London-based animation director Uli Meyer created this sample animation of the St. Trinian’s schoolgirls and showed it to their creator, ninety-year-old illustration and cartooning legend Ronald Searle. It’s one of the finest attempts I’ve ever seen at animating Searle’s idiosyncratic drawing style. Not only does the drawing and inking perfectly evoke Searle, the animation is fun and vivacious, pushing Searle’s style to an entirely new level that I’ve never seen in other interpretations of his work.
A crew of all-stars brought the piece to life: it was boarded by Meyer and Matt Jones, animated by Sandro Cleuzo and Boris Hiestand, and hand-inked by Meyer with immaculate precision onto frosted cels.
Here’s something that’ll jolt you out of any post-Thanksgiving Day lethargy: a creepy and suspenseful trailer for O ApÃ³stolo (The Apostle). The 3-D stop motion feature from northern Spain is directed and written by Fernando Cortizo. Animation director is Peggy Arel (Edison and Leo), head of the puppet department is John Craney (The Lord of the Rings), VFX supervisor is Colin Miller (Coraline), and Philip Glass composed the film’s main theme.
According to ION Cinema, the story is rooted in the “folklore, traditions and history of the north of Spain” and “revolves around an ex-con who arrives to a deserted town looking for a hidden treasure, but what he will find is a coven of dead elderlies looking for souls to trade with the reaper itself.”
Th film will be released in Spain next year, and Variety reports that it’ll also appear “on more than 1,000 screens across Latin America next year, with an emphasis placed on Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Venezuela.” As is often the case with animated features that skew mature, there’s no US distributor, though hopefully that will change. Another interesting bit about the production is that the filmmakers crowd-funded US$147,000 of the film’s US$9.6 million budget. Despite being a small portion of the overall budget, I’ve never heard of more money being raised via crowd funding for an animated project. A list of hundreds of donors is posted on their website.
More behind-the-scenes artwork and info about O ApÃ³stolo can be found on the film’s official website OApostolo.com.
Glitch is a Flash-based massively-multiplayer online game launching in early 2011. The creators explain that, “It takes place inside the minds of eleven peculiarly imaginative Giants. You choose how to grow and shape the world: building and developing, learning new skills, collaborating or competing with everyone else in one enormous, ever-changing, persistent world.”
The game, which sports some distinctive graphics, is developed by Vancouver and San Francisco-based Tiny Speck, which is run by Flickr co-founder Stewart Butterfield. The NY Times published an article earlier this week about Butterfield, and reports that his fledgling company has raised $6.5 million to create on-line games.
A blind person could tell the difference between the forged animation artwork being sold by Pittsburgh-area Gallery on Baum and the genuine article. Some of the forgeries on eBay, however, are more carefully produced and thus more difficult to distinguish from the original artwork. One seller on eBay, Hkleiman, has been selling what appear to be forged pieces of animation art for at least the past year. [UPDATE – Sept. 29, 2011 : Since I originally wrote this post, I have spoken to both HKleiman and multiple other reputable people in the animation art community who know Hkleiman. It turns out that he has a long history in animation art and is a well respected seller. He has since amended some of his eBay descriptions and stopped selling these particular pieces in question. Although there are countless disreputable sellers on eBay, HKleiman is not among them and one of the good guys.]
“I believe we’ll outperform The Princess and the Frog,” says Disney worldwide theatrical distribution chief Chuck Viane. “The question is, are we Bolt? Are we Enchanted? Or are we something bigger?”
Tangled opens today in a crowded holiday frame led by the latest Harry Potter film. The Wrap wrote about the film’s box office prospects and says earning projections are in the $40 million range for the five-day Thanksgiving holiday. Share your predictions in the comments below for the FIVE-DAY holiday gross. The person who comes closest to the final total will win something courtesy of Cartoon Brew. Don’t guess the same number as somebody else otherwise the first person who guessed the number will win. (NOTE: We’re locking the predictions on Thursday night.)
UPDATE: Many Brew readers are predicting $60 million and above. You may be right. According to Deadline, anonymous sources are saying that Tangled is opening “much bigger than expected. Double the 5-day estimates of $35M to $40M.”
You know what would be interesting. If someone took ALL of the legitimate estimates in our comments and found the average. How closely would the collective response of Brew readers match the final box office total. If anybody wants to do this after we close the poll tomorrow night, let me know.
