Revisiting the “Mrs. Doubtfire” Cartoon Directed by Chuck Jones

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Chris Columbus’ comedy Mrs. Doubtfire. In the opening of the film, Robin Williams plays a voice-over artist who is recording lines for a cartoon that has already been made. (Yes, that’s out of order for a standard cartoon production, but for entertainment’s sake, we’ll let it slide).

The cartoon was supervised by legendary Warner Bros. director Chuck Jones, and animated by a small team of A-list animators that included legends like Bill Littlejohn and Tom Ray, and younger animators like Eric Goldberg. Coincidentally, Goldberg was also animating to the voice of Robin Williams for another animated project around the same period—the Genie in Aladdin.

In the film, we see barely a minute’s worth of animation of the two main characters—Pudgy Parakeet and Grunge the Cat. But in reality, Chuck Jones and his crew animated five minutes of material. This was never publicly shown until it was included several years afterward as a bonus feature on the Mrs. Doubtfire DVD.

While the cartoon doesn’t break any new ground in terms of execution or gags, and doesn’t even have a proper ending (it ends with a repeating cycle of Pudgy enjoying a cigarette for thirty seconds), the short has its moments. Williams voices all three characters, and it’s enjoyable listening to his vocal delivery. The animation, being much more fluid than Jones’ typical output of the period, is lively and filled with the energy of his classic cartoons from the mid-1950s.

The story doesn’t end there, though. Apparently, Chuck Jones wasn’t too keen on the backgrounds, feeling that they were overly detailed. So Jones had the cartoon completely reshot with new backgrounds that reflected a more subdued graphic style. As an added bonus, here’s the alternate version:

And just for good measure, here is a two-minute pencil test:

‘Lion King’ Director Roger Allers and Salma Hayek Push Forward on ‘The Prophet’

Roger Allers, the co-director of Disney’s The Lion King is moving forward with his production of Kahlil Gibran’s classic 1923 poetry book The Prophet. Casting updates were reported earlier this week by Deadline Hollywood. The film, which we first reported on last year, is being produced by Salma Hayek, Clark Peterson, and Ron Senkowski, and funded by Participant Media and Doha Film Institute.

RELATED: 25 Beautiful Stills From the New Anthology Feature The Prophet

The film’s animated segments will be produced by Joan Gratz (Mona Lisa Descending A Staircase), Joann Sfar (The Rabbi’s Cat), Paul and Gaetan Brizzi (Fantasia 2000), Michal Socha (Chick) and Mohammed Harib (Freej), who have been added to the already announced directors Tomm Moore (The Secret of Kells), Nina Paley (Sita Sings The Blues) and Bill Plympton (Guard Dog). Also, Liam Neeson, John Krasinski, Frank Langella, Alfred Molina and Quvenzhané Wallis have all signed as voice talent, along with Hayek.

While Allers will be in charge of the film’s central narrative and supervise the film as a whole, the above-mentioned directors will helm individual chapters within the storyline. The animated film is set to be completed in spring 2014.

Animation Block Party Returns To Brooklyn For Its 10th Year

This summer, Brooklyn’s Animation Block Party will celebrate its tenth anniversary with its biggest slate of programmming ever.

The festival, which will take place between July 25-28, has announced its full programming line-up and film competition selections on AnimationBlock.com. The competition slate includes over 100 short films spread across four programs of animated shorts, two programs of international animated shorts and one program of children’s animation. In addition to the new animated films, the festival will be presenting archival screenings of silent animated films, 1960s Oscar-winning shorts, and the features The Secret of NIMH and Beavis & Butt-Head Do America.

The Animation Block 2013 jury consists of Jerry Beck, Devin Clark, Carrie Miller, and Scout Raskin, and the following festival awards will be presented: Student Film, Best in Show, Audience Award, Narrative Short, Computer Animation, Minute Movie, Original Design, Music Video, Experimental Animation and Animation for Kids.

The opening night on Friday, July 26th, will be presented in association with Rooftop Films at Greenpoint High School (50 Bedford Avenue, Williamsburg, NY 11222) and will include live music and an after-party. Individual screening tickets and full festival passes can be pre-ordered on AnimationBlock.com.

Artist of the Day: Ryan Lang

Today’s Cartoon Brew Artist of the Day post is sponsored by the CG Master Academy. Sign up TODAY for The Art of Color & Light which is co-taught by Ryan Lang.

