Artist of the Day: Ami Thompson

Ami Thompson

Osaka, Japan-born Ami Thompson works in 2D and 3D animation drawing character and concept art. She has completed 2D animation internships at Walt Disney Animation Studios and Studio Ghibli, and a 3D animation internship at Microsoft Studios.

Ami Thompson

Ami’s drafting skill allows her the freedom to use confident line work while drawing convincing forms in space.

Ami Thompson

Here is Ami’s final film from her studies at Sheridan, Basilisk:

Ami Thompson

See more work at Ami’s portfolio website.

Ami Thompson

Ami Thompson

Ami Thompson

Ami Thompson

Aardman Animates Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon”

Director Darren Dubicki of Aardman Animations created this strikingly elegant mixed-media piece to celebrate Pink Floyd’s legendary album The Dark Side of the Moon.

The three-minute piece serves as a trailer/supplement to an original radio drama based on the album, written by playwright Sir Tom Stoppard, premiering on BBC Radio 2 on August 26th. Dubicki also created an extended film loop that will complement the audio experience online.

More details about the production from the official Aardman release:

Aardman director, Darren Dubicki saw the piece working as a film trailer and the team spent time absorbing the rich detail from both Pink Floyd’s music and Sir Tom Stoppard’s play. In doing so they developed a striking visual concept where images juxtapose with carefully considered lyrics and dialogue from the play encompassing the underlying themes of greed, conflict, consumption, humanity and the descent into madness…

Dubicki says, “What was fundamentally important to us was that we retained a consistent visual tone that echoed the imagery created over the years for the band. The intensely surreal and powerful artwork created by Storm Thorgerson and Hipgnosis has always had a strong distortion on reality. Their sense of space and twisted context make for some uncomfortably beautiful art. This tone has been consistent for decades and we wanted to honor this with our contemporary digital (and analogue) slant on the style.”

Created using a collage of digital imaging, CGI, studio-based effects and hand crafted elements the films were produced with depth and richness that reflects the classic tone of Pink Floyd’s art.

CREDITS
Client/Agency: BBC Radio 2
Producers: Rhian Roberts/ Rowan Collinson

Aardman Animations
Director: Darren Dubicki
Executive Producer: Heather Wright
Producer: Helen Argo
Production Assistant: Danny Gallagher
Production Co-ordinator: Louise Johnson

DOP: Mark Chamberlain
Camera Assistant: Joe Maxwell
Gaffer: Nat Sale
CG Modeling: Olly Skillman-Wilson
CG Modeling: David Klein
CG Modeling: Saul Freed
CG Animation: Mathew Rees
CG Animation: Rich Spence
CG Lighter: Andrew Lavery
Supervising Senior Compositor: Jim Lewis
Compositor: Spencer Cross
Compositor: Paule Quinton
After Effects Artist: Tom Readdy
Editor: Dan Hembury

Carlo Vogele Makes His “Wurst” Film Ever

Carlo Vogele has unveiled the trailer for his new stop motion short Wurst. He has made the natural progression to sausages and poultry after animating fish in his last short.

Vogele’s witty and playful animated treatment of real-world objects (lamps, socks, meat) compels the viewer to see familiar everyday objects in a new light. The trailer for Wurst would suggest that he has another winner on his hands. He has posted some behind-the-scenes photos on his blog.

Looking for Con Pederson

UDPATE: Thank you to everyone who helped out! I have Mr. Pederson’s contact info now. I don’t typically do this, but I’m in a bit of a rush on a project so I’m going to put this out there: does anybody know how to get in touch with visual effects/computer graphics legend Con Pederson (2001: A Space Odyssey, Robert Abel & Associates)? If you do, please drop me a line. Thanks!

Disney Launches Disney Infinity, An Interactive Game/Toy Franchise

Disney’s ambitious $100 million-plus videogame/toy line Disney Infinity launched yesterday. The company has pinned its digital gaming aspirations on this single property (available for Wii, Nintendo 3DS, Xbox 360 PlayStation 3, and soon, PCs) in hopes of turning around Disney Interactive, which has lost over $1.4 billion in the last five years.

