Web Roundup: J. P. Miller, Gravity Falls And Classic Illustration

J. P. Miller created brilliant drawings for the “Baby Weems” sequence of The Reluctant Dragon, and Andreas Deja has posted a nice selection of that artwork.



These background layouts and paintings from the new Disney TV series Gravity Falls are more sophisticated and appealing than a lot of recent TV fare. Above: line art by Sean Jimenez, painting by Elle Michalka.



Leif Peng’s blog Today’s Inpsiration never fails to live up to its name. It’s an exquisitely curated selection of vintage illustration with a focus on the artists who created the work. The level of technical skill and craftsmanship in this work should inspire any visual artist and not just those who work as illustrators.

Talkback: Seth MacFarlane’s “Ted”

Ted, the live-action/CG combo by Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane opens today. If you’ve seen the film, please share your thoughts. I’ll be seeing the film soon because I’m a serious animation critic and it’s my duty to see everything animated, and…oh, who am I kidding, it’s got Mila Kunis in it.

Everybody should know the drill by now. This talkback is only for those who have seen the film. If you haven’t seen the film, your comment goes bye-bye.

Lifestyles of Animation Executives: Jeffrey Katzenberg

Jeffrey Katzenberg makes his second appearance in our Lifestyles of Animation Executives column. Unlike his Beverly Hills mansion that he built on a $35 million plot of land, this relatively modest ski-in, ski-out lodge in Deer Valley, Utah cost a mere $10 million to build. The 14,000-square-foot space includes six bedrooms, gym, stone fireplace, ski-prep room with boot warmers built into the walls, an indoor pool and hot tub, a wood sauna and a billiard room. It also includes a 75-inch 3-D-enabled Samsung television that Katzenberg flew in from Korea.

The home was built twenty years ago but has been continually updated. Its interior floor plan was designed by architect Charles Gwathmey in consultation with architect Rick Otto. “[My wife] Marilyn wanted to create a place where we could be a family and not have social obligations infringe on that time,” Katzenberg explained to the Wall Street Journal. “We designed the house to be the perfect family trap. When we vacation at the house, we literally eat breakfast, lunch and dinner together.”

Guests at the home have included Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Michael Jackson, reality-TV producer Mark Burnett, Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz. The Wall Street Journal offers more photos and a video tour of the property, which you may as well watch since it’s unlikely that Jeffrey will be extending invites to Cartoon Brew readers anytime soon. But seriously, Mr. K, if you’re ever lonely and need a ski buddy, don’t hesitate to get in touch. I’ll even eat dinner with you, though breakfast and lunch seems a tad excessive.

(Photos by Chad Hurst of the Wall Street Journal)

Call For Entries: Video Festival Imperia

Imperia, Italy — Registration is now open for the Video Festival Imperia (International Festival of Cinematographic Digital Art), held in Imperia, Italy. The 8th edition of the festival will be held April 23 — 27, 2013, and the deadline for submissions is January 28, 2013.

For the third consecutive time, Video Festival Imperia has been placed under the high patronage of UNESCO for “the high value of the initiative aimed at promoting arts and at the preservation of the different expressions that make up the inestimable heritage of cultural diversity.”

The 2013 edition of the festival boasts five full days of screenings and events, including more than 100 works to select from and screen to the public. Four competitive categories — Shorts, Documentaries, Animation, and the new Explorer category — are divided in fourteen different sections for professionals, amateurs, schools and international participants.

For additional details, rules and entry forms, visit www.videofestivalimperia.org.

Animation Block Announces Brooklyn’s Premier Animation Film Festival Kicks Off July 27th With World Premieres, International Shorts, Music Videos And More

Animation, Music, Beer, and After Parties at BAM Cinematek and Rooftop Films

BROOKLYN, NY (June 27, 2012) — The 9th Annual Animation Block Party presents nearly 100 animation shorts from all over the world to Brooklyn’s Rooftop Films and BAMcinématek venues. Beginning Friday, July 27th, the three-­‐day animation weekend will showcase the best of stop-­‐motion work, music videos, computer animation, experimental content, studio and independent films, and much more. Casey Safron, founder of Animation Block, will bring back last year’s successful debut of the free ABP trade-­‐show, and will introduce the first ever after party at the BAMcafé.

With a select 94 short animation films in six individual programs including: Opening Night at Rooftop, Animation for Kids, Eclectic Mix, International Shorts, Narrative Works, and Fresh Visions, the 2012 Animation Block Party will run from July 27th -­‐ 29th at Rooftop Films and BAMcinématek respectively.

ABP 2012 at BAMcinématek will feature five individual programs, each screening twice. A special Animation for Kids Program will screen on Saturday and Sunday at noon. The Animation for Kids Program will highlight animated shorts for children. Programs held at BAM screen twice.

