Autodesk Announces 2013 Digital Entertainment Creation Tools

SAN RAFAEL, CA — Autodesk announced the 2013 versions of its Digital Entertainment Creation (DEC) software and suites, used by leading artists working in film, game development, television and advertising. The new releases improve consistency and interoperability between applications, making it even easier for artists to take advantage of powerful new and enhanced creative features.

“Creative artists want to work at the speed of thought,” said Marc Petit, Autodesk senior vice president, Media & Entertainment. “They need software that enables them to explore new concepts, iterate and refine their ideas. The 2013 releases of our Entertainment Creation Suites provide rich visual feedback earlier in the creative process and allow artists to work in their favorite tools by making it easier to move between multiple applications. Autodesk is also removing technical barriers to the creation of believable characters by providing new simulation tools for realistic cloth, hair and crowds.”

“Entertainment companies are seeking out new ways to standardize and optimize their workflows, better manage increasing project complexity, and take full advantage of globally distributed production resources,” added Petit. “Autodesk is working closely with the leading studios in the film and games industries to develop and package workflows that address these challenges into our Entertainment Creation Suites.”

Expanded Suites Deliver More Powerful Toolsets
Autodesk extended its suites offering with the new Autodesk Entertainment Creation Suite Ultimate edition. This suite contains both Autodesk 3ds Max 2013 and Autodesk Maya 2013 animation software, together with Autodesk Softimage 2013 3D animation and visual effects software, Autodesk Mudbox 2013 3D sculpting and painting software and Autodesk MotionBuilder 2013 real-time virtual production and motion capture editing software.

All editions of the Autodesk Entertainment Creation Suites now also include Autodesk SketchBook Designer 2013 concept art software. This product enables artists to explore and present new ideas for characters, props and environments using an intuitive hybrid paint and vector toolset.

For more information about the three editions of the Entertainment Creation Suites, visit

Enhanced Interoperability Provides Greater Flexibility
Building on the existing data exchange workflows, the Autodesk Entertainment Creation Suites 2013 offer a variety of new features to further enhance interoperability between products:

· Live character streaming between MotionBuilder and Maya provides an efficient way to previsualize a retargeting result in the final Maya scene before transferring the data between applications.

· More consistent hotkeys make it easier for Maya artists to navigate viewports in the 3D suite applications, and help artists familiar with 3ds Max to get up to speed with Softimage faster.

· The enhanced, consistent F-Curve Editor within 3ds Max, Maya, Softimage and MotionBuilder now offers consistent functionality, helping animators transition between these applications more smoothly.

· Autodesk HumanIK Interoperability with CAT (Character Animation Toolkit) provides a single-step, round-trip workflow to transfer 3ds Max CAT bipedal characters between 3ds Max, Maya and MotionBuilder.

· Enhanced interoperability between Maya and 3ds Max enables artists to move 3D data between the applications in a single step.

Autodesk 2013 Software Helps Power Creativity, Enable Collaboration and Manage Data Complexity
Products contained within the Autodesk Entertainment Creation Suites 2013 have also been updated to offer new creative toolsets, more interactive viewports and workflow enhancements that help artists collaborate, manage complexity and move data through their pipeline more efficiently:

· Autodesk Maya 2013 software delivers powerful new toolsets for dynamic simulation, animation and rendering that offer new levels of creativity, while everyday productivity enhancements help artists work faster. In addition, the Open Data initiative introduced in Maya 2013 offers tools to help facilitate parallel workflows and better complexity handling.

· Autodesk 3ds Max 2013 software delivers ActiveShade support in the NVIDIA iray renderer; a new render pass system; and enhanced interoperability with Adobe After Effects and Adobe Photoshop software. The 2013 version also offers new tools for motion graphics, 3D animation, and simulation.

· Autodesk Softimage 2013 software delivers a new high-fidelity interactive environment and powerful new creative toolsets that include a new CrowdFX simulation feature set, along with enhanced modeling, animation, physics, and selection tools.

· Autodesk MotionBuilder 2013 software helps production teams more reliably acquire, aggregate and refine data, and offers a new nonlinear editing paradigm for Virtual Production. Highlights are the option to record live motion capture data directly to disk, a flexible new HUD (heads-up display), a floating viewer and support for broadcast WAVE files.

· Autodesk Mudbox 2013 software helps artists create complex production-ready scenes with greater ease, with the Gigatexel engine and the ability to work efficiently with significantly more objects. In addition, Mudbox 2013 offers new multipurpose curves, support for edge sharpness data and enhanced interoperability with Adobe Photoshop software.

Autodesk also announced the 2013 version of its Autodesk Flame Premium software, which combines high-end visual effects and finishing tools with real-time color grading in a single solution. The 2013 version features:

· More creative and technical tools for advanced compositing and 3D relighting

· Interactivity enhancements in Action for an even more fluid creative experience

· Improved 3D tracking workflow for greater flexibility and control when positioning compositing elements in a scene

· Enhanced grading capabilities including new color grading presets to get started on look development, new media export workflow and Tangent Element modular control panel support

Product availability varies by country. Details and license purchasing options are available at

New York International Children’s Film Festival Announces 2012 Award Winners




Grand Prize Feature — A Letter to Momo, Hiroyuki Okiura, Japan
Grand Prize Short Film — Capturing Santa, Peter Cattaneo, Ireland
Special Jury Award, Best Animated Short — The Storyteller, Nandita Jain, India/UK
Special Jury Award, Best Live Action Short — Child’s Play, Lars Kornhoff, Germany
Parents Award — The Storyteller, Nandita Jain, India/UK
Audience Award, Ages 3-6 — The Gruffalo’s Child, Uwe Heidschötter/Johannes Weiland, UK
Audience Award, Ages 5-10 — Extinction of the Sabertooth House Cat, Damon Wong, USA
Audience Award, Ages 8-14 — Capturing Santa, Peter Cattaneo, Ireland
Audience Award, Ages 12-18 — I Am a Girl!, Susan Koenen, Netherlands