Disney Infinity, which features mostly Pixar and live-action characters (Pirates of the Caribbean, The Lone Ranger) has received generally positive reviews—see the IGN.com review or the Forbes review. This 35-minute presentation from D23 expo shows how the company is pitching the product to consumers:

The success of this game is particularly important because Disney has struggled for years in the interactive realm. For example, the Epic Mickey games flopped; its $350 million purchase of Club Penguin and subsequent attempt to integrate its own properties like Cars and Fairies into it, didn’t work as planned; and its $563 million acquisition of Playdom has led to a loss of 20 million users.

Disney is counting on its fans to regularly buy the toys needed to play Infinity—a similar concept to Activision’s Skylanders franchise—since the toys have a higher profit margin than the actual game. This Infinity overview in the Wall Street Journal speaks further about the financial impact this game could have on the company:

Speaking with Wall Street analysts in February, [Disney CEO Robert] Iger acknowledged the high stakes. “If ‘Infinity’ does well, it bodes very well for the bottom line of this unit,” he said. “If it doesn’t do well, the opposite will be the case.” If “Infinity” flops, Disney would likely have to re-evaluate its videogame strategy, possibly shifting to an all-licensing model. The interactive unit’s remaining operations would consist of producing online content and mobile apps.

“It’s a Hail Mary with a tremendous amount of pressure to be a hit,” said a person who recently left Disney’s videogame business. As it pours resources into “Infinity,” Disney Interactive has pulled back in other areas. It halted production on an “Iron Man” game scheduled for release this year, for instance, and passed on the opportunity to produce “Star Wars” games following its parent company’s purchase of Lucasfilm.

Mickey Short “Croissant de Triomphe” Wins Two Emmys

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has announced the juried winners for the 65th Emmy Awards. Among the winners are six artists for Outstanding Individual Achievement In Animation. The Creative Arts Emmy Awards will be presented in a ceremony on Sunday, September 15, and the show will be televised on September 21st on FXX (a spinoff-network of FX). Congrats to the winners!

  • Adventure Time “Puhoy”
    Cartoon Network/Cartoon Network Studios
    Andy Ristaino, Character Design

  • Disney Mickey Mouse “Croissant de Triomphe”
    Disney.com/Disney Television Animation
    Jenny Gase-Baker, Background Paint

  • Disney Mickey Mouse “Croissant de Triomphe”
    Disney.com/Disney Television Animation
    Joseph Holt, Art Direction

  • Disney TRON: Uprising “The Stranger”
    Disney XD/Disney Television Animation
    Alberto Mielgo, Art Direction

  • Dragons: Riders of Berk “We Are Family (Part 2)”
    Cartoon Network/DreamWorks Animation
    Andy Bialk, Character Design

  • The Simpsons “Treehouse Of Horror XXIII”
    FOX/Gracie Films in association with 20th Century Fox Television
    Paul Wee, Character Animation

Last Weekend, “Planes” Was America’s Most Watched Animated Film; “Smurfs 2″ Tops Overseas

No new animated films opened last weekend, but there was plenty of animation in the theaters. Here are the estimated earnings of animated films in US theaters:

5th: Planes / $13.1 mil WEEKEND / $45.1 mil TOTAL
9th: Smurfs 2 / $4.6 mil WEEKEND / $57 mil TOTAL
12th: Despicable Me 2 / $3.8 mil WEEKEND / $346 mil TOTAL
16th: Turbo / $1 mil WEEKEND / $77.6 mil TOTAL

Internationally, the box office played out like this:
Smurfs 2 / $20 mil WEEKEND
Despicable Me 2 / $19.5 mil WEEKEND
Planes / $7.3 mil WEEKEND
Monsters University / $6 mil WEEKEND
Turbo / $2.9 mil WEEKEND

And the overall box office totals to date (US plus international):
Despicable Me 2: $781.2 mil
Monsters University: $658.6 mil
Smurfs 2: $207 mil
Turbo: $142 mil
Planes: $52.4 mil

Animated Fragments #24

Interesting animation is being produced everywhere you look nowadays. This evening, we’re delighted to present animated fragments from six different countries: Chile, Iran, Ireland, US, Japan and Spain. For more, visit the Animated Fragments archive.

