Remember Tex Avery

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?”





“With Thoughts” by Peter Lowey

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.

CREDITS
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

Tips for the Aspiring Animation Artist

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.

Phallic Sylvester by artist Daniel Edwards

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.

(Thanks, Devlin)

Mickey Mouse’s Cartoon Band

Long before the Firehouse Five Plus Two (not to mention Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band), Pinto Colvig (storyman, voice of Goofy) apparently organized a Disney Studio in-house “Cartoon Band”. I know nothing about the story behind this June 29th, 1936 mystery photo (click to enlarge) beyond the clues in the picture itself: It’s on the Hyperion street lot; there’s Ward Kimball on the far right with the trombone; and is that Pinto with the white beard, center, behind the drummer? And heck, is that Walt center right, standing with the trumpet, fourth from the right?

This photo comes from that cache of rare Disney material for sale from our friend Mary Rose.

UPDATE: Amid shares another image of the band below from the 1936 United Artists Convention. Click on the image for a bigger version with identifications.

Disney band

Nickelodeon Takes Its Canadian Licensing/Merchandising Business In-House

TORONTO/LONDON/NYC, 24 August 2011 – Nickelodeon Consumer Products (NCP), a division of Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) today announced plans to take its Canadian licensing and merchandising business in-house as of 1 October 2011.  NCP Canada’s Toronto based office, led by Tanya Visano, Senior Director, NCP Canada, will exclusively represent VIMN’s portfolio of properties and brands which include Nickelodeon, MTV and Comedy Central and manage all operations and retail and licensee relationships for NCP. The news was announced by Michael Connolly, Senior Vice President of Consumer Products for VIMN.

“VIMN’s business and brand portfolio in Canada has grown exponentially since we launched our first licensing program a little more than a decade ago and now encompasses two 24-hour dedicated channel services with our Canadian broadcast partners, multiple digital platforms and mass awareness of our brands and properties,” commented Connolly.  “Moving from an agent to in-house representation model is optimal for our continued growth in the region and, combined with our global scale, we are able to offer even deeper value to our Canadian partners.”

NCP Canada will focus on driving NCP’s strategic priorities around their Something for Everyone portfolio, including innovative and enhanced retail partnerships, holistic franchise and category management with first in class operational support and product development.   Visano and her expanding team of marketing and licensing professionals, who include Jeremy Potvin (Director, Softlines), Jean Brozny (Senior Manager, Marketing and Brand Management), Daniel Christamtsis (Senior Manager, Hardlines), and Matthew Spataro (Coordinator, Retail Marketing), are based in Toronto at the offices of VIMN’s Canadian subsidiary, MTV Networks Canada, ULC.

Visano added, “We are very excited about NCP’s expanding efforts in Canada and the great potential around our Something for Everyone portfolio.  Our team will focus on deepening partner relationships through value added solutions and product innovation that will deliver increased sales and impactful retail merchandising.”

NCP Something for Everyone portfolio spans every demo across pre-school, kids, tweens, teens and adult.  Nickelodeon’s evergreens’ Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob SquarePants feature newly integrated marketing campaigns and high quality product designs.  Nick’s robust content pipeline keeps delivering the hits such as Victorious (currently broadcasting on YTV) which debuts at Walmart in Canada this summer for Back-to-School. Adult offerings around Comedy Central’s South Park, now entering its 15th season and MTV’s The Jersey Shore reflect NCP’s scope as a true one-stop-shop for partners.

Visano will coordinate operational transition from agent to in-house and is responsible for all day to day NCP business.

NCP’s move to direct representation in Canada will be managed out of VIMN’s Canadian subsidiary, MTV Networks Canada, ULC.

John Lasseter To Be Honored with Variety’s Creative Leadership Award

LOS ANGELES, CA, AUGUST 25, 2011 — John Lasseter, Chief Creative Officer, Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios and Principal Creative Advisor, Walt Disney Imagineering, will be honored with Variety’s Creative Leadership Award, which recognizes the extraordinary amount of time and effort the honoree has given to mentoring young executives and creative talent. The award will be bestowed to Lasseter on October 11, 2011 as part of the trade publication’s inaugural Hollywood’s New Leaders feature and event.

