“Tron: Uprising” new trailer

Check out this kick ass new trailer for Disney XD’s Tron: Uprising. The series will premiere next month with a voice cast that includes Paul Reubens, Nate Corddry, Mandy Moore, Reginald Vel Johnson and Bruce Boxleitner as “Tron”. Oh, and Elijah Wood plays the main character, leader of a revolution inside The Grid, named “Beck” (great name, eh?).

The show will officially debut Thursday, June 7th on Disney XD, with a prelude called Tron: Uprising, Beck’s Beginning airing on the regular Disney Channel on May 18th. Charlie Bean (Ren & Stimpy, Samurai Jack) is directing and exec producing, and the incredible Alberto Mielgo is also contributing to the project.

HOUSEKEEPING: How to Send Stories to Cartoon Brew

Have an animated film or a piece of news to share? Here are some helpful tips for submitting to Cartoon Brew:

* If you are submitting a news item, DO NOT SUBMIT using our personal contact forms or Twitter accounts. Submissions via our personal forms will be junked. Use our SUGGEST A STORY form, which is conveniently located in the right sidebar.

* An easier way to get our attention is to submit items via Cartoon Brew’s Facebook page. The benefit is that even if we can’t post it, it becomes part of the public discussion among over 5,500 Brew readers. Our FB page is quite active and we look at it regularly.

* If you have a company press release, submit it to our CB BIZ news editor Chris at PR [at] cartoonbrew [dot] com

* Do not send links to film fundraising campaigns. We haven’t linked to a single fundraising campaign in over two years, yet we still get multiple fundraising submissions on a daily basis. We will under no circumstances link to a third-party fundraising campaign on Kickstarter, IndieGogo or any such similar site. We instituted the no-fundraising policy as the fairest solution to deal with the barrage of requests. If a film project is newsworthy for a reason other than the fact that it needs money, we may write about it AFTER the campaign’s completion (or after its fundraising goal has been met), or we’ll post about the project without promoting the fundraising effort.

The One Club’s 4th Annaul Creative Week Returns to NYC May 7 – 11

EXPANDED CREATIVE WEEK NEW YORK 2012 FEATURES ADVERTISING, ENTERTAINMENT, FASHION, INNOVATION & TECHNOLOGY AS MANHATTAN & BROOKLYN TAKE CENTER STAGE MAY 7-11

ADOBE, GE AND MICROSOFT EMBRACE CREATIVE PLATFORM

Oscar, Emmy nominated film maker Morgan Spurlock, Tony-Winning creator of “In the Heights” Luis Miguel Miranda, Amy Poehler’s “Upright Citizens Brigade” Jim Henson’s Creature Shop and world premiere of GE’s “Throttle Up” Live Hologram Experience headline global gathering

Thought Leadership Seminars in Brooklyn’s DUMBO and Manhattan’s SOHO join top global creative awards shows and many more special events

NEW YORK, NY (April 30, 2012) — The One Club’s 4th annual Creative Week returns May 7-11 to New York City, featuring an expansive roster and the leading creative awards–One Show Design, One Show and One Show Interactive–an all-new Thought Leadership series with hubs at DUMBO’s Galapagos Art Space and SOHO’s City Winery, the return of the acclaimed Creative unConference and an evening blowout in DUMBO @ St. Ann’s Warehouse, the Art Directors Club ceremony & many more original day-time and evening programs.  The full schedule of events with detailed information including how-to-attend is available at www.creativeweek.com and by downloading the Creative Week app for both iPhone and Android.

Highlights of Creative Week 2012’s all-new Thought Leadership Seminar program include:

  • Adobe’s “Da Vinci Breakfast” featuring Pepsi’s Brad Jakeman and Facebook’s Mark D’Arcy in partnership with the Ad Club
  • Author, Author featuring Allison Arden, author of The Book of Doing, Baratunde Thurston, author of How To Be Black, Scott Goodson, Author of Uprising, Paul Lavoie, author of doubt and moderator MaryLee Sachs, author of The Changing MO of the CMO
  • BuzzFeed’s “Social’s New Starting Point” Seminar featuring Jonah Peretti
  • Creative Week One-on-One with Morgan Spurlock
  • Fashion takes center stage with three (3) Seminars produced by Moving Image & Content
  • Google’s “Agile Creativity” Seminar featuring Google Managing Director, Torrence Boone
  • Jim Henson’s Creature Shop presents “A Legacy for Character Creation for TV and Film”
  • Leadership Seminars by NYU’s Stern School of Business & Columbia’s Graduate School of Business
  • Microsoft’s CEO Roundtable featuring Co: founder Rosemarie Ryan, kbs+p CEO Lori Senecal, Deutsch’s Val DiFebo
  • Playbill’s “Success on Broadway, the Un-Broadway Way” featuring Tony and Grammy winning composer and star of In The Heights, Luis Miguel Miranda and Andrew Lippa, Tony and Grammy nominated composer of The Addams Family, The Wild Party, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown and Aaron Sorkin’s The Farnsworth Invention
  • R/GA’s “Taking Hollywood out of Production: Storytelling in the Digital Age” featuring Creative SVP Vin Farrell and VP Taras Wayner
  • TAXI’s “Make No Your Bitch” Seminar featuring CCO Steve Mykolyn and ECD Dave Clemans
  • The Ad Club’s “Creative Renegades” featuring Co: founder Ty Montague, Socialistic CEO/Founder Colleen Decourcy; Barton F. Graf founder, Gerry Graf and CAA Creative Director, Jae Goodman
  • The New Yorker presents a special Seminar with Cartoon Bank founder, Bob Mankoff
  • The Future of Storytelling featuring Emmy Award winning television writer & producer James Manos, Jr. (Dexter, The Shield & The Sopranos) and Andy Breckman, Co-Creator, Executive Producer and writer of Mon
  • Tribeca’s “Disruptive Innovation” featuring Film Festival co-founder Craig Hatkoff
  • The World Premier of “Art & Corny” a short film produced by Cannes Palme d’Or award winning film maker, Cornelius Trunchpole, who is expected to make a rare live appearance