“Lollypop Man—The Escape” (work-in-progress) by Estudio Pintamonos (Chile)

“Bazar” by Mehdi Alibeygi (Iran)

“Time” by Max Halley (Ireland)

Hand-drawn development animation for Wreck-It Ralph to “explore animation possibilities before [Gene's] model and rig were finalised” by Sarah Airriess (US)

“Rithm loops” for an iPhone/iPad app by AllaKinda (Spain)

“Against” by Yukie Nakauchi (Japan)

Artist of the Day: Matthew Houston

Matthew Houston

Matthew Houston’s cartooning overflows with experimental and original ideas in form and content. Put another way, it overflows with personality.

Matthew Houston

Matthew Houston

Although he is based in Columbus, Ohio, the strength of his work has established a connection with Pen Ward’s Adventure Time staff, and Matthew has remotely contributed freelance designs during recent production of the show.

Matthew Houston

Matthew Houston

See more of Matthew’s work on his Tumblr, blog, portfolio and store.

Matthew Houston

Matthew Houston

Matthew Houston

Matthew Houston

Matthew Houston

Matthew Houston

Meindbender and Techno Image Collaborate on Gillette Ad

Notwithstanding the grossout concept, this Brazilian Gillette commercial, titled “UFCecê: The League of Heavy Odors,” is a superbly attractive piece of computer animation. The spot was a co-production between Swedish studio Meindbender and Brazilian studio Techno Image. Meindbender’s singular approach to rigging cartoon characters, lighting and texturing pushes computer animation in an exciting new direction whose surface has barely been scratched. It’s good to see them spreading their technique to other studios around the world. Some behind-the-scenes artwork from the spot can be seen on Techno Image’s website.

CREDITS
Agency: Africa, Brazil
Art Director: Alê Prado
Creative Director: Eco Moliterno
RTV: Patricia Gaglioni

Production Companies: Techno Image, Meindbender
Executive Producer: Guilherme Proença, Michael Bengtsson
Directors: Pedro Conti, Tiago Hoisel, Derek Henriques

Character and Environment Design: Tiago Hoisel, Lucas Leibholz, Alexandre Assumpção, Saulo Brito
Storyboards: Lucas Leibholz, Tiago Hoisel, Alexandre Assumpção
Animatic: Derek Henriques, Alexandre Assumpção, Tiago Hoisel
Color Key: Tiago Hoisel, Lucas Leibholz
Photography Direction: Pedro Conti, Tiago Hoisel
CG Supervisor: Pedro Conti
Character Modeling/Texturing: Pedro Conti, Victor Hugo, André Paixão, Mariano Steiner, Bruno Melo.

Rigging: Calle Halldin
Animation Supervisor: Olov Burman
Animation Lead: Calle Halldin
Animator: Derek Henriques, Grzegorz Dalek, Eric Deuel, Ivan Oviedo.
3D Generalist: Grzegorz Dalek, Saman Mahmoudi, Stefan Ekstéen
Hair and Dynamics: Emanuele Niri
Environment Modeling: Alexandre Assumpção, Pedro Conti, Victor Hugo, Derek Henriques, Hernan Zuniga, Rafael Ghencev, Mike Verta.
Lighting and Rendering: Pedro Conti, Michael Bengtsson, Mike Verta
Compositing: Pedro Conti, Tiago Hoisel, Victor Hugo Queiroz, Derek Henriques
Audio: Sustain Studio, Lá no Estudio

Witness The Secret Life of Ice Cream Vans in “Gelato Go Home”


In their new short film, Gelato Go Home, animation directors Alasdair Brotherston & Jock Mooney shine some light on the lesser known subject of the seasonal migratory behavior of ice cream vans.

