Don’t let your rat touch your stash. Seth Brady made Ratticus at NYC’s School of Visual Arts.
In anticipation of the upcoming fourth season premiere of the hit series Star Wars: The Clone Wars on Cartoon Network, Hasbro and the network are joining forces for an exciting fan promotion. Starting today, Cartoon Network viewers will have the opportunity to check out CartoonNetwork.com/toys to enter for a chance to win one of 500 Hasbro Star Wars Ultimate FX Lightsabers to be given away over a two-week period. The all-new Ultimate FX Lightsaber features a progressive light-up “blade” with vibrant LED lighting, allowing kids to experience the Force in a whole new way. The sweepstakes page will expand the week of September 5 to offer fans a sneak peek of Season Four of the series premiering on Friday, September 16 at 8 p.m. (et/pt) and the opportunity to enter for a chance to win a $1,000 grand prize. Full details and rules for the sweepstakes will be available at CartoonNetwork.com/toys.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars is a thrilling, weekly 30-minute “mini-movie” created by the talented artists at Lucasfilm Animation. Season Four: Battle Lines promises to continue the saga that Star Wars fans of all ages have grown to love, with the most fearless heroes and evilest bad guys returning for an action-packed season of fun and adventure.
As the heroic Jedi Knights and their clone army fight to preserve order, their efforts continue to be met with strong resistance from the massive Separatist Droid army. Escalating and expanding into uncharted corners of the galaxy, the scope and scale of Star Wars: The Clone Wars continues to grow – with exotic adventures and enhanced animation strengthening ties to the Star Wars saga. Within the galactic battle, fearsome foes from the past return to settle the score. As unexpected alliances are formed on both sides of the conflict, the action explodes and the course of the war takes an unforeseen turn!
Passenger is a hand-drawn film that abstracts the nighttime driving experience into a playful, kinetic performance of color and shape. It’s a junior year film by the piquantly named Africanus Okokon. He attends Rhode Island School of Design, which was also the point of origin for Playing for Keeeps, the short that we debuted yesterday as part of our Student Animation Festival.
John K. has several new pieces of animation coming up – bumpers for Adult Swim – that explore a more abstract style. I have no idea if these have aired yet, but John is posting clips and discussing them on his John K. Stuff blog.
Eddie Fitzgerald thinks this (below) is “one of the funniest walks in the history of TV animation“. He might be right.
UPDATE – Here’s one that did air:
BEIJING, Aug. 29, 2011 /PRNewswire-Asia/ — Youku.com, Inc. (NYSE: YOKU), China’s leading internet television company, and DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. (NASDAQ: DWA) announced today that they have entered into a first-of-its-kind online distribution agreement for rights to the DreamWorks Animation KungFu Panda franchise films in Mainland China. This is the first time that DreamWorks Animation titles, which are distributed by Paramount Pictures, will be made available through an online platform in China.
Both Kung Fu Panda titles are available for on-demand viewing on Youku Premium and will subsequently debut on Youku’s Hollywood Movie Channel after the paid viewing window closes.
“We’re excited to add both of DreamWorks Animation’s KungFu Panda movies to our online channels,” said Victor Koo, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Youku. “As technology matures and Chinese internet users increasingly turn to the web for entertainment, Youku has been able to expand on the traditional movie release roadmap through agreements for studio films such as Kung Fu Panda and Kung Fu Panda 2. Both titles have a proven track record of success with Chinese audiences, and we look forward to expanding our alignment with Hollywood studios in the future to offer even more compelling content.”
DreamWorks Animation’s KungFu Panda franchise has grossed over $1.25 billion at the worldwide box office to date and is wildly popular with Chinese audiences. In China, Kung Fu Panda was the #1 animated film of 2008 and Kung Fu Panda 2 became the fastest film in history to surpass RMB 100 million at the box office – in just two days. The DreamWorks Animation artistic team visited China to obtain cultural references for the KungFu Panda films, both of which feature lush environments, scenery and landscapes inspired by traditional Chinese art and architecture.
