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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Pixar, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 155
1. Watch A Rare Demo of Pixar’s Animation System Presto

This is a rare demo of Pixar's proprietary animation system called Presto. The program was written originally for "Brave" and is being used on all of the studio's upcoming films. It offers animators a deep level of control within a real-time, interactive environment.

0 Comments on Watch A Rare Demo of Pixar’s Animation System Presto as of 4/3/2014 5:39:00 PM
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2. ‘Incredibles 2′ is Being Planned, Disney Confirms

It's official: Pixar is developing an 'Incredibles 2.'

0 Comments on ‘Incredibles 2′ is Being Planned, Disney Confirms as of 3/18/2014 3:49:00 PM
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3. “Turbo” Fails to Accelerate at Box Office


Turbo, the DreamWorks-produced and David Soren-directed animated feature about the snail that could, opened in a disappointing third place in the U.S. with an esimated $21.5 million. The film is the third-lowest all-time opening weekend for a DreamWorks CGI film, doing better than only Antz (1998) and the Aardman-produced Flushed Away (2006). However, adjusted for inflation and 3D prices, Turbo had the smallest opening weekend audience EVER for a DreamWorks CG pic. The film has grossed $31.2 million since opening last Wednesday.

Illumination’s Despicable Me 2 kept up its amazing run in its third weekend. The film landed in second place with an estimated $25.1 million. Its current domestic total is a smashing $276 million, and by next weekend it will pass Man of Steel to become the second-highest grossing film in America this year. Holding up the tenth place spot was Pixar’s Monsters University, which earned an estimated $5 million in its fifth weekend. The film’s total now stands at a robust $249 million.

International numbers to come in a bit.

0 Comments on “Turbo” Fails to Accelerate at Box Office as of 7/21/2013 3:08:00 PM
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4. Artist of the Day: Eliza Ivanova

Eliza Ivanova

Eliza Ivanova found employment as an animator at Pixar after graduating from the animation program at CalArts. Her 2011 graduation film was called The Real McCoy:

Eliza decisively models forms while simultaneously incorporating imaginative marks that add style and movement to her drawings.

Eliza Ivanova

Eliza Ivanova

Eliza Ivanova

One of the side-projects that Eliza is working on is the independent short film, The Dam Keeper, directed by Pixar art directors Dice Tsutsumi and Robert Kondo.

Eliza Ivanova

Eliza Ivanova

See more of Eliza’s work on her website.

Eliza Ivanova

Eliza Ivanova

Eliza Ivanova

0 Comments on Artist of the Day: Eliza Ivanova as of 7/23/2013 3:24:00 AM
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5. John Lasseter Removes Bob Peterson As Director of “Good Dinosaur”

The LA Times has confirmed that director Bob Peterson has been removed as director of Pixar’s 2014 feature The Good Dinosaur. The news of Peterson’s dismissal was first revealed by Blue Sky Disney on Monday, August 26th.

This would mark the third time time that a director has been replaced on Pixar’s last four films: the other times were in 2010 when Brenda Chapman was replaced by Mark Andrews on Brave

and when Brad Lewis was taken off Cars 2 and replaced by Lasseter himself.

The unsettling trend at Pixar began in the mid-2000s when Jan Pinkava was booted off Rataouille in favor of Brad Bird. Another publicly announced project Newt, directed by veteran Pixar sound designer Gary Rydstrom was canned entirely. Lasseter’s preference for directorial musical chairs has extended to Disney Feature Animation where he yanekd Chris Sanders from the director’s chair on Bolt.

Ed Catmull, who confirmed the news to the LA Times spun the story in an awkward way, first by indicating that Peterson was too enthused about his own film and lacked perspective, then by suggesting that live-action films should have their directors replaced more often, too:

“All directors get really deep in their films. Sometimes you just need a different perspective to get the idea out. Sometimes directors … are so deeply embedded in their ideas it actually takes someone else to finish it up. I would go so far as to argue that a lot of live-action films would be better off with that same process.”

According to the times, twenty-year Pixar veteran Peterson remains at the studio. No new director has been named even though the film is due in theaters in nine months. Diffrent people at the studio are helping to guide the various parts of its production, including Lasseter, Lee Unkrich, Mark Andrews and Peter Sohn, who was Good Dinosaur’ original co-director.