Ryan Lang

Ryan Lang works as a visual development artist at Walt Disney Animation, including on the upcoming Disney/Marvel pic Big Hero 6. Ryan did extensive work on Wreck-It Ralph, and his concept art helped to realize the world and objects of the film, as seen in these examples:

Ryan Lang

Ryan Lang

Ryan Lang

Ryan shares some of his personal work and digital/traditional paint studies on his blog:

Ryan Lang

Ryan Lang

These menacing figures below won’t appear in a Disney film anytime soon, but they show his range as an artist:

Ryan Lang

Ryan Lang

“Monsters University” and “Blue Umbrella” Reader Talkback

Pixar’s fourteenth feature film, Monsters University, opens this weekend in the U.S. and many other countries. The film, directed by Dan Scanlon, is playing better with audiences, who have given it a 90% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, than with critics, whose reviews currently stand at 77% positive. In the New York Times review, Manohla Dargis offers the typical dissenting viewpoint that suggests Pixar has been unable to fix the clumsy and cliched storytelling that had mired the studio’s previous two efforts:

[T]he story remains disappointingly familiar, mired in recycled buddy movie dynamics and the usual child-developmental directives about finding yourself and learning to work well with others. Both the originality and stirring emotional complexity of Monsters, Inc., with its exquisitely painful and touching parallels with the human world, are missing…

The feature is accompanied by a new photorealistic Pixar short, The Blue Umbrella, directed by Saschka Unseld. Check out both films and report back here with your opinion in the comments below. As always, this talkback is open only to those who have seen the film and wish to share an opinion about it.

(Monsters University billboard via Daily Billboard)

DreamWorks to Produce 300 Hours of Programming for Netflix

In the continuing evolution of the on-demand streaming deal between Netflix and DreamWorks Animation, it was reported earlier this week that DreamWorks will produce more than 300 hours of original programming for the popular streaming media outlet.

The new content, which will be inspired by characters from existing DreamWorks franchises like Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar, as well as properties from the recently acquired Classic Media library (Casper the Friendly Ghost, Lassie, Rocky and Bullwinkle, among others) will begin to air in 2014.

The agreement is part of DreamWorks’ initiative to expand their entertainment brand by courting television production away from mainstream TV outlets like Cartoon Network and Nick, where its TV shows currently air. This will begin with the December Netflix debut of a new original series, Turbo F.A.S.T., based on the upcoming feature film Turbo, which will hit theaters on July 17. It will also offer Netflix exclusive streaming rights to a selection of DreamWorks animated films, including The Croods and their movie version of Mr. Peabody and Sherman, coming to theaters in March 2014.

For Netflix, the contract, which is the most significant first-run content deal in its history, is part of their ongoing efforts to beef up their selection of children’s programming, which is very popular among parents as it offers a commercial-free alternative for younger, more impressionable viewers. The streaming site did not renew a deal with Viacom for reruns of Nickelodeon cartoons, and will rely heavily on DreamWorks for kids’ content.

DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg spoke about his company’s Netflix deal on CNBC:

Glitché Lets You Datamosh and Make Glitch Animation On An iPhone

There are plenty of GIF-making apps out there, but none compare to the Internet-ready capabilities of Glitché. Developed by designer Vladimir Shreyder (also spelled Schreider), the app comes with tons of filters and makes it easy to alter, animate and share your own images. The best part is the simple interface, which enables easy frame-by-frame manipulation and sharing across most major social networking sites.

Glitché is as easy to use as it is addictive—I made this GIF in a matter of seconds and then had trouble putting my phone down. A few of the filters even create some extruded, 3D visuals; I took a picture of my laptop keyboard and quickly turned it into this bizarre thing:

Glitché also feeds into the retro-Nineties aesthetic that dominates certain pockets of the Internet. Glitch art and datamoshing, which carry with it a curiously nostalgic vibe, have spread across visual culture, and increasingly entered the mainstream, whether in Kanye West music videos or David OReilly’s recent Adventure Time episode called “A Glitch is a Glitch.” Apps like Glitché not only make it easier to experiment with looped animation, but also enable a wider audience to participate in major digital art movements.

Movie Barcode Compresses Entire Movies into A Single Image

Just by looking at this “bar code”, can you tell what animated movie this is? Go on, take a guess:

Give up?

It’s Bambi.

For a few years now, MovieBarcode has been one of my regular stops on Tumblr. The moderator (who prefers to remain anonymous) takes every frame from a movie, skews it to be only a pixel wide and lines them up in a row, creating a barcode-like image of the entire film. While many live-action films don’t necessarily need color to help tell the story, the majority of animated productions go to great lengths to plan out a clear color script. In many ways, the color is as vital to a movie as the characters and story. Color can set the mood, intensify the drama or action, clarify with contrast, and even define a character. Just pick up any Pixar “Art of” book and you’ll see how much thought is put into the color and lighting of a movie, through the use of color scripts, color keys and color association.