Featuring a score by James Orman and sound design by Fonic’s Barnaby Templer, the short was produced for Random Acts, the arts initiative of Channel 4, which commissions short-form creative works from both established artists and emerging talent. Gelato Go Home finds its inspiration from nature documentaries, Japanese animation and homages to animation classics like The Snowman.

“Although the film is based on a fairly absurd notion,” says Brotherston, “we really worked hard to give the film a proper sense of geography and logic to help make the ice cream vans and their journey more believable. We hope that grounding makes the film more engaging and ultimately uplifting.”

CREDITS
Directors: Alasdair Brotherston & Jock Mooney
Producer: Richard Barnett
Production Company: Trunk
3D Animation: Luca Paulli
2D Animation: Francisco Puerto Esteban, Layla Atkinson
Composer: James Orman
Sound Design & Mix: Barnaby Templer @ Fonic
Commissioner: Trunk animation in association with Lupus Films for Channel 4

Loop is A New 99-Cent Animation Tool

There are so many animation apps out there that it’s easy to forget a time when the most basic software wasn’t affordable. Within today’s wealth of tools, Loop (available for $0.99 on iPad) stands out for its spare, hand drawn interface and simplified features. Created by Universal Everything, it allows users to trace over video frames, choose pen widths and do some quick-and-dirty onion skinning.

What I like most about this app is that it was inspired by UI designers who like to use pen and paper during the creative process. For many non-animators, animation is a key tool in the ideation process–there are times when a sketch just isn’t enough to convey a vision to your team. Loop values fast sketching and expressiveness over polish, making it a potentially valuable tool for animators and beyond. Visit the Loop gallery to see how people are using the app so far.

Artist of the Day: Meg Hunt

Meg Hunt

Meg Hunt is an illustrator who lives and works in Portland, Oregon, and creates drawings, paintings and prints.

Meg Hunt

Some of Meg’s work uses a traditional/digital approach in which inked drawings are colored digitally with textures of pencils, and then more ink layered in and colored to complete the illustration. Meg’s illustration process seems informed by her printmaking background in the way that the separate colored elements build up the final composition.

Meg Hunt

Meg Hunt

Meg also posts sketchbook work of pencils and ink drawings on her blog and portfolio site at MegHunt.com.

Meg Hunt

Meg Hunt

Meg Hunt

Meg Hunt

Rdio Introduces the 15-Second Music Video

New York-based production studio Blacklist has partnered with Rdio, Skype’s new music streaming service in a year-long campaign called New Music Weekly. Each Tuesday, the site will release a specially commissioned 15-second clip that brings together new music and original animation from emerging visual artists, designers and animators. At its best, particularly with the traditional work, the combination is refreshingly compelling, albiet annoyingly brief.

The first installment of the project, Gauntlet Hair’s track Human Nature visualized by UK design studio, ilovedust debuted at Chicago’s Pitchfork Music Festival. This was followed by pieces for Gogol Bordello (Lost Innocent World) and Michael Franti (I Don’t Wanna Go), designed by Blacklist directors, Holbrooks and Tendril, respectively.



While Rdio is responsible for the music selections, Blacklist is allowed input to ensure “a great audio visual sync,” says Adina Sales, Blacklist’s managing director, in an article on Creative Review. “The process has been very free and exciting, [and has allowed] directors and animators the chance to work largely unencumbered. They produce work that is indicative not only of their style but of their unique point of view.”

Other participating artists include the Paris-based design house Wizz and an upcoming contribution by Swedish production collective Upper First. The spots will appear on Rdio’s YouTube channel, digital banners and at music festivals.

Street Artist Nychos Dissects Disney in “Silly Slicesophy”

Austrian street artist Nychos is presenting a new art show in Brooklyn called “Silly Slicesophy” that consists of cross-sections and slice-up versions of classic Disney cartoon characters. Nychos has done slices of non-Disney characters in the past so it would appear that the slickly painted cartoon innards are his commercial shtick and not to be read as a specific statement on the Disney characters. The artwork from the show can be viewed online here. The show is on display through September 6, 2013, at the Mighty Tanaka gallery in Brooklyn (111 Front Street, Ste. 224).