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6. Pixar Shuffles Release Lineup After It Delays “The Good Dinosaur”

One of the big questions surrounding the recent removal of Bob Peterson as director of The Good Dinosaur was how would Pixar finish the film in time for its May 2014 release date.

The answer: they won’t.

The Walt Disney Studios announced today that they are pushing back the release date of the director-less The Good Dinosaur from May 30, 2014, to Nov. 25, 2015. That will also bump the release of Andrew Stanton’s Finding Dory from November 25, 2015 to June 17, 2016.

Pixar president Ed Catmull told the LA Times, “Nobody ever remembers the fact that you slipped a film, but they will remember a bad film. Our conclusion was that we were going to give the [dinosaur] film some more time.”

Pixar will not release a film in 2014. Their next film will be Pete Docter’s Inside Out due on June 19, 2015.

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7. A “Brutal Animation War” Is Predicted by the “Hollywood Reporter”

The Hollywood Reporter published a lengthy piece that suggests an impending feature animation war:

The unprecedented glut of product points to a seismic shift in the animation business as new players such as Universal and Sony finally gain a stronghold and established companies like DreamWorks Animation, Fox, Disney Animation Studios and Pixar up their games. Family franchises can be incredibly lucrative if done right — between global theatrical sales (particularly international), home entertainment and merchandising. Pixar’s Cars franchise, for example, moved north of $10 billion in merchandise alone. If they don’t work, studios can lose tens upon tens of millions, with hundreds of jobs at risk.

Late last month, Pixar and Disney Animation chief creative officer John Lasseter essentially declared war on Katzenberg by dating a slew of untitled Pixar and Disney Animation Studios films through 2018, going so far as to claim June 17, 2016, even though DWA already had put How to Train Your Dragon 3 there. Never before have a Pixar and DWA movie gone up against one another. Katzenberg and Fox, where Vanessa Morrison heads up Fox Animation Studios, retaliated by flooding the calendar through 2018 with their own untitled films, even planting one on June 16, 2017, a Pixar date.

The Reporter doesn’t have all their facts straight. They wrote that, “For the past handful of years, there have been no more than four or five studio animated films a year, plus a handful of indie titles. There are eight releases this year and 10 next year.” However, there have easily been eight to ten major studio animation releases per year in recent times. Just take a look at the 2011 and 2012 release slates.

Of course, the other argument is that there aren’t too many tentpole animated features, only too many features that are cut from the same cloth. Pixar, Disney, DreamWorks and Blue Sky each use their own finely tuned formulas, and audiences are guaranteed to tire of those sooner than they do of animation itself.

0 Comments on A “Brutal Animation War” Is Predicted by the “Hollywood Reporter” as of 6/13/2013 3:13:00 PM
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8. 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

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9. “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)

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10. “Monsters University” Scares Up Huge $82 Mil Opening Weekend

Pixar’s Monsters University opened with a powerful first-place finish in the United States. The Dan Scanlon-directed film nabbed an estimated $82 million in its opening weekend, which makes it the second-biggest Pixar opening ever behind Toy Story 3′s $110.3M opening in 2010. The real test will be next weekend: will the film decline in the mid-40% range as Toy Story 3 did or will it drop over 60% as Cars 2 did? Overseas, Monsters University opened in approximately three dozen international territories with an international cume of $54.5M, also good enough for a first place finish. After one weekend, the film’s total gross is $136.5M.

Meanwhile, as expected, Monsters University pummelled Blue Sky’s Epic at the American box office. Epic plunged a massive 72.5% percent for an estimated fifth-weekend total of $1.7M. The film finally crawled its way across the $100M mark, but it will now certainly end up as Blue Sky’s lowest grossing film in the U.S., and among its lowest grossing films internationally.

0 Comments on “Monsters University” Scares Up Huge $82 Mil Opening Weekend as of 6/23/2013 2:03:00 PM
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11. Where Pixar Artists Get Wasted in Emeryville

It’s hardly a secret that artists who work in animation love to drown their sorrows in alcohol. Some like it so much that they drink themselves to death. While we’re not aware of any Pixar artists having done so, they certainly have enough alcohol at the studio should somebody decide to pursue that path. Here’s a photo tour of the Pixar studio’s private bars, with evocative names like Ye Olde Knife & Fiddle, The Love Lounge, and The Lucky 7. The good news is that if any of the establishments ever runs dry, they can just call on their boss John Lasseter who runs a booze-production facility on his sprawling estate.

