And here it is…the teaser trailer for Disney’s Frozen:
And here it is…the teaser trailer for 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.Add a Comment
It’s refreshing to see a student short where the filmmakers just get it. The Chicken or the Egg by Christine Kim and Elaine Wu is a solid piece of entertainment in every respect: storytelling, pacing, cutting, character animation, sound design, you name it. They produced the film at Ringling College of Art and Design.
(Thanks,Yoav Shtibelman, via Cartoon Brew’s Facebook page)Add a Comment
The final trailer (in Spanish) was released today for the Argentinian/Spanish animated feature Metegol (Foosball). The US$21 million film may be most interesting for its unconventional director, Juan José Campanella, whose last film El secreto de sus ojos (The Secret in Their Eyes) won the Academy Award for best foreign language film. He is also a veteran director of American TV series like House M.D., Law & Order and 30 Rock.
As of mid-May, the film’s producers were still negotiating for an American theatrical release, but Metegol is set to open this summer and fall in Argentina, Peru, Spain, Russia, Turkey, the Middle East and Brazil, among other territories. For more, visit the film’s official website or its Facebook page.Add a Comment
Blue Sky’s Epic, directed by Chris Wedge, opened its U.S. box office run in fourth place with a respectable weekend take of $33.5 million. If you add in earnings from Monday, which was a holiday in the States, Epic’s 4-day total stands at $42.8M.
The film was based on a story by children’s author/illustrator Bill Joyce, whose movie projects have had difficulty capturing the attention of audiences. Similarly, Epic is the weakest opening ever for a Blue Sky feature. While Epic outperformed the dismal openings of the last two films based on Joyce properties—DreamWorks’ Rise of the Guardians ($23.8M) and Disney’s Meet the Robinsons ($25.1M)—it still failed to match the opening weekend of the Blue Sky/Bill Joyce collaboration Robots which had a 3-day total of $36 million in 2005.
Fox president of dommestic distribution, Chris Aronson, was optimistic about the film’s long-term potential, telling the Hollywood Reporter, “I think it’s a fantastic start. We have a four week run before Monsters University opens, and I’m very bullish on where Epic goes.”
In other box office news, after ten weeks in theaters, DreamWorks’ The Croods continues to show great legs and remains in the top ten. The film took ninth place last weekend with $1.2 million. As of yesterday, its U.S. total stands at $179.6 million and its foreign total is $383.4 million for a grand total of $563 million.
Finally, GKIDS is headed for its first million dollar-grossing release in the U.S. with Goro Miyazaki’s From Up on Poppy Hill. The film earned $17,281 last weekend pushing its grand total to $958,610.Add a Comment
Blue Sky’s eighth feature film, Epic, directed by Chris Wedge and based on a book by children’s author Bill Joyce, opens in the United States today. Reception to the film has been fair to middling. The film currently owns a 63% critics’ rating and 74% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Stephen Holden in the NY Times sums up the majority viewpoint: “As beautiful as it is, Epic is fatally lacking in visceral momentum and dramatic edge.”
Check out the film 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.
(Billboard via Daily Billboard)Add a Comment
Just two months after Disney cancelled the Cartoon Network series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, they have announced a new series called Star Wars Rebels. The show will debut on the Disney Channel as a one-hour special in 2014, before continuing as a regular series on Disney XD. The show will be set during the two-decade timespan between Episode III and IV, at a time when “the Empire is securing its grip on the galaxy and hunting down the last of the Jedi Knights as a fledgling rebellion against the Empire is taking shape.”
Dave Filoni, who was supervising diretor on Clone Wars, will head up the production as exec producer. He will be joined by Clone Wars veterans Kilian Plunkett (Art Director) and Joel Aron (CG Supervisor), as well as some fresh faces:
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Leading the development of the series is a creative team of exceptional talent. Screenwriter/producer Simon Kinberg (X-Men: First Class, Sherlock Holmes, Mr. & Mrs. Smith) is an executive producer on Star Wars Rebels and will write the premiere episode. He is joined by Dave Filoni as executive producer, who served as supervising director of the Emmy nominated Star Wars: The Clone Wars since 2008. Executive producer Greg Weisman brings with him a wealth of animation experience with credits such as Young Justice, The Spectacular Spider-Man and Gargoyles.
On Friday, DreamWorks Animation will release Chris Sanders and Kirk De Micco’s The Croods, the company’s 26th feature. It will also be the first one released under their new distribution deal with Fox.
Box Office Guru is playing it conservative and predicting the film will open with a $39 million weekend. Box Office Mojo forecasts the film will earn between $40-44 million. Variety says the film is tracking north of $40 million, and even has a shot of reaching Wreck-It Ralph’s $49 million opening weekend. Not in question is that the film will be huge internationally. It opens day-and-date in over 45 countries tomorrow, and predictions are in the $300 million range for overseas opening weekend.