“This year’s Creative Week is bigger and better than ever, with five days and nights filled with unique events that promise to evoke, honor, inspire and celebrate creativity in all its forms, ” said Kevin Swanepoel, who conceived Creative Week in 2009 and serves as The One Club President and interim CEO.

All new this year is the world premiere of GE’s “Throttle Up” live interactive hologram experience which takes people inside the engine of a Boeing Dreamliner in DUMBO @ 56 Water Street. Also all-new is a special opening reception at the AIGA Gallery hosted by Adobe; a grand celebration of creativity in DUMBO @ St. Ann’s Warehouse presented by HUGE in partnership with Digital DUMBO and the DUMBO Business Improvement District; and a special evening at the Upright Citizens Brigade on Manhattan’s Alphabet City.

The highly anticipated Creative unConference returns with another fast-paced, free form all day discussion on Thursday May 10th to answer the creative prompt “What I Learned From….”  No hype.  No BS.  Just smart people talking and sharing ideas that might one day help to change the world.  Anyone can lead a discussion and the daylong sessions evolve from the expertise and passions of the participants.

Creative Week also continues its focus on the next generation of creatives with the following:

ü      One Show’s Young Ones Pitch Competition, where the 10 finalist teams selected compete for top honors presenting their PETA and Stride Gum sponsor multimedia pitches

ü      Education Summit, an open forum setting in which advertising’s top professionals and educators in the field get together to discuss the current state of the industry, recent and future trends, and best practices for the 21st century

ü      Young Ones Portfolio Review, providing college/university students interested in pursuing careers in advertising and design with an opportunity to have their portfolios reviewed by leading creative directors

“Creative Week 2012 draws upon the very best of New York City as a global creative epicenter and is a first step forward towards establishing Creative Week as the world’s # 1 annual gathering of creative ground breakers, innovators and leaders,” said Matt Scheckner, President & CEO of Stillwell Partners which has joined forces with The One Club to expand Creative Week.

Amid Interviewed About The Ward Kimball Biography

Ward Kimball

Didier Ghez, editor of the important Walt’s People anthologies and proprietor of the Disney History blog, interviewed me about my upcoming biography Full Steam Ahead!: The Life and Art of Ward Kimball. It’s the first time I’ve spoken about how the book came about and some of its contents. Read the interview HERE.

Ruby-Spears on Stu’s Show

Thundarr, Fangface, Turbo Teen, Plastic Man, Rickety Rocket (above), Mighty Man and Yukk, Rubik The Amazing Cube, Mr. T… If these are the Saturday morning cartoons you grew up with, you’ll want to tune into Wednesday’s internet radio broadcast of Stu’s Show. TV animation producers Joe Ruby and Ken Spears will be giving a rare 2-hour interview, live on May 2nd at 7pm Eastern/4pm Pacific, with host Stuart Shostack and writer Mark Evanier.

Probably the most succesful suppliers of Saturday morning programming next to Hanna-Barbera, Joe and Ken actually began their careers working at H-B in 1959 in the film editing and sound tracking departments. They were quickly hired as writers and contributed so much to H-B that CBS network president Fred Silverman wanted them to supervise such H-B staples as “Wacky Races” and “Scooby Doo”. When Silverman left CBS for ABC, he gave the team an exclusive contract to produce ALL of the cartoons for the network, and that’s how “Fangface”, “Thundarr”, “Plastic Man”, and many other series were born.

Ruby-Spears (the company) still exists (check their website) and the two veteran producers will discuss what they’ve been up to, what they plan to do next and of course, answer questions about their classic shows from Stu and Mark – and from readers who submit their questions via email. Check the Stu’s Show website for details on how to submit questions and how to hear the the show free this Wednesday.