Friday, July 27th — ABP will open with live music at Rooftop Films at 8pm followed by outdoor simulcast screenings (on two lawns) at the Automotive High School featuring: world premieres, international cartoons,  exceptional student films and fan-­‐friendly shorts. Tickets are $12 dollars.

Saturday, July 28th — there will be an ABP Animation and  Art Trade Show at BAMcinématek. Festival movie tickets must be purchased, but the Saturday ABP expo is 100% free, open to the public and will run from 12pm-­‐8pm. BAMcinématek, tickets are  $12 dollars (less for matinees).

Program One: Animation Block Eclectic Mix (2pm & 6:50pm) will feature award-­‐winning independent works, global films, comedic shorts and more. Program  Two: Animation Block International Shorts (4:30pm & 9:15pm) will showcase a taste of  intercontinental animated shorts of all genres and styles. BAMcinématek: $12  dollars (less for matinees).

Sunday, July 29th -­‐ Program Three: Animation Block Narrative Works (2pm and 6:50pm) will feature exceptional student films and professional content with a storytelling focus. Program Four: Animation Block Fresh Visions (4:30pm and 9:15pm) will mix global films with New York premieres and local animations. BAMcinématek: $12 dollars (less for matinees).

The All-­Access Pass: The ABP Saturday Night party will take place in the BAMcafé at 30 Lafayette Avenue from 10pm-­‐2am on July 28th, and is exclusive only to those who purchase BAMcinématek all-­‐ access pass. The event will feature comedy, art, food, free Brooklyn Brewery beer, a photo-­‐ booth and live music from AHS followed by a headline appearance from Making Friendz.  All-­‐Access weekend passes will include admission to all ABP events at BAMcinématek.

9th
Annual
Animation
Block
Party
presents
nearly
100
animation
shorts
from
all
over
the
world
to
Brooklyn’s
Rooftop
Films
and
BAMcinématek
venues.
Beginning
Friday,
July
27th,
the
three-­‐day
animation
weekend
will
showcase
the
best
of
stop-­‐motion
work,
music
videos,
computer
animation,
experimental
content,
studio
and
independent
films,
and
much
more.
Casey
Safron,
founder
of
Animation
Block,
will
bring
back
last
year’s
successful
debut
of
the
free
ABP
trade-­‐show,
and
will
introduce
the
first
ever
after
party
at
the
BAMcafé.
With
a
select
94
short
animation
films
in
six
individual
programs
including:
Opening
Night
at
Rooftop,
Animation
for
Kids,
Eclectic
Mix,
International
Shorts,
Narrative
Works,
and
Fresh
Visions,
the
2012
Animation
Block
Party
will
run
from
July
27th
-­‐
29th
at
Rooftop
Films
and
BAMcinématek
respectively.
ABP
2012
at
BAMcinématek
will
feature
five
individual
programs,
each
screening
twice.
A
special
Animation
for
Kids
Program
will
screen
on
Saturday
and
Sunday
at
noon.
The
Animation
for
Kids
Program
will
highlight
animated
shorts
for
children.
Programs
held
at
BAM
screen
twice.
Friday,
July
27th

ABP
will
open
with
live
music
at
Rooftop
Films
at
8pm
followed
by
outdoor
simulcast
screenings
(on
two
lawns)
at
the
Automotive
High
School
featuring:
world
premieres,
international
cartoons,
exceptional
student
films
and
fan-­‐friendly
shorts.
Tickets
are
$12
dollars.
Saturday,
July
28th

there
will
be
an
ABP
Animation
and
Art
Trade
Show
at
BAMcinématek.
Festival
movie
tickets
must
be
purchased,
but
the
Saturday
ABP
expo
is
100%
free,
open
to
the
public
and
will
run
from
12pm-­‐8pm.
BAMcinématek,
tickets
are
$12
dollars
(less
for
matinees).
Program
One:
Animation
Block
Eclectic
Mix
(2pm
&
6:50pm)
will
feature
award-­‐winning
independent
works,
global
films,
comedic
shorts
and
more.
Program
Two:
Animation
Block
International
Shorts
(4:30pm
&
9:15pm)
will
showcase
a
taste
of
intercontinental
animated
shorts
of
all
genres
and
styles.
BAMcinématek:
$12
dollars
(less
for
matinees).
Sunday,
July
29th
-­‐
Program
Three:
Animation
Block
Narrative
Works
(2pm
and
6:50pm)
will
feature
exceptional
student
films
and
professional
content
with
a
storytelling
focus.
Program
Four:
Animation
Block
Fresh
Visions
(4:30pm
and
9:15pm)
will
mix
global
films
with
New
York
premieres
and
local
animations.
BAMcinématek:
$12
dollars
(less
for
matinees).
The
All-­Access
Pass:
The
ABP
Saturday
Night
party
will
take
place
in
the
BAMcafé
at
30
Lafayette
Avenue
from
10pm-­‐2am
on
July
28th,
and
is
exclusive
only
to
those
who
purchase
BAMcinématek
all-­‐
access
pass.
The
event
will
feature
comedy,
art,
food,
free
Brooklyn
Brewery
beer,
a
photo-­‐
booth
and
live
music
from
AHS
followed
by
a
headline
appearance
from
Making
Friendz.
All-­‐Access
weekend
passes
will
include
admission
to
all
ABP
events
at
BAMcinématek.
For
more
information
and
award