In terms of opportunities and amount of work available, there is no better time to be working as an animator than today. More new avenues for animated content are springing up than ever before. For decades, the choices were straightforward: TV, features, commercials, music videos, and shorts. Today those limited number of options have been upended as every form of media and creative practice is somehow incorporating animation into its sphere, from news programs to architecture. Continue reading →
This comment by CLaarkamp1287 on YouTube sums it up better than I could:
“For Pixar to do this kind of video takes major balls on their part. As a film company thatï»¿ is associated with being family-friendly, it is so often construed that homosexuality is a threat to family values, and here comes Pixar to completely dismiss that ridiculous myth. Awesome job, Pixar. Clearly, movies aren’t the only thing you excel at.”
Microsoft’s new controller-free gaming environment called Kinect for XBox 360 also doubles as a powerful digital toy for hackers. The open source drivers on the Kinect allow users to hook it up to PCs and push it in different directions like this:
The above was created by manipulating Kinect data in realtime through a C++ coding platform called Cinder. The end result makes live-action footage look like it’s gone through a Michelin Man toon shader.
Dorse A. Lanpher is one of a handful of artists who can say he worked on Disney classics like Sleeping Beauty and 101 Dalmatians as well as contemporary features like Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and Tarzan. Lanpher recently self-published a memoir called Flyin’ Chunks and Other Things to Duck: Memoirs of a Life Spent Doodling for Dollars. His 48-year-career as an effects animator also included an extended stint with Don Bluth on projects like The Secret of NIMH, Dragon’s Lair and An American Tail, which is why Don Bluth penned the book’s foreword. The book sells for a modest $18 on Amazon, and judging from the preview pages on that website, it’s filled with a lifetime’s worth of important and untold stories about working in feature animation.
In its third weekend, DreamWorks Animation’s Megamind dropped to second place at the North American box office with a final gross of $16 million. Its total gross now stands at $109.3 million after 17 days. The film performed poorly mid-week, and “its 44 percent second-week drop was steeper than that of any other DreamWorks Animation movie besides the Madagascar movies,” according to Box Office Mojo. Comparable grosses for other mid-range CG features at this stage: How To Train Your Dragon had earned $133.4 million after seventeen days, Monsters vs. Aliens ($140.2 million), Despicable Me ($161.3), Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs ($139.7), Happy Feet ($121.5) and Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa ($137.1). The film is currently tracking to be the 10th highest grossing DreamWorks film somewhere between the $160.9M of Shark Tale and the $180M of Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa.
On the independent side, Paul and Sandra Fierlinger’s My Dog Tulip earned $8,622 from four theaters pushing its total to $123,221. This week it will surpass the US releases of Tokyo Godfathers and Appleseed.
A number of readers have written to ask who animated the shadow puppet-inspired “Tale of the Three Brothers” sequence in the new Harry Potter film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It was directed and designed by Ben Hibon who produced it in association with Framestore. Hibon recently signed with Nexus Productions for repping.
Here’s an earlier film Hibon made called Codehunters:
Last night’s episode of Sym-Bionic Titan is causing a mini-uproar on the Internet because of this sequence:
Many commenters, including the popular blog Super Punch, are questioning why Cartoon Network showed something so suggestive on a show that is rated TV-PG. Do you think this went too far for a TV-PG show that airs at 8pm? And while we’re at it, here’s another question: does nobody on the Sym-Bionic Titan crew understand how to draw a foreshortened pose? Not that there was much sexiness to begin with in this stiffly posed and animated sequence, but drawing a character so poorly so that she appears to have a leg tumor surely doesn’t help.
Pardon me while I revert to old fogey mode, but it’s sad that after decades of progress in this art form, today’s television artists can’t animate anything nearly as appealing or sexy as work created eighty years ago:
A test frame from Signe Baumane’s feature film in progress
NY filmmaker Signe Baumane (Teat Beat of Sex) is working on her first animated feature Rocks In My Pockets and documenting the progress on her blog. During the past month, she wrote an incredible seven-part series about a topic that nobody ever talks about publicly: fundraising and how an independent animator can afford to make films while living in New York. Bottomline: It’s not easy.
Many filmmakers make films occasionally inbetween commercial film projects, whereas Signe takes a firm and principled stance that puts her independent filmmaking above all other activities. Her free-flowing and often funny articles touch on countless different subjects: applying for grants, why Kickstarter doesn’t work for her, accepting non-film art projects that support her filmmaking habit, and the difficulties of budgeting living expenses when one isn’t earning anything. Unfortunately, the posts aren’t categorized, but start in the October archive with Fundraising Story 1 and work your way up. Her writings provide a sobering and realistic perspective on the life of an independent filmmaker.