New York, NY, March 27, 2012 — The 2012 New York Int’l Children’s Film Festival (NYICFF) concluded another sold-out year on Sunday, March 25 with the NYICFF “Best of the Fest” Awards Ceremony and Closing Night Gala. The winners were determined by the NYICFF Jury and audience voting throughout the festival. Executive producer and CEO of Production I.G. Mitsuhisa Ishikawa accepted the Grand Prize Feature Award for his film, A Letter to Momo. Director Nandita Jain attended to accept both the Jury Award and the Parents Award for her film The Storyteller. Filmmaker Susan Koenen was also in attendance to
accept an Audience Award for her documentary I Am a Girl!, along with the film’s subject, Joppe Pelzer. Jury members actors Jeffrey Wright and Matthew Modine, Academy Award®-winning animator John Canemaker and editor-in-chief of Parents magazine Dana Points were all on hand to present awards to winning

• 100% sold out screenings with a total audience of over 25,000

• 100 films from 25 countries including the best new animated, live action and experimental features and shorts for ages 3-18. Films were presented March 2 through March 25 at the Director’s Guild of America Theater, Peter Norton Symphony Space, IFC Center, Scholastic Theater, NYU’s Cantor Film Center, Asia Society and Walter Reade Theater at Film Society of Lincoln Center.

• Feature Films — US Premiere of Cinderella Moon (China/USA, ages 7+) with Q&A by director Richard Bowen; North American Premiere of Le Tableau (France, ages 7+) with Q&A by director Jean-François Laguionie and screenwriter Anik Le Ray; North American Premiere of The Monkey King, Uproar in Heaven 3D (China, ages 8+) with Q&A by co-directors Su Da and Chen Zhihong. Special event screenings included First Position (USA, ages 8+) with Q&A by director Bess Kargman; Tales of the Night 3D (France, ages 7+) with Q&A by director, animator and NYICFF jury member Michel Ocelot; a special sneak preview of Salaam Dunk (Iraq/USA, ages 9+) with a live Q&A session from Iraq (via Skype) with one of the film’s subjects, Laylan Amir; as well as the US Premiere of A Monster in Paris 3D (France, ages 5+) for NYICFF’s Opening Night Gala.

• Special Events – Preview screenings of DisneyNature’s Chimpanzee (USA, all ages), Sony Pictures’ The Pirates! Band of Misfits 3D (UK, ages 6+); the first US screening in over 10 years of the Beatles animated classic Yellow Submarine (UK, all ages) and a special screening of A Hard Day’s Night (UK, ages 6+); US Premiere of Magic Piano, a 3D animated film program set to Chopin’s famous etudes, accompanied live by student prodigies from the Lang Lang International Foundation and followed by a Q&A with Academy Award®-winning producer Hugh Welchman and Little Postman Director Dorota Kobiela.

• FilmEd Field Trip Program — For the second year, NYICFF expanded its FilmEd Field Trip program, providing over 1,200 students and teachers from Title 1 public schools with the complete festival experience at either the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens or the Sony Wonder Technology Lab in Manhattan. Student groups were treated to a special program of short films from NYICFF 2012 complete with voting ballots, filmmaker Q&As and a tour of the museum where the program took place.

DreamWorks’ Andrew Pearce To Deliver Keynote For University of Calgary’s 2012 Graduation

CALGARY, ALBERTA– March 28, 2012 - Two-time University of Calgary alumnus Andrew Pearce, director of research and development at DreamWorks Animation takes the stage at MacEwan Hall tomorrow to inspire the Class of 2012. Having worked on full-length animated films like Shrek and Kung Fu Panda, Pearce’s keynote is sure to mix fun with practical advice as he shares his thoughts on life after university.

This event is part of the Graduating This Year program, a yearly program run by the University of Calgary Alumni Association to help students make a successful transition to life after university.

Pearce’s keynote will be followed by a celebration and reception for all guests-students, staff, faculty and alumni-and media are welcome to attend. Pearce will be available for interviews on March 30, by appointment.

Date: Keynote – Thursday, March 29, 2012, 4:30 p.m.

Interview opportunities by appointment – Friday, March 30, 2012

Location: University of Calgary, Mac Hall A/B

Located on main campus (See map)

Disney Mobile GM Bart Decrem to Keynote Digital Kids Conference April 25-26 in Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA — March 28, 2012 — The 6th annual Digital Kids Conference is pleased to present Bart Decrem, SVP and General Manager of Disney Mobile, as its day-two keynote speaker. Decrem, who leads the business unit behind the wildly successful Where’s My Water? mobile gaming phenomenon, takes the floor of the Expo Hall at the Pasadena Convention Center in Los Angeles at 9:30 a.m., April 26 to discuss Growing Up Mobile — Developing a Global Franchise for the Mobile Generation.

Decrem will address how content producers are changing their ways to reach a generation growing up with mobile and tablet devices as their screens of choice. He will also delve into how entertainment companies like Disney are changing their character development and consumer experiences to serve their next generation of guests. Digital Kids is the largest gathering of professionals engaged in building online and mobile products and services for kids. The show features 70+ speakers in 5 conference tracks including: Safety, Content, Operations, Business and Market Research.

Speakers include industry leaders such as Disney, Wizard101/KingsIsle, Rovio/Angry Birds, Spin Master, National Football League, Cartoon Network, Ubisoft, Cookie Jar, Sony Online, KIDZBOP, Mind Candy, Peanuts, Google, Yahoo! Kids, The NPD Group, Federal Trade Commission, California Attorney General and many more.

Decrem rounds out two days of compelling keynotes. The Digital Kids Conference day-one keynote features Todd Coleman and Josef Hall, co-creators of KingsIsle Entertainment’s popular online game Wizard101, discussing how they moved from hardcore gaming in the world of massively multiplayer online games (MMOG) and achieved runaway critical and commercial success with the #1 AAA family-friendly online social game in North America.

A seasoned Silicon Valley entrepreneur and product visionary, Bart founded Tapulous in 2008. The company quickly became a leading app developer, with more than one billion games played among all Tapulous apps to-date. In July, 2010, Tapulous became a wholly owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, becoming part of Disney Interactive Media Group.

Before founding Tapulous, Bart headed marketing and business affairs for the Firefox 1.0 launch. He was also a co-founder of desktop Linux startup Eazel and the founding chief executive officer of Flock, the social web browser company.

Bart has been an Entrepreneur In Residence at Doll Capital Management and worked on a number of community projects. He was born and raised in Belgium, holds a JD from Stanford Law School.