“John has and will always be a creative pioneer in the film industry,” said Brian Gott, Publisher of Variety. “His ability to foster the young creative minds of the next generation of filmmakers is as undeniable as his ability to reach moviegoers of all ages with his rich and diverse storylines.”

Variety’s Hollywood’s New Leaders feature will spotlight the next generation of power players in the entertainment business, and profile 10 Assistants to Watch, the industry’s top up-and-coming executive assistants who are on the verge of breaking into the junior executive ranks.  That evening, Variety will host an exclusive, invite-only cocktail reception in West Hollywood, CA to celebrate John Lasseter and these talented and inspiring young leaders who will be shaping the industry in the years to come.

Syrian Cartoonist Ali Ferzat Savagely Beaten

This just might be every cartoonist’s worst nightmare: Syrian political cartoonist Ali Ferzat was kidnapped and later found bleeding on the side of a road with his hands broken. Unsurprisingly, the attack is being blamed on the security forces of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. Ferzat, according to the Guardian, is “one of Syria’s most famous cultural figures,” and he has “long criticised the bureaucracy and corruption of the regime and since March has turned to depicting the uprising.” His work has also served as inspiration for animated projects in Syria.

A few weeks ago, the Syrian regime killed the singer Ibrahim al-Qashoush, the composer of a popular anti-regime song, and dumped his body in a river with his vocal chords ripped out of his throat. These desperate attempts to shut down the voices of the country’s most creative people is disheartening, but it also speaks to how much power artists wield throughout society and how much fear they can instill into governments. Even in the United States, cartoonists have been responsible for bringing down corrupt politicians with nothing but their pens. Ferzat’s story is something that every cartoonist and animator should remember the next time they make a drawing: cartoons have the power to create positive change, and there are cartoonists around the world risking their lives to do just that.

The Facebook page We Are all Ali Ferzat has been set up in his support. We applaud Ferzat’s bravery and wish him a speedy recovery.

According to a tweet, this is the last cartoon Ferzat drew before he was beaten and here’s a selection of more cartoons by him:

Hoho’s “Cloudbabies” Acquired by CBeebiees For 2012 Debut

London: Hoho Entertainment, [the company set up by Oliver Ellis and Helen Howells in January this year, has announced that pre-production has begun on its first animated pre-school project entitled Cloudbabiesâ„¢. The 52 x 10 ‘ series has been acquired by by CBeebies and is set to air in 2012.

Cloudbabiesâ„¢ is about four enchanting, childlike characters, Baba Pink, Baba Blue, Baba Yellow and Baba Green whose job it is to look after the sky and their Sky Friends – Sun, Moon, Rainbow, Fuffa Cloud and Little Star. They live together with Bobo White, a mischievous little imp, in a house on a big fluffy cloud. Every morning, they jump on their Skyhorsies and begin their day’s work.

“We’re only 8 months old and Cloudbabiesâ„¢ is very dear to our hearts as it’s the first project out of the Hoho stable. There’s already a lot of excitement building around the series, and we have managed to keep all the production in the UK, which is quite exceptional nowadays. We are looking forward to taking a pilot episode to MIPCOM in order to secure international partners” commented joint MD’s Ellis and Howells.

The series was created by award winning art director, Bridget Appleby, and will be animated in CGI by Manchester based Studio Liddell, who are also a co-production partner on the series.

Cloudbabiesâ„¢ has been acquired by Alison Stewart, Head of CBeebies Production, Animation and Acquisitions, who added “We are so pleased to be working with Hoho Entertainment on their first pre-school series. Cloudbabiesâ„¢ is a beautiful show with a great team behind it, and I’m sure it will become a favourite with the CBeebies audience.”

