Mickey Mouse Plate That Tries to Celebrate Drawing

Mickey Mouse plate

Charles Kenny at the Animation Anomaly spotted these Mickey and Minnie Mouse plates at his local Target. They appear cool in that, “Look, Disney is celebrating its heritage” kind of way, but a closer look reveals a clumsily conceived idea.

The most glaring defect is that the construction lines are drawn OVER the final artwork. In actuality, the artist draws the construction lines first, a rough version to work out the pose and scale of a character. Not only are the construction lines here printed on top of the finished drawing, but the lines appear to have been inserted haphazardly after the fact and bear no connection to the drawing of Mickey. The construction circle over Mickey’s head doesn’t even follow the tilt of his head in the finished drawing. Construction lines are fascinating because they reveal an artist’s thought process and how he or she arrived at a finished drawing; these lines look like the random scribbles of a toddler struggling to copy a drawing. There’s no reason to insert these construction lines into a piece of merchandise unless the purpose is to draw attention to the heritage of drawing at the Disney company. So why not get it right? As it stands, it looks like a cynical attempt by the Disney company to exploit the fondness that people have for classic animation.

Will the general public who buys these plates notice anything amiss? Probably not. But when a company cares, it sweats every detail, even the ones that aren’t always noticed. That’s what Pixar does, that’s what Apple does, and it’s what Walt used to do.

Music Video Roundup #4

Stop Hurting by Gareth Axford for group Nova’s Basement.

Set Loose Black Sail by Dave Brodsky

Music Video for NY based rock band “The Smashup” uses charcoal animation mixed with live action. Directed by David Brodsky, animation by Tim Kellen

The Shrine / An Argument by Sean Pecknold

Created by Sean Pecknold in Portland Oregon, for the group Fleet Foxes. Animators: Sean Pecknold & Britta Johnson; Character Illustrations: Stacey Rozich.

Bert & Harry Piel

Just for fun – and thanks to Chuck Howell, the Archivist at University of Maryland’s Special Collections in Mass Media & Culture – we are happy to show off these cool 1957 Bert and Harry Piel bar coasters. The characters were created in 1953 for a TV ad campaign by UPA New York, under Gene Deitch’s supervision. Jack Sidebotham designed the characters for the Cunningham and Walsh agency – and of, course Bob Elliot and Ray Goulding provided the voices. For more about this (and to see one more of these coasters), read Gene Deitch’s account on his blog.

TRAILER: “Oh Willy…” by Emma De Swaef & Marc James Roels

Oh Willy… is a short film about a porky guy who goes to care for his sick mother who lives in a nudist colony. It’s directed by Emma De Swaef and Marc James Roels, and debuts later this month at the prestigious Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival. I enjoyed the cozy-looking knitted animation of Emma’s earlier film, Soft Plants, and I’m really looking forward to checking this one out, too.

Kids Book Series “N.E.R.D.S.” Set for Animated Feature Courtesy of Elton John’s Rocket Pictures

Deadline is reporting that the bestselling illustrated novel series N.E.R.D.S. by Michael Buckley is being developed as an animated family feature by Elton John’s Rocket Pictures. Originally launched in 2009, the N.E.R.D.S. series follows a group of social outcasts who run a spy ring under the cover of their elementary school. Facing threats from within their school halls and outside, the N.E.R.D.S. series has published three volumes so far with more planned.

Series creator Michael Buckley is a long-time children’s book author, and was a co-creator and producer of the short-lived 2011 Cartoon Network series Robotomy. Buckley is in line to write the feature adaptation of N.E.R.D.S. himself.

Rocket Pictures produced last year’s Gnomeo & Juliet for Disney, and is currently developing Will Gallows And The Snake Bellied Troll with Shrek 2‘s Kelly Asbury to write and direct.

Pixar Launches RenderMan On Demand

EMERYVILLE, CA — Pixar Animation Studios launched a new cloud rendering service called “RenderMan® On Demandâ„¢.” Developed in collaboration with pioneering cloud services provider GreenButton, this service is now available on Microsoft’s Windows® Azure with Linux availability following later in 2012. “RenderMan On Demand” offers nearly instantaneous burst rendering access to hundreds and even thousands of additional cores, enabling artists and studios to deliver the highest-quality cinematic imagery with unprecedented economy and efficiency.

