cinderella. The background was generated by G. Brian Reynolds.

The line art was hand-drawn, scanned into the Flash Program and then further rendered and colored.

To see a few seconds from a scene on this background, Click here.



“Crawford the Cat Classics – Cinderella” is the pilot for a proposed new series of hour-long TV Specials featuring the characters from “Crawford’s Corner”


Sunday, July 8, 2007

The Balloon Cycle

Scenes completed at Perennial Pictures this week on the CRAWFORD THE CAT special included “bunches of buoyant, bouncy balloons” complete with individual strings that track to each one. The animation on the balloon cycle was a little time-consuming when originally done, but because the cycle was going to be used in many scenes, the time was worth it. The balloon cycle has become an “Asset” in our “Library,” and is very easy to add - and scale to size - in the scenes where it’s needed. FLASH is very handy for this kind of reuse.

To see a sequence of scenes with the balloon cycle, Click here.

“Crawford the Cat Classics – Cinderella” is the pilot for a proposed new series of hour-long TV Specials featuring the characters from “Crawford’s Corner”

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Scene Revisions

When we first saw the original version of this scene cut into the promotional reel, we didn’t think the background and the staging looked fancy enough for the introduction of Prince Crawford (Crawford the Cat) at his birthday party. We decided to pull the camera back, add an overlay and dress up the background a bit. I think the scene works much better now.

To see a few seconds of the REVISED scene, Click here.
To see a few seconds of the ORIGINAL scene, Click here.

This clip is from “Crawford’s Classics: Cinderella" - an hour-long TV Special our studio is producing.

Nice animation G. Brian Reynolds!
Nice music Peter Schmutte!
Nice vocals Teresa Giles and Becky Martin Graham!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Background Art

It’s interesting how totally different a background looks without the characters on it. With nothing obstructing the view, one can really appreciate the look and feel of the art – especially all the nuances that have been added. I particularly enjoy the shadows and the subtle wallpaper designs used in this art.

These backgrounds were designed and painted by G. Brian Reynolds for "Crawford's Classics: Cinderella" - a show currently in production at our studio. Nice work, Brian.

To see some animation on these backgrounds, Click here.

Friday, June 15, 2007

On Spec

Occasionally, at Perennial Pictures we will produce a spec piece of animation to help sell a concept. While digging through the archives, I found a little piece of animation we made a couple of years ago. The image above is from a 10 second network ID we made as part of a pitch to Cartoon Network. The pitch was made during the time Cartoon Network was putting together their “Tickle U” morning cartoon programming block for preschoolers. They didn’t buy the idea, but we did make some new friends and contacts along the way.

To see the Cartoon Network spec ID, Click here.


Russ Harris

To see a "Crawford the Cat" clip, Click here.

To see a "Handycat" clip, Click here.


Saturday, June 9, 2007

Subtle Multiplane Camera

What’s a retelling of Cinderella without a scene featuring the lead character arriving at the ball and the Prince taking notice? In this scene, we again use a multiplane camera technique to create a subtle, yet slightly 3D effect of the chandeliers passing by.

Another simple, yet effective technique used in the scene was the flipping of Crawford's animation over, re-coloring it, and letting it serve as a reflection on the floor. Both of these effects and the rest of the eye-candy was created by G. Brian Reynolds. Nice work, Brian.

To see a few seconds of the animation, Click here.

To see an over-scan of the animation, Click here.

To see our other post regarding the Multiplane Camera, Click here.


~ Russ Harris

“Crawford the Cat Classics – Cinderella” is the pilot for a proposed new series of hour-long TV Specials featuring the characters from “Crawford"s Corner”


Sunday, June 3, 2007

"Squash and Stretch"

Animation for “Crawford’s Classics – Cinderella” comes along nicely this week. The image above is from a scene that introduces the Fairy Godmother character in this show. The background art and animation is by G. Brian Reynolds. Brian used a lot of “squash and stretch” in the animation to create the character’s clumsy entrance. “Squash and stretch” is a great old phrase that refers to a time-tested animation basic. Today, an animator can easily squash and stretch the art in programs like FLASH. What does not come easily is that animator’s knowledge of where and how much to use this and other animation techniques. That knowledge only comes as the result of a lot of hard work and experience.

Nice “squash and stretch” G. Brian Reynolds!

Click here to see the CLIP.


~ Russ Harris

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Alumni Artists of Perennial Pictures

James Workman - 1994

Andy Kuhn - 1993
Michael J. Cole - 1997

Rackel L. Rutledge - 1986

The above studio photos feature a few of the Perennial Pictures "Alumni Artists." All of the Alumni Artists made invaluable contributions to the filmed productions and, whether they knew it or not, helped to shape the studio.
This week we heard from "Alumni Artist" Michael J. Cole. ..Michael worked in the Ink and Paint Department as an Artist and Supervisor at Perennial Pictures Film Corporation during the late 1990s. He, along with fellow I&P artists, personally hand-painted thousands of cels for studio productions. ..Today, however, there is no Ink and Paint Department at Perennial Pictures and nary a cel to be painted. All animation art is “painted” in the computers, and it is usually done by the animators. Happily, Michael remains very active in the creative arts field and keeps busy doing book illustrations and select design work.
Thanks for checking in, Michael J. Cole.
To see more Perennial Pictures Artists, Alumni Artists and Staff photos, Click here.

~ Russ Harris

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Extra Details for Scene

At Perennial Pictures the CRAWFORD THE CAT project rolls along. The scene above took some extra time to create as the background and character art is more detailed than some of the other art generated for this show The scene had a unique mood to expresses and does it quite nicely. The extra time was worth it.