Take a closer look at the Bambi barcode again. For those who are familiar with the movie, can you tell just by looking at the colors what sequences are taking place? The light blue for the ice skating sequence? Deep red for the forest fire? Desaturated grays and blues for the death of Bambi’s mother?  And what about the color of the characters themselves? How well does the black and white skunk stand out when Bambi first meets him in the predominantly yellow flowerbed? Or Bambi’s bright orangey hue against the pale greens of the forest behind him? All these things are planned out to the most minute detail to make sure that the viewer can clearly see what is happening on screen.

Let’s make things fun by testing your animation knowledge. Here’s a few more animation barcodes, now try and guess what movies they are from. Some are pretty clear, and some might be a little tricky. For those that are stumped, click on the images to see which movie it is.

How’d you do?

Artist of the Day: David Colman

Today’s Cartoon Brew Artist of the Day post is sponsored by the CG Master Academy. Sign up TODAY for David Colman’s class Fundamentals of Character Design.

David Colman

Los Angeles-based artist David Colman specializes in designing animal characters for animated productions.

David Colman

David Colman

David’s sketch work and rough drawings often feature these creatures in action, drawn in an energetic line.

David Colman

David Colman

David, who is currently an art director at Hasbro Animation Studios, shares his professional experience with students through his three self-published books—available on his website—and the courses that he teaches. You can see more of David’s work on his website, David’s Doodles, and on his DeviantArt gallery.

David Colman

David Colman

David Colman

David Colman

David Colman

Artist of the Day: Jason Scheier

Today’s Cartoon Brew Artist of the Day post is sponsored by the CG Master Academy. Sign up TODAY for Jason Scheier’s class Fundamentals for Creative Environment Design.

Jason Scheier

Jason Scheier is a visual development and concept artist at DreamWorks Animation SKG. Jason creates digital paintings as well as designs concepts in 3D.

Jason Scheier

In 2008 Jason drew the above concept presentation pieces for The Guardians of Childhood project at DreamWorks that eventually became Rise of the Guardians.

The following digital paint studies were created as personal projects and class demonstrations:

Jason Scheier

Jason Scheier

Jason Scheier

Jason Scheier

Jason Scheier

This is Jason’s modified Chevy Camaro design for the upcoming DreamWorks pic Turbo. The car was built and displayed at the Chicago Auto Show. See more of Jason’s work on his blog.

Jason Scheier

Jason Scheier

“Free Birds” Trailer

It’s been a week of animated film trailers and teasers. This afternoon, we see the release of the Free Birds trailer, which is the first feature film produced by Reel FX, a studio known for animating the well received CGI Looney Tunes shorts. Free Birds is directed by Jimmy Hayward (Horton Hears a Who!) and will be released by Relativity Media in the U.S. on November 1st.

Why Does Barack Obama Hate Brad Bird’s “The Incredibles”?

The We The People petition website is run by the White House and bills itself as a site that gives “all Americans a way to engage their government on the issues that matter to them.” Any citizen of our great nation can create a petition and round up signatures from other constituents. The petitions that achieve over 100,000 signatures will generate a response from the Obama administration. Democracy in action…or so it would seem.

Last week, a courageous American started a petition that asked President Barack Obama to “re-enact the scene from The Incredibles where Frozone is looking for his supersuit.” The petition was supported by Incredibles director Brad Bird, who retweeted the request on his Twitter account. It made a reasonable request of the leader of the free world:

However, it turns out that Obama (or his minions who run the We the People site) do not appreciate The Incredibles as much as the rest of America’s freedom-loving, tax-paying, God-fearing citizens do. In an act worthy of the Turkish government, the petition asking Obama to re-enact a simple one-minute scene from a beloved animated film and which had received over 5,000 signatures in two days, was abruptly halted by the the U.S. government. Perhaps, then, Frozone was an appropriate character for Obama to re-enact because he clearly has no qualms about freezing the needs and desires of American citizens.

The harm that has been caused to the fundamental integrity of our democratic process is unquestionable, but we should never forget that, as Americans, we have the right to demand of our leaders to perform scenes from classic animated movies. In fact, a new petition requesting that Obama dress up as Frozone has already been launched on Change.org. We will make it happen one way or another:

“The LEGO Movie” Teaser Trailer

Pop culture references abound in the new teaser trailer for The LEGO Movie directed by the creative team of Phil Lord and Chris Miller (Clone High TV series, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, 21 Jump Street). Warner Bros. will release the film in the U.S. on February 7, 2014. The highlight in this teaser is the animation, which has the chunky staccato rhythms one might expect of LEGOs animated in stop motion though it is actually achieved through computer animation.