Singapore’s Tiny Island to Work On “Ben 10: Destroy All Aliens”

Singapore, (23rd August, 2011) — Tiny Island Productions, Singapore’s leading Stereoscopic 3D CG animation production company, today announced that they are working with renowned American director Victor Cook and Silas Hickey, Creative Director for Animation, Turner Broadcasting System Asia Pacific, Inc., on the production of both non-stereoscopic and stereoscopic-3D versions of Ben 10: Destroy All Aliens, a 66 minute television movie written by Marty Isenberg, slated for premiere in 2012 on Cartoon Network globally.

The first sneak peek of Ben 10: Destroy All Aliens was revealed to fans at San Diego’s Comic-Con 2011 last month. “The opportunity to work on a project based on such a famous Cartoon Network franchise such as Ben 10 has been an amazing and challenging experience for our production team,” commented David Kwok, CEO of Tiny Island Productions. “Using computer graphics to bring visual effects and characters to life enhances the highly action-adventure driven nature of the Ben 10 property. The addition of stereoscopic-3D depth will create another new experience for fans of the well-loved franchise.”

“Tiny Island Productions is one of Asia’s leading animation studios and it has been great working alongside such talented CG animation experts who have become an extension of the Cartoon Network Asia team,” said Hickey. “Ben 10: Destroy All Aliens continues the Cartoon Network promise to animate kids’ lives and is set to bring this successful franchise to an awesome new level.”

Ben 10, created by Man of Action (Joe Casey, Joe Kelly, Duncan Rouleau, Steve Seagle), has been a Cartoon Network hit internationally, spawning a highly successful global merchandise line. The property was first launched as a 2D television series in 2006 and has continued to expand into multiple series and features.

NFB Presents Impressive Selection of Films at the Ottawa International Animation Festival

Montreal, August 24, 2011 — The National Film Board of Canada heads to the 35th Ottawa International Animation Festival (September 21—25, 2011) with a dazzling array of international co-productions by world-renowned animators, and brand new shorts by established and up-and-coming Canadian talent. A leader in auteur animation for over 70 years, the NFB is proud to present nine new short films at the festival, including three in official competition: Paul Driessen’s Oedipus (NFB|il Luster Films); Georges Schwizgebel’s Romance (Studio GDS|NFB); and Koji Yamamura’s Muybridge’s Strings (NFB|NHK|Polygon Pictures). Co Hoedeman’s 55 Socks (Musivision|Coconino|NFB) and Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby’s Wild Life (NFB) are also on the roster. In addition to presenting these new films, the NFB will be awarding the festival’s Public Prize.

The OIAF will pay homage to veteran NFB animation producer David Verrall. As honorary president of this year’s edition of the festival, Verrall is programming a film series called “Ten Reasons to Love Animation.” David Verrall is retiring from the NFB this month after a remarkable 34-year career at Canada’s public producer (including 14 years as Executive Producer) during which he produced or executive produced more than 240 NFB films, including the Oscar-winners Bob’s Birthday (1993), Ryan (2004) and The Danish Poet (2006).

As the festival’s long-time collaborator, the NFB is the exclusive partner of the Meet the Filmmakers series, through which animation fans can meet filmmakers who have a film in competition. The NFB is also offering three master classes with outstanding animators Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby (Wild Life); Koji Yamamura (Muybridge’s Strings); and Gil Alkabetz. There will be lots of fun for everyone, including animation workshops for kids, teens and families at the National Gallery; and Animation Celebration– offered in partnership with the NFB–which provides Ottawa-area elementary school children an introduction to the art of animation. In addition, acclaimed NFB animator Claude Cloutier (Sleeping Betty, The Trenches) is part of the 2011 OIAF jury for animated feature films.

OFFICIAL COMPETITION (NARRATIVE CATEGORY)

Oedipus is Paul Driessen’s parody of the Greek myth, offering up a backwards tragicomic version of the classic tale with a bunch of well-known NFB animated characters thrown in for good measure. Driessen is a leader in the international animation scene and Oedipus, produced by Marcy Page for the NFB and Arnoud Rijken and Michiel J. Snijders for il Luster Films, is Driessen at his absurdist best.