Online registration for Digital Kids ends April 20th. Digital Kids offers both a 1 Day Pass (good for either day you choose) and a 2 Day, All Access Pass.

Grids Interactive Releases “Flip: Interactive Storybook” App On iTunes

Grids Interactive today announced the release of the Flip: Interactive Storybook App into the iTunes App Store. Made for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, Flip: Interactive Storybook is a groundbreaking fully digital children’s app featuring world-class motion picture quality 3D animation, state-of-the-art audio and a fully original musical score.

The Flip: Interactive Storybook has taken the traditional “flip-book” into the digital age and really brings something new and fresh to the app world,” stated Sam Berman, CEO of Grids Interactive. “It is a truly captivating, engaging and immersive experience, that we think children are absolutely going to love. There is just nothing else out there like it right now. We hope Flip will encourage reading by engaging children of all ages with it’s distinctive style and unique interactivity.”

Grids Interactive has pledged to donate 10% of the net proceeds from the app to the Huntsman Cancer Foundation for cancer research at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) in Salt Lake City. HCI is part of the University of Utah’s Health Care System and serves thousands of cancer patients throughout the Intermountain West each year.

Grids Interactive is committed to creating products that entertain, enlighten and engage young readers. Using characters, words and stories along with interactive illustrations and music, Grids Interactive seeks to inspire the new generation with a passion for reading and learning. Flip: Interactive Storybook is Grids Interactive’s third children’s app. Other apps include The Truly Great Noodle that benefits Kids Against Hunger and Surf Angel benefiting The Make-A-Wish Foundation.

“Garbage Pail Kids” The Hardcover Book

As a longtime non-sports card collector, I was delighted when the original series of Garbage Pail Kids stickers came out in 1985. I recall that the characters, a parody of those god-awful Cabbage Patch Kids dolls, were a hilarious spoof in the vein of Mad Magazine. The gags even got funnier in the 2nd and 3rd series before I moved on. I haven’t looked at those stickers in years and my memory of the property has been tainted by the horrible 1987 CBS animated series – so awful it didn’t air for years (it was pulled at the last moment from the CBS Saturday morning line-up, allowing Bakshi’s Mighty Mouse to move into the coveted post Pee-Wee Herman time slot). I’ve embed a sample episode below for your viewing displeasure.

On April 1st, Abrams ComicArts will release a hardcover book featuring full page images of every card in the first 5 series (1985-86) of the popular Topps bubble gum stickers. At first, I didn’t think much about the idea of such a book, but after reading Art Spiegelman’s introduction, and John Pound’s afterword, then leafing through the pages I came to realize these hilarious pieces haven’t lost any of their subversive edge. Alternative (or Underground) cartoonists Spiegelman, Pound, Jay Lynch, Tom Bunk and Mark Newgarden were the brains behind these beauties. The art is way better than I remembered and I had a ball checking these out anew – they actually work great in the book format. It’s lavishly produced, with the book jacket looking like the original wrapper, and an actual set of Garbage Pail Kids stickers included inside. This tome goes on the shelf next to my Mad paperbacks, Kurtzman’s Hey Look and Crumb’s Fritz The Cat. Maybe the new animated movie in development by Michael Eisner and Pes doesn’t seem like such a bad idea after all. Check out what all the fuss is about (Amazon is selling it for $11.27 – a steal!). Highly recommended!

An Open Letter to Glen Keane

Dear Glen,

Since last Friday’s news that you’re leaving Disney, you’ve launched a new parlour game What Will Glen Keane Do? Everyone is wondering: Will he jump to another studio? Will he work on his personal artwork? Will he attempt to create a feature film independently as Richard Williams is currently doing? This letter humbly offers my suggestion for what you should consider doing.

If the outpouring of sentiment surrounding your departure is any indication, you’re one of the few verifiable superstars in animation. Over five thousand people reblogged the news of your resignation on Tumblr alone. You’re riding a wave of decades of built-up goodwill, and fans are invested in your career as they are in the work of few other animators.

Animation and Disney lovers are clamoring to see what you do next, and more than anything, it seems they want to see you make a personal animated film. It doesn’t seem to matter what that film is, or whether it’s a feature or short subject–just so long as you’re directing it. This is your moment to blow our minds. You can reset the animation world with the most stunning animated film we’ve ever seen, a no-holds-barred work of pure artistry without restrictions or interference.

The timing could not be more ripe. Right now we are witnessing a paradigm shift in which artists increasingly receive their funding directly from fans, not business investors and corporations. Crowdfunding has taken off in the last year in all areas of creative culture. Video game designer Tim Schafer (Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle, Grim Fandango) recently concluded a Kickstarter campaign to fund a “point-and-click” graphic adventure game. He aimed to raise $400,000 and ended up with $3.3 million. Comic artist Rich Burlew raised $1.25 million on Kickstarter to reprint his webcomic Order of the Stick. Comedian Louis CK self-produced his latest special and sold it online, reaping over $1 million in just a couple weeks. He ended up donating more than a quarter-million dollars to charity.

No animator has yet to pull in the kind of crowd-funding numbers as the examples above, but then again, no animator with your name recognition has attempted the feat. By forming a direct relationship with your fans, it’s a virtual guarantee that you can do whatever you want. That includes raising the money you need to create a personal animated film, and more than enough to pay for a healthy crew of assistants, clean-up artists, and others. And, if like, Louis CK, you already have enough money to produce the work independently, just know that there are many fans waiting to see your work.

Few Disney animation superstars, past or present, have created personal animation projects. Among the Nine Old Men, only Ward Kimball ever created an animated short on his own time, and that film was only a few minutes long. You have the unique opportunity to change that history. In your resignation letter, you wrote that, “I am convinced that animation really is the ultimate art form of our time with endless new territories to explore. I can’t resist its siren call to step out and discover them.”

Everyone supports you in your desire to discover the art form’s new vistas. I sincerely feel that your best opportunity for exploring that creative vision is to do it independently–with the backing of your thousands of fans and admirers.

Best of luck,
Amid Amidi

Gnomon Shows off Top 2011 Graduate Reels

The Gnomon School of Visual Effects, a world-class entertainment art school nestled in the heart of Hollywood, has revealed the reels for two of its 2011 top graduates, Joao Rosa and Daniele Volpe.