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12. Chris Sasaki Shares Development Art from “Monsters University”

Pixar vizdev artist Chris Sasaki posted a generous heap of his Monsters University development art on his blog. One can’t help but think that the clarity of his design approach, with the simple funny shapes and candy colors, might also lend itself well to a hand-drawn animated version of Pixar’s Monsters universe. Of course, there’s plenty more of this type of work in the film’s ‘art of’ book.

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13. The Supreme Court Decision That Thrilled the Producers of “Monsters University” and “Toy Story 3″

With LGBT Pride festivities taking place all over the country this week, the San Francisco Gate got together with Pixar power couple Kori Rae and Darla K. Anderson to chat about their relationship, the recent Supreme Court strike down of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and the box office opening of Monsters University, which Rae (above, left) produced.

The twice-married (to each other), domestic-partnered producers and self-described “Pix-Mos”, Anderson (Monsters Inc., Cars, Toy Story 3) and Rae (Up, The Incredibles) started dating in 2001 during the production of Monsters Inc. and when they eloped in 2004, infuriated their family and friends, including Steve Jobs. “I remember Steve Jobs was mad,” Anderson recounted. “He said, ‘I can’t believe you didn’t invite Laurene and I to come down to City Hall to be with you guys.’”

“I was willing to leave the company at that point,” said Rae, expecting professional consequences to their new romance. “But [Pixar was] completely great. They were nothing but supportive, and have been the whole time.” The two maintain the sanity in their relationship by never working on the same film and maintaining strong boundaries. “It’s hard enough making one of these giant movies, and you put your heart and souls into them,” Anderson explained. “If we carried too much of that at home, we would just turn into animated characters ourselves.”

When asked if there will ever be (or has been) a gay character in a Pixar film, Anderson replied, “Our goal is to create great art, and if we’re telling true stories with great characters, people will project and identify with a lot of our films. A lot of people feel like a lot of our characters are gay, and have projected their stories onto it. If we’re doing our job right, that’s what should happen.”

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14. Brenda Chapman Acccuses John Lasseter of Micromanagement

Yesterday’s New York Times delivered a glowing profile of DreamWorks chief creative officer Bill Damaschke. The pieces describes how CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg is relinquishing oversight of creative matters to Damaschke, who for his part is trying to make the studio more creator-friendly.

It reads like your typical puff piece until it gets to the part about Brenda Chapman. The article reveals that Chapman, who co-directed the first DreamWorks film The Prince of Egypt before jumping to Pixar where she made Brave, has recently returned to DreamWorks. First, Chapman explains why she left DreamWorks:

“I left in part because I felt like I was being asked to do the same story over and over. I look at the movies DreamWorks is doing now, and I see the exact opposite happening.”

Then, it gets juicy when she places the blame for her removal as director of Brave squarely on the shoulders of John Lasseter:

She was pushed out of Pixar after clashing with that studio’s chief creative officer, John Lasseter. Although she could have joined another studio, she said she chose to return to Glendale in part because of Mr. Damaschke, who started at DreamWorks Animation in 1995 as a production assistant on The Prince of Egypt.

“As Jeffrey has gained experience and age, and DreamWorks has grown, he has stepped back and allowed other people to run creative,” Ms. Chapman said. “At Pixar, it’s all John’s show.” She added of DreamWorks Animation, “you can butt heads here and not be punished for it, unlike at another place I could name.”

It’s not exactly news that there was some kind of a conflict between Lasseter and Chapman, but it begins a new chapter in the story when Chapman publicly claims that Lasseter’s micromanagement was the cause of her rift with Pixar. And on another note, who would have ever thought that directors like Chapman and Chris Sanders would begin migrating to DreamWorks for its liberal creative environment. In the animation world, the times they are a-changin.

0 Comments on Brenda Chapman Acccuses John Lasseter of Micromanagement as of 7/16/2013 3:48:00 AM
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15. Daniela Strijleva

Daniela Strijleva

Daniela Strijleva is a character art director for Pixar. Her blog is where you can find more of her personal projects like the collaborative Round Robin book that she participates in. Below are some more studies of the sheep characters from her Round Robin project illustrations and a few other humorous images from her personal pursuits.

Daniela Strijleva

Daniela Strijleva

Daniela Strijleva

Daniela Strijleva

Daniela Strijleva

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16. Pixar Announces “Finding Dory,” A Sequel to “Finding Nemo”

Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres announced on her show today that Disney-Pixar will make an Andrew Stanton-directed sequel to Finding Nemo called Finding Dory.