All of the animation in the scene was generated in FLASH. Some initial hand drawn images were scanned into the program, but then each component was duplicated, manipulated, squashed, stretched and then put into its proper position.

In this particular show, we needed to replicate a style that was set previously in the “Crawford the Cat” shorts. I think the process has been most successful. While entirely generated in FLASH, I’d say it’s pretty hard to discern it from the traditionally animated art created earlier.

The below links are clips of the scene with and without the background. I particularly enjoy the animated walk of the stork character. This super work was generated by G. Brian Reynolds.

To see the clip, Click here.

To see the character animation WITHOUT the background, Click here.

To just see the background, Click here.


~Russ Harris

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Animation Continues

This week at Perennial Pictures, animation continued on CRAWFORD’S CLASSICS - CINDERELLA as well as some advance work on the sound effects. The promotional trailer for the show will be done in a few weeks so other areas of production for it are starting to kick in.

The image above is a screenshot from another scene by animator Daryl D. Pyle.

Click here to see some of the ANIMATION.

Nice work Daryl!

Also this week, composer Peter Schmutte was in to discuss a song for a dance sequence in the show. The process usually goes like this: G. Brian Reynolds and he discuss, Peter makes notes, disappears for a week or so, and then come backs with some great demo of the song for us to listen to. It’s all pretty amazing to me.

More on Peter and the whole music process in an up coming post.

Friday, May 4, 2007

More "We're Floating Away" Song


This week – more art generated and more scenes animated.

The above 30 second clip is more from the song sequence “We’re Floating Away.” I love the little “Mary Poppin-esque” touch G. Brian Reynolds added with Crawford atop the chimney stacks.


~ Russ Harris

(Scenes from "Crawford's Classic" hour-long TV Special)

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Multiplane Camera Effect

More scenes animated on the "Crawford the Cat" project this week.

This 7 second clip features Crawford and Harriet floating on balloons toward a castle. I really like this scene because of the “multiplane” effect G. Brian Reynolds used. The multiplane process is a photographic technique that moves a number of pieces of artwork past the camera at various speeds and at various distances from one another to create a three-dimensional effect. We are able to create this effect fairly easily in the computer these days. In the past, this effect had to be accomplished on a special multiplane camera stand. The effect - however it's made - always makes the scene more fun.

Click here to see the ANIMATION.

Below is an over-scan of the scene that shows how the individual multiplane layers are moving.

Click here to see the unframed ANIMATION.

~Russ Harris

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Storyboard to Screen

It all starts with this – a storyboard drawing based on the script.

Next comes a layout drawing. Sometimes it comes directly from the storyboard or sometimes it’s just inspired by the storyboard and may look significantly different. In this case, the layout drawing is pretty much the same as the storyboard panel – just cleaned up and fleshed-out. After that, backgrounds and animation can begin.

This background was rendered by G. Brian Reynolds directly on the Flash stage. (Flash is the animation program we use.) The scene was then animated. Most all of the animation in the scene was generated on the Flash stage as well. The exception being the character’s dress – which was hand drawn on paper and then scanned into the program

Click here to see the ANIMATION.

The art is from "Crawford the Cat - Crawford's Classics" - a TV special the studio is producing.
Stop over to our HANDYCAT Production Blog at Frederator Studios and see some scenes from the HANDYCAT short we made for "Random! Cartoons." It's a show featuring 39 new shorts - coming later this year to Nickelodeon.
More next week.

~Russ Harris

Saturday, April 14, 2007

A Song For Crawford

“Crawford’s Classics” is an hour-long TV Special our studio is producing. This week several scenes were completed for the show. It features Crawford the Cat - a character we developed a few years ago for a series of “how-to” shorts.

At the time we produced the shorts, several songs were written for the series, but not all were used. When we needed a song for Crawford to sing in this show, we went to the “vault” and pulled out “We’re Floating Away.” It’s a whimsical song about being carried away on balloons. The song was written by G. Brian Reynolds and Pete Schmutte.

To see a few seconds of the song sequence, Click here.

The vocals are G. Brian Reynolds, Teresa Giles, and Becky Martin Graham. Music by Pete Schmutte. Nice work guys!

~Russ Harris

Saturday, April 7, 2007

More Backgrounds

This week at the studio, animation continued on the trailer for Crawford the Cat - “Crawford’s Classics.” All the art is coming along nicely, and the few scenes that are already finished are being edited together in Final Cut – the editing software we use at the studio. Final Cut makes pulling all the scenes together pretty easy. The Flash scenes are converted to QuickTime movies and then imported into Final Cut for editing. We’re producing Crawford’s Classics in high-definition (HD), and it’s a first for us. The difference in the color and clarity promises to be dramatic. It’s really noticeable to me after watching a scene on the computer screen and then watching the same scene play back on the standard television (SD) monitors – quite a difference.

But no matter what the format - HDTV or SDTV, G. Brian Reynolds’ backgrounds are always looking good. Nice work, Brian!

There’s a fire going in the kitchen fireplace, Click to see the animation.

~Russ Harris

Saturday, March 31, 2007

TV Trailer

This week at the studio, the promotional trailer (basically a TV commercial) for “Crawford’s Classics” went into production. Animation has shifted from the straight-ahead production of the show’s sequence #5 to the non-straight-ahead production of the trailer. There will be approximately 17 scenes in the trailer that will feature short clips from different parts of the show. Several of the scenes will play on the backgrounds that have been previously posted in this space. Based on the animatic (the storyboard pictures playing back with a scratch audio track), I think the trailer will be as fun to watch as it will be to make.

Our colleague Daryl D. Pyle was in this week. He and G. Brian Reynolds will be animating the piece.

Above is a scene Daryl has in the works.

To see the first few frames of it, Click here.