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1. Aardman Sells Persil Laundry Detergent With A Short, ‘Monster Stains’

Aardman created the characters using household stains as color.

The post Aardman Sells Persil Laundry Detergent With A Short, ‘Monster Stains’ appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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2. ‘Loop’ by Michal Socha

Never ending loops of people seeking to be ideal.

The post ‘Loop’ by Michal Socha appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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3. This Wed and Thurs: Animated Spirits European Animation Festival in NYC

A free screening series that offers an easy way for New Yorkers to catch up on top festival films from Europe.

The post This Wed and Thurs: Animated Spirits European Animation Festival in NYC appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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4. Artist of the Day: Nic Sweet

Discover the art of Nic Sweet, Cartoon Brew's Artist of the Day.

The post Artist of the Day: Nic Sweet appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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5. FMX Report #2: What The VR Future Holds

As quickly as it began, FMX is over for another year. Perhaps more than at previous conferences, speakers were especially confident in discussing the current state of the animation, vfx, and digital content creation industries – including the state of virtual reality. Just as importantly, there was much discussion of the future, especially with the clear arrival of vr and interactive and immersive storytelling. Just what should filmmakers do with this new medium? Luckily, pretty much the world’s top vr filmmakers were there to weigh in.

VR capture tools, techniques for producing content, and headsets for displaying that content seem to be innovated upon almost weekly. We still don’t know quite yet what many of the virtual reality and augmented reality tech companies have in store for us (think: Magic Leap). But there are, of course, already many ways to experience vr and several studios have dived into vr content creation. The question is, how do you make that content compelling?

At FMX, an expert panel of vr and immersive filmmakers hosted by Google Spotlight Stories’ Kim Adams was on hand to discuss their relatively short but intense experiences in the field. One of those panelists was Jan Pinkava of Pixar fame (Geri’s Game, Ratatouille). Now creative director at Spotlight Stories (part of Google ATAP), Pinkava created an early interactive film for mobile devices in 2013 with Windy Day, while ATAP was still part of Motorola.

Pinkava’s film grew out of a mission at ATAP to create something emotional for the smartphone; the group recruited Pinkava, who brought aboard other Pixar veterans like Doug Sweetland and Mark Oftedal. “We wanted to do something with this power, something emotional,” Pinkava told a packed FMX audience. “Coming from Pixar, those films they make are emotional – so we thought, let’s make movies. We sat in a room and said, why don’t we make a movie and give the camera to the audience?”

After overseeing other films crafted in Google’s ongoing Spotlight series, Pinkava has formed his own views about what works in immersive and interactive films, whether they be 360 degree experiences or vr pieces that can be watched with either simple goggles or hard-wired headsets. Pinkava constantly asks, when considering vr proposals, ‘Is this the best way to watch this? Is every way I’m going to watch this a good way? As a director, how can you help that experience for the audience be a good one?’

Two other filmmakers on the panel with experience in Google Spotlight Stories were Tim Ruffle and Jason Fletcher-Bartholomew from Aardman Animations. They collaborated on the 360-degree Special Delivery. Writing Special Delivery required a re-think of the traditional short film script. “In our heads we initially wrote a linear script,” said Fletcher-Bartholomew. “We would write in background gags, but we should have concentrated on the main chase. So getting out of that linear mindset was actually quite hard for a number of weeks. Even our storyboard was very linear, but in end we cut it up on different walls. If anyone looked at it they would have thought we were mad. We went back to cardboard cutouts and moving back to theater-like sets.”

Another challenge faced on this Aardman short, the duo shared, was how to lead the viewer around in the story and not have them get lost in the 360 world. “I found it more like choreographing a play than writing a play,” said Ruffle. “We made sure there were elements of our sets that made particular characters visible. It’s a bit like video game language. People just seem to understand to look in certain directions because something is happening over ‘there.’”

This requirement to consider new ways of choreographing the action in an immersive film was a view also shared by Nexus’ co-founder and executive creative director Chris O’Reilly. Nexus is making a new Google Spotlight Story called Rain or Shine (some clips were shown here at FMX). “Directors come in with filmmaking tools, but they all need re-thinking in vr,” said O’Reilly. “We were thinking about how to control spaces. We talked to games companies. We even talked to architects who have experience in cajoling people through airports.”

Aardman and Nexus’ experience also highlights one important aspect of vr right now: it’s new. Which means everyone is experimenting. Jacquie Barnbrook, a producer with The VR Company, which is in the process of making the much-anticipated The Martian VR experience, says part of the joy and frustration of vr filmmaking right now is just getting through it. “The director of The Martian VR, Robert Stromberg, says we’re building the plane as we’re flying it – we may die,” Barnbrook related. “Shooting in vr is the most weird and awkward experience you can imagine. Things like our cameras are not yet able to sustain shooting for more than six minutes. We were putting cups of ice on the cameras to cool them down!”

For Mirada Studios’ Andy Cochrane, who has worked on everything from a Google Shop VR Tour to The Strain VR, the result of this new wave of interactive filmmaking actually provides the opportunity to serve in multiple roles. “I’m a technical supervisor, a director, a visual effects supervisor. We settled on ‘digital and interactive director’ because it seemed to be descriptive of something.”

And Cochrane suggests that this new vr/interactive storytelling world – which is heavily concentrated right now on the west coast of the U.S – just happens to come at a time when the visual effects industry on that side of the country has been partially decimated by subsidies and other benefits being offered elsewhere. That, says Cochrane, represents an opportunity to visual effects artists who once worked in Los Angeles and are highly suited to technical and artistic aspects of virtual reality. Indeed, effects artists have for years been dealing with stitching plates, making 3D scenes and characters, and solving complex lighting issues, in helping to tell compelling stories.