Of course, Ellen’s fans went crazy:

Reactions outside of her studio audience were somewhat different:

0 Comments on Pixar Announces “Finding Dory,” A Sequel to “Finding Nemo” as of 4/2/2013 5:17:00 PM
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17. Why Is It So Difficult to Make Cute Characters?

Over on question-and-answer website Quora, someone posted a very simple question: Which is the cutest cartoon character ever created? The answers from Quora members cover a broad spectrum, some more obvious (Tweety, Pokemon, Pooh) and others less so (Gertie the Dinosaur, Night Fury from How to Train Your Dragon).

So what makes a cartoon character cute? You could reduce the answer down to a few basic characteristics: big eyes and head, fluffiness, warmth and chubbiness. “Cuteness is based on the basic proportions of a baby plus the expressions of shyness or coyness,” wrote Preston Blair in Advanced Animation. According to Blair, other cute traits include:

  • Head large in relation to the body.
  • Eyes spaced low on the head and usually wide and far apart.
  • Fat legs, short and tapering down into small feet for type.
  • Tummy bulges—looks well fed.

But cuteness is far more complex than even Blair’s set of rules; some consider E.T., Yoda and WALL·E to be the epitome of cute, despite their furless, odd appearances. Cuteness and a character’s perceived hugability aren’t always determined by aesthetic appeal. “Cuteness is distinct from beauty,” wrote Natalie Angier for The New York Times. “Beauty attracts admiration and demands a pedestal; cuteness attracts affection and demands a lap.”

In essence, any creature deemed cute is one that speaks to our nurturing instincts. The cuteness of an infant can motivate an adult to take care of it, even if the baby is not a blood relation. Even more, studies have found that humans transfer these same emotions to animals (or even inanimate objects) that bear our similar features. Finding Nemo combined all of these psychological elements perfectly—you can’t hug or cuddle a fish, yet adorable Nemo, with his fin damaged from birth and his human-like facial features, appeals to our caregiving instincts. In fact, every character in Pixar films, whether it’s a clownfish or a car, features forward-facing eyes, the most crucial feature for achieving an emotional connection with the audience.

But with any extreme comes another. If a character is too cute and sugary sweet, the audience can develop skepticism. “Cute cuts through all layers of meaning and says, ‘Let’s not worry about complexities, just love me,’” philosopher Denis Dutton told The New York Times. It is for that very reason cuteness stirs uneasiness and sometimes feels cheap.

After all, the adorable, smiling face of a child can hide the havoc he just wreaked by breaking all of his toys. “Cuteness thus coexists in a dynamic relationship with the perverse,” writes Daniel Harris in his book Cute, Quaint, Hungry And Romantic: The Aesthetics Of Consumerism. You could call this the Gremlin Effect—a character with an underlying creepiness. Troll dolls (which were recently acquired by DreamWorks Animation) and Cabbage Patch Kids are the inexplicable result of this paradox.

There’s no denying a cultural need to pigeonhole and perfect the attributes that could be popularly deemed cute. In his fantastic short essay on Mickey Mouse, biologist and historian Stephen Jay Gould asserts that Mickey’s changing appearance over time is a physical evolution that mirrors cultural attitudes toward cuteness. As the Benjamin Button of animated rodentia, Mickey’s eyes and head have grown larger, his arms and legs chubbier. Mickey has become more childlike and, most would say, more cute and less rat-like. Mickey isn’t the only character to undergo this transformation. The teddy bear, first sold in 1903, started out anatomically similar to a real bear, with a long snout and gangly arms. Today’s teddy bears more closely resemble the Care Bears, with pudgier features and colorful fur.

Audience don’t always need Mickey’s goofy grins and huge eyes to connect with a character’s cuteness. Pictoplasma, the artists’ network and conference that celebrates characters extracted from context, reveals how sometimes it’s our own invented narrative that blasts a character into hall-of-fame cuteness. As Pictoplasma co-founder Peter Thaler said explains, “It’s a horrible example, but Hello Kitty has no facial expression. You don’t know if she’s happy or sad; you just see these two dots. You’re projecting all the narration, the biography.”