“Youku is an innovative company with extraordinary reach in China and we are thrilled that the KungFu Panda features will now be offered through their platform, which presents high-quality content to consumers online,” said Kelley Avery, Head of Worldwide Franchise Strategy and Distribution for DreamWorks Animation. “It is particularly satisfying that Chinese audiences have responded so enthusiastically to the cultural references within our franchise and we look forward to making both Kung Fu Panda movies available to more and more consumers in China through Youku.”
Youku is the leader among China’s online video sites in introducing a new model for content distribution, under which recently released films become available for on-demand viewing for a certain period of time before becoming available on a subscription basis, followed by a free-on-demand basis. The model, which debuted with Chinese movies and recently expanded with the launch of the Hollywood Movie Channel, allows studios to monetize the online release of their titles while also ensuring that their films reach as wide an audience as possible.
Playing For Keeeps comes to us from Dylan Hayes who graduated last spring from the Rhode Island School of Design. The film is both witty and violent, primitive and sophisticated, and through all its strangeness, surprisingly poignant. Hayes uses hand-drawn animation to startling effect, creating a stark, ominous environment with a minimalist drawing style. The motivations of each of the film’s characters is crystal clear, yet the message one takes away is open to viewer interpretation. Perhaps a clue lies in Hayes’s film synopsis, in which he outlines the rules of his world:
Lesson 1. Everyone gambles, not everyone loses.
Lesson 2. The world is full of traps.
Lesson 3. You cannot win if you don’t take risks
Comment on the film or read production notes from the filmmaker on Cartoon Brew TV.
The eighth selection in our Student Animation Festival, Playing For Keeeps, comes to us from Dylan Hayes who graduated last spring from the Rhode Island School of Design. Playing For Keeeps is both witty and violent, primitive and sophisticated, and through all its strangeness, surprisingly poignant. Hayes uses hand-drawn animation to startling effect, creating a stark, ominous environment with a minimalist drawing style. The motivations of each of the film’s characters is crystal clear, yet the message one takes away is open to viewer interpretation. Perhaps a clue lies in Hayes’s film synopsis, in which he outlines the rules of his world:
Lesson 1. Everyone gambles, not everyone loses.
Lesson 2. The world is full of traps.
Lesson 3. You cannot win if you don’t take risks
Hayes (above) wrote these background notes on the creation of Playing For Keeeps:
It’s hard for me to pinpoint exactly where this project started off. When I returned to RISD in the fall, I knew I vaguely wanted to work with the ideas of risk taking and gambling for my Degree Project, but wasn’t sure where to go with it. I ended up making a lot of visual maps, and became interested in opposing concepts like frugality and risk taking, passivity and aggressiveness, and the idea of traps, rituals, and relationships. I was also reading about a lot about various mythologies, specifically, how life, death, spirits and the afterworld are perceived by cultures in New Guinea and Haiti, the world of Vodou, and a little bit of Japanese folklore to top it off. I wasn’t interested in recreating or depicting these traditional myths so much, but in creating my own mythos with its own rules, structure, and logic.
I spent most of the year doing little animation sketches and doodles, comics, songs, whatever, around all of these concepts, started making connections, and basically began fabricating a story about these four beings in a forest. I didn’t get around to actual real production until February, which admittedly, is later than I would have preferred. A lot of that early experimentation and basically procrastination of “real work” came from my fear to commit to a project, especially a year-long project, but in the end it worked out great because it allowed me to really explore these ideas and characters. The further you go you just keep discovering more and more relationships between seemingly disconnected concepts, which was really exciting for me.
As for the actual production of the animation, the whole piece was hand drawn in pencil, occasionally painted, and then all of the masking, compositing, and general post production was done with a combination of After Effects and Photoshop. I’m a big fan of the aesthetic of pencil drawings, and didn’t want to lose the physical, personal feeling you get when flipping through someone’s sketchbook. The sound design, which is the real fun part, was either recorded live or created in Ableton Live, usually a combination of the two. Other than that, this was a crazy piece to work on (and get in on time), but it was a good project that really pushed my own reservations in commitment and risk taking. I’m not exactly sure what’s next, but something science fiction might be on the horizon. Or maybe more ghosts?
