Jan 25, 2012


Spare time from thesis film, as if such exists, and I am digi–painting...

These Fairies they call the Good People...are said to be of middle nature between Man and Angel, thought to be of old; of intelligent fluidous Spirits, and light changeable bodies somewhat of the nature of a condensed cloud, and best seen in twilight. These bodies be so pliable through the sublety of Spirits that agitate them, that they can make them appear or disappear at pleasure.

Dec 15, 2011

Snow Animation

It is magical to see ideas coming alive. My thesis film is in full production mode these days. There are snow scenes in it, and I looked for ways of animating snow from scratch with no use of any preset effects.   I'm sure there are many ways of doing it, and people end up with most creative ideas of animating snow. I carried the idea of animating snow for a few days until, in a shower, it came to me! 
Each line represents a path of a snowflake. I chose the amount of 35 frames for a complete cycle of a snowflake, so that the last flake drawn right next to the first in the cycle. In that way I can use the snow for 5 seconds or 10 minutes, for whatever length I need it in a shot.  Lines are color coded for my own orientation, I animated paths of one color at a time. Indulge my geeky post this time! The process took half a day, but I think it payed off eventually. Here is one of the shots with the result.

Dec 5, 2011

The Hermit Poet

Saigyo Hoshi (1118-1190) - a hermit and one of the most prominent poets of his day. Last night I painted this and thought of his tanka being as fresh as if it had been written yesterday. Below are three of his tankas. 

Nov 11, 2011

Thesis Film.

Living through a delicate time of pre–production for my thesis film. Having only one year on my hands for making this film I am holding myself from being overwhelmed and give my senses enough space to breath before jumping into production. Countless notes around my desk, looking at works by masters, both painting and cinematography, reading Russian classics and Japanese haiku, I look for patterns from my perceptions from the past and present, aiming to make a film that will carry in itself a journey of one's life with inspirations, memories, and growth. Above is a culmination of my visual development for the film's looks. The film, titled "Died 100 Times", is planned to be completed in May 2012.  

Oct 20, 2011

Presenting Oah & Harlam Episodes.

Last weekend I had an opportunity to present "Oah & Harlam Episodes" in San Diego at &NOW conference for authors and critics of contemporary, innovative literature.  

While opening I shared a little about my background, influences, and inspirations that formed me as an artist. Then spoke about ideas behind the series, how I believe that there is a need to simplify important matters to the scale of almost ridiculously surreal characters in order to talk about important things in life. Speaking from a podium isn't necessarily the best way of communication for me, soon I turned to introducing Yoon Lee, a film composer who scored three episodes, and we proceeded to screening the series. 

Following the screening I read a few episodes that didn't make to screen yet. And during the Q&A session, probably for the first time, I had a direct contact with the audience when non of the technical ways of creating animation were discussed. Instead their questions linked to the meaning behind the stories and characters, and what was my path of arriving to the necessity of creating them. Most of the turnout were writers, and I very much enjoyed responding to their questions. The whole experience of sharing was a treat.  

Aug 23, 2011

Pacifica, California.

Stopped by Pacifica, a small town between San Francisco and Half Moon Bay and experienced the coldest night this season. The warmer palette is only due to sunset hour. Charming place, delightful with its expanse and a lot of fresh air. 

Aug 20, 2011

Pacific Scape.

One more seascape of the Pacific coast. These are small snippets 6''x4'' of oil on board. The small scale allows me to work fast and be spontaneous, something I would love to carry on to bigger scale before too long. Of course scale isn't that important and for now this series is a lot of fun. 

Aug 18, 2011

Central Californian Coast.

One more painting I did from central Californian coast. This will be a series of small format oil on board paintings. Summer is so hot that never before I saw an oil painting drying in one day or less! More to come. 

Aug 16, 2011

Piedras Blancas Lighthouse.

And so, I took some time off. This is oil on board from California's central coast along the Pacific Coast highway, the lighthouse from 1875 and still functioning. While showing my parents around California this summer, it turned out that I was shown all this profound beauty that was missing within the walls of university, not to complain about education, anyone! Soon more to come!

Jul 22, 2011

Of Care.

One more episode from the Oah & Harlam Series I made these year. Scored by Thomas Parisch in association with PearUp Media.

Jun 30, 2011

Demo Reel.

Demo Reel from Ruah Edelstein on Vimeo.

'Do you have a demo reel? Send me your demo reel! Demo reel, demo reel, demo reel... !' - I heard a lot of that in the last few years. I also heard from an artist and a filmmaker I am looking up to since childhood, that chopping up films into a demo reel is an unbelievable act for him, and I felt how opposed he was to the idea of chopping films into a reel. Films, that are so carefully thought of in terms of story, color script, and the overall feel of it.  And so, after years of making films I made a demo reel. Thinking of it as a collage of different works put together in a two-minutes piece to show what I do.  