Artist of the Day: Philip Dimitriadis

Today’s Cartoon Brew Artist of the Day post is sponsored by the CG Master Academy. Sign up TODAY for Philip Dimitriadis’s class Environment Sketching.

Philip Dimitriadis

Philip Dimitriadis works as a conceptual 2D and 3D artist for animation productions.

Philip Dimitriadis

For the “Arabia project” that Philip was working on at Mike Young Productions in 2007, he was assigned to create a fictional hieroglyphic alphabet for use in the background environments which can be viewed here.

Philip Dimitriadis

Above is a foliage study and robot design that Philip modeled in Maya.

Philip Dimitriadis

More work in both 2D and 3D is available for viewing on his blog.

Philip Dimitriadis

“Washington Post” names Nick Weidenfeld The “Next Jeffrey Katzenberg”

Identifying the next Jeffrey Katzenberg or George Lucas isn’t something easily done, but a columnist at the Washington Post has figured out who it is: Nick Weidenfeld.

Weidenfeld, the former Adult Swim development executive whose recent move to Fox has the industry buzzing with anticipation, was the recipient of a glowing profile in last Sunday’s Post, in which his grand plans for the animation industry were revealed.

Post columnist Thomas Heath details Weidenfeld’s career path, starting with his humble beginnings in Washington D.C. where he was raised by an estate lawyer and Betty Ford’s former press secretary—the latter being the daughter of a presidential confidant and ambassador to Italy. Educated at Georgetown Day School and then Columbia University, the Post recounts Weidenfeld’s upbringing where he bounced from an internship at the Pentagon to writing about hip hop and rap, and then clawed his way to a writing gig at Esquire. It was at the last job, while researching a piece about Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, that he ‘bonded’ with CN exec Mike Lazzo over a mutual love of William Faulkner, which was the obvious qualification for a career in animation.

“You wake up one day and you are head of development at the number one ad-supported network on cable TV,” Weidenfeld told the Washington Post. “The nice thing about my story is about the connections I made, but not family connections. I broke into this business myself through friends.”

Weidenfeld attributes his inspirational trajectory from scion to media mogul to his ability to “be open.” When pressed for an explanation, he clarifies, “It’s just being open… to be open to know what you are good at, and know what value you bring to something, you find a way to fit it into whatever job it is. I’m good at making connections or putting an organization or putting pieces together. I’m a good global thinker.”

This unequivocal business acumen was refined by reading the biography of Steve Jobs, the history of Pixar, and Clayton M. Christensen’s The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail. “These guys had these ideas and figured out that the old systems don’t work anymore,” Weidenfeld said. “The first thing I said to Fox is I don’t want to just make shows. I want to build a business for you that takes advantage of the best parts of animation.”

Using only the choicest parts of animation, Weidenfeld is ready to reinvent how cartoons are made. He is putting all phases of production for Fox’s upcoming animation block, ADHD (Animation Domination High-Def), from development to animation, under a single roof at his new 120-person Los Angeles studio, generously provided by Fox. From there he intends to usurp the young male demographic from YouTube and Saturday Night Live by producing loads of animated content and writing off the costs. He told the Post that when he presented this foolproof business plan to Fox, they said, “Okay, here you go.”

“It sounds like a parallel universe to me,” writes Heath, “but he’s the one who is becoming the next Jeffrey Katzenberg or George Lucas, not me.”

First Stills From Disney’s “Frozen”

USA Today published an article this afternoon with these five stills from Frozen, the Disney studio’s adaptatation of The Snow Queen that will open on November 27, 2013.

Artist of the Day: Nate Wragg

Today’s Cartoon Brew Artist of the Day post is sponsored by the CG Master Academy. Sign up TODAY for Nate Wragg’s class Character Design for Animation.

Nate Wragg

Nate Wragg works as an art director and illustrator for animation and book projects, and teaches courses about character design.

Nate Wragg

Nate Wragg

For the production of Toy Story 3, one of Nate’s assignments was to design the new toy characters in Bonnie’s room, including Mr. Pricklepants. See more toy character designs and read Nate’s thoughts about his process in this blog post.

Nate Wragg

Nate Wragg

Nate posts much more personal and professional work on his blog N8Wragg.blogspot.com, where you can also find links to the books that he has illustrated including two that are related to Pixar’s Ratatouille.