Here’s an animated piece by Maud Remy and Gérald Guerlais describing Sketchtravel, a sketchbook that has been sent around the globe and drawn in by over seventy artists, including Frederic Back, Quentin Blake, Juanjo Guarnido, Glen Keane, Hayao Miyazaki, and Carlos Nine. We first announced the project back in 2006. The book is finished now and will be auctioned off later this year. A reproduction of the book will also be published and it is available for pre-order on Amazon France. A new website, Sketchtravel.tv offers video interviews with the participating artists.
LOS ANGELES, Aug 26, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) — RealD Inc. and Walt Disney Pictures are celebrating the release of the animated classic “The Lion King” for the first time in 3D with limited-edition, Simba-themed RealD 3D kids’ glasses. Featuring movie-themed colors and a picture of the cheerful and feisty lion cub Simba, the collectible RealD 3D glasses will be distributed at theatres free of charge with the purchase of a child’s ticket to see “The Lion King” in 3D. Simba-themed RealD 3D glasses are available exclusively at RealD 3D-equipped theatres in North America beginning September 16th while supplies last.
“‘The Lion King’ is an animated classic that a new generation will be able to experience like never before when it’s shown in theatres for the first time in fully immersive RealD 3D,” said Joseph Peixoto, President, Worldwide Cinema at RealD. “I can’t think of a better way for kids to get in on the fun than with their own pair of Simba-themed RealD 3D glasses that they can take home as a reminder of Disney’s epic story about the cub that would be king.”
Sealed in individual packaging to ensure they are sanitary and of high quality, limited-edition, Simba-themed RealD 3D glasses are designed to fit children 8 years of age and younger. Standard kids’ RealD 3D glasses are also available at theatres throughout North America. Visit www.RealD.com/theatrelocator to find a RealD 3D-equipped theatre playing “The Lion King” in 3D.
The Japan Media Arts Festival makes awards for outstanding creative works in the divisions of Arts, Entertainment, Animation and Manga, and provides opportunities to introduce these works through the award announcement,Â ceremony, and exhibition of the award-winning works.
Applications must arrive on or before Thursday, September 22, 2011.
To apply: https://bunka-jmaf.jp/?locale=en
I’ve attended my fair share of foreign animation festivals over the years, and have always bemoaned the lack of Los Angeles industry artists at these gatherings. In Annecy artists from throughout Europe’s animation industry show up, in Ottawa a sizable lot from the New York and Toronto industry attend, but artists from Los Angeles have been conspicuously absent at every animation festival I’ve ever attended. There might be a few stragglers, but undoubtedly they’ll be outnumbered by the LA-based development and creative execs, who pounce on any opportunity for a free “business” trip.
The apathy of LA industry artists is historical. During the legendary 1967 Montreal animation expo, which was one of the great all-time gatherings of animation talent, only one Disney animator who had worked on Dumbo and was still employed at the company, took the time to attend the screening of that film. It was, of course, the studio’s most creatively curious artist, Ward Kimball.
This all leads up to some positively encouraging news. Browsing through the schedule for the upcoming Ottawa International Animation Festival, I noticed that not only are Adventure Time and Flapjack being shown in competition screenings , the creators of both shows–Pen Ward (top photo, left) and Thurop Van Orman (r.)–will attend and participate in a discussion about their work. This interaction between Los Angeles animators and the much larger world of animation beyond the San Fernando Valley doesn’t happen nearly often enough. Considering how relatively inexpensive it is to attend one of these festivals versus the mind-expanding benefits of meeting like-minded artists and seeing innovative new animation, I’m surprised that more studios don’t encourage and finance these trips for their employees. It would certainly be a wiser investment than shipping a cartload of executives to each festival.