Daniele Volpe

Daniele Volpe is from Marsala, Italy. After over a decade of experience in network administration and web development in Milan, he moved to Los Angeles to join the web team at The Gnomon Workshop.

Daniele’s background is very technical but he has always had a passion for photography, design, music and the arts. A few years later he decided to enroll at the Gnomon School of Visual Effects in their two-year, full-time Digital Production for Entertainment program. He soon realized that he had just opened Pandora’s box.

These became the most creative years of Daniele’s life as he was surrounded by talented students and amazing teachers, many of them he sees as “rock stars” in the entertainment industry. After a year in the program he won the BoT (Best of Term) Spring 2011 award for Animation and Visual Effects with a 3D animated scene called Techs Mechs. During that period he had the opportunity to assist Alex Alvarez and Neville Page with creature animation for major motion pictures. A few months later he was selected alongside other students by Benjamin Grayson (assistant director of Thor) to work on visual effects shots for his sci-fi short Prodigal at the Gnomon Studios. Here he had the amazing opportunity to work with Rob Nederhorst, visual effects supervisor of Thor and Captain America. His latest project is Room 237, a documentary by Rodney Ascher about Stanley Kubrick’s film The Shining, which was presented this year at the Sundance Film Festival.

Joao Rosa

Joao Rosa was born in Brazil in a very artist friendly family and where he has always been encouraged to develop his biggest interests: photography, film and animation. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in photography, Joao moved to Los Angeles to study animation at Gnomon School in 2010.

During Joao’s education at Gnomon, he was picked up very early to participate in the effects side of Gnomon Studios projects. That gave him the opportunity to be part of projects like Plus Minus, directed by Shane Acker and Meni Tsirbas, and Prodigal, directed by Ben Grayson and featuring Kenneth Branagh. At Gnomon School, Joao was awarded twice with the BoT (Best of Term) award in the Hardsurface Modeling and Visual Effects Animation categories.

Joao finished his Gnomon training just a few weeks ago and has been working in a commercial production company called Wolf & Crow, as well as finishing post production on a short film that he directed during his last term at Gnomon and supervising the visual effects of a thesis short film based on Peter Pan called East of Kensington, directed by Kellen Moore.

The projects in Joao’s reel are an attempt to dedicate his self mostly to group projects because it is where he believes the best results can be achieved. His main focus has always been to do effects because his interest is working with live action films, and he sees visual effects as the area of CGI closest to that.

Call For Entries: Danish Animation Awards & new The Borge Ring Award

The Danish Animation Society (ANIS), host of the Danish Animation Awards every year in conjunction with Odense International Film Festival (OFF), announced that its main award will be called “The Borge Ring Award.” With the award comes a cash prize of EUR 2,000 plus a bronze statuette designed by the Italian resident British sculptor Joanna Mallin-Davies. The statuette will be inspired from characters from Borge Ring’s Oscar winning short animation Anna & Belle, which won the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film in 1985.

“Borge is well-respected in the entire global animation community for his outstanding animations,” says Soren Fleng, Chairman of The Danish Animation Society. “We think this is the right time for the Danish animation scene to show Borge our respect. He has inspired so many filmmakers, and now it’s our time to give him something back.”

Borge Ring, who was recently awarded the Winsor McCay Lifetime Achievement Award by ASIFA at the 2012 Annie Awards in February, was, according to his daughter Anne, “dancing on the table of joy” after receiving the news.

The Borge Ring Award will be the main prize at The Danish Animation Awards and will be handed out for the first time on August 24, 2012 at the Odense Intl’ Film Festival Award Galla.

Submissions for the Danish Animation Awards at Odense International Film Festival is APRIL 1, 2012. Submission is free and can be made from the website:

Pixomondo Creates Viral Animation Spot “Faster Than Disaster” For MINI China

Los Angeles, CA — Pixomondo joined forces with Chinese advertising agency Interone Beijing (a BBDO agency) to create the latest viral spot, “Faster Than Disaster,” for MINI China. The quirky 1:51 viral features a mostly hand drawn, 2D animated stage environment that irreverently displays scenes illustrating how a MINI is ideally suited to outrunning an impending apocalypse. Asteroids, ancient Mayans, a giant shark, a dinosaur and aliens and are just a few of the colorful characters that appear on screen.

Pixomondo, along with Interone’s Executive Creative Director Georg Warga, reimagined the initial client briefing, developing the playful and wacky aesthetic of the story that still aligned with what the client and agency were looking for creatively and within budget. With a production timeline of approximately six weeks, Pixomondo produced the entire piece from beginning to end, including animation and visual effects. The spot marks the third collaboration between Interone Beijing and Pixomondo under the Art Direction of Aslan Malik.

“I’ve done several jobs for MINI over the last few years and they are great to work with because they are a fearlessly creative brand unafraid of exploring new ideas,” said Malik. “Working with Pixomondo has been fantastic as well. The last MINI spot we did together was the most fun I have had on a job so naturally I wanted to work with them again on this project. We have great chemistry and a high level of trust which makes my job much easier — especially when juggling time zones to keep the project running smoothly.”

Artists in four of Pixomondo’s 12 worldwide facilities worked on the project. Pixomondo Beijing served as the lead facility and shared the motion graphics and final animation work with the Los Angeles and Berlin offices. Pixomondo Shanghai created the photo-real CG cars.

“This project is indicative of how the Pixomondo business model is unique,” explained Thilo Kuther, founder, Pixomondo. “Pixomondo offices around the world are designed to work with local clients, not only on Hollywood studio films. Our global teams collaborate to create visual effects and CG content for commercials, television, motion graphics and films that can come from clients in China, Europe, the US or anywhere else in the world.”

The old school comic style illustrations were first sketched by hand on wooden board and paper. Once approval was received, the drawings — about 100 different elements — were inked by hand, then scanned, and finally colored in Adobe Photoshop. Adobe After Effects was used on much of the spot to composite elements, with some scenes having over 200 layers. Autodesk 3D Studio Max was used to generate the 3D cars and each model was placed on a turntable so that stills could be taken from any angle.

The spot went live online February 23, 2012 and has been viewed more than four million times since launch.