Now, it’s your turn. We are going to find out if the collective knowledge of the animation community can accurately predict an animated film’s opening weekend. The survey below will remain open through Saturday evening. Read up on the links above, and then make your best guess for how much The Croods will gross on its US opening weekend.
Chris Sanders and Kirk De Micco’s The Croods opens todsay in the United States as well as over 45 other countries. Critics haven’t been particularly kind, and the film has a mild 61% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Typical reviews include Richard Corliss in Time who complained that, “The family-dramedy genre that the film inhabits demands a bit more narrative ingenuity than is on display,” and Leslie Felperin in Variety who wrote that the film “adopts a relatively primitive approach to storytelling with its Flintstonian construction of stock, ill-fitting narrative elements.”
The good news is that mainstream audiences seems to disagree with the critics. They’ve given The Croods a robust 87% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
So who do you agree with? Check out the film and report back here with your opinion in the comments below. As usual, the talkback is open only to those who have actually seen the film and should be about your opinion of the film.Add a Comment
The next major animated release in the U.S. will be Blue Sky’s Epic, out on May 24th. Fox just released this new trailer for the Chris Wedge-directed film.
This trailer has a lot of the same shots from the original trailer, but it’s very different in tone. Also, Aziz Ansari’s slug character now says, “What’s going on, girl?” whereas in the first trailer he said, “What’s going on, babygirl?” This makes me wish so badly that I could have been a part of the meeting where they discussed the nuances of a slug saying ‘girl’ versus ‘babygirl.’
I’m always impressed with the individual elements of Blue Sky’s films, even if they never seem to amount into a satisfying film experience. This trailer has the same top-level quality we’ve come to expect from them—lush production design, appealing characters, funny bits of animation, and gorgeous lighting. I’ve got high hopes that they’ll pull it together into a solid package.Add a Comment
Barcelona-based Josep Bernaus gets a lot of mileage out of basic cube forms in his short The Lindy Cubes. The expressive movement was created in Maya with deformers. The tune is Slim Gaillard’s “Communication.”Add a Comment
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:
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Shave It comes from directors Fernando Maldonado and Jorge Tereso of Bueno Aires, Argentina-based 3dar. The monkey at the center of the film is a stone-faced schemer with an environmentalist agenda. The filmmakers explain:
For us, it’s an ironic reﬂection about how nature adapts to the human invasion. We found a great inspiration in an Amazonian bird, the Lira, which imitates the sounds it hears in the environment. It does it with such a lack of criticism or judgment that it imitates the other birds singing, the power saws’ noise or the crash of the trees falling in the same way.
The filmmakers push all modes of stylization in this film from a hypersaturated color palette to 2D backgrounds/FX animation mixed in with the computer graphics. The angular monkey is a sight itself, with his shock of wavy electric-blue hair, floating ears, hinged mouth, and mask-like face that makes the stylized animals in DreamWorks’ Madagascar series look like naturalist depictions. All the elements are pulled together with expertise into a fun and attractive package. The development art posted on 3dar’s website gives a small taste of the effort that was invested to explore all the graphic possibilities.
Written and directed by
Graphic design and 2D animation
JUAN PABLO LANZO
Music and Foley
Illumination and Rendering
In Circle Line, London-based Adam Wells depicts the life cycle of a creative individual, and its accompanying compromises and heartbreaks. At least, that’s my reading of the short; I’m sure there’ll be other interpretations, too. In common with Wells’ earlier shorts Brave New Old and The Rest is Science, Circle Line shares a preoccupation with the inherent beauty of mechanical processes (especially moving sidewalks in this film) and physical routines.
I invited Wells to share with readers how he achieved the film’s distinctive look. He writes:
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The project is CGI, but there are no character rigs. I use ‘point level’ animation on 2D planes, working directly on the postion, frame by frame. CG animation is often compared to puppeteering, and a lot of traditional animation lovers are put off by the asthetic. I am trying to build something that is fully CG and looks it, but is built from a more traditional technique, which is why I make such liberal use of stretch and smearing. (This does not require fancy CGI calculations, it’s just drawn polygons.) It’s a technique I have used for my larger project Risehigh.
Reel FX and Relativity Media are sparing no expense when it comes to promoting Free Birds, Reel FX’s first animated feature which will be released theatrically in November. At CinemaCon, the Las Vegas convention for theater owners, they unveiled a 3D-printed display of the film’s main characters, who are voiced by Woody Harrelson and Owen Wilson. It certainly puts your average cardboard-based theater display to shame, and gives one optimism that they’re putting a high level of effort and care into the actual film itself. These photos of the display appeared on Collider.com.