(via Animal New York)

The Way Nickelodeon Presents Its Creators Highlights the Network’s Creative Stagnation

Nickelodeon has rolled out a new set of promos for their upcoming slate of animated shows in a series of behind-the-scenes clips embedded in their Nick Studio 10 pre-teen programming block. Here, viewers are introduced to new series like Breadwinners and Rabbids Invasion, and reacquainted with returning players like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Monsters Vs. Aliens, Sanjay and Craig and The Legend of Korra.

In the Nick Studio 10 spots, a pair of hyperactive tweens scramble from one studio cubicle to another to chew the scenery with unidentified mononymous animation “experts” with names like “Bret,” “Ciro,” and “Claudia”. The entire experience results in a headache-inducing panderfest that is desperately trying to connect to its youth demographic.

The direction of this presentation style is the polar opposite of Cartoon Network’s recent profiling of their upcoming slate of auteur-driven, character-based properties from smart, hipster-ish millenials. While CN is at least making an effort to nurture bright ideas from the next generation of talent, Nick hopes to distract from rebooted ideas and threadbare concepts with quick cuts, dubstepping ducks and rectally-focused gags that take the form of toilet plungers, cow farts and “booty kicks.”

Ultimately, Nickelodeon would be hard pressed to sell this collection of spinoffs, adaptations and desperate grabs in a sincere, straightforward way. When placed alongside CN shows like Steven Universe or Uncle Grandpa, something like Rabbids Invasion, which began as a manic, unintelligible video game, has trouble competing.

Nick management continues to wallow in its inability to find a clear creative path that distinguishes itself from its competitors. These dips in quality are cyclical in TV animation—just a few years Cartoon Network was in a similar position—but Nick’s stumbles have been an ongoing concern for over a decade. These promos are the outward manifestation of the network’s inability to come up with shows that connect with their base, and explain better than anything why the entire network subsists on the back of a single decade-and-a-half old series, as evidenced by the network’s recent ratings:

Why Must Animated Kids’ Movies Promote Self-Esteem Myths?

Luke Epplin writes convincingly in The Atlantic about the supremacy of the ‘magic-feather syndrome’ in kids’ animated features, which is the idea stemming from Dumbo that a character can do anything as long as they build up their self-esteem. The concept stretches back further, too. For example, The Little Engine That Could. Recent film like Planes and Turbo are both guilty of this phenomenon, according to Epplin:

Following one’s dreams necessarily entails the pursuit of the extraordinary in these films. The protagonists sneer at the mundane, repetitive work performed by their unimaginative peers. Dusty abhors the smell of fertilizer and whines to his flying coach that he’s “been flying day after day over these same fields for years.” Similarly, Turbo performs his duties in the garden poorly, and his insubordination eventually gets him and Chet fired. Their attitudes are all part of an ethos that privileges self-fulfillment over the communal good.

In addition to disparaging routine labor, these films discount the hard work that enables individuals to reach the top of their professions. Turbo and Dusty don’t need to hone their craft for years in minor-league circuits like their racing peers presumably did. It’s enough for them simply to show up with no experience at the world’s most competitive races, dig deep within themselves, and out-believe their opponents. They are, in many ways, the perfect role models for a generation weaned on instant gratification.

This predictable approach to storytelling is juxtaposed against the infinite riches of Charles Schulz’s comic Peanuts, and more specifically, the animated Peanuts feature A Boy Named Charlie Brown, in which Charlie Brown is denied instant gratification at every turn:

A Boy Named Charlie Brown might come across now as harsh and unforgiving–especially to audiences that aren’t familiar with the comic strip’s cruel undercurrents–but its lessons are more enduring than those from movies where characters fulfill their impossible dreams. Charlie Brown learns through Linus’s tough-love speech that failure, no matter how painful, is not permanent, and that the best means of withstanding it is simply to show up the next day to school with the fortitude to try again. Losing also forces Charlie Brown to come to terms with his own limitations. He can’t rely on a miraculous victory to rescue him from his tormented childhood. He followed his dream, it didn’t pan out, and he ends up more or less where he started, only a little more experienced and presumably with a little more respect from his peers. They may no longer be able to refer to him as “failure-face,” but Lucy still yanks away the football when he becomes too hopeful. It’s incremental, rather than life-altering, progress.