To celebrate the publication of Adam Abraham’s essential new UPA history, When Magoo Flew and the just-released TCM/Sony DVD set, UPA: The Jolly Frolics Collection, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) will be presenting a mega-celebration of the UPA animation studio this Friday, March 30th beginning at 7:30pm.

I will be introducing two programs of animated films – the first at 7:30pm which will feature ten newly restored 35mm prints of UPA classics including Rooty Toot Toot, Magoo’s Express, and Fudget’s Budget. Adam Abraham will sign copies of his newly released book at 8:45pm and at 9:15pm a second program of 35mm Hollywood cartoons that were influenced by UPA will screen. This second screening will include Disney’s Toot Whistle Plunk and Boom, Terrytoons’ Flebus (both of these in CinemaScope), Tex Avery’s SHHH-H-H-H and Gene Deitch’s Topsy TV (also in ‘Scope). Several UPA veterans will attend the show – and we hope you will too. Click here for information and tickets.

CONTEST: Courtesy of LACMA, I have two gift-pack prizes for two lucky Cartoon Brew readers in the Los Angeles area. The first two people to answer the UPA trivia question below will win a pair of tickets to Friday’s event and a copy of Adam Abraham’s book When Magoo Flew (both prizes will be waiting for you at the museum’s box office). Do not enter the contest if you cannot attend the event in Los Angeles. The Contest is now CLOSED:

Who was the voice of Mr. Magoo?

We have our winners!

Shine Group and Andrew Davenport Launch New Children’s Production Company

Shine Group today announced the formation of a new children’s venture to be headed by Andrew Davenport creator of In the Night Garden and co-creator of Teletubbies.

Davenport commences his role as CEO of the as-yet-unnamed company next month focusing on creating both traditional and interactive content for children, initially for the pre-school market.

Shine Group’s first company dedicated to the children’s genre, the properties created will be distributed through group sales and distribution arm Shine International, and commercialised by Shine 360° the division responsible for the management of non-broadcast rights at Shine Group worldwide. In the latter, Davenport will be reunited with Frances Adams, Shine 360°s Creative Director, with whom he worked in her former role at BBC Worldwide on the international and commercial development of the Teletubbies and In the Night Garden brands.

Originally joining Ragdoll Productions in 1991 as puppeteer and co-writer on Tots TV, Davenport went on to play a lead role in the transformation of Ragdoll into a globally recognized, specialist pre-school producer. He is the award-winning creator, writer and composer of In the Night Garden and co-creator/writer of all 365 episodes of Teletubbies. Teletubbies pioneered programming for pre-school children winning in total 17 industry awards, has been seen in over 120 countries and translated into 45 languages. In the Night Garden won two BAFTA’s (2007 and 2008) and a Broadcast Award in 2010. He departed Ragdoll as Creative Director in 2010.

Shine CEO and Chairman Elisabeth Murdoch said: “Shine Group always strives to work with world class creative talent, and as a visionary behind two of the world’s most innovative and successful pre-school properties, Andy is exactly that. Partnering with him brings opportunities to create truly multi-platform children’s brands whose full ambitions can be realized by working closely with our ancillary and distribution teams.”

Andrew Davenport said: “I am thrilled at this opportunity to join forces with the talent, expertise and innovative energy of Shine Group.  We share a vision for the incredible imaginative potential of a specialist children’s production company with traditional values in a multi-platform and digital world.”

Nickelodeon Brings Upfront Presentation to Los Angeles, Announcing 650 Episodes of New Content and Returning Hits

Image from 'Raving Rabbids'

Nick’s 2012-13 Programming Slate to Feature New Scott Baio Project for Nick at Nite, James Franco in Multi-Episode Arc on Hollywood Heights, Premiere of The Legend of Korra, Original TV Movies, a SpongeBob SquarePants Stop-Motion Christmas Special, a Raving Rabbids series, and a Development Project for Hit-maker Dan Schneider and iCarly star Jennette McCurdy –LA Presentation Highlighted by Music Performances from Big Time Rush, How to Rock‘s Cymphonique Miller and Gravity 5, and Rachel Crow; and Appearances by Scott Baio, Keke Palmer and Cast of Hollywood Heights

LOS ANGELES, March 27, 2012 – Nickelodeon brought its annual Upfront presentation to Los Angeles, where it announced the pickup of Scott Baio’s Daddy’s Home for Nick at Nite and the casting of James Franco for a multi-episode arc on Hollywood Heights, in addition to a robust 2012-13 programming slate detailed in its March 14 presentation in New York, including an unprecedented 650 new episodes of brand-new content and returning hits, including: the highly-anticipated animated series The Legend of Korra; a stop-motion SpongeBob SquarePants Christmas special; original primetime TV movies; an original animated series based on the Raving Rabbids video games; and new projects with UK pop sensation One Direction, iCarly/Victorious show creator Dan Schneider and iCarly star Jennette McCurdy.

Nickelodeon has ordered 20 episodes of Daddy’s Home (working title), starring Scott Baio. Daddy’s Home is a multi-camera half-hour comedy for Nick at Nite that follows David Hobbs (Baio), an actor who, after ten years of starring as America’s favorite TV dad, becomes a stay-at-home father to honor the deal he made with his soap star wife so that she may return to the limelight. The series comes from creators/executive producers Tina Albanese and Patrick Labyorteaux and is helmed by executive producers Nat Bernstein and Mitchel Katlin who will show run. Eric Bischoff and Jason Hervey are also executive producing through their production company Bischoff Hervey Entertainment (BHE), along with Baio. The series begins production later this year in Los Angeles.

Actor James Franco will also be joining the cast of Hollywood Heights, a daily scripted series premiering on Nick at Nite this summer. Franco will star in a multi-episode arc, playing the role of Osborne “Oz” Silver – a passionate, intense eccentric movie mogul who lives life to the fullest, often outrageously. Funny, offbeat, seductive, ruthless when he has to be, Oz adores the moviemaking process and does whatever it takes to make the films he wants.

Held this morning at Avalon in Los Angeles, Nick’s presentation featured special guest appearances and contributions from: Scott Baio; Keke Palmer; the cast of Hollywood Heights; and performances by Nick’s own Big Time Rush, How to Rock‘s Cymphonique Miller and Gravity 5; and Nick’s newest star, Rachel Crow of The X Factor fame, who capped the presentation with a performance of Cee Lo Green’s “Forget You”.

