Oskar Fischinger, Hitler's Least-Favorite Animator

On Tempo, YouTube
On Tempo, YouTube

The worlds of animation, computer effects, music videos, and other forms of artistic expression involving the synchronization of sound to image all owe a considerable debt to Oskar Fischinger (1900-1967), a German artist who would have celebrated his 117th birthday this year.

Fischinger is famous for taking great pains to animate his short films, which used traditional cel animation, wax or clay sculpture, and charcoal drawings. Sometimes, Fischinger would paint over Plexiglas for each frame, a laborious process even for the teams of artists used in traditional animation methods. Matching the flow of his images to music, Fischinger created what he considered to be "visual music."

Fischinger first became interested in abstract moving art when he discovered Lightplay, a 1921 short that featuring gyrating geometric symbols. Working out of Berlin, Fischinger subsidized his experimental work with jobs creating special effects for features and animated advertisements. The short films, for which he remains best known, won a number of awards at European film festivals. Many were shown in cinemas before the features, and represented the first introduction to classical music for some members of the audience.

But Fischinger’s preference for the kind of non-linear, abstract work he first saw in Lightplay drew the ire of the Nazi government: Adolf Hitler had no taste for what was declared "decadent art." Leaving Germany, Fischinger found opportunities in Hollywood. The results were mixed: Working on Disney’s 1940 musical Fantasia soured him on commercial filmmaking. He considered such large-scale productions "factory work."

Because his animated films were expensive and time-consuming to make and had few ways to be monetized, Fischinger eventually turned to painting. Today, his influence can be felt practically anywhere you’ve seen images move and shift in relation to music.

Leon Hong, a creative lead on today's Google Doodle which honors Fischinger, told The Washington Post that "despite the incredible assistance of digital tools of today, the endless amount of motion graphics we see every day on TV and digital media still don’t come anywhere close to the greatness of Oskar Fischinger."

Pantone’s 2019 Color of the Year is 'Sociable and Spirited' Living Coral

iStock.com/Thornberry
iStock.com/Thornberry

Goodbye violet, and hello coral. Pantone has named “Living Coral” its Color of the Year for 2019, but you still have the rest of the month to wear out this year’s shade of “Ultra Violet.”

The orange-pink hue (officially PANTONE 16-1546) is a response to an environment in flux and the human need to feel connected to other people, even as technology becomes more and more embedded in our daily lives, according to Pantone. "Sociable and spirited, the engaging nature of PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral welcomes and encourages lighthearted activity,” the company writes on its website. “Symbolizing our innate need for optimism and joyful pursuits, PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral embodies our desire for playful expression.”

As the world’s leading authority on color, Pantone’s picks for Color of the Year have been informing the worlds of interior decorating, fashion, graphic design, and other creative fields since 1999. The company’s Color Institute chose cerulean blue as its very first prediction for the year ahead (2000), according to the history section of Pantone’s website.

The intensive process of predicting the next color to take over the design world begins with noticing the hues that are starting to appear more prominently in new fashion lines, films, cars, art, and the streets of some of the world’s trendiest places, like London, Paris, and Milan.

In 2014, Leatrice Eiseman—executive director of the Pantone Color Institute—told Glamour that Pantone’s color experts are trained to look at “macro influences” around the world. “You can’t look just in the category that’s of specific interest,” Eiseman said. “You might manufacture clothing, but you have to know what’s happening in the bigger world around you so you know what color to choose.”

For those more interested in practical interior design trends than all-encompassing color schemes, paint brand Benjamin Moore has also revealed its color of the year for 2019. A cool gray hue (called Metropolitan AF-690) was chosen for the “calming role” it plays in our lives and our homes.

There’s a Snowman Hiding In These Snowflakes—Can You Spot It?

Gergely Dudás is a master of hidden image illustrations. The Hungarian artist, who is known to his fans as “Dudolf,” has spent the past several years delighting the internet with his inventive designs, going all the way back to the time he hid a single panda bear in a sea of snowmen in 2015.

In the years since, he has played optical tricks with a variety of other figures, including sheep and Santa Claus and hearts and snails. So what would the holiday season be without yet another Dudolf brainteaser? At first glance, his latest image (click on the post above to see a larger version) looks like a brightly colored field of snowflakes. But look closer—much, much closer—and you'll find a snowman hiding in there. Or you won't. But we promise it's there. (Dudolf has thoughtfully included a link to the solution on his Facebook page, so that you can either confirm your brilliance or just skip the brain strain altogether.)

If you like what you see here, Dudolf has an entire holiday-themed book of hidden images, Bear's Merry Book of Hidden Things: Christmas Seek-and-Find, which has been described as "Where’s Waldo? for the next generation." He also regularly posts new images to both his blog and Facebook page.

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