Our ideals of cuteness continue to evolve, a trajectory in visual culture that has birthed Hello Kitty and Japan’s kawaii movement, Giga Pets, Furby, Elmo and Slimer. Often the most exciting, memorable cute characters are the ones who bear negative traits that reveal the vulnerability. Scrat, the saber-toothed squirrel from Ice Age, is adorable and loved by audiences even more for his greed. Cuteness, perhaps then, is not just about an objective set of physical features—it’s also about a behavior that compels audiences and connects us emotionally to the character.

0 Comments on Why Is It So Difficult to Make Cute Characters? as of 4/24/2013 12:14:00 PM
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18. Why Is It So Difficult to Make Cute Characters?

Over on question-and-answer website Quora, someone posted a very simple question: Which is the cutest cartoon character ever created? The answers from Quora members cover a broad spectrum, some more obvious (Tweety, Pokemon, Pooh) and others less so (Gertie the Dinosaur, Night Fury from How to Train Your Dragon).

So what makes a cartoon character cute? You could reduce the answer down to a few basic characteristics: big eyes and head, fluffiness, warmth and chubbiness. “Cuteness is based on the basic proportions of a baby plus the expressions of shyness or coyness,” wrote Preston Blair in Advanced Animation. According to Blair, other cute traits include:

  • Head large in relation to the body.
  • Eyes spaced low on the head and usually wide and far apart.
  • Fat legs, short and tapering down into small feet for type.
  • Tummy bulges—looks well fed.

But cuteness is far more complex than even Blair’s set of rules; some consider E.T., Yoda and WALL·E to be the epitome of cute, despite their furless, odd appearances. Cuteness and a character’s perceived hugability aren’t always determined by aesthetic appeal. “Cuteness is distinct from beauty,” wrote Natalie Angier for The New York Times. “Beauty attracts admiration and demands a pedestal; cuteness attracts affection and demands a lap.”

In essence, any creature deemed cute is one that speaks to our nurturing instincts. The cuteness of an infant can motivate an adult to take care of it, even if the baby is not a blood relation. Even more, studies have found that humans transfer these same emotions to animals (or even inanimate objects) that bear our similar features. Finding Nemo combined all of these psychological elements perfectly—you can’t hug or cuddle a fish, yet adorable Nemo, with his fin damaged from birth and his human-like facial features, appeals to our caregiving instincts. In fact, every character in Pixar films, whether it’s a clownfish or a car, features forward-facing eyes, the most crucial feature for achieving an emotional connection with the audience.

But with any extreme comes another. If a character is too cute and sugary sweet, the audience can develop skepticism. “Cute cuts through all layers of meaning and says, ‘Let’s not worry about complexities, just love me,’” philosopher Denis Dutton told The New York Times. It is for that very reason cuteness stirs uneasiness and sometimes feels cheap.

After all, the adorable, smiling face of a child can hide the havoc he just wreaked by breaking all of his toys. “Cuteness thus coexists in a dynamic relationship with the perverse,” writes Daniel Harris in his book Cute, Quaint, Hungry And Romantic: The Aesthetics Of Consumerism. You could call this the Gremlin Effect—a character with an underlying creepiness. Troll dolls (which were recently acquired by DreamWorks Animation) and Cabbage Patch Kids are the inexplicable result of this paradox.

There’s no denying a cultural need to pigeonhole and perfect the attributes that could be popularly deemed cute. In his fantastic short essay on Mickey Mouse, biologist and historian Stephen Jay Gould asserts that Mickey’s changing appearance over time is a physical evolution that mirrors cultural attitudes toward cuteness. As the Benjamin Button of animated rodentia, Mickey’s eyes and head have grown larger, his arms and legs chubbier. Mickey has become more childlike and, most would say, more cute and less rat-like. Mickey isn’t the only character to undergo this transformation. The teddy bear, first sold in 1903, started out anatomically similar to a real bear, with a long snout and gangly arms. Today’s teddy bears more closely resemble the Care Bears, with pudgier features and colorful fur.

Audience don’t always need Mickey’s goofy grins and huge eyes to connect with a character’s cuteness. Pictoplasma, the artists’ network and conference that celebrates characters extracted from context, reveals how sometimes it’s our own invented narrative that blasts a character into hall-of-fame cuteness. As Pictoplasma co-founder Peter Thaler said explains, “It’s a horrible example, but Hello Kitty has no facial expression. You don’t know if she’s happy or sad; you just see these two dots. You’re projecting all the narration, the biography.”

