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Monday, November 23, 2009

mj affair with animation

We've seen the moonwalk,

the one-handed glove,

the anti-gravity lean,

and that's just to

mention a few of

the innovations

introduced by the late Michael Jackson. Sometimes people even forget how MJ reinvented himself from a child prodigy into a global pop sensation. But he has this sense of creativity and showmanship that is hard to match which leads him to try many things - one of which is cartoon animation for his music videos.
Michael Jackson's song "Leave Me Alone" in the 1987 album Bad prominently featured 2D cartoon animation as its motif. Throughout the entire video, Jackson was super-imposed as a scaled real-life character.
The song talks about the personal and public turmoil encountered by Michael after the success of his 1982 album Thriller. At this time, the tabloids and other gossip columns were targeting him with different rumors about his lifestyle. Among these were Michael's obsession with purchasing the bones of the Elephant Man and sleeping inside a hyperbaric chamber to counter the effects of aging.
The cartoon animated video was used by Michael Jackson as a rebuttal for all these charges. The narrative of the video starts with an amusement park with a collage of images attributing to his success, along with certain images such as a shrine to his popular friend Elizabeth Taylor (who gave him the moniker King of Pop). In the end, it is revealed that Michael Jackson is the amusement park and he struggles away, destroying the park in the process.
Leave Me Alone was directed by Jim Blashfield and it was most notable for winning the Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video at the Grammy Awards of 1990. It was also shown in the feature entitled Moonwalker. Here is the animated video of Leave Me Alone:
Michael Jackson helped popularize the utilization of music videos as a promotional piece and as an art form. Another of his videos which prominently used computer animation effects was Black or White, a strongly worded song contradicting racial discrimination - but was more known for its scenes of violence and sexualized dancing. The most recognizable animation effect used in this video was morphing.
Morphing is a special effect which tries to change one image into another seamlessly. The music video Black or White used this concept in the tail-end part of the video where people of different ethnicities, gender and ages were shot in a bust shot point of view and was made to appear like it is morphing while moving its neck from left to right. Here is the video:
This was another revolutionary touch from Michael Jackson and, together with Terminator 2: Judgment Day in 1991, the video helped set a trend in special effects and computer animation. Now, advanced computer software is available to create realistic simulations - but nothing will surpass that level of genius when it was first introduced by Black or White.
I'll list some of his most special awards here as a tribute to Jacko:
World Music Awards' Best-Selling Pop Male Artist of the Millennium
American Music Award's Artist of the Century Award
Bambi Pop Artist of the Millennium Award.
Double-inductee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (The Jackson 5, 1997; solo, 2001)
Multiple Guinness World Records (eight in 2006 alone),
13 Grammy Awards,
13 number one singles in his solo career-more than any other male artist in the Hot 100 era
sale of over 750 million records worldwide
Rest in peace, MJ.
Aldric Chang is a creative entrepreneur who is at the moment building
free online adventure games for kids and running a successful cartoon animation studio. His creative accomplishments span across the production of several hundred animation projects, casual games, music compositions, cartoon animated series and a virtual world for kids

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