Nate Wragg

Nate Wragg

Nate Wragg

Nate Wragg

Nate Wragg

Anti-War Short “Mickey Mouse in Vietnam” Resurfaces Online

There’s been a lot of buzz online this past week about a newly discovered Mickey Mouse short, but it’s not anything made by the Disney studio. It’s the resurfacing of the rare 1968 short Mickey Mouse in Vietnam produced by painter W. Lee Savage and graphic designer Milton Glaser.

The one-minute short isn’t technically accomplished, but manages to make a powerful and subversive statement through the manipulation of the famed graphic icon. Within seconds of arriving in Vietnam, Mickey Mouse—that all-American symbol of goodness and hope—is destroyed, and along with it, the myth of American moral superiority.

(via DangerousMinds.net)

Hohokum Is A Game That Looks More Like An Animated Short

I’m partial to video games that look and feel like animated short films, which is why this E3 trailer for Hohokum is so enticing. The game is being developed by Honeyslug and artist Richard Hogg, and animated by Kwok Fung Lam, for Playstation 4, Playstation 3 and Playstation Vita systems. There’s an interview with the creators at GameInformer.com.

The game has been in development for a while. The gameplay video below is from three years ago, and shows how you maneuver your sperm-ish creature, euphemistically called the Long Mover, through a neo-Yellow Submarine universe:

(Thanks, David Calvo)

Five Amazing Annecy Signal Films Created by Gobelins Students

Yesterday the Annecy International Animated Film Festival came to a close. For everyone who was unable to make the annual jaunt to Haute-Savoie to bask in the excellence of the graphical beaux arts, the festival has its own way of simultaneously enticing you and making you feel bad about your creative self. By this, we mean the signal films.

There were five signal films in total, conceived, designed and as usual, beautifully realized by the students at Gobelins.

The Retake created by Maxime Delalande, Nadya Mira, Semiramis Mamata, Laurent Moing and Rayane Raji

Sawa created by Camile André, Janis Aussel, Clément Doranlo, Maud Girard and Jong-Hyun Jung-Boix

Copernicus created by Elssa Boyer, Anne Courtin, Myriam Fourati, Sarah Simon and Pedro Vergani

The Fancy Family created by Debora Cruchon, Eve Ceccarelli, Marie-Pierre Demessant, Batiste Perron and Simon Masse

See Saw created by Marlène Beaube, Marion Bulot, Thibaud Gayral, Guitty Mojabi and Raphaëlle Stolz

SIGGRAPH 2013 Keynote Session Will Feature 8 Cartoon ‘Giants’

SIGGRAPH attendees, mark your calendars for Monday, July 22. 11:30am. The SIGGRAPH 2013 Keynote Session is titled “Giants’ First Steps” and the ‘giants’ are all animation directors. The panel, which is co-presented with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, will feature eight animation directors—all male, by the way—who will “share their experiences along complex paths to filmmaking success.”

A ninety-minute session hardly seems long enough to contain the stories and thoughts of the distinguished group of filmmakers who will participate: Pete Docter (Monsters, Inc., Up), Eric Goldberg (Pocahontas, Fantasia/2000), Kevin Lima (Tarzan), Mike Mitchell (Shrek Forever After, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked), Chris Sanders (Lilo & Stitch, How to Train Your Dragon), Henry Selick (Nightmare Before Christmas, Coraline), David Silverman (The Simpsons Movie), and Kirk Wise (Beauty and the Beast, Atlantis: The Lost Empire).

Second Season of “Teen Titans Go!” Is “A Go” on Cartoon Network

Since its premiere in April, Teen Titans Go! has consistently ranked among Cartoon Network’s top ten programs, so it comes as no surprise that a second season of the Michael Jelenic/Aaron Horvath-produced superhero comedy series was recently ordered from Warner Bros. Animation.

An extension of the Cartoon Network series Teen Titans and freely adapted from the popular DC Comics title of the same name, the show, which focuses on the adolescent angst and domestic squabbles of superhero roommates, mixes a kindergarten cartoon production style with a FLCL anime influence. Season one of Teen Titans Go! is currently airing and new episodes will continue to premiere on Tuesday nights at 7:30 pm.

Disney Announces “Planes” Theatrical Sequel

Disney announced this afternoon that they will release Planes: Fire & Rescue as a 3D theatrical feature on July 18, 2014. The film is a sequel to Planes, itself a spin-off of Pixar’s Cars, that will open in theaters on August 9. Both of the Planes films are produced by Disneytoon, the John Lasseter-run division that handles all the projects that Pixar and Disney Feature won’t touch with a ten-foot-pole. It should also be noted that Planes 2 wasn’t among the 15-feature release slate that Disney announced last month so we can only guess how many more Disneytoon features will flood theaters over the coming years in addition to the Disney and Pixar features.

(via Deadline)