Our ideals of cuteness continue to evolve, a trajectory in visual culture that has birthed Hello Kitty and Japan’s kawaii movement, Giga Pets, Furby, Elmo and Slimer. Often the most exciting, memorable cute characters are the ones who bear negative traits that reveal the vulnerability. Scrat, the saber-toothed squirrel from Ice Age, is adorable and loved by audiences even more for his greed. Cuteness, perhaps then, is not just about an objective set of physical features—it’s also about a behavior that compels audiences and connects us emotionally to the character.

0 Comments on Why Is It So Difficult to Make Cute Characters? as of 4/24/2013 1:34:00 PM
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19. Matt Cruickshank Gives Saul Bass The Google Doodle Treatment

Google is celebrating the birthday of graphic designer Saul Bass (1920-1996) with a classy animated tribute on their homepage to Bass’s famous film title sequences including Vertigo, The Man with the Golden Arm, Around the World in 80 Days and West Side Story. The piece was designed and directed by Matt Cruickshank who offers some behind-the-scenes production details on his blog.

It’s a busy time for Cruickshank, who is also the illustrator of the new Monsters University Golden Book that will be released next week. It’s available as a pre-order on Amazon for $3.59.

0 Comments on Matt Cruickshank Gives Saul Bass The Google Doodle Treatment as of 5/8/2013 6:13:00 AM
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20. Disney’s Princess Makeover of Merida Leads to Uproar and Petition

The confetti from Merida’s Royal Coronation at Cinderella’s castle in Walt Disney World has barely been swept up and she’s already learning what it means to be a real Princess. When it was announced that the star of 2012’s Brave would be crowned Disney’s 11th Princess on the morning of May 11th, they unveiled her new look for the product line.
The makeover, which apparently happened to all the Disney princesses when no one was looking, involved dropping 20 pounds, caking on some mascara and giving Merida a Keratin hair treatment. “There’s the hot hair, the coy expression,” wrote Peggy Orenstein, author of Cinderella Ate My Daughter. “Also the obligatory exposed shoulders, slimmer waist, and the bow and arrow replaced by… what is that, a low-slung belt?…Because, in the end, it wasn’t about being brave after all. It was about being pretty.”

The new look has caused such an uproar with the female empowerment website, A Mighty Girl, that they started a petition on Change.org to “Keep Merida Brave!” The appeal, which has already picked up over 100,000 signatures, states:

“The redesign of Merida in advance of her official induction to the Disney Princess collection does a tremendous disservice to the millions of children for whom Merida is an empowering role model who speaks to girls’ capacity to be change agents in the world rather than just trophies to be admired. Moreover, by making her skinnier, sexier and more mature in appearance, you are sending a message to girls that the original, realistic, teenage-appearing version of Merida is inferior; that for girls and women to have value — to be recognized as true princesses — they must conform to a narrow definition of beauty.”

The film’s original director, Brenda Chapman, has also blasted the makeover, telling the Marin Independent Journal that it is “a blatantly sexist marketing move based on money.” Chapman continued:

“There is an irresponsibility to this decision that is appalling for women and young girls. Disney marketing and the powers that be that allow them to do such things should be ashamed of themselves. I think it’s atrocious what they have done to Merida. When little girls say they like it because it’s more sparkly, that’s all fine and good but, subconsciously, they are soaking in the sexy ‘come hither’ look and the skinny aspect of the new version. It’s horrible! Merida was created to break that mold — to give young girls a better, stronger role model, a more attainable role model, something of substance, not just a pretty face that waits around for romance.”

0 Comments on Disney’s Princess Makeover of Merida Leads to Uproar and Petition as of 5/13/2013 12:27:00 AM
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21. Digging into Disney’s “Day of the Dead” Problem

Last week after word got out that Disney was seeking to trademark “Día de los Muertos” in preparation for its 2015 release of a Pixar animated feature inspired by the traditional Mexican holiday, several online communities were outraged. The backlash kicked into high gear when cartoonist and illustrator Lalo Alcaraz shared a poster of a Godzilla-like Mickey Mouse under the words, “It’s coming to trademark your cultura.” [image above]

Social media has always kept Disney in check, and this time is no different. Latino Rebels, an online community that has done a terrific job of tracking Disney’s depiction of Latino culture, helped handle and report on the groundswell of public outcry over the last few weeks. After several petitions and pressure, Disney announced last Tuesday that they would withdraw the trademark filing, claiming that it was no longer necessary since they had changed the title of the fim.