For two decades, Pixar’s Academy Award®-winning RenderMan has led the revolution in rendering visual effects and animation, and is the standard for creating the outstanding levels of visual photorealism that audiences expect. Today’s announcement is the result of an extensive development effort incorporating the expertise and feedback of both RenderMan users and GreenButton technical personnel with production experience. The initial phase of “RenderMan On Demand” is targeted at small to medium-sized studios based on Microsoft Windows environments. Over the next two years “RenderMan On Demand” will be expanded into a comprehensive solution for users of all levels and studios of all sizes.

“We were investigating a private cloud solution but seeing the RenderMan solution from Pixar and GreenButton was great timing and is perfect for any of our RenderMan projects.” said Darren Hyland, Head of R&D at Brown Bag Films.

“From a speed and cost perspective, the cloud service is much more appealing than those we’ve used in the past” said Simon Sangar, Senior VFX Artist at Bradley and Montgomery. “The turnaround time is much faster due to the speed of RenderMan and also the robustness of the system.”

“Working within a tight deadline has always been difficult especially when rendering animation at the very last minute”, said Nicolas Chaverou, Golaem Crowd Project Manager. “In spite of the time difference, the process was very straightforward, asset upload and distribution on the Cloud, and 54 minutes of Cloud Rendering later it was in a wrap instead of the 20 days it would have otherwise required. Magic! In addition, GreenButton provided great support including feedback about improving our pipeline.”

For more information about this new service please refer to the RenderMan On Demand FAQ Pricing is based on the cloud computing industry metric of a CPU core hour, consisting of RenderMan license(s), computer (core) processing charges, and GreenButton managed service fees for one hour (or part thereof) and may vary depending on performance requirements. For further details about pricing and any other questions concerning Pixar’s RenderMan, please contact [email protected].

The Hypnotic Watercolor Rhythms of “Kyrielle”


An elegant sense of symmetry and order forms the world of Boris Labbé‘s Kyrielle. The repeating rhythms and cycles have a hypnotic quality, and encourage the viewer’s eye to wander playfully and explore different figures. Labbé accomplished all this with just 285 watercolor drawings which he later composited digitally and projected as a video installation. Kyrielle was made at the French animation school EMCA (Ecole des Métiers du Cinéma d’Animation).

“Smile Darn Ya, Smile”: To Color Or Not To Color a Classic

Way back in 1992, Ted Turner paid to colorized a batch of black and white Merrie Melodies from 1931-33. This was back before computers were employed to add colors, so the cartoons were shipped to South Korea, traced frame-by-frame (well, almost), new cels were inked and painted and shot under the camera – creating a “color” cartoon from a “worthless” black & white print. For more information on 1967-1992 colorized cartoons, click here. To see how well they did (or just to enjoy the tune Smile Darn Ya, Smile), check out the comparison below:

(via Golden Age Cartoons)

The Making of “Mickey’s Parade”

Stop-mo animator Joel Fletcher just posted the behind the scenes tale of a long forgotten Mickey’s Parade frozen treats commercial from 1991. The advertisement was one of the most complex stop-motion spots of the era, due to the sheer number of animated puppets and props. It is also a nostalgic flashback to a Disney licensed food product that is no more. Read all about it and see the commercial on Joel Fletcher’s blog.