Animal Logic Names Rob Coleman Head of Animation

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — Rob Coleman has been named Head of Animation at digital production studio Animal Logic. Coleman’s appointment further strengthens Animal Logic’s ongoing commitment to its Sydney and Los Angeles based visual effects and animation studios.

Animation director Rob Coleman is a two-time Oscar nominee for his animation work on Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and Stars Wars: Attack of the Clones.  He has also been nominated for two BAFTA Awards for his work on Men In Black and The Phantom Menace.  Coleman spent 14 years at Industrial Light & Magic and Lucasfilm Animation working closely with George Lucas. He was chosen as one of the most creative people in the entertainment industrywhen he was added to Entertainment Weekly’s “It List” in 2002 as their “It CG-Creature Crafter” for his work on the digital Yoda. He most recently was the Animation Director on Happy Feet Two.

Coleman, who has lived in Australia for the last three years, said, “I am thrilled to be joining Animal Logic, the technical and artistic talents there are world class. I have been a fan of their work for years, so it is exciting to be teaming up with such an immensely creative team.”

“Rob is one of the industry’s most highly regarded Animation Directors, with a great track record of building teams and pipelines,” said Zareh Nalbandian, Animal Logic’s CEO. “We are very fortunate to have him join our already exceptionally talented team of artists to further develop our visual effects and feature animationslate, animation talent and feature animation pipeline. We plan to launch one new animated feature a year; Rob will be instrumental in building our leadership teams and developing creative talent to support that goal.”

Learn 3ds Max Or Go To Jail

The Animation Project is a New York City-area program that uses computer animation as an art therapy tool for court-involved teenagers. The program, founded by animator Brian Austin, is part of the Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services (CASES), which offer youths rehabilitation opportunities such as GED training as an alternative to incarceration. This article by Greg Condon in Social Work Today discusses the program’s aims and the surprising comfort level of teenagers with 3D software:

Although none of the group members had worked in 3D Max before, they are all computer savvy, much like most in their age group. It was this fact that ultimately drew Austin’s focus back to computer animation. In the span of 45 minutes, each group member has turned a square polygon into a house with a pitched roof and side garage. As [Karen] Gibbons says, “Video games, movies, and print media are probably the main art forms these young people have been exposed to. Media like pastels and paints would be unfamiliar.” The group will spend the next four weeks building assets in 3D Max developing their story. As the weeks progress, they will begin dividing duties: One person may build the characters while another builds the setting of a scene.

I’ve embedded one of the student shorts at the top of the post. More of their work can be seen on The Animation Project’s Facebook page.

Rainmaker Entertainment Announces Agreement to Sell Animation Studio to Xing Xing Digital Corporation

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA– Rainmaker Entertainment Inc. (“Rainmaker”) announced today that it has entered into an asset purchase agreement dated June 27, 2012 pursuant to which Rainmaker Studios Inc. (“RSI”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Xing Xing Digital Corporation, has agreed to acquire certain assets comprising substantially all of Rainmaker’s animation studio assets (the “Transaction”). The assets are being acquired in consideration for the assumption of existing Rainmaker book liabilities in an approximate amount of $7 million and the assumption of all real property leases. The Transaction is conditional upon, among other things, the approval of Rainmaker’s shareholders and the receipt of the required regulatory approvals, including any approvals required under the Investment Canada Act.

In connection with the Transaction, Rainmaker has agreed to provide a loan to RSI in the aggregate principal amount of $5 million. The loan has a term of four years and will bear interest at a rate of prime plus 2%. The loan may be prepaid at any time without penalty. Additionally, Rainmaker shall be granted an option, exercisable during the fourth year of the loan, to convert the principal and accrued interest in respect of the loan into common shares of RSI. Based on the starting principal amount of the loan, Rainmaker would be entitled to acquire 30% of the outstanding common shares of RSI at the time of conversion. Also, during the term of the loan, Rainmaker shall be entitled to nominate one of five directors to the board of RSI.