In Romance, by virtuoso animator Georges Schwizgebel, a plane hits turbulence and a man’s spirit plunges into a different world. Here, his desires take control and the result is a grand romantic saga. Romance masterfully marries swirling movement with a Rachmaninoff scherzo, erasing the boundary between dreams and reality. Produced by Marc Bertrand for the NFB and Georges Schwizgebel for Studio GDS.

Muybridge’s Strings is animation master Koji Yamamura’s poetic clash of two worlds, exploring the irrepressible human desire to freeze our fleeting moments of happiness. The filmmaker moves between the lives of photographer Eadweard Muybridge and a Japanese mother, observing their attempts to suspend the course of life. Part reminiscence and part daydream, Muybridge’s Strings is produced by Michael Fukushima for the NFB, Keisuke Tsuchihashi for NHK and Shuzo John Shiota for Polygon Pictures.

French Animation Company Xilam Hires Erick Rouillé as Executive VP of Sales

Award-winning French animation company Xilam has bolstered its international sales force, appointing Erick Rouillé to lead the company’s worldwide sales.

Erick Rouillé will head international sales, backed by the existing sales manager, Laurence Marty. Erick, who is based in Xilam’s Paris Studio, brings a wealth of TV and merchandising sales experience to the group, having worked previously at Planeta Junior, Saban Consumer Products, Dream Works Home entertainment and The Walt Disney Company.

Priorities for Xilam on the distribution front include the Brand new series Floopaloo, Where are you? (52 x 13’ or 26 half hours), the slapstick comedy Zig and Sharko (78 x 7’ or 26 half-hours) and the Comedy series The Daltons (78 x 7’ or 26 half hours).

Marc du Pontavice, founder and President of Xilam, to whom Erick Rouillé will report directly, said, “We’re delighted to welcome on board Erick Rouillé. His presence allows Xilam to consolidate and strengthen its Brand Management strategy combining TV Sales and Licensing. MIPCOM provides us with a good opportunity to inform buyers about the new sales structure and demonstrate our commitment to investing in a strong sales team to exploit our quality roster of shows.”

Aniboom Virtual Studio Announces the Aniboom Animation Marketplace


NEW YORK — August 23, 2011 —
Aniboom Virtual Studio, the world’s first virtual animation studio, has released a new service — The Aniboom Animation Marketplace. This extension of the Virtual Studio addresses the need of production studios and companies to complement their production and creative capabilities with qualified, professional and cost-efficient animation resources.

The Marketplace offers solutions for all types and sizes of tasks that an animation production would consist of; including illustrations, character design, concept art, storyboarding, short animation clips and much more. Aniboom Virtual Studio’s pool of thousands of animation professionals from around the world is utilized to reach the most suitable creators for each project. These professionals are ready to work and include storyboard artists, concept artists, character and background designers, 2D/3D animators, modelers, riggers, texture artists, matte painters, lighters, supervisors, production managers and more.

Uri Shinar, CEO of Aniboom, said, “We’re extremely proud of the Aniboom Animation Marketplace, and I am certain that it is a solution that will benefit animation production companies greatly.” He added, “Using the power of our Virtual Studio and its 10,000 animation professionals, the Marketplace is part of the game-changing progress of the animation industry.”

The Aniboom Animation Marketplace makes it possible to order any size of project, from something as small as components of the animation process up to a full scale animation. Dozens of companies have already signed up and expressed interest, and the first projects are expected to be started soon.

Animated Sheet Music by Dan Cohen

Dan Cohen takes existing sheet music and animates it to the songs. The concept bears out the cliche that the best ideas are often the simplest. Not only does animating music in this manner hold great potential as an educational tool, it also helps the listener–musically-inclined or otherwise–to appreciate the artistry of musicians. The best thing that Cohen does is to display each individual note as it is played, which really allows the listener to visualize the melodies and rhythms of a composition. It’s an especially striking effect for some of the songs, like Charlie Parker’s “Bloomdido.”

Oh, and because someone will inevitably mention High Note, yes, it’s true that Chuck Jones once made an animated short that used sheet music as a setting, and frankly it’s not nearly as interesting or entertaining as the musical visualizations that Dan Cohen has created.