“Bob’s Burgers” Complete Season 1 Coming to DVD April 17, 2012

Los Angeles (Jan. 19, 2011) — The Belcher family cooks up more chaos when the sizzling animated series comes to DVD April 17th from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. The #1 animated premiere of the 2010-2011 season, Bob’s Burgers is a flavor sensation filled with quirky characters and unforgettable antics! The Season 1 DVD is filled with even more uncensored moments to satisfy any appetite including:

  • Bob’s BurgersAudio Outtakes — Stars H. Jon Benjamin, Kristen Schaal and the rest of the gang go off script and fill you up with hilarious uncensored dialogue!
  • Louise and the Burger Menu (Story Extension) — Very funny piece about how Louise names the “burger of the day” with custom animation and voice over (Kristen Schaal)
  • Bob’s BurgersOriginal Demo with Intro by Loren Bouchard — This is the “studio pitch piece” and Loren’s explanation on the process and changes of the characters and casting
  • Lifting up the skirt of the Night — Music video inspired by an original song from the series
  • Audio Commentaries

Viz Partners With Hulu Plus To Bring “Naruto Shippuden” To America 24 Hours After Japanese Debut

Latest Action-Packed Ninja Adventures Straight From Japan To Stream For Fans Beginning With Episode 245

VIZ Media has announced the simulcast of the latest episodes of the anime series Naruto Shippuden on the Hulu Plus subscription service. Beginning January 19th, Hulu Plus subscribers will be able to simulcast the latest episode of Naruto Shippuden in high-definition just an hour after broadcast debut in Japan. Naruto Shippuden Episode 245 (rated TV-14, subtitled) and new episodes will be broadcast weekly.

Users of the free, ad-supported Hulu service will also be able to catch the new Naruto Shippuden segments one week after their initial run on Hulu Plus; the episodes will also be available on the company’s own VIZAnime.com site.

In the latest Naruto Shippuden adventure, Naruto begins his training to control the power of a Tailed Beast with Killer Bee as his new master. In order to do so, one must fight with the Tailed Beast’s head on and absorb its chakra, converting it into one’s own power. Using the key entrusted to him by Jiraiya, Naruto unlocks the seal to release Nine Tails, and the battle between the two begins.

“In the Pig, Everything is Good” by Iris Alexandre

Unexpectedly thought-provoking and beautiful in its own way, In the Pig, Everything is Good (Dans le cochon, tout est bon) takes advantage of the unconventional narrative possibilities available to the animated filmmaker. Made by Iris Alexandre as a graduation film at the Belgian school La Cambre: Ecole nationale supérieure des Arts visuels.

TELETOON Retro Looking For Top 5 Classic Cartoon Crushes in Honor of Valentine’s Day

(Toronto, ON, January 19, 2012) — Who sets more hearts aflutter: He-Man or Pepé Le Pew? Smurfette or Lois Lane? As Valentine’s Day approaches, TELETOON Retro is asking viewers to vote for the most captivating cartoon characters in the TELETOON Retro Hall of Fame Top 5 Crushes campaign. Starting Monday, January 23 and running until Sunday, February 12, viewers can vote for the top five objects of their affection at www.teletoonretro.com and www.facebook.com/teletoonretro.

TELETOON Retro has narrowed the field to 33 of the dreamiest cartoon heartthrobs. Fans can choose from the following nominees:

  • · He-Man (He-Man and the Masters of the Universe)
  • · She-Ra (She-Ra: Princess of Power)
  • · Fred (Scooby-Doo)
  • · Daphne (Scooby-Doo)
  • · Jem/Jerrica Benton (JEM)
  • · Rio Pacheco (JEM)
  • · Smurfette (The Smurfs)
  • · Hefty Smurf (The Smurfs)
  • · Pepé Le Pew (Looney Tunes)
  • · Garfield (Garfield and Friends)
  • · Superman (The New Adventures of Superman)
  • · Lois Lane (The New Adventures of Superman)
  • · Batman (Batman: The Animated Series)
  • · Robin (Batman) *Live Action
  • · Poison Ivy (Batman: The Animated Series)
  • · Catwoman (Batman) *Live Action
  • · Spiderman (Spider-Man)
  • · Judy Jetson (The Jetsons)
  • · Jane Jetson (The Jetsons)
  • · Wilma Flintstone (The Flintstones)
  • · Betty Rubble (The Flintstones)
  • · Peter Venkman (The Real Ghostbusters)
  • · Winston Zeddemore (The Real Ghostbusters)
  • · Michael Patterson (For Better or Worse)
  • · Elizabeth Patterson (For Better or Worse)
  • · Cheetara (ThunderCats)
  • · Lion-O (ThunderCats)
  • · Josie (Josie and the Pussycats)
  • · Beetlejuice (Beetlejuice)
  • · Lydia Deetz (Beetlejuice)
  • · Duke (G.I. Joe)
  • · Scarlett (G.I. Joe)
  • · Princess Lila (Stop the Smoggies!)