The future does look bright in vr and immersive and interactive entertainment, even if we don’t quite know just what it ‘is’ yet. Certainly, vr content providers are doing everything they can to, as Jan Pinkava observes, “put tools out there for their collaborators — filmmakers — to make the things they know how to do. The whole purpose is then to make all this available to you, the audience.”

The post FMX Report #2: What The VR Future Holds appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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6. Sony Takes The High Road And Settles Animation Wage-Theft Lawsuit

While Disney, Pixar, Lucasfilm, and Dreamworks are still fighting against their employees, Sony has reached a settlement with the animation workers.

The post Sony Takes The High Road And Settles Animation Wage-Theft Lawsuit appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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7. ‘Kung Fu Motion Visualization’ by Tobias Gremmler

Motion capture data of martial arts performances reinterpreted into abstract forms and expressions.

The post ‘Kung Fu Motion Visualization’ by Tobias Gremmler appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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8. The Full List of ‘Zootopia’ Blu-ray Bonus Features, Available on June 7

Disney will release "Zootopia" on home video and streaming platforms just 95 days after its U.S. theatrical debut.

The post The Full List of ‘Zootopia’ Blu-ray Bonus Features, Available on June 7 appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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9. Maxwell Atoms Reveals Lost Student Film That Inspired ‘Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy’

Watch the humble beginnings of the vintage Cartoon Network series.

The post Maxwell Atoms Reveals Lost Student Film That Inspired ‘Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy’ appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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10. Animation Can Make Anything Interesting, Even This Overpriced Samsung Fridge

Moonbot created a short about a fridge that has been viewed millions of times.

The post Animation Can Make Anything Interesting, Even This Overpriced Samsung Fridge appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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11. ‘Zootopia’ Overpowers ‘Ratchet and Clank’ Debut

The ninth weekend of Disney's "Zootopia" outperformed its new competition, "Ratchet & Clank."

The post ‘Zootopia’ Overpowers ‘Ratchet and Clank’ Debut appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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12. Artist of the Day: Eva Vilhelmiina Eskelinen

Discover the art of Eva Vilhelmiina Eskelinen, Cartoon Brew's Artist of the Day.

The post Artist of the Day: Eva Vilhelmiina Eskelinen appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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13. Tonight in Brooklyn: 1st Tromanimation Film Festival

Cult indie film production company Troma Entertainment is hoping that tonight's event will be the first of many animation festivals to come.

The post Tonight in Brooklyn: 1st Tromanimation Film Festival appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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14. ‘Ratchet and Clank’ Arrives With A Clunk

Will audiences turn out to see an animated feature based on a popular video game series?

The post ‘Ratchet and Clank’ Arrives With A Clunk appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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15. May 9 in LA: ‘Beauty and the Beast’ in 70mm With Cast and Crew Discussion

This 25th anniversary screening is sold out, but we've got a tip on how you can attend this special event.

The post May 9 in LA: ‘Beauty and the Beast’ in 70mm With Cast and Crew Discussion appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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16. Welcome Ian Failes and Brian Gabriel to Cartoon Brew’s Editorial Team

We're announcing two new contributors who will expand Cartoon Brew's coverage of vfx/tech and legal issues.

The post Welcome Ian Failes and Brian Gabriel to Cartoon Brew’s Editorial Team appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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17. BBC and Netflix Team Up For CGI ‘Watership Down’ Remake

The four-part series will offer a new take on Richard Adams' novel.

The post BBC and Netflix Team Up For CGI ‘Watership Down’ Remake appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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18. Conan O’Brien Nails It With This Skit About VFX Workers on ‘The Jungle Book’

No animals were harmed in the making of Disney's "The Jungle Book" — unless you count the human animals.

The post Conan O’Brien Nails It With This Skit About VFX Workers on ‘The Jungle Book’ appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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19. Breaking: Comcast in Talks To Buy Dreamworks Animation

Comcast would reportedly pay over $3 billion for the animation studio.

The post Breaking: Comcast in Talks To Buy Dreamworks Animation appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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20. 35mm Screening of ‘The Transformers: The Movie’ Headed To Animation Block Party (Exclusive)

The Eighties animated film will get a theatrical screening in Brooklyn this summer.

The post 35mm Screening of ‘The Transformers: The Movie’ Headed To Animation Block Party (Exclusive) appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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21. FMX Report #1: This Year Is All About VR

Cartoon Brew reports from Germany's digital art conference FMX.

The post FMX Report #1: This Year Is All About VR appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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22. Katzenberg Might Leave Dreamworks: Stunning New Details from Comcast Negotiations

A Comcast deal could potentially spell the end of Dreamworks' feature animation division.

The post Katzenberg Might Leave Dreamworks: Stunning New Details from Comcast Negotiations appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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23. It’s A Done Deal! Comcast Buys Dreamworks Animation for $3.8 Billion

Illumination's Chris Meledandri is taking over Dreamworks Animation.

The post It’s A Done Deal! Comcast Buys Dreamworks Animation for $3.8 Billion appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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24. This Clairvoyant Cupcake Lady Predicted the Comcast-Dreamworks Deal

What did this lady know that the rest of us didn't?

The post This Clairvoyant Cupcake Lady Predicted the Comcast-Dreamworks Deal appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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25. My First Thoughts and Questions About This Comcast-Dreamworks Deal

We've got a lot to talk about.

The post My First Thoughts and Questions About This Comcast-Dreamworks Deal appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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