Epplin isn’t naive and knows that today’s market-tested, consumer-friendly animated features won’t take the kind of narrative risks that Schulz did in the 1960s. His suggestions for improvement are, nonetheless, quite sensible: “Contemporary animated films would never emulate the tough life lessons of A Boy Named Charlie Brown, but they’d do well to reintroduce the twin notions of failure and humility.”

The entire article is well worth a read, even if the release date of Dumbo is off by a couple years. And with a CGI Peanuts feature currently in the works, one hopes that the writers of the screenplay will stay true to the spirit of Schulz’s universe instead of following the cheap virtueless storytelling tropes of contemporary animation studio features.

All Aboard the Animation Train

Earlier this year, Cartoon Network partnered with the Taiwan High Speed Rail Corporation for a public transportation advertising campaign called Cartoon Express. The campaign features a passenger train wrapped entirely, inside and out, in Cartoon Network character decals.

During its inaugural journey, the passengers, which included children from underprivileged backgrounds, received train announcements from the voice of Adventure Time’s Jake the Dog, played a CN-specific bingo game and mailed Cartoon Express postcards to loved ones via an on-board mailbox.

The Cartoon Express runs between the Taiwanese capitol of Taipei to the southern city of Kaohsiung and it is estimated that it will serve several hundred thousand passengers during the run of the campaign.

More images of the train can be seen on the Catsuka’s Tumblr.

This Graphic Novel Has Something Inside That Others Don’t: Animation

In conjunction with the release of sci-fi graphic novel Anomaly, an app (for iPhone/iPad/Android) brings the book’s characters to life through augmented reality technology. As seen in the trailer, the user points his or her smartphone at the pages of the book, transforming two-dimensional static characters into fully animated 3D models with interactive features. Additionally, the app reveals plot details and images that cannot be experienced through simply reading the book.

Augmented reality, defined as a screen or other device that overlays computer-generated data onto the real world, has been around for a while, with Google Glass being the most recent and talked about iteration. But augmented reality has never quite caught on with the mainstream, perhaps because there’s an underlying Minority Report-like creepiness that’s unsettling for most. But if you move past that, augmented reality could become a promising experimental playground for visual artists. At the very least, as is the case with Anomaly, it has the potential to offer more opportunities for collaboration between storytellers, illustrators and animators.

Artist of the Day: Eva Vilhelmiina Eskelinen

Eva Vilhelmiina Eskelinen

Eva Vilhelmiina Eskelinen is a graphic design student and illustrator who lives in Helsinki, Finland.

Eva Vilhelmiina Eskelinen

Eva Vilhelmiina Eskelinen

Eva makes work traditionally and digitally and posts her commissioned work alongside the personal work and fan art that she creates. Some of her work draws upon the rich traditions and concepts of Norse mythology. The personal pieces are where she has the flexibility to continually experiment with her process, as she notes under some of them.

Eva Vilhelmiina Eskelinen

Eva Vilhelmiina Eskelinen

You can see her work on Tumblr, and even more of her sketches and works-in-progress on her secondary blog.

Eva Vilhelmiina Eskelinen

Eva Vilhelmiina Eskelinen

A Preview of Harald Siepermann’s First (And Last) Feature Directorial Effort “The 7th Dwarf”

Der 7bte Zwerg (The 7th Dwarf) is a new animated film currently in production by German companies Zipfelmützen Film and Erfttal Film. The animated feature is an expansion of the live-action Seven Dwarves franchise, which has thus far resulted in two popular German films: Seven Dwarves: Men Alone in the Wood (2004) and Seven Dwarves: The Forest Is Not Enough (2006).