2012 ASIFA-East Awards Announced

Tonight, ASIFA-East handed out prizes for its 43nd annual Animation Festival. The Rauch Brothers took home the Best in Show for their 9/11-themed short John and Joe. Two children’s films that I particularly enjoyed at the screening were Michael Sporn‘s inspiring I Can Be President (which was shown in excerpted form) and an adaptation of Mo Willems’ book Don’t Let The Pigeon Stay Up Late directed by Pete List. The latter showed that preschool animation can engage audience participation without talking down to kids.

The most surprising film of the evening was Leah Shore‘s Old Man. The “old man” in question is Charles Manson, and Shore uses a breathless array of techniques and styles to illustrate recordings of his schizophrenic ramblings. Though we’ve posted Shore’s films here before–see BOOBatary and Meatwaffle–I’d suggest that Old Man is a breakout work for the young filmmaker. She is a talent to watch.

A full list of winners follows the jump.
Continue reading

Box Office Report: Aardman’s Weakest US Debut

Aardman’s latest feature The Pirates! Band of Misfits, directed by Peter Lord, debuted in second place in the US with $11.1 million. It’s Aardman’s weakest opening ever in the US. However, it was considered on a par with studio projections, and the film should end up with a respectable run, especially considering that no other animated films are set to be released in May.

For comparison, here’s how other Aardman features have opened in the US:

Chicken Run (2000): $17.5 million
Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005): $16 million
Flushed Away (2006): $18.8 million
Arthur Christmas (2011): $12.1 million

Z Animation Hires Yucel Erdogan


Z Animation announced that it has signed Turkish-born artist Yucel Erdogan to its talent roster. Yucel has been working in the industry since 1988, creating award-winning campaigns for clients such as Marc Ecko, Bacardi, Nike, Ford, and   Range Rover.  His work has been featured in publications such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Elle.

Z Animation Director John Ryan collaborated with Yucel to create this energetic, elegant, and eye-catching promo piece: http://zanimation.tv/john-ryan/viewvideo/945/john-ryan/yucel-demo.html

“JEM And The Holograms” Third Season Coming To DVD Via Shout! Factory on July 10th

It’s the Truly Outrageous Final Season!

JEM and The Holograms: Season Three DVD Set

HITS STORE SHELVES EVERYWHERE JULY 10, 2012 FROM SHOUT! FACTORY

On July 10, 2012, the beloved classic animated series JEM and The Holograms returns for its third and final season when Shout! Factory, in collaboration with Hasbro Studios, present JEM and The Holograms: Season Three in a collectible 2-DVD set.

With Jem and The Holograms at the height of their success, there’s a new band in town – The Stingers! – and they’re not about to let Jem and her music group take all the limelight. The group’s leader, Riot, is charmed by Jem and vows to win her over. Jem finds herself with conflicted feelings for Riot and for her longtime beau, Rio.

Featuring all 13 original episodes from the complete third season along with special bonus feature Video Jukebox, JEM and The Holograms: Season Three DVD set will be available in stores nationwide and is priced to own with a suggested retail price of $19.93. Who will win Jem’s affections? Will The Stingers buzz their way to the top of the music charts, or will The Misfits’ mischief and mayhem thwart their rise to superstardom? Find out now with this collection of the final episodes of the iconic JEM and The Holograms!

The series JEM and The Holograms ran from 1985-’88 in first-run syndication and still boasts a loyal and vocal fan base. It is frequently credited with influencing fashion in the late 1980s and beyond, and launching the careers of female pop-rock stars and music groups. The series follows Jerrica Benton, whose discovery of Synergy, a powerful computer companion, allows her to change from owner of Starlight Music into rock star Jem. Teaming with her sister and best friends who form The Holograms, Jem sets out to make their musical dreams come true, even as she battles against the ruthless Eric Raymond and his musical protégés.

Tool Factory Launches StudentAnimation Contest To Celebrate “The Pirates: Band Of Misfits”


Sunderland, VT —
Tool Factory announced the launch of the High Seas Animation Contest at the NSBA Annual Conference in Boston to celebrate the release of The Pirates: Band of Misfits, which hits US theatres on April 27. Beginning April 27th, students can download a free 30-day use of Stop Motion Pro software to film their own pirate-themed animations for a chance to win the grand prize, a trip for two to a North American Animation Festival, the same software used to film The Pirates: Stop Motion Pro Studio HD, a Microsoft HD webcam, professional armature, clay, animation book, and more. Plus, the Judge’s Choice Grand Prize winner will also receive a network site license of Stop Motion Pro Studio HD Edu. to outfit their whole school (a $1,850 value). www.toolfactory.com/contests

Open to U.S. and Canadian students ages 7 to 18, the contest begins April 27, 2012, and submissions will be accepted through midnight EST on May 27, 2012. Students have 30 days from the contest’s start to utilize the free version of the software to create two minute or less pirate-themed animations, and finished videos will be uploaded to the contest page on SchoolTube for peer judging and viewing. Two People’s Choice winners will take home exciting animation kits containing everything they need to keep animating, and one lucky student will take home the Grand Prize Judge’s Choice Award.