Details of Nickelodeon’s new content slate include:

ANIMATION:Nickelodeon, the top producer of television animation in the U.S., will roll out a new roster of over 300 new animated episodes in 2012 which includes:
New episodes of returning hit series including SpongeBob SquarePants, T.U.F.F. Puppy, Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness, The Penguins of Madagascar, The Fairly OddParents and The Winx Club.
The Legend of Korra, in which the mythology of the beloved animated franchise from Avatar: The Last Airbender creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko continues. The series centers around a new Avatar named Korra, a 17-year-old headstrong and rebellious girl who continually challenges and bucks tradition on her quest to become a fully realized Avatar in a world where benders are under attack. The half-hour series will debut on Saturday, April 14, at 11:00 a.m. (all times ET/PT), as part of Nickelodeon’s Saturday morning block (8AM-Noon), which has been the number-one destination for Kids 2-11 for 12 consecutive years and currently delivers more than three million total viewers each week. The Legend of Korra will air regularly on Saturday at 11:00 a.m.

Raving Rabbids, which will join the net’s animation line-up in spring 2013, brings to television the hysterical physical comedy that has become so popular in Ubisoft’s Raving Rabbids video games. Nickelodeon has secured global broadcast rights for 26 new CG episodes of Raving Rabbids, which will be produced by Ubisoft.

Monsters vs. Aliens, the all-new animated television series marking the third partnership between Nickelodeon and DreamWorks Animation. Green-lit for 26 episodes and based on the popular characters from the 2009 blockbuster hit feature film ($383 million worldwide gross), the new series will continue to follow the funny escapades of the beloved, well-meaning monsters.

Robot & Monster, which will also be hitting Nickelodeon’s air for a 26-episode run for the 2012-2013 season. Created by Josh Sternin, Jeff Ventimilia and Dave Pressler, this CG-animated buddy comedy is set in a unique world where gangs of Howling Cyber Monkeys roam the streets at night, everybody loves bacon, and robots and monsters live side by side, but typically don’t get along.

It’s A SpongeBob Christmas! - Nickelodeon’s first full-length stop-motion animated special is inspired by the classic Rankin/Bass (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town) specials, and the popular SpongeBob song released in 2009, “Don’t Be a Jerk, It’s Christmas,” written by Tom Kenny (voice of SpongeBob) and Andy Paley. In It’s A SpongeBob Christmas!, Plankton vows to get his Christmas wish — the Krabby Patty formula — by turning everyone in Bikini Bottom bad by feeding them his special jerktonium-laced fruitcake. The special features John Goodman as Santa Claus, and will air in December 2012.

Seven new animation pilots picked up for the 2012-2013 season, including four pilots helmed by hit-maker Butch Hartman (The Fairly OddParents, T.U.F.F. Puppy).

Call For Entries: Irish Film Board’s Short Animation Scheme, Frameworks

The deadline for the Irish Film Board short animation scheme Frameworks has been announced. Applications will be accepted until Friday, April 20th.

Frameworks is an established scheme for the making of animated short films which has been incredibly successful in stimulating ground-breaking new work from Irish animators. Projects selected for funding will combine creative exploration with an ability to appeal to a broad audience.

Irish animation has been drawing much international acclaim in recent years with Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty being nominated for a Best Short Animation Academy Award, The Rooster, The Crocodile and The Night Sky being nominated for a prestigious ASIFA Hollywood Annie Award and Old Fangs receiving critical acclaim at the renowned Sundance, Annecy and the London film festivals.

The Frameworks scheme is co-funded by BSÉ/IFB, the Arts Council, BAI and RTÉ.

Films may be made in Irish or English with Irish applications being actively encouraged.

For more information on making an application and to download an application form visit the Funding Programmes section of the IFB website

Music Video Round-Up (#8)

DoYaThing by Gorillaz, Andre 3000, and James Murphy

Released a few weeks ago but still a worth post on Cartoon Brew, this new music video is tied into marketing a Gorillaz Converse sneaker line. Directed by Gorillaz co-creator Jamie Hewlett, this fast-paced making of video shows you how it was done.

Illy Godzilla (El Rey Tritón) by The Dragulas

This animated music video, a combination of cut-out animation and stop-motion photography by Rodrigo Hernández and Cecilia Beavan, is for Mexican pop-glam band The Dragulas. The song is a tribute to Illy Keller, one of the pioneers of punk and glam music in Mexico, who died in 2010.

Animal by The Gorgeous Colors

And finally Bruno Palma, an artist at Dublin-based Boulder Media, created this beautifully stylish clip:

Nickelodon Promotes Jenna Boyd and Brian Wright To Head Up Animation and Live Action Development

Los Angeles, Calif. – March 26, 2012 – Nickelodeon has promoted veteran staffers Jenna Boyd to Senior Vice President of Animation Development and Brian Wright to Senior Vice President of Live Action Development, it was announced today by Brown Johnson, President, Animation, Nickelodeon Group and Marjorie Cohn, President, Original Programming and Development, Nickelodeon Group to whom they will respectively, report.

“Having started at Nick as an intern, Jenna has literally grown up with our brand,” said Johnson. She brings an incredible energy, great comedy chops and over 15 years of experience to this new position, having worked on both the animation and live-action sides of our development team.”

“Brian has already moved the needle in shepherding our current slate of live-action programming and bringing in our most recent show pick- ups, Marvin Marvin and Daddy’s Home,” said Cohn. “He’s a champion of the Nick brand and has a real passion for kids and family programming. I have the utmost confidence in his creative leadership.”

As Senior Vice President of Animation Development, Nickelodeon Group, Ms. Boyd will oversee the pipeline of all new animated series and the recently announced comedy shorts program, focusing on bringing in creator-driven original comedies, fresh animation styles and developing new contemporary classics. Most recently, she was Vice President, Live Action Development where she oversaw a slate of scripted and unscripted programming for Nickelodeon, Teenick and family originals for Nick at Nite, including the recently announced Wendell & Vinnie pilot starring Jerry Trainor. She began her career with Nickelodeon over fifteen years ago in Orlando, Florida where she held her first position as a production intern for Nickelodeon’s Kenan & Kel. Shortly after, she moved to New York for a job with the TV Land programming department and transitioned to Nickelodeon production where she developed and produced both live-action and animation properties for the network. In 2004, Ms. Boyd moved to Los Angeles as Director, Development where she oversaw production of the critically-acclaimed animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender.