The board of directors of Rainmaker has unanimously approved entering into the asset purchase agreement and recommends that Rainmaker shareholders approve the Transaction. Full details of the Transaction will be included in a management information circular and related proxy materials to be mailed to Rainmaker shareholders in accordance with applicable securities laws in advance of the shareholders meeting, which is currently scheduled to occur on July 31, 2012.

Tim McElvaine, Chairman of the Board, stated, “Following completion of the Transaction, Rainmaker’s assets will include working capital in excess of $2 million, proceeds of the RSI loan, the potential to participate in any adjusted gross revenues payable to the producer of Escape from Planet Earth and substantial non-capital tax losses. The board remains committed to maximizing the value of these assets for Rainmaker’s shareholders.”

“Happiness is…Peanuts: Go, Snoopy Go” Available on October 9

Burbank, CA — Let’s play ball with Snoopy and Charlie Brown!  Warner Home Video (WHV) brings an all new animated Peanuts collection to consumers with the release of Happiness is…Peanuts: Go, Snoopy, Go! on October 9, 2012. The newest installment of the Happiness is…Peanuts collection, Happiness is…Peanuts: Go, Snoopy, Go! pairs the TV special It’s Spring Training, Charlie Brown with an episode from The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show on one disc.  This title will retail for $14.97 SRP.

Step up to the plate with the Peanuts gang in It’s Spring Training, Charlie Brown. It’s springtime and Charlie Brown’s baseball team is gearing up for the new season. The players work their hardest to train and get into tip-top shape but in spite of all their efforts, end up with disappointing results. To top it off, Lucy points out that they are the only team without any uniforms. To boost the team’s morale, Charlie Brown manages to secure new uniforms after Mr. Hennessey at the hardware store promises to sponsor the team — with the condition they win the first game of the season. Will Charlie Brown and his teammates emerge victorious and score new uniforms?

The laughs and good times continue on Happiness is…Peanuts: Go, Snoopy, Go! with three delightful segments from The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show. In Blanket, Snoopy attempts to steal Linus’ blanket and Linus in turn, uses Snoopy’s supper dish as blackmail to get his blanket back. In Peppermint Patty, Peppermint Patty has trouble in school with a straight “Z” average, and therefore refuses to go to class. Rainy Day has Charlie Brown giving a “speech” on baseball signals, however, everyone is more interested in watching TV than paying attention to him.

“Pairing a classic Peanuts TV special with an episode from The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show is a great way for consumers to enjoy an assortment of classic Peanuts content for one low price,” said Mary Ellen Thomas, Vice President Family & Animation Marketing and Partner Brands. She added, “If you want to share wholesome entertainment with the family, you can’t go wrong with Peanuts. Every story offers entertainment but also imparts life lessons that apply to all of us.”

Valve Releases Source Filmmaker and “Meet the Pyro”

Valve, creator of best-selling game franchises (such as Counter-Strike, Half-Life, Left 4 Dead, Portal, and Team Fortress) and leading technologies (such as Steam and Source), announced the Source Filmmaker (SFM) and the release of Meet the Pyro.

The SFM is a storytelling tool Valve developed inside the Source Engine to create all its animated short films, including those in the Meet the Team series of Team Fortress 2 shorts. The SFM condenses the production pipeline of an animation studio down onto a single gaming PC.

To celebrate the announcement of the SFM, Valve also released the ninth and final short in the Meet the Team series today, Meet the Pyro.

“The goal of the SFM was to develop a story telling tool that allowed us to create computer animated movies more efficiently, and with greater creative freedom,” said Bay Raitt, designer at Valve. “Over the past five years, we’ve produced more than 50 animated shorts with the SFM. The Source Filmmaker will allow our community to create their own movies in Team Fortress 2 and in their own Source SDK-created mods.”

The SFM is currently in closed beta and will be made available – free of charge – later this year via Steam. More information on the SFM may be found at www.sourcefilmmaker.com

“Nest” By Michael Ruocco

Nest is a short and sweet piece of character animation by NYC-area animator Michael Ruocco. The animation displays unusually sharp timing, which might be expected of someone who curates the blog Smears, Multiples and Other Animation Gimmicks. Michael also deserves credit as the co-curator of my new blog 365 Days of Ward Kimball. A fount of animation knowledge and an animator of great promise–Ruocco is the real deal.

VIZ Media Unveils Neon Alley

24-Hour Anime Channel Launches On Game Consoles This Fall

San Francisco, CA, June 27, 2012VIZ Media, the largest publisher, distributor and licensor of manga, graphic novels and anime in North America, unveiled plans for Neon Alley, a 24-hour anime channel featuring the world’s best titles set to debut on game consoles this fall. The service will be available in the United States and Canada.