“Stop motion animation is a great vehicle for cross-curricular project based learning, and we’re excited to be working with Stop Motion Pro, SchoolTube, and our other sponsors to introduce students and educators to this versatile teaching tool,” said Kendra Ericson, Tool Factory’s Director of Educational Services.

“Adding animation to the school curriculum is fantastic for both students and teachers,” said Stop Motion Pro Director Paul Howell. “Kids love the freedom to express themselves, teachers can see learning outcomes being achieved, and parents get a kick out of seeing their children using technology creatively. Stop Motion Pro is excited to support this competition and hope that the ‘Pirates!’ theme inspires some fun animation!”

“Given our focus on student video creation at SchoolTube, we are proud to support the High Seas Animation Contest. This campaign promises to unlock student creativity in unique and powerful ways, making it an ideal fit for the SchoolTube community,” said Marshall Roslyn, SchoolTube’s Business Development Director.

Facial Animation Software Company Faceware Hires “Avatar” Artist David Bennett

SANTA MONICA, CA Faceware Technologies announced that David Bennett will be head up sales efforts for the company’s facial animation software in Europe and India, as well as build studio and channel relationships in those regions. Bennett is an award-winning artist who is recognized throughout the film and video game industry for his facial animation work on such films as Avatar, The Adventures of Tintin, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and Beowulf.

“We began with a desire to bring on a highly technical animation talent capable of illustrating the full capabilities of our Faceware product line to our most demanding clients and coupled that with the need for a development manager well suited for European and Indian software markets,” said Ron Ryder, CEO of Faceware Technologies. “David’s achievements at WETA Digital and Animal Logic, along with his knowledge of facial-specific rigging and animation technology, mathematics, and algorithms, make him an excellent choice for this position.”

Before joining Faceware Technologies, Bennett was the Facial Motion Capture Manager at world-leading visual effects company WETA Digital in Wellington, New Zealand. During his five years with the company, he led his team in creating highly realistic facial animation for blockbuster movies and projects that include Avatar, The Adventures of Tintin and Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

Prior to WETA, Bennett was a Motion Capture Consultant for Sydney, Australia-based Animal Logic, a top design, visual effects and animation company. At Animal Logic, Bennett worked on David Tench Tonight, a successful real-time television talk show featuring an animated fictional character as host. Bennett also served as Lead Facial Motion Capture TD at Sony Pictures ImageWorks in Culver City, Calif., where he supervised facial data acquisition from sessions with actors working on movies that included Beowulf, Monster House, and The Polar Express.  He also worked as a Motion Capture and Rigging Technician on PlayStation Games at Midway Games in Chicago, Ill.

In addition to receiving awards for his ideas and art, Bennett has spoken about digital face cloning at the annual SIGGRAPH Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques, and authored two provisional patents.  He received a master of fine arts from the University of Cincinnati, Ohio.

e-on software Pre-Releases Vue 10.5 XStream & Infinite For 3-D Rendering

Beaverton, OR — e-on software pre-released Vue 10.5 xStream and Infinite, the latest production-driven version of its professional solutions for the creation, animation and rendering of natural 3D environments.

New features of Vue 10.5

Specifically designed for graphics professionals, Vue xStream and Vue Infinite combine a multitude of cutting edge features that easily integrate into existing production pipelines. Vue Infinite operates as a standalone application while Vue xStream works seamlessly inside 3ds Max, Maya, Softimage, LightWave and Cinema4D.

The Vue 10.5 feature set was designed following production feedback from e-on software’s professional users. This new version includes many feature and interface optimizations, leading to a better, faster and more streamlined workflow.

Among other new features version 10.5 includes the following:

  • Multiple Vue Camera Import: All Vue cameras present in the scene can be imported to the host application (Vue xStream specific).
  • Directional Light Matching: The Vue sun may now be tied to any directional light from the native scene in the host application (Vue xStream specific).
  • Spline Roll: It is now possible to add roll to spline keypoints using the local rotation gizmo e.g. to create leaning roads or roller coaster rails that bank along bends.
  • Spline Resampling: To complement Vue’s Automatic Path Finding, Vue 10.5 introduces Spline Resampling that creates new spline keys while keeping the original spline path to better hug the underlying surface.
  • EcoSystem Stacking: Users will now be able to stack EcoSystem instances on top of each other. This new feature is available both while painting an EcoSystem or directly from the material editor.
  • Rock Convexity: the Rock Convexity material node changes the look of the rocks based on their actual geometry, for instance to create dirty insets or polished edges.
  • TerrainFractal 2: Vue 10.5 introduces a new version of the original Terrain Fractal node with optional stratification. Terrain Fractal 2 generates a higher diversity of natural looking shapes, and rough areas of rocks and cliffs are more convincingly integrated in the relief.
  • Deeper customization thanks to new Python functions: Vue 10.5 adds several new commands to the Python library, such as: Add/remove/move spline points or modify spline effects, Add or modify cloud layers, Manage object animation functions, Hide objects from render, Enable or disable dialogs to popup or set callbacks, and a lot more…
  • Network rendering improvements: RenderCow CPU affinity is automatically synchronized with the Windows task manager, RenderCows can be paused directly from the tray icon, the scene render size can be overwritten directly via a RenderNode command line…
  • Many other improvements such as angular splines, Terrain Color Pattern node, EcoSystem manipulation and customization improvements, Render Stack management improvements, cloud layer dummies grouping and more.