(h/t, Sarah Marino)Add a Comment
Bibo Bergeron’s A Monster in Paris is releasing on DVD today in the United States through Shout! Factory. The 2011 French animated feature was unable to secure theatrical distribution in the competitive U.S. market, but Bergeron’s earlier directorial efforts will no doubt be familiar to American viewers—DreamWorks’ The Road to El Dorado and Shark Tale. A blog featuring artwork from the A Monster in Paris can be viewed HERE.
Order A Monster in Paris for $10.49 on Amazon.com.Add a Comment
Rhizome.org published a great interview with David OReilly about his recent Adventure Time episode “A Glitch is a Glitch” and the challenges of making convincing styistic glitch:
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“In general, doing stylistic glitch is easy compared to doing good character animation. Mixing the two gets very tricky though. One of the hardest things was corrupting the scene near the end of the entire broadcast so that the earlier clip is superimposed over Finn & Jake to give them an idea (i.e., using glitch as a kind of thought bubble). It was easy to storyboard that idea, but making it work properly took a lot of grind…It was all generated from ‘real’ glitches—but since everything is run through compositing software and sort of controlled you could also say it was all fake. The glitches needed to begin locally—inside objects—then spread out until they became part of the scene itself. The local stuff was done by generating a ton of sprites that had random pixels move outwardly to create the colorful flourishes we associate with video compression. These had a decent amount of control—a blob of glitchy stuff could move around a scene, for example. Once the scenes were fully animated and rendered the global full-frame glitches were done. There was some jpeg corruption added on top of the battle scene at the end.”
Chun Jaeyoung and Chun Yusun visit the unusual drama company, which produces the customized play for each client. They ask the boss of the troupe to make the play for their father, Chun Jongsik, who is having his 70th birthday. The boss creates the customized play through interviews with their father and his acquaintances. In the play, Chun Jongsik, experiences fiction and truth from the past, and realizes what he has done and what he has been feeling sincerely,and eventually faces the trauma that has harassed him.
The film is being made with a crew of just a half-dozen artists, but you’d never guess how small the team by looking at the film’s lush, complex visual style:
(via Catsuka)Add a Comment
The Walt Disney Company has offered a first look at their upcoming animated superhero feature, Big Hero 6, an adaptation of an obscure Marvel Comics property of the same name. The CG film, directed by Disney veteran Don Hall (director, Winnie the Pooh; story supervisor, The Princess and the Frog), is described as “an action comedy adventure about brilliant robotics prodigy Hiro Hamada, who finds himself in the grips of a criminal plot that threatens to destroy the fast-paced, high-tech city of San Fransokyo. With the help of his closest companion — a robot named Baymax — Hiro joins forces with a reluctant team of first-time crime fighters on a mission to save their city.”
While Big Hero 6 has a release date of November 7, 2014 you can take the sneak peek-iest of sneek peeks below:Add a Comment
I’ve come across people who believe that Max Headroom, the Channel 4 character from the Eighties, was a genuine piece of computer animation. But although he was conceived by the animators Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel (of Cucumber Films fame) Max himself was portrayed by actor Matt Frewer, placed into latex makeup and a shiny costume and set amidst a strange of technological tricks.
Half of the frames from the footage used in Max Headroom were removed in production, resulting in a juddery look to suggest animation shot on twos, and Frewer was bluescreened in front of a basic digital backdrop. The crew even added deliberate faults to the “animation” – such as the stammer which became Max’s trademark – to complete the effect.
This process seems somewhat surreal today, in our brave new world of Maya, Xtranormal and Blender. Max Headroom was created at a time when 3D CGI animation was desirable, but not always affordable; if the budget did not allow it, then the crew had to fake computer animation in front of the camera.
Another good example of this can be found in the 1981 film Escape from New York. Early on in the movie we see what appears to be a wireframe model of Manhattan; in actual fact, a physical model was built for this sequence, with reflective tape placed along the edges of the buildings. Shot under ultraviolet light, this recreated the luminescent green-on-black effect of primitive CGI.
There has even been an incident in which a budget imitation of CGI itself received a budget imitation. In 1987 an unidentified signal hacker managed to replace two television broadcasts with a mildly disturbing video of a home-made Max Headroom show. In this improvised effort Max was portrayed by a man in a shop-bought mask, while the moving backdrops – in the original series, an example of genuine digital animation amongst the pseudo-CGI – were replaced with somebody offscreen wiggling a bit of corrugated metal about.