In an interview with Cartoon Brew, William Nericcio, a scholar specializing in the representation of Latinos in American pop culture and author of Tex[t]-Mex: Seductive Hallucinations of the “Mexican” in America, said, “[Hollywood's] attitude towards culture is like a pelt hunter from the 19th century. They need the skin that people recognize and value in order to sell a project that will yield predictable profits.”

Nericcio acknowledges that Pixar and Disney face an uphill battle in producing their Day of the Dead feature, which is to be directed by Toy Story 3 helmer Lee Unkrich: ”I think it’s wonderful that Pixar is working on a Mexico, cultural-based project. But it’s a public relations nightmare. They’re not really equipped to talk about other cultures in a way that shows even the slightest sensitivity.”

While Nericcio supports the critical eye cast by social media, he does express concerns over extreme backlash. “The downside of it is, companies like Disney could get scared off of projects that might be focused on Latin American culture, just because they got burned,” he explains. Ultimately, the appeal of a Dia de Los Muertos film is undeniable; the imagery connected to the celebration is so lush, providing a palette that would inspire any moviegoer. “It’s good business to green light a project on la cultura Mexicana. Everybody’s loving the wrestlers, the icons, the color, the exoticness,” Nericcio says. “But when you have the patent lawyers involved, they come off looking terrible.”

Nericcio, a self-admitted Pixar fan would love to see a Dia de los Muertos animated film, as would so many others. Fortunately, there’s another film on the horizon—Guillermo del Toro and Jorge Gutierrez are currently producing and directing (respectively) their own Day of the Dead-themed feature at Reel FX called The Book of Life, to be released through Fox in October of 2014, more than a year before the Disney-Pixar feature. There’s no word yet whether Mexico-born del Toro and Gutierrez will seek trademarks of their own.

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22. Artist of the Day: Olga Stern

Olga Stern

Olga Stern is a visual development artist based in Toronto who also illustrates books. You can visit her website, blog, other blog, and portfolio blog to see her work.

Olga Stern

Olga Stern

Olga Stern

Besides her character and environmental designs, you can see landscape studies that Olga draws in pastels. She initially learned to “paint” with pastels during a class taught by Bill Cone that was part of her three-month internship at Pixar. See her work from that class here.

Olga Stern

Olga Stern

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23. Artist of the Day: Olga Stern

Olga Stern

Olga Stern is a visual development artist based in Toronto who also illustrates books. You can visit her website, blog, other blog, and portfolio blog to see her work.

Olga Stern

Olga Stern

Olga Stern

Besides her character and environmental designs, you can see landscape studies that Olga draws in pastels. She initially learned to “paint” with pastels during a class taught by Bill Cone that was part of her three-month internship at Pixar. See her work from that class here.

Olga Stern

Olga Stern

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24. The Most Inappropriate “Monsters University” Movie Tie-In

Many people online have already criticized the premise of Monsters University, which appears to want to be both a raunchy college life movie and a safe children’s film. Promotional tie-ins don’t lie though, and this Huggies promo with its euphemistic “Big Kid” language, suggests that Monsters University will be neutered enough creatively that parents will still feel good about wrapping their children’s asses in characters from the film.

Click image to biggify.

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25. Disney and Pixar Will Release 15 Features Over Next 6 Years

This afternoon, Disney announced release dates for all of its animated features produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar through 2018. The two studios will be responsible for fifteen theatrical releases over the next six years. During the previous six-year period (2007-2012), Disney and Pixar released a total of 12 films.

Here’s what we know so far based on available information:

  • Pixar’s Monsters University – June 21, 2013

  • Disney’s Planes – August 9, 2013
  • Disney’s Frozen – November 27, 2013
  • Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur – May 30, 2014
  • Disney/Marvel’s Big Hero 6 – November 7, 2014
  • Pixar’s Inside Out – June 15, 2015
  • Pixar’s Finding Dory – November 25, 2015
  • Disney Untitled Animation – March 4, 2016
  • Lee Unkrich’s Untitled “Day of the Dead” project – June 17, 2016
  • Disney Untitled Animation – November 23, 2016
  • Pixar Untitled Animation – June 16, 2017
  • Pixar Untitled Animation – November 22, 2017
  • Disney Untitled Animation – March 9th, 2018
  • Pixar Untitled Animation – June 15, 2018
  • Disney Untitled Animation – November 21, 2018
  • (via @ERCboxoffice and /Film)

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