A complete and detailed list of features will be made available at the time of final release.

Vue 10.5 Available as Pre-release
Vue 10.5 is available free of charge for all users under maintenance. Users of Vue 10 who are not under maintenance and wish to advance to Vue 10.5 should purchase maintenance today (they will receive Vue 10.5 and the Vue 11 upgrade free of charge).

If they wish, users under maintenance can immediately download a pre-release version of Vue 10.5. Users of Vue 10 who subscribe to a maintenance plan today will also be granted access to this pre-release version.

Vue 10.5 xStream and Vue 10.5 Infinite are expected to ship during Q2 2012. Customers who purchased Vue 10 xStream or Infinite within 30 days of the release of Vue 10.5 will receive Vue 10.5 at no cost as part of the Free 30 Day Maintenance included with all new purchases.

More information on e-on software’s maintenance plans can be found at: www.e-onsoftware.com/maintenance

Standard Retail Price:
Vue 10.5 xStream will retail for $1,790 with one year maintenance ($1495 without maintenance). A one year standard maintenance plan for xStream costs $395 (renewal: $295 only!).

Vue 10.5 Infinite will retail for $1,190 with one year maintenance ($995 without maintenance). A one year standard maintenance plan for Infinite costs $295 (renewal: $195 only!).

Upgrades from Vue 9.x xStream to Vue 10.5 xStream will be available for $495. Upgrades from Vue 9.x Infinite to Vue 10.5 Infinite will be available for $395 (upgrades from Vue 8.x will also be available). Full pricing information will be disclosed at the time of release.

Annual subscriptions for Educational licenses of Vue xStream and Infinite are available respectively for $149/year/seat and $99/year/seat. Upgrades to Vue 10.5 are free for owners of active educational licenses of Vue 10.

Availability:
Vue 10.5 xStream and Vue 10.5 Infinite are available in English for Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7, and on Mac OSX 10.5+ (Mac Intel only), for both 32 and 64 bit.

Vue 10.5 xStream is compatible with the following renderers:

  • 3ds Max 2008 to 2013: MentalRay (integrated and MR satellites), V-Ray
  • Maya 2008 to 2013: MentalRay (integrated and MR satellites), V-Ray, Maya Software
  • Softimage | XSI 7.0 to 2013: MentalRay (integrated and MR satellites)
  • Cinema 4D R11 to R13: native renderer
  • LightWave 9.3 to 11: native renderer

Other renderers are under consideration.

Aardman Creates New Look for Clipper Tea

Aardman Commercials partnered with WARL and Clipper Tea, the UK’s only company to boast a completely Fairtrade and organic range of tea, coffee and drinking chocolate, to create a gorgeous new national TV ad campaign for their Everyday Teas.

The 20-second stop frame commercial, which breaks on 27 April and runs for a month, has been brought to life by Aardman director Daniel Cohen, who has created a never-ending “conga” of mugs joyously dancing past a box of Clipper Everyday Tea while being filled with tea bags and hot water from a kettle. “The simple concept of mugs dancing ‘the conga’ worked tremendously and was great fun to direct!” says Cohen.

The starting point for developing the ad was the fact that Clipper was the fastest growing everyday tea brand of 2011. We use this growing swell in popularity to reassure tea drinkers that Clipper tastes so good, cups all over the country are lining up – conga-style – to be filled with delicious Clipper tea. Voiced by The IT Crowd’s Katherine Parkinson, she invites viewers to get their “10 free tastes” and join in with 1 million other people who have already discovered the Big, Bright taste of Clipper.

The conga-line concept has been extended through the line into a wider campaign which includes on-pack promotions, national sampling activity and a social media campaign along with experiential activity planned at festivals throughout the summer.

To alert existing Clipper-lovers to the forthcoming drive, WARL ran a competition among the existing Clipper database. The competition invited consumers to send a picture of their favorite mug and say why it should feature in the “Clipper Conga.” The winner — whose own mug appears in the “conga line” — attended the commercial shoot at the end of March, and also enjoyed a special afternoon tea courtesy of Clipper.