As Senior Vice President of Live Action Development, Nickelodeon Group, Mr. Wright will oversee all live action development and pilot production for Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, TeenNick and international co-productions. He started his television career as crew member of NBC’s hit show, Scrubs, after which he worked for comedy writers Scherick and Ronn through their Touchstone Television overall deal, and later with Greg Berlanti’s production company at Warner Brothers Television. In 2005 he moved to Lifetime Television Network, where he developed Army Wives and oversaw the critically-acclaimed Jane Lynch series, Lovespring International. Mr. Wright joined Nickelodeon in 2007 as a member of the live action development team. Most recently as Vice President Live Action Development, Nickelodeon, he has shepherded a number of series from pilot to air including: Big Time Rush, BrainSurge, Victorious, Bucket & Skinner’s Epic Adventures, Supah Ninjas, How To Rock and the recently announced 20 episode order of Marvin Marvin. In addition to his Nickelodeon duties, Mr. Wright guided Nick at Nite’s foray into original programming, developing a slate of original family sitcoms that includes the Scott Baio pilot, Daddy’s Home.

Trunk Directing Duo Lore& Jun Show Off Festival Credits for Animac

LONDON, UK — Trunk’s amazing directors Lore& Jun have just completed the festival credits for the 16th International Film Festival of Animation in Catalonia (Animac).

The directing duo was invited to lead a workshop for students from EAM Leandre Cristofol. They showed the 1st and 2nd year students a lot of experimental animation, discussed movie titles and did some animation exercises. Inspired by the work of Jeff Scher Lore&Jun decided to shoot a video about the daily moments of an illustrator/animator which was used as a baseline allowing students to trace the frames with whatever style they chose. In total 320 frames were drawn during two and a half days. The finished work was overlaid by Lore & Jun with the names of the invited artists at the festival thereby forming the credits for the festival. Finally, with the help of Albert Marcet and Gacy Sarubbi, Rita the adorable French bulldog was introduced into the film.

The resulting film with a great soundtrack by Sunny Graves is a beautiful kaleidoscope of colours and line formed by the wide variety of media used. It’s energy and pace is a credit to the students who were great to work with.

Charlex Adds Directors Kristian Mercado & Elliott Lim To Lineup

NEW YORK, NY – Fresh off the promotion of director Ryan Dunn to company ECD, Charlex has added creative talents Kristian Mercado and Elliot Lim to its lineup. The versatile directors each bring a unique aesthetic approach to Charlex’s studio, further expanding an already robust creative staff.

Mercado joins Charlex from 1stAveMachine, where his work included an entertaining spot for Tassimo featuring a dancing brewpot and an HTC campaign revealing new smartphones through narratives speaking to human connectivity. The award-winning Lim comes to the studio from Digital Kitchen, where he worked on TV spots, music videos, installations and more for high-end clients such as Reese’s, Coach, Rotary Club, Cosmopolitan Hotel and Ghost Robot.

“I was like a kid in a candy store when Charlex showed me all the bright, beautiful toys here,” stated Mercado. “My mind flared up with possibilities. Art is a kind of wish-fulfillment fantasy, and there is limitless potential to make those fantasies reality at Charlex.”

“Kristian is a versatile talent who possesses a relentless creative dedication to finding the perfect approach for each project,” noted Charlex Founder/Company Creative Director Alex Weil. “Rather than let himself be constrained by the subject matter, he constantly explores new styles to find something that will leave a mark on his viewers. I am particularly impressed by his fluency in organic, filmic and CG created imagery and his ability to make them come together as one.”

Lim has worked with Dunn in the past, and came to Charlex primarily to work under his leadership. “Ryan and I have the potential to make some really great work together,” Lim remarked.

“Elliot has well-developed sensibilities in terms of design, concept, and animation,” explained Weil. “He can execute all three and, just as important, help others to do so. In one of his first projects he seemed to get to the heart of the story that the client was trying to tell in a comprehensive and very elegant first take. He’s the sort of team-first guy that we’re always seeking here at Charlex.”

Fabric Engine Launches Self-Titled Computation Platform

MONTREAL, CANADA — Fabric Engine, a software engineering company focused on bringing multi-threaded, compiled performance to developers working with dynamic languages, announced that it has officially launched v1.0 of its high-performance computing platform, Fabric Engine. Having recently earned Judge’s Choice at January 2012’s NodeJam, the server- and client-side Fabric Engine technology is now available to programmers under the AGPL license.

Fabric Engine taps into the power of modern, multi-core hardware to bring multi-threaded, compiled performance to dynamic languages such as JavaScript and Python. The benefits of dynamic languages are well-known — they’re easy to use and fast to work with. However, they are slow when compared to compiled languages. Until now, dynamic language applications have to be re-built using compiled languages in order to provide performance, which introduces significant costs. Fabric Engine gives the same performance as multi-threaded C++, yet retains the ease of use and speed of iteration of dynamic languages.

“With Fabric Engine’s technology, it’s possible to take current backend infrastructure and redeploy it to scale and gain impressive performance increases,” said Guido Vieira, General Manager at Nexalogy Environics, a company focused on social media analytics and an early user of Fabric Engine. “Fabric Engine has other advantages too. In addition to using a language very similar to JavaScript for the high-performance operators (vanilla JavaScript/node.js for everything else), which reduces the need to use C++, you can avoid the whole code-compile-run cycle with its sometimes long delays, and use a more immediate execute model.”

On the desktop, Fabric Engine is ideal for high-performance applications, such as those used in game development, animation, film production, GIS, medicine, and other industries that are greedy for performance. Fabric Engine currently runs as a browser plug-in, and is currently in beta for a Python/QT desktop framework.

On the server and in the cloud, Fabric Engine is ideal for addressing compute-bound problems that require raw execution performance. With node.js, Fabric Engine provides an asynchronous compute model that works well alongside the other services that node provides.