Jun 16, 2011

The Making Of. "Of Stars & People"

This is a storyboard for "Of Stars & People" in a free, unofficial style. It is one of the beginning stages before animation steppes into the process of making a short film. This is one of my most favorite stages, where visuals are coming out for the first time to being without any restrictions, a very intuitive and spontaneous process to allow all sorts of visualizing ideas to come up. At this point the storyboarding process has to be as loose as possible to avoid any restrictions, yet with an eye on staying a minimalist, while touching up only the keys of the story. Then, in the process of making the film, I am keeping the storyboard close to working area at all times. Some of the initial ideas may be changed or followed closely, I show it to friends and colleagues, think about it over and over again. 

Jun 9, 2011

Of Stars & People

At last online! This is a new episode of Oah & Harlam series I was working on this year. At fist glance the stories about two weirdoes Oah and Harlam may appear as senseless. But when there is an overflow of senselessness, then appears deep philosophy. 

These stories are not just shorts that I wrote, they are a worldview, answers to some questions of reality, grotesque simplicity of which seems to be surreal. In this series bits of life situations, thoughts, and actions are applied to animation, music, and a spoken word. I think there is a need to write fairytales for grownups, to write almost impossible stories in order to talk about important things in life.

The original music scored by Yoon Lee, involves a rare use of instruments such as kalimba and kayagum. 

Jun 3, 2011


Titled after an eponymous work by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, this film is a collaborative project. A musician, Yoon Lee, used audio signals from varying instruments and tone generators to vibrate a plastic membrane over a speaker. Acrylic powder on the membrane formed shapes, as long as the sound was passing through. The process was captured with a down-shooting camera in stop-motion manner. And I took care of charcoal drawn animation, live action, and montage for this film. As to the music, Pärt works in minimalist style that employs self-made compositional techniques. His compositions depict simple harmonies, reminiscent of ringing bells. Exceedingly stable, yet fragile. 

May 30, 2011

Poet - The King of Fools

Just came across the visual development of a character I did at Jon Gomez' Life Drawing class in 2008 at CalArts. Pierre Gringoire - a struggling poet, playwright and a philosopher from Victor Hugo's novel 'The Hunchback of Notre-Dame'.  The poet's character did not appear in Disney's 1996 animated film adaptation. So, here are his looks! The Poet becomes the object of crowd's derision, when the 'King of Fools' title is given to him. 

GRINGOIRE: I am the true King of Fools! I battle for beauty and the ugly gets crowned! What greater fool can there be than I? 

May 7, 2011

Of Care - Still

         One more still frame from "Of Care". I used oil paints for all the layers in the background, which was very fun to work with, while seeing how the paints interconnect after being layered digitally on screen. 
The episode is scored by Thomas Parisch and Laurent Ziliani of PearUp Media. This short and "Of Stars & People", scored by Yoon Lee, will be screened along with other MFA-1 films at CalArts Bijou Theater on May 19th, 4pm. 

Apr 30, 2011

Of Stars & People

These are still frames from "Of Stars & People", one of the two new episodes from Oah & Harlam series. This episode along with "Of Care" is screened today at CalArts Open Show, 2 - 6 pm and after a break 10 - 11:30 pm. 

Apr 28, 2011

Scoring "Of Stars & People"

Scored by Yoon Lee, a new episode of Oah & Harlam series titled "Of Stars & People" is complete. The project is based on poetic prose and expressed through animation and music, along with the narration. The first screening of two new episodes is on April 30th at CalArts' Open Show! 

Apr 27, 2011

Animation is complete!

Two new episodes of Oah & Harlam series are complete. This is a still frame from "Of Care", one of the two shorts this year. We are working on final mix, and I am looking forward to show the films soon! 

Apr 1, 2011

Seine of Paris

From my older sketchbook, while on final stages of my two animated films this year. Deep breath. 

Mar 17, 2011

Theater of the Absurd

Inspired by Eugene Ionesco's "Exit the King", an improvisational play took place and time at CalArts's video studio last week. One of the side ideas of the improvisation was to carry it at a moderate tempo to accommodate sketching animators! ...Amazing actors, lights, cameras, and Masha Vasilkovsky - the organizer!


Mar 11, 2011


Japan has been struck today by what is now thought most powerful earthquake since records began, triggering a massive tsunami. I found in me this image with one of my characters. ...caring. 

Mar 10, 2011

School Girl

This is a traditional animation exercise from a CalArts' advanced Character Animation class taught by Ted Ty. The character was given, and all I had to do - animate! This is from last Fall's semester, while these days new shorts of Oah & Harlam Episodes are on the way! 

Mar 3, 2011

Home Alone

This is a short animation I did last Fall for Drawn Techniques class with Maureen Selwood. The task was to show a fall of a chair. 

Feb 18, 2011

Film Festival.

RE: "Of Giants"

"Your work was selected for this years' program and was consequently screened at the festival. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for taking part in the Animex Awards".

These are some still frames from "Of Giants". The festival took place in Middlesbrough, UK, from 7th to 11th of February, and I am here, in California, working on another three shorts of "Oah & Harlam Episodes". Not to complain about being in California! Nor about working on new episodes! But I never attended a film festival!