The TV campaign, bought and planned by The Media Shop, has been timed to coincide with Clipper’s repackaging of its Everyday Teas and the introduction of a new ‘Gold Blend’ addition to the range.

WARL Account director Clare Dorsett explained: “Clipper is a challenger brand in an extremely crowded category so it was even more important for our ad to be distinctive. We hope we’ve achieved this by showcasing Clipper’s bubbly personality and taste credentials in a fun but clear and memorably way”

Disney Partners with Outfit7 To Produce Webseries Based on “Talking Friends” Apps

PALO ALTO, Calif.– Outfit7 Inc., a subsidiary of Out Fit 7 Ltd and the global mobile entertainment leader behind the blockbuster Talking Friends collection of apps, announced that it is working with the Disney Interactive Media Group to produce an original animated web series based on its Talking Friends franchise. The deal extends the reach of Outfit7’s Talking Friends characters beyond the mobile app space to a new online entertainment platform.

Disney Interactive Media Group, in conjunction with Outfit7, will develop the original web series featuring Talking Tom Cat, Talking Ben the Dog, as well as other beloved Talking Friends characters. Fans worldwide will be able to follow the hilarious antics of Tom and Ben as they set off on a host of outrageous adventures. The series will run on Disney.com, Disney’s new network on YouTube, and will be accessible through the Talking Friends mobile apps.

“Tom, Ben and the entire Talking Friends cast are international celebrities who have built strong emotional connections with millions of fans worldwide. As a result they are transcending the mobile space to new entertainment mediums with online video being one of the first,” said Samo Login, Founder & CEO of Out Fit 7 Ltd. “Partnering with the renowned creative talent at Disney in addition to Disney’s broad distribution capabilities allows Talking Friends fans everywhere to experience the characters in a fantastic new manner.”

“The Talking Friends characters are global mobile app sensations. We’re thrilled to bring these very popular characters to life in a new family-friendly online video series,” said Mark L. Walker, Senior Vice President, Disney.com.

The Talking Friends collection of apps has quickly become a global entertainment phenomenon having achieved #1 chart status in over 100+ countries. In less than two years, Outfit7’s Talking Friends collection of apps has been downloaded more than 390 million times. Outfit7 averages more than 35 million downloads per month, and the Talking Friends franchise has over 750,000 user generated videos uploaded to YouTube that have been viewed more than 354 million times.

For more information on Outfit7’s collection of Talking Friends apps, please visit: www.Outfit7.com

Directors You Should Know: Kaj Pindal

Kaj Pindal, who turns eighty-five years old this year, ranks up there as one of my all-time favorite animators. Pindal typically works with a very basic library of shapes, but his animation is whimsical, funny, and filled with graphic quirks and tics. It all adds up to a distinctive and appealing style that looks even fresher today amidst the proliferation of mechanical Flash and After Effects animation.

The City: Osaka is not necessarily a Pindal classic–for that, see I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly, King Size, or Peep and the Big Wide World–but I was delighted to discover such a pristine copy posted onto the NFB website. A commissioned film for Expo ’70 held in Osaka, Japan, it was intended to give Japanese people a glimpse into Canadian life, which apparently consists mostly of deforestation and hockey.

The spare black-and-white design of the film, as well as the two minutes of blank screen at the beginning (albeit with excellent jazz music), are due to the film’s original mode of projection. “It played around the clock for the duration of the World’s Fair on a screen made of sixty thousand individual light bulbs,” Pindal said. Kaj talks about his experiences associated with the film on the Kaj Pindal blog.

Here’s a terrific documentary about Kaj Pindal called Laugh Lines from 1979:

“The Pirates! Band of Misfits” Talkback

Man, I can’t wait to see this film (I’ll be seeing it at an ASIFA-Hollywood screening tomorrow). It opened today to great reviews: Manohla Dargis of The New York Times calls it “a curiosity cabinet of visual pleasures”, while Kenneth Turan of The Los Angeles Times says its “a clever piece of business that is a complete pleasure to experience”.

How about you? This talkback thread is open only to those who have actually seen the film (your comment will be deleted if we detect you haven’t seen it – and we can tell). Tell the world what you think in the comments section below.

EXCLUSIVE: “Motorcity” Production Footage And Deleted Scene

Whatever happened to limited TV animation? For those of us who remember when Jonny Quest was state-of-the-art for TV adventure animation… this leaked footage (below) from Disney’s Motorcity is pretty amazing. The animation looks really slick for a TV production, and especially good for a show that’s digitally animated in flash.

Here is an eleven minute compilation of nine sequences pulled from upcoming episodes. These clips showcase the animation and compositing techniques employed in the series. Each sequence features the final composited footage, followed by the animation in it’s rough form.

