Trial by Jury, Judge’s song

Here is a post on progress on the Judge’s song from “Trial by Jury”.

This is a line test of the first verse. The Right arm and some of the body is still missing as well as the earlier frames of the pigtail and the pupils.

The animation was completed on the Harmony/toon boom system though I note the production of the brilliant and recently-screened “Ethel and Ernest” on BBC was done with TV Paint which seems to offer so much more opportunity in terms of textures and usability. Harmony was a wonderful tool when it was run by the Vogelesang family, particularly Lilly and Joan, but they were taken over by Corus entertainment in 2014 or so and it does not seem to have been the same ever since. I have been teaching in a school in Moscow that apparently promotes the software and it was a devil of a job to get it actually to work at all on the school machines. So much for Industry standard! I note the company also acquired Animo, Pegs’n’co and the Cambridge animation system, rival 2d animating software and has not made any effort to update any of these since, effectively smashing the opposition and leaving precious little choice.

Here is an earlier version:



This is the finished “look”-

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First combined image of background and character…


Trial by Jury

courtroom designI have finally got round to some trial animation for my proposed film  of “Trial by Jury”.

Here is the earliest design of the Judge:

Here are a few bars from the Judge’s song and a rough version of the animation. I will post an update in the next few days.

Here follow some Victorian judges as portrayed chiefly by spy


red robed judge


and here is the famous picture of D’oyly Carte and Barrington as the judge

j-20188      BarringtonJudge

Some Gilbert and Sullivan

I am about to compère a concert of G&S  favourites. I was writing some programme notes and started to draw- the first three pictures are my copies of original photos and the two pictures that follow are a quick attempt to conjure up the look of Yum Yum and Mabel. Years ago, I designed a production of both the Mikado in the Playhouse in Oxford and then later a production of Pirates.

WH Smith was the original of Sir Joseph Porter whatever Gilbert might have said to Sullivan. Smith knew it and so did Disraeli who thereafter called him “Pinafore Smith”

and here are some photographs from the production of the Mikado which goes back to the early 1980s – I found a photo of the rather grand front drop but have somehow misplaced it.


Cartoon opera


Gilbert and Sullivan is about as cartoony you can get- though Offenbach comes very close. I think animation probably lends itself to music that has distinctive rhythms and an interesting orchestration. The words seem to me to be less important than what is happening musically. Though of course the words tell the story. When the Disney people were animating “Fantasia”, the better animators trawled the score to identify the incidental tunes that lay under the main melody. There is a sequence in the Chinese dance in the Nutcracker where Art Babbitt has talked about “those nasty little notes underneath”. But Babbitt uses those “nasty little notes”! It is precisely this fact that makes the sequence stick out as something remarkable. Culhane references this in his book on Fantasia. It is worth looking at the dance in detail because the perspective goes all over the place and it still seems logical. In the same way, the instruments used to orchestrate a particular sequence will dictate a particular image.

Eric Goldberg animates on the beat and repeats a rhythm with the Carnival of the animals in FANTASIA 200o and Andreas Deja does it too in the same film with the barrel organ in Rhapsody in Blue. But I think Babbitt’s mushrooms still have the edge precisely because they take note of the intricacies of the orchestration and the repeated visuals (a visual ostinato) are not necessarily based on something obvious…

You can find a link to it here: (the interesting points are at.46 and the bow at the end)

and here is the flamingo scene by Goldberg:

I was playing around with the Three Little Maids from School piece at the beginning of the MIKADO.

This is the text: “Three little maids from school are we,Pert as a schoolgirl well can be,Filled to the brim with girlish glee–Three little maids from school.” David Watson has done a very clever arrangement.

I will post more on this shortly because it is an excellent example of a tune that does a great deal. The three voices (Yum yum, Pitti Sing and Peep Bo) are quite distinctive and the whole thing gallops along at quite a pace. Here are some sketches mostly of Japanese hair-styles…

3 little maids
Below is a page from the notebook on Trial by Jury the storyboards for which move slowly forwards…

trial by jury

Here in order of development: the first thoughts:

and a more restrained version (music arranged by David Watson, Kanon)


3a 4 5 6 7 8 1 2

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