(via Kottke)

“AANAATT” by Max Hattler

Max Hattler‘s “AANAATT”, a music video for Japanese artist Jemapur, is an abstract stop motion journey that disorients the viewer through novel placement of mirrors and windows. Hattler’s geometric universe functions using an internal logic of its own that isn’t immediately evident to the viewer, and thus creates a visual tension that is both mysterious and hypnotizing. The video dates back to 2008 but is appearing on-line for the first time. It ranks among the more unique examples of stop motion animation I’ve seen recently.

CREDITS
Director/Producer: Max Hattler
Animation: Max Hattler, Noriko Okaku
Assistant Animators: Philip Serfaty, Rodrigo Vives
Music: Jemapur
Commissioned by: W+K Tokyo Lab
Creative Director: +cruz

(via Motionographer)

Tweety’s lost titles

Here’s something I’ve never seen before – and you won’t be seeing it on DVD (or in color) anytime soon yourself. Cartoon historian David Gerstein is one of several animation archaeologists (along with colleagues Steve Stanchfield, Tom Stathes and Thad Komorowski) determined to hunt down lost Hollywood cartoons the major studios have long abandoned or forgotten. This includes missing bits and pieces – like title sequences and cut footage – and all have succeeded in recent years by locating such footage, both important and obscure, found collecting dust in private collections or neglected at major archives.

Gerstein’s latest find is the original opening titles and credits (albeit in black and white) to Warner Bros. Oscar winning 1947 short, Tweetie Pie. Even Warners doesn’t have this opening – having been cut from the original negative long ago, for a 1955 Blue Ribbon reissue. Let David tell you about it (and see it and hear it) on his blog. And keep his page book marked – David’s found several more which he’ll post in later weeks.

“An Abstract Day” by Oerd van Cuijlenborg

An Abstract Day is a 2009 experimental short by Dutch animator Oerd van Cuijlenborg that has just been posted on-line. The film uses semi-abstract imagery to visualize the sounds in the daily life of a couple. (Note: Audio is NSFW so wear headphones.) The film is unique enough to stand on its own, but intentionally or not, it owes a debt to a UPA industrial film that John Hubley made called More Than Meets the Eye that represented sound in a similarly abstract manner.

Jewelry based on 20s/30s cartoon imagery

Inspired by black and white cartoons from the 1920s and 1930s, Paris-based web designer Tracey Polyflavor has been creating decorative millefori jewelry and fashion accessories using polymer clay. Here’s how she does it. Some of her designs are based on imagery from Ub Iwerks’ 1929 Silly Symphony, Hell’s Bells (see below). A perfect gift for that early-talkie cartoon girl in your life… Check out her whole line at polyflavour.com.

“Aristocats” pencil test

Here’s something I haven’t seen before (pardon me if I skipped the Special Edition DVD): an early pencil test sequence from Disney’s The Aristocats (1970) posted on Andreas Deja’s blog. Andreas has (as usual) some interesting observations about the animation by Milt Kahl and Ollie Johnston. Apparently Milt wanted O’Malley to be thinner, while Ollie drew him heavier. Note Milt’s animation at the beginning, which recalls Shere Kahn, followed by Ollie’s slightly chubbier version. Neat stuff:

(Thanks, Ben Price)

CBeebies Interstitial by Matthias Hoegg

To be sure, there’s a cute voice track in this interstitial for British children’s channel CBeebies, but the piece as a whole is charming and delivers on all fronts, with sharp direction, design and animation (I love the run cycles of the brothers at the beginning). The piece, called “Sam,” was directed by Matthias Hoegg of Beakus, who also made a couple other shorts in the series earlier this year.

CREDITS
Directed, Designed by Matthias Hoegg
Animated by Amaël Isnard and Matthias Hoegg
3D Animation by Amaël Isnard
Additional Compositing by Leo Bridle
Produced by Beakus

A 60-Year-Old Article is More Relevant Than Ever

Ted Parmelee

Ted Parmelee (pictured above, right) is perhaps best remembered today as the director of UPA’s The Tell-Tale Heart, but his career in animation stretched from Pinocchio through Rocky & Bullwinkle and included lots of fine work in TV commercials and industrial films inbetween.