The appearance of Ward and Van Orman isn’t the only TV-centric event at Ottawa either. Aaron Augenblick (top photo, center) who runs Brooklyn-based Augenblick Studios (Superjail!, Wonder Showzen, Ugly Americans) will be presenting a retrospective of his work. The program isn’t exclusively TV-related, but Augenblick is best known nowadays for his studio’s consistently high quality TV output, which is no small accomplishment.
As we head into this heatwave (west coast)/hurricane (east coast) weekend, we pause to take note of the passing of Tex Avery 31 years ago today. (Click on obituary above to read how Variety reported it).
I never met Avery, but by sheer coincidence I attended his funeral and memorial service. I was living in New York at the time, but came into L.A. that fateful week to attend Cinecon (where I’ll be hanging out once again next weekend). Everybody who was anybody – from Hanna and Barbera, to Chuck, Friz and Bob Clampett, Bill Melendez, Virgil Ross and probably the whole Termite Terrace crew – was there. I don’t remember much of the details, except that the tone was serious and somber. I was personally thrilled to see so many veteran animator luminaries in one place – but it was obviously not a place to network…
But enough about me. Let’s take a moment to remember Avery today. Click the images below to enjoy some of Avery’s work, starting with his first directorial credit, Gold Diggers of ’49.
Tex Avery was a superb cartoonist, animator and filmmaker; a timing genius, a brilliant gagman and above all, an innovator. Chronologically, after Fleischer and Disney, Avery changed the face of popular animation. His influence over Warner Bros. cartoons, and later at MGM, defined what the Hollywood cartoon would be world famous for – and his influence still felt today in the biggest TV series and feature films.
“Incredible, ain’t it?”
Last May, we posted Peter Lowey‘s short Sidewalk Scribble, which was an entry in the Annecy animation festival’s YouTube contest. The film went on to win first prize in the Annecy contest, and Lowey’s rewards were trips to both Annecy and Los Angeles.
Lowey, who runs Piepants Animation in Melbourne, just wrapped a music video for Art vs. Science’s “With Thought.” In the video, he illustrates a challenging concept–human thought–which he portrays graphically as a billowy, mutating object that stems from individuals but also forms a collective consciousness. Like a cloud, the abstract form occasionally resolves itself into recognizable imagery before returning to its ethereal state. It’s an elegant piece of animated filmmaking that serves the music well.
Music by Art vs Science
Directed and animated by Peter Lowey at Piepants Animation
Compositing, TD, backgrounds and animation by Glenn Hatton
Backgrounds and inbetweening by Young Ha Kim
What advice would you give to a budding artist who’s considering entering the lucrative and glamorous animation industry? It’s tough telling someone where to start, but I’ve rarely seen better advice than this blog post by “Waveybrain”. The artist who wrote it has experience in both feature and TV animation, and his advice is grounded in hard-earned personal experience, which he generously shares in the post. With the school year kicking into gear, it’d be a good idea for students to read Waveybrain’s post as a reminder of what they need to learn if they want to end up with a job in the industry.
“Fe, Fi, Fo Fat – I tawt I taw a puddy tat!” (a direct quote from Tweety and the Beanstalk, 1957). Yes, that’s what it looks like. It’s a bronze statue by artist Daniel Edwards called “Allegory of a Teen Sex Symbol (Justin Bieber)”, now showing at the Cory Allen Contemporary Art gallery. From their website:
“Daniel wanted to create a work that opens a dialogue about the inevitable exploitation of teen sex symbols as they grow from child stars to adults, like we’ve seen with past celebutantes Lindsay, Miley, and Britney,” said the artist’s representative Cory Allen.
“It would be naïve and hypocritical for anyone to be offended by this simple sculpture, yet be apathetic towards the plethora of images to which they subject themselves on a daily basis,” said Daniel Edwards, “I stand by the work.”
I dare say this is unlicensed and unauthorized.