Neon Alley’s schedule will include a mix of action, adventure, science fiction, supernatural, fantasy, and horror anime, all uncut and dubbed in English, and presented in HD (when available). Programming will include blockbuster anime titles like Naruto Shippuden, Inuyasha: The Final Act, and Death Note, and will allow fans to discover new titles such as Tiger & Bunny, Berserk: The Golden Age Arc, Zetman and Nura: Rise Of The Yokai Clan, along with original content that provides news and behind-the-scenes access for fans of anime and manga.

“We created Neon Alley for fans to watch the best anime titles in the world right on their TV,” said Ken Sasaki, President and Chief Executive Officer for VIZ Media. “Neon Alley will have weekly exclusive premieres of the hit titles they love, along with a mix of new, cutting-edge titles they didn’t know they were missing.”

Neon Alley will be a subscription-based service, subsidized with limited commercial advertising, to keep the launch price to consumers at a low $6.99 per month. Anime fans can register online at NeonAlley.com for news, updates on the service’s launch, and to find out how to get a sneak preview of the series debuting during the first season. Neon Alley is the first platform designed to be studio agnostic, featuring titles from other anime producers and distributors, and will unveil its programming lineup, special introductory offers, new acquisitions and other partnerships throughout the next several months.

“Beauty and the Beast” Visits The Ghetto

I never imagined we’d be posting a parody of Belle’s song from Beauty and the Beast, but Beauty and the BEAT is ambitious as far as cartoon spoofs are concerned. In this version, ‘hood rat’ Belle visits the ghetto and even manages to adopt a baby. It was created by former American Idol contestant and Broadway performer Todrick Hall with the help of Katie Stevens as Belle and YouTube celebs DeStorm, GloZell, AlphaCat, Miles Jai, Antoine Dawson, Vonzell Solomon, Katie Stevens and Tre Melvin.

SIGGRAPH Announces 2012 Production Sessions

Chicago, IL — SIGGRAPH 2012, August 5-9 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, just released an all-star line-up of production sessions that will be featured as part of its annual Computer Animation Festival, which is open to the public.

“Nowhere else in the world can you get this level of access to elite and talented Hollywood computer graphic experts and creative talent,” said Jerome Solomon, SIGGRAPH 2012 Production Sessions Chair from The Art Institute of California – Sunnyvale. “Having such cooperation from so many major studios could only happen at SIGGRAPH and we are ecstatic to be able to bring our community such incredible content.”

The Computer Animation Festival, chaired this year by Joshua Grow from the Creative-Cartel, is recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as a qualifying festival. Since 1999, several works originally presented in the Computer Animation Festival have been nominated for or have received a “Best Animated Short” Academy Award. This year’s selections will be featured during the Computer Animation Festival through a series of daily Festival Screenings and the iconic Electronic Theater, allowing attendees to get a glimpse behind the making of computer generated effects, visualizations, and animations

Following are the details of the 2012 Production Sessions:

Pixomondo Presents Hugo: A Cinematic Convergence of 3D and Visual Effects
Panelists: Ben Grossman, Visual Effects Supervisor, Alex Henning, Digital Effects Supervisor, Adam Watkins, CG Supervisor from Pixomondo, and Matthew Gratzner, Visual Effects Supervisor from New Deal Studios

In Hugo, Martin Scorsese’s love letter to classic cinema and cinema history, the director was passionate about pushing the capabilities of stereoscopic filmmaking to new heights. Pixomondo developed custom workflows to handle complex challenges in VFX and capture all of the live-action production data required to accommodate the rigorous effects and post-production demands of the project. This Pixomondo panel discusses the creative and technical challenges they overcame to achieve Scorsese’s vision for early filmmaking in stereo 3D. Also joining them will be New Deal Studios visual effects supervisor, Matthew Gratzner, who was responsible for creating the train crash sequence in the film.

Building Disney/Pixar’s Brave: Pencils to Pixels
Panelists: Colin Thompson, Character Shading Supervisor, Tia Kratter, Shading Art Director
Claudia Chung, Simulation Supervisor, and Danielle Feinberg, Director of Photography, Lighting

From bouncing red curls to gusty dark forests, this panel summarizes how Disney•Pixar created their summer 2012 film: Brave. The artists lead a guided tour through Brave‘s production pipeline, illustrating the kind of exploration and problem-solving required to move an asset from initial design through characters and sets, animation, and lighting, and into a final rendered frame.