Created by Chris Prynoski, Motorcity is produced by Robin Red Breast, Inc. (a subsidiary of Titmouse, Inc.) and Disney Television Animation. It premieres this Monday, April 30th at 9pm, ET/PT on Disney XD. The first episode is now available to watch for free on iTunes (there’s a free iPhone/iPad game on iTunes as well). More information on this clip reel after the jump.
Continue reading

Laika President Travis Knight Thinks Stop Motion Is A “Completely Awful Process”

In this LA Times story about the resurgence of stop motion animated features, Travis Knight, the producer of Laika’s ParaNorman and one of its lead animators, had this to say:

“Stop-motion is probably the worst, most painful way to make a film. It’s a completely awful process to engage in, an anachronism.”

The one thing stop motion has working in its favor? It’s not computer animation. Knight, who is also the president and CEO of Laika, added:

“But the stories have a warmth and a charm. You’re not looking at ones and zeros. You’re looking at the hands of the artists who made it.”

Photo of Travis Knight, with his father, Nike chairman and Laika owner Phil Knight. (Quote via Kirsten Lepore)

“After School Midnighters” trailer

In today’s installment of “Animation WTF?”, I hereby submit this trailer for After School Midnighters (Hôkago middonaitâzu) by artist/animator Hitoshi Takekiyo. The official synopsis reads…

“The main character ‘Kynst Lijk’ is a human body model that stands in a science room of an elementary school. Kynst Lijk also reigns over the school after midnight. One day, when a naughty kindergarden trio accidentally meets him, his ordinary life changes. The scariest and craziest after midnight adventure begins…”

Around the same time we’ll be watching Brave, Ice Age: Continental Drift and ParaNorman, this film will be opening in Tokyo theaters:

Buzzco Creates Animation for TED’s Ted Ed Initiative

Buzzco recently animated a short film for TED’s new educational initiative, TED Ed: Lessons Worth Sharing, an open platform dedicated to providing high school and college teachers a new way to use video content on the web. TED’s Chris Anderson described the new initiative on Posterous, where he explains the process for “flipping” web video content into lessons that can easily be assigned in class or as homework, complete with context, follow-up questions and further resources.

Buzzco’s Sex Determination: More Complicated Than You Thought is featured in Anderson’s post as an example of the collaboration between teachers and animators for the new platform. Additional short films can be viewed on the TED Ed YouTube channel, which launched in March.

New York animation icon Candy Kugel and the rest of the Buzzco team completed the project, which runs five and a half minutes, in only two and a half weeks from script to final product. Now there’s a lesson worth sharing!

Cartoon Network Promotes Jason DeMarco to VP of Strategic Marketing & Promotions

Jason DeMarco has been promoted to vice president of strategic marketing and promotions for Cartoon Network and Adult Swim, it was announced by Brenda Piper, chief marketing officer for Turner Broadcasting System Inc.’s Animation, Young Adults and Kids Media (AYAKM) group.  In his new role, DeMarco will be responsible for developing promotional marketing programs that extend each network’s reach, visibility and brand messaging both on and off-channel.  Additionally, he will oversee the development and execution of customized integrated promotions and sponsorships that drive revenues for Cartoon Network and Adult Swim’s sales and marketing efforts.  DeMarco’s responsibilities will also include supervising all aspects of AYAKM special events and trade marketing activity, including the Cartoon Network and Adult Swim Advertising Upfront programs.  DeMarco is based in Atlanta and reports directly to Piper.

Previously, DeMarco served as creative director, sales promotions for Cartoon Network and Adult Swim.  In this capacity, he was responsible for developing compelling and innovative national advertiser promotional programs and sponsorships across multiple platforms.  Producing more than 150 projects per year, he oversaw the creative development and execution of promotions marketing efforts across the linear networks, video-on-demand, CartoonNetwork.com and AdultSwim.com.  Among his accomplishments, in 2008 DeMarco also founded Adult Swim’s Williams Street Records where he served as the primary A&R (Artist and Repertoire) contact, creating original music albums, as well as successful programs like the Adult Swim Singles Program, supporting on-air series and delivering one of a kind creative partnership solutions for key ad sales clients.  Earlier in his career, as associate creative director for Toonami/Miguzi–two of Cartoon Network’s premier animated action-adventure franchises–DeMarco was critical to the development of signature on-air packaging for shows such as Dragonball Z and Pokémon that helped established Cartoon Network’s on-air look and feel, and won multiple design awards in the process.

“Jason has that rare ability to be equally comfortable behind the camera as well as at the board room table,” said Piper.  “I look forward to his contributions and to the places he will take us in this new role.”

DeMarco began his tenure at Cartoon Network as a senior writer/producer for Toonami, writing and producing packaging and on-air promos for the programming block.  Prior to this, he rose as a production assistant to an associate producer at TNT, where he wrote and produced on-air packaging and promos supporting both original and syndicated films and television series.

DeMarco earned a bachelor’s of arts degree in film/video production from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Savannah, GA.