These are all extreme examples; during this period, it was more common for digital animation to be emulated using hand-drawn techniques. Often used as a visual motif in kids’ science fiction-themed cartoons (witness the cel animated wireframes in the opening sequence to Transformers) this approach was put to good use by Rod Lord‘s animation work on the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy television series from 1981. Created using litho film and coloured gels, these sequences suggested digital graphics simply by combining glowing primarily-coloured images with a black background. An added plus was that the animation could get away with being a little bit jerky…
One sequence in Hitchhiker’s Guide portrayed an intergalactic war as an early video game, a theme drawn upon by other animators: for example, in 1982 a British public information film used Space Invaders-like imagery to advise audiences on safe driving [see image below]. The biggest example of this, however, came when Disney produced an entire feature film based around the look of eighties arcade games: Tron.
Tron contained genuine CGI animation backed up with large amounts of compositing tricks based around matte effects and backlighting; this made the live action footage look as though it had been digitally processed. As a result, the film stands as arguably the premiere example of pseudo-CGI.
In her book British Animation: The Channel 4 Factor Clare Kitson remarked on the fact that Max Headroom, Channel 4’s biggest animated hit, was not actually animated. But as she went on to argue, perhaps it is time for a reappraisal:
I wonder if we might indeed classify those sequences as animation nowadays. With the plethora of different technologies now employed, the previous narrow definition (which insisted that the movement itself must be created by the animator) seems a bit old-fashioned. These days anything that appears on a screen and moves but is not a record of real life – including creatures moved by motion capture – tends to fall under the animation umbrella… The current popular synonym for animation, ‘manipulated moving image’, seems to be made for Max.
Of course, if Max had been made using actual CGI he would have ended up as a creaky old relic, rather like the “Money for Nothing” video which came out the year after his debut. Instead, Jankel, Morton and Frewer came up with a genuinely iconic creation that has aged surprisingly well.
Today, it is all too easy for animators to fall back on the tricks of their software and lose track of the wider aesthetic potential of their work. What Max Headroom—and, to an extent, some of the other pieces mentioned here—show is the opposite effect: digital animation spurring creativity in analogue work. They have an ingenuity and hand-made charm which is missing from so much modern computer animation.
Primitive digital imagery has had something of a resurgence across the past decade or so, to the point where pastiches of 8-bit pixel graphics have found their way into mainstream productions such as Wreck-It Ralph. Perhaps it is time that the animators and digital artists of today rediscovered the lesser-known cousin of this aesthetic: the strange world of pseudo-CGI.
NEIL EMMETT is the editor of The Lost Continent, a fantastic resource devoted to British animation, past and present. This piece is an expanded version of a post that originally appeared on his site.Add a Comment
Charles Huettner is a Pennsylvania-based artist and animator. He’s a founding member of the Late Night Work Club that will be premiering their initial anthology of shorts sometime in the near future.
Charles draws funny little characters and carries the same design sensibilities over into 3D space where he experiments with short, strange pieces that are collected on his “3D On The Side” Vimeo account.
Charles’s most frequently asked question is also a short by the same name, “What program do you use to animate?”
Some of his experiments become animated GIFs instead of videos.
See more of Charles’s work on his blog.
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In its fifth weekend at the American box office, the Weinstein Company’s Escape from Planet Earth grossed an estimated $2.3 million, which was good enough for a 10th place finish. Its grand total now stands at $52.2 million, nudging it ahead of Hoodwinked as the top-grossing Weinstein animated pic. Hoodwinked earned $51.4 million when it was released in 2005.
Other VFX-heavy films in this week’s top 10 include Disney’s first-place finisher Oz The Great and Powerful, which captured $42.2M in its second weekend for a total of $145M, and Warner Bros/New Line’s $200-million mega-flop Jack the Giant Slayer, which picked up $6.2M in its 3rd weekend for a total of $53.9M.Add a Comment
A new trailer released today for Illumination Entertainment’s Despicable Me 2 directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud:Add a Comment
Yesterday, DreamWorks released the full trailer for its summer feature Turbo directed by David Soren. If I had to cite a few positive qualities, I’d point out the simple appeal of the character designs, as well as the exaggerated range of motion and funny mouth shapes on the snail characters.Add a Comment
In what may be a first for a major award-winning animated short, filmmaker David OReilly has released all of the character rigs from his short The External World. OReilly follows in the footsteps of filmmakers like Blender Open Projects and Nina Paley who have also released animation production assets for the educational benefit of the community. Says OReilly:
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You can use and modify them in any way you like as long as it’s for a non-commercial purpose. Showreels, short films, indie games, all that stuff is cool – just give credit. If it’s web based – include a link to my site. I’m releasing these without a how-to (or support of any kind) but it should be very straight forward. They are extremely low-weight and easy to animate with, all are compatible with versions of Maya after 2010.