Sony Pictures Animation: Checking in at Hotel Transylvania

Welcome to Hotel Transylvania, Dracula’s lavish five-stake resort, where monsters and their families can live it up, free to be the monsters they are without human interference. For one special weekend, Dracula invites some of his best friends — Frankenstein and his bride, the Mummy, the Invisible Man, the Werewolf family, and more — to celebrate his beloved daughter Mavis’s 118th birthday. In this session, first-time feature director Genndy Tartakovsky (Dexter’s Laboratory, Samurai Jack, Clone Wars) and the creative team behind Hotel Transylvania explore the art, unique animation style, and technical achievements of Sony Pictures Animation’s new animated feature.

Digital Domain Presents Making the Steel Real: Moving VFX Into Production
Moderator: Michael Fink, Academy-Award-Winning Visual Effects Supervisor
Panelists: Ron Ames, Associate Producer, Erik Nash, Digital Domain, John Rosengrant, Legacy Effects, Swen Gillberg, Digital Domain and Dan Taylor, Animation Supervisor

Nominated for a visual effects Academy Award, DreamWorks’ Real Steel was recognized not only for its rollicking boxing matches between CG robots, but also for the seamless way the film moves between practical robots and their CG counterparts. In this panel, some of the Real Steel filmmakers walk through robot design, explain key techniques and shots, and share the groundbreaking virtual-production process that they packed up and moved to Detroit, which compressed the shooting schedule to 71 days with no second unit.

Sony Pictures Imageworks: Travel Behind the Scenes of Men in Black 3

Sony Pictures Imageworks’ visual effects for Men in Black 3 included diverse and richly detailed characters and environments, all created with a heightened sense of realism. With a mix of humor and style, the Men in Black return to 1969 with a digital re-creation of New York’s Shea Stadium and the Apollo 11 rocket launch, and an action-packed monocycle chase through the streets of Brooklyn. This panel explores the challenges and achievements of producing the visual effects for Men in Black 3.

Sony Pictures Imageworks: The Untold Story of The Amazing Spider-Man

Sony Pictures Imageworks oversaw the visual effects for the untold story of Spider-Man, set in a gritty, edgy urban world. The VFX team established a visual style that naturally blends cutting-edge live-action stunt work, extensive digital environments, and CG character animation. This panel provides a revealing inside look at VFX production for an “amazing” film.

Rhythm & Hues Studios: 25 Years of Art, Technology and People

In this panel and presentation, an array of artists and executives associated with the past and present of Rhythm & Hues Studios explore the many factors that have led to the studio’s longevity and success. Highlights include a retrospective of the company’s early days, from its origins at the pioneering CGI company Robert Abel and Associates in the 1970s and 80s and the founding of Rhythm & Hues in 1987, to its groundbreaking animation work in the ‘90s and its recent work The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, VFX Oscar winner The Golden Compass, The Incredible Hulk, the Alvin and The Chipmunks franchise, and more.

Industrial Light & Magic Presents: The Visual Effects of Battleship
Panelists: Grady Cofer Visual Effects Supervisor, Doug Smythe, Digital Production Supervisor, Glen McIntosh, Animation Supervisor, Willi Geiger, CG Supervisor from Industrial Light & Magic

A behind-the-scenes look at Peter Berg’s blockbuster sci-fi epic Battleship. The ILM production team reviews the film’s various challenges and describes why it was necessary to revamp the studio’s award-winning fluid-simulation system. Also, advances in CG destruction and simulation technology required to accurately depict everything from a resurrected World War II battleship to a fleet of modern-day naval ships, not to mention aliens and their formidable fleet of spacecraft.

Balancing Act: Life as a Visual Effects Supervisor at DreamWorks Animation
Panelists: Ken Bielenberg, Puss in Boots, Mahesh Ramasubramanian, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, David Prescott, Rise of the Guardians (November 2012) and Markus Manninen The Croods (March 2013) from DreamWorks Animation

In this panel, the Visual Effects Supervisors for the last two and next two DreamWorks Animation films discuss how they approached each production. In the studio environment, there are opportunities to share development with other shows, but differing visual requirements also mean each show has unique needs. How do the visual-effects teams balance the safety of using tried-and true-techniques with the requirements to create ever more visually sophisticated and complex work? How do they manage the benefits of sharing across shows with the specific needs of their show? Each panelist shares some successes (and failures!) from their most recent projects.

Weta Digital Presents Virtual Production: Combining Animation, Visual Effects, and Live-Action Filmmaking

Four-time Oscar-winning Senior Visual Effects Supervisor, Joe Letteri, presents Weta Digital’s pioneering virtual-production work on The Adventures of Tintin and “Avatar”. His talk also addresses workflow development at Weta going all the way back to The Lord of the Rings and suggests some areas of future development. Weta sees virtual production as a connected, holistic approach to filmmaking that melds the best of animation and live-action techniques in pre-production, onset, and post. This presentation demonstrates how virtual production brings all of the components of filmmaking together to provide a way of working that has attracted directors like Peter Jackson, James Cameron, and Steven Spielberg.