“Transformers Prime: One Shall Stand” Coming to DVD on July 31, 2012 from Shout! Factory

TRANSFORMERS PRIME – ONE SHALL STAND
FEATURING THE 7-PART STORY ARC SPANNING THE FIRST TWO SEASONS OF EMMY® AWARD-WINNING SERIES SEAMLESSLY EDITED TOGETHER IN THIS SPECIAL PRESENTATION PRODUCED BY HASBRO STUDIOS

OWN IT ON DVD JULY 31, 2012 FROM SHOUT! FACTORY

This summer, get ready for a special presentation of Transformers Prime for home entertainment. On July 31, 2012, Shout! Factory, in collaboration with Hasbro Studios, will debut Transformers Prime — One Shall Stand DVD, featuring the compelling story behind the most iconic AUTOBOT ever, OPTIMUS PRIME, and an epic tale of deception, sacrifice, loyalty and triumph. Produced by Hasbro Studios, ONE SHALL STAND highlights the story that spanned the first two seasons of the acclaimed CGI animated series Transformers Prime, which currently airs on The Hub television network in the U.S and Teletoons in Canada. This action-packed story arc is edited together in a seamless, riveting special presentation for this home entertainment release. Packed with exciting bonus content, Transformers Prime — One Shall Stand DVD delivers spectacular CGI animation and captivating family entertainment for all ages. This highly collectible DVD is priced to own with a suggested retail price of $14.97.

Fans can pre-order now on Amazon.com
http://www.amazon.com/Transformers-P…5370594&sr=8-1

Transformers Primeboasts an all-star voice cast, including Peter Cullen, Frank Welker, Steve Blum, Jeffrey Combs, Ernie Hudson, Adam Baldwin, Gina Torres, John Noble, among other notables. Transformers Prime is produced by Hasbro Studios, with Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Jeff Kline serving as executive producers. Kurtzman and Orci served as writers for the feature films Transformers and Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen.

Transformers Prime — One Shall Stand

With UNICRON’s awakening, extreme measures needed to be taken. An unlikely alliance formed between AUTOBOTS and DECEPTICONS to defeat UNICRON, a foe who could spell the end of the Earth. The action unfolds as the AUTOBOTS battle alongside MEGATRON against the evil UNICRON. Enemies became allies, allies became confidantes, and with the Matrix of Leadership, the planet Earth was saved.

Though at immeasurable personal cost, when OPTIMUS surrendered the Matrix, he lost more than the collective wisdom of the PRIME. He lost himself. With the power of the Matrix no longer within him, it would stand to reason that OPTIMUS has reverted to his pre-PRIME state as the historical archivist ORION PAX. MEGATRON manipulates the impaired OPTIMUS into joining the DECEPTICONS. But does the OPTIMUS and AUTOBOTS’ true key to salvation lie in the trusted hands of a teenaged boy named Jack?

DVD Bonus Content:
As excitement builds for this DVD, Shout! Factory and Hasbro Studios will announce in-depth bonus features and additional news in forthcoming months.

Technical Information
Transformers Prime — One Shall Stand DVD
Street Date: July 31, 2012
Running Time: +/ – 2 hours
Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic widescreen
Audio: English, Audio 5.1 Surround

“G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero: Series 2, Season 2″ Coming to DVD on July 10, 2012

G.I. JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO SERIES 2, SEASON 2

Featuring All 20 Action-Packed Episodes in a Collectible 3-DVD Set

OWN IT ON DVD JULY 10, 2012 FROM SHOUT! FACTORY

On July 10, 2012, Shout! Factory, in collaboration with Hasbro, will release the G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero Series 2, Season 2 on DVD. This highly collectible 3-DVD set contains all 20 episodes from the complete second season and insightful bonus content. A must have for fans, collectors and animation enthusiasts to complete their home entertainment collection of this animated series, G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero Series 2, Season 2 DVD set arrives in stores everywhere and is priced to own at $ 29.93 SRP. Fans can pre-order now on Amazon.com
Pre-order link: http://www.amazon.com/G-I-Joe-Series…5399717&sr=8-1

The battle rolls on in the final season of G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero Series 2! General Hawk returns with his new team of G.I. JOE heroes, ready to take on any challenge by Cobra, a ruthless criminal organization out for world domination. And Cobra Commander’s clearly left the toughest challenges for last! Does G.I. JOE have what it takes to stop them? The popular second season of this series from 1991 sees the return of fan favorite characters including Duke, Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow in adventures more exciting than ever!

Bonus Feature:
Retrospective Featurette With The Hasbro Toy Team

Technical Information:
G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero Series 2, Season 2
Street Date: July 10, 2012
Discs: 3
General Audiences
Running Time: approx. +/- 7 hours
Video: Fullframe 1.33:1 – Preserving the aspect ratio of its original broadcast
Audio: Original Mono