While browsing through some files related to my book Cartoon Modern, I stumbled onto scans of an article that Parmelee had written in the mid-1950s. The piece, which I’ve reprinted below, smartly sums up many of the issues that progressive animation artists faced in the 1950s. For example, Parmelee argued that Disney’s heavy reliance on live-action was an artistic dead-end and countered every other development in art at the time:

All efforts were directed toward better drawing to produce a kind of reality from what had originally been a very simple and direct medium. They were so delighted to see it move, and pleased with a medium more plastic in the use of “time” that they became involved in trying to make it round, real and spacious as they could. This was exactly the same standard of “good” that made Aunt Matilda’s “real-genuine-oil painting” good. “The apples looked so sure-enough for real you coulda’ picked ‘em right out of the painting.” For this the artists to the Italian Renaissance for aid and borrowed the know-how of several centuries of draughtmanship. It was only natural and practical thinking. If you have a new gadget, don’t you take it out and try it on anything handy? Finally you have it doing the things it was designed for so well that it just gets monotonous, so you have it attempting things it never was built for.

There is a strong correlation between Parmelee’s critique of Disney in the 1930s and ’40s, and today’s art form — only the technique has changed. Contemporary big budget CG features exhibit increasing sophistication in lighting, textures, character animation and effects, but to what effect? Realism has again been cast as an end, when it is only a means for expressing a personal artistic vision.

Parmelee credits World War II as the impetus for animators experimenting with new filmmaking techniques, storytelling approaches and graphic styles. He also hails the arrival of the TV commercial, in which the form’s brevity allowed artists to explore different approaches for communicating with audiences.

Thankfully today’s animation medium is diverse enough that there is tons of experimentation happening, even moreso than in the 1950s. Parmelee, of course, anticipated this when he wrote that the single biggest improvement awaiting the industry “would be a decisive change in the actual physical means for making animated pictures, a more fluid kind of thing. . . a thing that provided quicker results.” Indeed, digital animation software and techniques have proven to be the savior, and offer an improvement over old production methods, especially when used by artists for the purpose of expressing themselves.

Read Parmelee’s article by clicking on the image below:

Ted Parmelee article

Toon Boom’s “Lucky Fred” Picked Up For Overseas Disney Channel Airings

MONTREAL, Aug. 22, 2011 /PRNewswire/ – As one of Toon Boom‘s flagship studios in Québec, Oasis Animation today announced that in view of its upcoming project Lucky Fred, a 52 episode eleven-minute series for 6-12 year olds to be aired on Disney Channel in Spain, France, Italy, Germany, India & Australia, the studio will double its workforce and space. Lucky Fred has also pre-sold in over 150 territories including TF1 for France and Nickelodeon in Benelux, Scandinavia, Latin America, Asia & South Korea.

Scheduled for delivery in January 2012, this 2D animated series is the first Disney project done in Québec. Entirely produced using the Toon Boom Harmony pipeline, this high quality project will create 70 new jobs at Oasis. The entire animation production will be done in Montreal. “We are quite thrilled to be working on Lucky Fred, considering the very challenging state of the Quebec animation production industry”, comments Jacques Bilodeau, President at Oasis Animation. “We hope this project will be the first step towards making Québec the animation hub it used to be”, he concludes.

Lucky Fred is co-produced by Imira Entertainment, Spain’s leading production and distribution company specializing in youth programming with Spain’s Televisió de Catalunya, RAI Fiction in Italy and Top Draw Animation in the Philippines.

“Tattoo Step” by Mike Maryniuk

I’ve been a fan of Winnipeg-based Mike Maryniuk ever since I saw Cattle Call, a 2008 short he co-directed with Matthew Rankin. Mike recently posted another one of his films on-line, Tattoo Step, a high-energy experimental affair that celebrates the inherent beauty in temporary tattoos:

Made with nothing but thousands of temporary tattoos and a strip of 35mm leader. A tip of the hat to Stan Brakhage’s “Moth Light”.