The Art and Science Behind Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Paperman

Moderator: Darrin Butters, Animator
Panelists: John Kahrs, Director, Patrick Osborne, Animation Supervisor, Amol Sathe, Lighting and Compositing Supervisor, Jeff Turley, Art Director, and Brian Whited, Final Line Software

Applying a technique that seamlessly merges computer-generated and hand-drawn animation techniques, first-time director, John Kahrs takes the art of animation in a bold new direction with Paperman. Using a minimalist black-and-white style, the short film follows the story of a lonely young man in mid-century New York City, whose destiny takes an unexpected turn after a chance meeting with a beautiful woman on his morning commute. In this panel, members of the small, innovative group at Walt Disney Animation Studios that created Paperman share their insights about the art, design, and technology of this innovative project.

High Frame Rate Cinema, Impacts on Art and Technology With Douglas Trumbull and Dennis Muren
Panelists: Paul Salvini, Christie Digital Systems USA, Inc.; Douglas Trumbull, Filmmaker; Dennis Muren Industrial Light & Magic; Phil Oatley, Park Road Post Production; Lincoln Wallen, DreamWorks Animation; Jim Beshears, DreamWorks Animation SKG; Darin Grant, Digital Domain; Matthew Cowan, RealD Inc.; Luke Moore Side Effects Software Inc.; John Helliker, Screen Industries Research and Training Centre

Some of the biggest movies on the horizon — Avatar’s sequels and Lord of the Rings prequels — will be presented in stereoscopic 3D high-frame-rate cinema. Peter Jackson and James Cameron are betting on their expectation that audiences will love the more immersive and detailed worlds that these 3D productions can offer. But what IS high-frame-rate cinema, and what will it mean to producers of content and to the audience experience? This panel of experts explains high-frame-rate cinema and discusses the implications of producing and experiencing cinematic content in the new medium.

LAIKA’s ParaNorman: The Fusion of Stop Motion and CG in a Zombie-Ridden World
Panelists: Brian Van’t Hul, VFX Supervisor, Steve Emerson, Compositing Supervisor, and Andrew Nawrot, CG and Look Development Supervisor

Get a first-hand, 3D look at LAIKA’s interdependent combination of stop-motion and CG in an environment where hand-crafted movement is seamlessly integrated with computer technology, from initial concept to final frame. Academy Award-winner Brian Van’t Hul is joined by Steve Emerson and Andrew Nawrot to discuss the collaborative relationship of the technologies in the upcoming feature ParaNorman (in theaters August 17).

Assembling the VFX for Marvel’s The Avengers
Panelists: Victoria Alonso, Executive Producer and Executive Vice President of Visual Effects & Post Production; Jeff White, Visual Effects Supervisor, ILM; Guy Williams, Visual Effects Supervisor, Weta Digital; Marc Chu, Animation Supervisor, ILM; Aaron Gilman Animation Supervisor, Weta Digital

Leaders of the visual effects teams from Industrial Light & Magic and Weta Digital will discuss the unique effects challenges that this blockbuster film presented and how the studios broke new ground with their respective approaches to creating the seamless effects work. From the epic Mountain Battle between Iron Man and Thor and the climatic alien invasion of Manhattan to bringing the Hulk to life, the supervisors will detail what worked, what didn’t and the complexities involved in bringing The Avengers to the big screen.

Sentai Filmworks Releases “Towanoquon Complete Collection” On Blu-Ray & DVD

HOUSTON, June 26th, 2012 Section23 Films is pleased to announce the spectacular new series of animated features from anime powerhouse BONES. Towanoquon Complete Collection is out today both on DVD & Blu-Ray by Section23 client, Sentai Filmworks.

Title: Towanoquon Complete Collection

Running Time: 300 min.

Age Rating: TV 14 (V)

Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles

CAT: SF-TQ100

UPC: 814131010223

Published by: Sentai Filmworks

Distributed by: Section23 Films

Street Date: 6/26/2012

Format: DVD

SRP: $59.98

Title: Towanoquon Complete Collection Blu-Ray Edition

CAT: SFB-TQ100

UPC: 814131010322

Format: BD

SRP: $69.98

SYNOPSIS: In the not-too-distant future, children are being born with special powers, marvelous and remarkable abilities. But what would seem like a wondrous gift turns out to be a dangerous curse. For the world is now run by The Order, and these miraculous “deviants” are hunted down-and killed. But Quon and his group of Attractors are out to rescue these children before The Order’s elite squad of ruthless cyborgs detect them. From their hideout beneath a popular amusement park, the Attractors use high tech gadgetry and their own remarkable abilities to save these children, and teach them to harness and control their powers to overthrow the very powers that seek to destroy them. With spectacular animation, stunning fight sequences, and richly detailed characters, Towanoquon is destined to be an anime classic and must-have for any animation fan’s library.