Once the votes have been tallied, the Top 5 Crushes will be announced on Tuesday, February 14. A special programming marathon featuring the winners will air as part of the “Retro Rewind” programming block on Sunday, February 19 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. ET.

Each of the Top 5 Crushes will earn a coveted spot in the TELETOON Retro Hall of Fame, joining previous Top 5 winners in the categories of Villains, Awesome Animals, Sweethearts and All-time Favourite Characters. To view past TELETOON Retro Hall of Fame inductees, visit www.teletoonretro.com.

MONDAY: “CARTOON DUMP” w/ Patton Oswalt

As many of you know, every month (on the fourth Monday evening) I co-produce a live comedy/cartoon show, Cartoon Dump, at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood. If you are in the area next Monday (1/23), this will be a great one to drop in on. In addition to our regulars, Frank Conniff (MST3K) and Erica Doering, our special comedy guest is once again Patton Oswalt. I’ll be there, showing an extra helping of really horrible cartoons. Showtime is 8pm. Ticket info is posted here. Check out the new FaceBook page for more information and updates.

The Chuck Jones Experience Opens Thursday

The Chuck Jones Experience opens Thursday at Circus Circus in Las Vegas. Just in time, too, considering that one out of three Americans don’t know who Bugs Bunny is, and nearly half (44%) don’t recognize Daffy Duck. If you’ve ever watched this or this or this, you’d understand why the American public is trying to forget these once-great characters.

Canada’s 32nd Annual Genie Award Nominees Announced

TORONTO/MONTREAL, January 17, 2012 – The nominations for the 32nd Annual Genie Awards were announced by the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television today at simultaneous news conferences in Toronto and Montreal.

Director Jean-Marc Vallée’s Café de Flore received 13 nominations and David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method received 11 nominations–both films are nominated for Best Motion Picture and Achievement in Direction. Rounding out the Best Motion Picture category are the award-winning Monsieur Lazhar; the suspenseful The Whistleblower and the crowd-pleaser Starbuck.

“2011 was a vintage year for Canadian films,” said Helga Stephenson, Interim CEO of the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television. “Academy Members have a major challenge ahead of them.”

The 32nd ANNUAL GENIE AWARDS will be broadcast on Thursday, March 8 at 8 p.m. (8:30 p.m. NT) on CBC Television. Genie32 will be held at The Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto.

And the nominees are…

[Editor’s Note: This list is edited to showcase only the animated categories. For a full list of nominees, visit the Genie Awards’ website.]

CHOKE - Michelle Latimer
MUYBRIDGE’S STRINGS – Koji Yamamura, Michael Fukushima, Shuzo John Shiota,
Keisuke Tsuchihashi
ROMANCE – Georges Schwizgebel, René Chénier, Marc Bertrand
WILD LIFE – Amanda Forbis, Wendy Tilby, Marcy Page, Bonnie Thompson

Walt Disney Taps Ricky Straus as President of Marketing

BURBANK, Calif. — January 13, 2012 — Rich Ross, Chairman of The Walt Disney Studios, announced today that Ricky Strauss has been named President of Marketing for The Walt Disney Studios. Strauss will oversee the Studios’ global marketing strategy encompassing creative, media, digital, promotions, publicity, research and synergy across all distribution channels for motion pictures released under the Walt Disney Pictures (including Walt Disney Animation and Pixar Animation), Marvel Studios, and Touchstone Pictures banners, which includes DreamWorks Studios films released via Touchstone.

“I am happy to welcome Ricky Strauss to The Walt Disney Studios family. With 25 years of industry experience, he brings a deep understanding of all aspects of the film business as well as incredible skill in branding and cutting-edge marketing,” said Ross. “He will undoubtedly raise the Studios’ creative bar as we enter 2012 and look ahead at showcasing a spectacular slate of films to audiences around the world.”