Proven uses of Fabric Engine include:

- 3D animation
- Facial recognition
- Image/video processing
- Remote collaboration on 3D data
- GIS visualization
- Medical visualization
- Semantic analysis (Nexalogy Use Case)
- Statistical analysis
- And any other compute-bound challenge.

“This launch marks the culmination of more than two years of hard work,” said Paul Doyle, CEO and co-founder of Fabric Engine. “We have many ideas of what can be achieved with our technology, but we also look forward to seeing all of the creative directions in which developers push Fabric. With our open-source licensing model, it is easy for developers to get started with Fabric Engine and start building high-performance applications.”

Fabric Engine is now available for download: Developers can use Fabric Engine under the AGPL open-source license. Developers that do not want to use the AGPL license can contact [email protected] to request a commercial license.

Norway’s Raindog Studios Does Animated Spots for TV2′s Football Broadcasts

VOLDA, NORWAY – Raindog Studios has completed its first commission for Norwegian TV2. Produced by Eivind Netland at TV2, and directed by Raindog Studios’ Torjus Førre Erfjord and Ole Herigstad, the 16 x 5 second spots were created for Tippeligaen broadcasts, to represent each of the league clubs.

Taking a fresh approach to the team emblems, with a strong emphasis on stylised animation, the spots are designed to highlight both cultural and geographical landmarks from individual towns and cities.

The spots will air on TV2 from Sunday March 25, 2012.

Book Series “Dog Loves Books” Optioned by Random House’s UK Production House for TV Series

LONDON, 26 March, 2012 - Random House Children’s Screen Entertainment (‘RHCSE’), a full-service UK production house created by Random House Children’s Books and Komixx Entertainment, has optioned Dog Loves Books by acclaimed author, Louise Yates.

The option for Dog Loves Book securedby Random House Children’s Screen Entertainment is the latest project to be based on books and characters from the Random House Children’s Book (RHCB) portfolio.

Dog Loves Books is written by award-winning author and illustrator, Louise Yates. Published in 2010, it won the Roald Dahl Funny Prize and was nominated for the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal. The story has global appeal with co-editions sold in 6 territories to date. In the US Dog Loves Books debuted as a New York Times bestseller and won the Parents’ Choice Award. The sequel Dog Loves Drawing was released in the UK in February 2012, and selected by The Sunday Times as children’s book of the week. A further book, Dog Loves Counting, will be published next year.

Andrew Cole-Bulgin, Partner and Head of Film & TV, RHCSE comments: “Dog Loves Books is a story about a dog that owns a bookshop and embarks on an imaginative adventure through his love of storybooks. It’s a wonderful platform that will take children into the exciting world of their own imagination. The quality and variety of short-listed books from Random House provides us with a unique advantage at a time when many broadcasters are focused on finding global properties. We can deliver not only these brands but also material with an established commercial audience. We’re also able to develop worldwide partnerships and co-productions that ensure not only commercial success but products with broad market appeal that will stand the test of time.”

Louise Yates, author, comments: “Part of the great appeal of working with RHCSE is the intelligent, sensitive and playful way that they bring a work to a new level of artistic expression and an even wider audience. I am delighted to be working with a company that fully appreciates the spirit in which Dog Loves Books was created and who share my hope that this series will allow young (and old) minds to indulge an infectious enthusiasm for life and a passion for discovery through reading.”

Philippa Dickinson, Managing Director, RHCB comments: “I am delighted that RHCSE continues to develop material from the extensive Random House portfolio. The opportunities for taking these stories to a wider audience are very exciting for both our authors and artists.”

Butch Hartman to Launch Online Animation Channel YooToon

The word of the year for Internet content is CHANNELS. Google’s YouTube announced last fall that they’re partnering with media companies and celebrities to launch one hundred channels of original content in 2012. They’re expected to officially unveil the channels next month. But those who aren’t funded by the deep pockets of Google will be joining the fray too. Among the early animation-related channel contenders will be YooToon, which is created by Butch Hartman, creator of TV series like Fairly OddParents and Danny Phantom.

Butch Hartman follows in the footsteps of Rocko’s Modern Life creator Joe Murray who launched his Kaboing TV channel last year. Cartoon Brew noted last January that Murray’s channel has struggled to gain traction with viewers. It has debuted just one new piece of content in the last seven months. Murray’s experiences highlight the challenge for established show creators wishing to translate their success in producing mainstream animation to programming an Internet channel. It remains to be seen how Hartman will cater to the tastes of Internet animation viewers who, thus far, have favored content that is vastly different in tone than normal TV fare.

Hartman’s YooToon channel has yet to officially debut, but he is promoting the channel on Facebook and Twitter, while soliciting submissions on Tumblr. Filmmakers: be sure to review YooToon’s terms carefully before submitting. The biggest red flag for any creator, amateur or experienced, should be the following language: “If my video is selected, I understand that I grant exclusive and sole ownership of my video to YOOTOON Studios upon submission.”

UPDATE: YooToon has updated its submission form since Cartoon Brew posted about the channel few hours ago. But they haven’t updated the terms, and the channel still claims ownership over the films Hartman chooses for his channel. The new “details” posted on the submission form are vague beyond reason and create more questions than answers:

YOO retain all rights to your animated creation, we just own the particular video you submit. We want your idea to succeed! If it attracts an audience under the YooToon banner, we will provide the funding deemed necessary by YooToon to make more videos. If the idea REALLY takes off and goes viral, YooToon will strike a best effort deal with the creator to make the video into an online series! Imagine, you could be making an online series with Butch Hartman!

(Thanks, Jace Diehl)

Mary Blair’s Golden Books are Being Reprinted

As if yesterday’s news of the Nine Old Men flipbook set wasn’t tantalizing enough, there’s also the Mary Blair Treasury of Golden Books planned for release on August 7. The volume collects Mary Blair’s essential children’s book illustration, along with a foreword by her biographer John Canemaker. More from the publisher:

Fans of illustrator Mary Blair will cherish this never-before-published treasury of her Golden Books, which includes material that hasn’t been in print in decades. I Can Fly is here in its unabridged glory, as are Baby’s House, The Up and Down Book, and The Golden Book of Little Verses. Many of the finest pages from The New Golden Song Book are included, to round out this gorgeous collection. All of the original artwork has been digitally reproduced, and has never looked more breathtaking!

Pre-order is $13.59 on Amazon.