Based on early descriptions of the film, the story centers around Bubi, the seventh dwarf, who accidentally pricks a sleeping princess, triggering the curse of an evil ice queen and sending the entire kingdom into a century-long slumber. He and his six cohorts then travel into the future with a charming prince and a suicidal dragon in an effort to save their fairy tale kingdom.


It is directed by actor Boris Aljinovic and the late Harald Siepermann and will be distributed by Universal Pictures Germany. Siepermann, who passed away last February, was an accomplished character designer and visual development artist whose work was seen in Disney’s Tarzan, The Emperor’s New Groove and Enchanted, among others. The 7th Dwarf, which was to be Siepermann’s first animated feature as a director, will be released at the end of January 2014, almost one year after his passing.


Siepermann’s influence can be seen in these visdev pieces by Paolo Giandoso. It’s a pity the same can’t be said for the teaser trailer, however, we remain optimistic.

(Thanks, Florian Satzinger, via Cartoon Brew’s news submission forum)

102-Year-Old Tyrus Wong Is The Star of A Major Retrospective in San Francisco


This week, the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco opens their new exhibition, “Water to Paper, Paint to Sky: The Art of Tyrus Wong.” The show is dedicated to the work of 102-year-old Chinese-American artist Tyrus Wong who had a brief but significant career in animation.

Organized by Michael Labrie, the museum’s director of collections, the retrospective features more than 150 works including paintings, sculptures, works on paper, greeting cards, painted scarves, and kites, which range in size from six inches to 100 feet. Wong’s major contribution to animation was designing the settings for Bambi (1942). Even though Wong worked at the Disney Studio for four years and played a key role in shaping the look of one his most well known films, he never met Walt Disney, according to the exhibition notes.

Wong would spent the better part of his film carer—26 years—working as a production illustrator and sketch artist at Warner Bros. where he contributed to live-action films such as Rebel Without A Cause, Calamity Jane, Harper, Sands of Iwo Jima, Auntie Mame, PT 109 and The Wild Bunch (pictured below). My understanding is that the show will be featuring this non-Disney artwork in addition to his Bambi work.

For further reading, see this San Francisco Chronicle article about Wong. The show will run through February 3, 2014 at the Walt Disney Family Museum which is located in San Francisco’s Presidio (104 Montgomery Street). The museum is open daily except Tuesdays. Even if you can’t make the show, I’d highly recommend visiting the museum, which is run by Walt Disney’s daughter Diane Disney Miller. Their permanent collection is excellent, both in content and presentation, and the museum does an excellent job of preserving Walt’s legacy and introducing him to new generations.

“Planes” Opening Outperforms “Turbo” and “Smurfs 2″

Disney’s Planes opened in the United States in third place with an estimated $22.5 million this weekend. The debut of the DisneyToon Studios film, which was originally slated to be a direct-to-video release, topped the opening weekends of DreamWorks’ Turbo ($21.3 mil) and Sony’s Smurfs 2 ($17.5 mil). Planes cost $50 mil to produce, which is modest compared to the recent DreamWorks and Sony pics which cost $135-145 mil to produce. The film is a sad reminder to other studios: Disney can skimp on production quality and still do better than its competitors because of the strength of its all important Disney brand.

Smurfs 2 dropped 46% in its second outing with an estimated $9.5 mil. The film has grossed a paltry $46.6 mil in America. Despicable Me 2 held steady in its sixth weekend, with a ninth place finish of $5.7 mil and a massive total of $338.3 mil, which makes it the fifth highest-grossing American animated feature of all-time. Turbo crashed out of the top ten, landing in 12th place with $2.3 mil in its fourth weekend. The film suffered a huge 64% week-to-week drop and has made $75 mil to date.

Internationally, the number one film in the world was Smurfs 2 for the second weekend in a row. The film pulled in $34.6 mil from international territories. The film’s global total (international and US grosses combined) is only $156.6 mil though, and the film should fall well short of the original film’s $563.7 mil gross. Despicable Me 2 added $12.2 mil from international territories. It has earned $407.5 mil overseas to date, and has a combined global gross of $745.8 mil.