“The future of Disney movies is as exciting as the legacy, and I’m honored to have the opportunity to be a part of that. Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and DreamWorks Studios are among the world’s best and brightest brands,” said Strauss. “My experience at Participant has been incredible and I’m so proud of my colleagues and everything we accomplished. I look forward now to getting to work with the exceptional team at Disney, doing some of the most innovative marketing in the industry.”

A 25-year movie veteran, Strauss has created award-winning marketing campaigns for numerous feature films and has overseen all aspects of film production. He most recently served as President of Participant Media, where he oversaw the company’s marketing, production, and acquisition for a broad range of socially relevant and commercially viable films including this summer’s blockbuster The Help, acclaimed features The Kite Runner, The Visitor, and Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion, as well as documentaries such as Food, Inc. and the Academy Award®-winning An Inconvenient Truth and The Cove. Prior to joining Participant in 2005, Strauss founded Sony-based Ricochet Entertainment, where he executive-produced the Cameron Diaz film The Sweetest Thing. He also spent 16 years at Sony, where he served as a senior marketing executive (Columbia/TriStar Pictures) and later as Senior Vice President of Production.

Call For Entries: Anima Mundi 2012

The 20th edition of the International Animation Festival of Brazil, ANIMA MUNDI 2012 takes place from July 13th to 22nd in Rio de Janeiro and from July 25th to 29th in São Paulo.

Submit your most recent work now! The deadline for entries and preview material is March 22, 2012. IMPORTANT: SUBMIT ONLY ONE PROJECT PER DVD.

Visit the ANIMA MUNDI 2012 website for online entry form and rules: www.animamundi.com.br

For additional information, please email [email protected].

Competition Categories:
Short Film
Short for Children
Feature Film / Feature for Children
Brazilian Animation
Student Film

Additional Awards:
Best Animation
Best Script
Best Soundtrack
Best Art Direction

New Web Series “Goodwin vs. Badwin” Debuts on YouTube via Mondo Media

Co-creators Joshua Bowen (Style 5) and Peter Burton (Former Development Executive, Adult Animation 20th Century Fox) are excited to announce the launch of the animated adult comedy web series, Goodwin vs. Badwin.

The series follows the relationship between polar opposite twin brothers, Goodwin (the good twin) and Badwin (the bad twin) from their stint as womb mates to the politically incorrect and surreal adventures they share growing up in the world around them. The show was created in association and made possible by Flinch Studios and Loogaroo. The series will be distributed by Mondo Media, the largest distributor of online animation for teens and young adults, and the first of six, 2-3 minute episodes that will be available on YouTube starting on January 18th, 2012.

“We are all really excited about partnering with Mondo Media. We believe that Mondo’s unique ability to create and distribute compelling animated comedy has made them a one stop shop for the ever-growing teen and young adult audience that consumes web content,” says co-creator Joshua Bowen.

“We’re always on the hunt for the hottest, new animated comedy to share with our YouTube subscribers, who are nearly a million strong,” says Aaron Simpson, Mondo Media’s VP of Development. “Goodwin vs. Badwin has that blend of hysterical writing mixed with strong production values that we look for, and we’re very excited to be able to host the premiere of this series.”

While many producers may have trouble justifying the financial realities of a web based business model, co-creator Joshua Bowen believes that now, more than ever, is the best time to produce adult animated web series like, Goodwin vs. Badwin. Co-creator Peter Burton notes that, “the great thing about the digital space is that there are few barriers to entry making the medium more accessible than conventional broadcast platforms.”

French TV coverage of Tex Avery’s passing

Unlike the United States, the French considered Tex Avery a genius in his time. When he passed away (8/26/80), the French mourned – and here’s a small example: a TV news broadcast featuring actress/screenwriter and critic France Roche discussing the passing of Tex Avery from August 29th, 1980. I don’t recall such attention being paid on U.S. TV at the time.

(Thanks, Valentin Moretto)