President and Executive Producer of Rainmaker Entertainment Departs the Company

The board of directors of Rainmaker Entertainment Inc. announced today that its President and Executive Producer, Catherine Winder will leave the company effective June 30, 2012 in order to pursue other business opportunities.

Tim McElvaine, chairman of the board, Rainmaker Entertainment said, “Catherine has brought a creative infusion and direction to Rainmaker and we appreciate her efforts in keeping Rainmaker at the forefront in a very competitive industry. She has built a team of dedicated professionals, and they’ve worked hard together to produce an impressive body of work, including our first feature film, Escape From Planet Earth and the award-winning short Luna. We thank Catherine for all of her hard work and we wish her well as she looks at future endeavors.”

Winder said: “I’ve enjoyed my time at Rainmaker. The company has a great team, and I remain highly supportive of Rainmaker and its opportunities ahead. I wish the team continued success.”

DUCK Studios Adds Animator/Director Ned Wenlock

DUCK Studios announced the addition of animator/director Ned Wenlock to its roster. Best known for a distinct, inventive and vibrant 2D animation style, Wenlock has worked across the advertising and music video worlds. His ad work, which has been featured at onedotzero, Annecy, Supertoon, and PromaxBDA, includes engaging spots for Honda and UBank. His music portfolio includes videos for CasioNova, MGMT, and Danger Beach’s Apache, which was selected by IdN magazine for its best of 2011 roundup.

“I love Ned’s work,” gushed DUCK EP Mark Medernach. “He is super talented and imaginative in his simplicity, always delivering highly original work that sucks the viewers in.”

“DUCK has an incredibly versatile and talented roster, and I’m proud to join them,” noted Wenlock. “It’s exciting to be part of a studio with top-notch facilities, an enormous web of connections, and the ambition to constantly take on new challenges.”

And those new challenges are surely on the way. With 2012 less than halfway over, DUCK has already fired off a barrage of visionary original work this year, including projects for Pop Tarts, The Shins, and a massive 12-spot campaign for the US Olympic Committee. Coming hot on the heels of DUCK’s acquisition of the award-winning director, Knife Party, Wenlock’s addition to the DUCK team marks yet another coup for the ever-expanding creative studio.

Factory TM Appoints Neil Court As Its New Non-Executive Chairman

London, UK – Transmedia animation and design studio Factory TM has appointed media entrepreneur Neil Court as its new non-executive Chairman. The appointment will see Court joining the company’s board along with former Cosgrove Hall executives Managing Director Phil Chalk and Director Vince James who are based at the company’s headquarters in Altrincham, near Manchester.

Court will be taking a strategic role with Factory TM, using his track record in the international kids’ business and extensive contacts list to help build the company’s IP ownership as well as advising on international co-production deals across TV and digital media.

Phil Chalk, Factory TM’s Managing Director says: “We have long respected what Neil has achieved in the international kids’ business and he adds great kudos to our offering and our board as well as strategic thinking as we shape the next stage of the company’s growth into further IP ownership and productions with international potential.”

Neil Court says: “I’ve been looking to get involved with a company that has the best potential in the rapidly evolving children’s media sector. I think Factory TM is that business. Factory has great creative talent, strong leadership, a solid client base, and an ambition that can take us to great heights. I am bringing my experience and international network to Factory to help it become a really significant player.”

Launched in 2010, after taking over the former home of Hot Animation Studios, the award-winning Factory TM has already built an enviable client base and list of projects. Specialising in animation and design for TV and advertising, as well as visual effects and post production, the company’s current and recent credits include: Strange Hill High, a production for Fremantle Media and CBBC; Tumble Travels for CBeebies; Chapman Entertainment’s Raa Raa The Noisy Lion, Roary the Racing Car and Fifi and The Flowertots; Muddle Earth for CBBC and Peter Kay’s Animated All Star Band.

Factory TM offers an end-to-end animation service, With over 20,000 square feet, the company produces 2D, stop-frame and 3D CGI animation and well as producing content for radio and IPTV and offering a full post-production facility.

The principals have impressive animation credentials. Phil Chalk was former Head of Studio and Producer for Chapman Entertainment and has held producer roles at Image Metrics, Tell Tale Productions and Cosgrove Hall, and Vince James is a prolific creator and director who has worked on classics including Dangermouse, Pingu and Dennis the Menace.

This is the latest chairmanship for UK-based Court, who also recently announced his role in the new factual specialist venture, Peacock Alley Entertainment. Court was co-founder of Decode Entertainment and then a principal of DHX Media, which he left in 2009.