Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Microsoft’s Project Natal 3D Animation Primesense

Microsoft joins Sony and Nintendo in offering a motion-sensitive gaming experience with Project Natal for the Xbox 360 console. The company sent out a press invitation announcing a Project Natal event at this year's E3 video game industry convention in June.

Most of us remember great 3D animation science fiction/adventure cartoon The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest from late 80s and early 90s in which a boy named jonny used to fight bad guys cyberspace realm known as “Questworld”.

A few years back Nintendo’s Wii revolutionized the way we know gaming but now in near future Microsoft’s Project Natal will completely change the gaming world with its latest technology which can detect & recognize human movements.

According to the manufacturer’s, the sensor technology can be placed in a bar much like Nintendo’s sensor or integrated in a host device directly via a USB 2.0 plug and play connection. The bar integrates an IR light source and common CMOS image sensor as well as Primesense’s PS1080 system on a chip (SoC) to process and interpret captured 3D data.

What makes the sensor special is that the technology captures 3D or depth via light coding. According to Primesense, light coding works by coding the scene volume with near-IR light. “A standard off-the-shelf CMOS image sensor [is used] to read the coded light back from the scene,” the manufacturer explains. “PrimeSense’s SoC chip is connected to the CMOS image sensor, and executes a sophisticated parallel computational algorithm to decipher the received light coding and produce a depth image of the scene. The solution is immune to ambient light.”

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Upcoming Kid’s 3D Cartoon

CG-animated tales to live-action adventures, kids' movies in 2010 and beyond represent the greatest percentage of films getting the 3-D treatment. Let's take a look at what's coming down the pipeline in future months and years.

"Shrek Forever After" (May 21, 2010): The fourth and final film in the lovable green orge's franchise will be the first to go the 3-D route. Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz and Eddie Murphy are all back in a story that thrusts Shrek into an "It's a Wonderful Life"-style alternate universe. In a recent interview, director Mike Mitchell promised us both high-tension action scenes and emotional storytelling that make full use of the visual technology.

"Toy Story 3" (June 18, 2010): After the first two films in the series were re-released last year in 3-D, "Toy Story 3" will be the first to hit theaters as a first-run 3-D feature. Tom Hanks is back as Woody, the cowboy doll with an unbreakable bond to his owner. This is Pixar's second 3-D release following 2009's "Up," and director Lee Unkrich told MTV News that he credits the studio's forward-thinking strategy for putting Pixar at the forefront of the 3-D animated race.

"Despicable Me" (July 9, 2010): It'll be supervillain vs. supervillain in the first feature originating from Illumination Entertainment, a production company focused on animated films. Steve Carell and Jason Segel star. Writers Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul told MTV News that a roller-coaster scene in the film will take audiences on a wacky 3-D ride.

"Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore" (July 30, 2010):
This live-action sequel to the 2001 original features real felines and canines as undercover superspys. This time around, the cats and dogs are forced to join forces against a rogue kitty cat intent on conquering the world.

"Legend of the Guardians" (September 24, 2010): Zack Snyder, the director of "300" and "Watchmen," goes fully CGI with this feature based on the children's book series "Guardians of Ga'Hoole," about an orphaned owl.

"Megamind" (November 5, 2010):
DreamWorks' third 3-D animated feature of the year after "How to Train Your Dragon" and "Shrek," this flick features an all-star voice cast including Will Ferrell, Brad Pitt, Tina Fey and Jonah Hill in a story about a supervillain's existential crisis.
"Tangled" (November 12, 2010): Disney reworks the fairy tale of Rapunzel with Mandy Moore in the title role. Co-directors Bryon Howard and Nathan Greno's credits include "Bolt," "Chicken Little" and "Mulan."

"Yogi Bear" (December 17, 2010): This classic '60-era cartoon gets a new-millennium makeover courtesy of Warner Bros. Dan Aykroyd is the man tasked with channeling the unforgettable voice of picnic-basket-stealing Yogi, who lives in Jellystone Park with his sidekick Boo-Boo (Justin Timberlake).

"Gulliver's Travels" (December 22, 2010): Jack Black steps into the title role of this latest adaptation of Jonathan Swift's 18th-century satire. Shot as a 2-D film, Fox recently announced that the adventure story will be converted to 3-D.

"Gnomeo and Juliet" (February 11, 2011): Garden gnomes meet Shakespeare ... in 3-D. James McAvoy and Emily Blunt are set to voice the reworked versions of the world's most famous star-crossed lovers.

"Mars Needs Moms!" (March 11, 2011): What happens when aliens kidnap your mom? You set off on an adventure to rescue her. The live-action Disney film stars Seth Green and Joan Cusack.

"Rio" (April 8, 2011): Blue Sky Studios, the animation house behind the "Ice Age" franchise, is spearheading this tale of a rare bird in a zoo who absconds to South America to find his soul mate. Voice actors include Anne Hathaway and Neil Patrick Harris.

"Kung Fu Panda: The Kaboom of Doom" (June 3, 2011): In 2008, the original animated tale about a martial-arts-obsessed panda reeled in $632 million at the worldwide box office. The sequel comes kicking at you in 3-D with Jack Black once again as Po. Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman and Seth Rogen also return.

"Cars 2" (June 24, 2011): Pixar's original automotive escapade grossed $462 million worldwide and billions more in merchandise sales. Now it's only the second of Pixar's films to be granted a sequel. "Ratatouille" producer Brad Lewis is taking over directing duties, and Owen Wilson returns as Lightning McQueen.

"The Smurfs" (August 3, 2011): Best known to American audiences from the '80s cartoon series, the lovable blue Smurfs are getting a 3-D, CG overhaul. The voice cast includes Neil Patrick Harris, Katy Perry and Hank Azaria.

"Puss in Boots" (November 4, 2011): While the "Shrek" series will have ended, this swashbuckling kitty from the stories will live on in a DreamWorks prequel to the green-ogre franchise. Antonio Banderas revisits the role, with a new crew including Salma Hayek and Zach Galifianakis.

"Arthur Christmas" (November 11, 2011): The writer behind "Borat," Peter Baynham, spins a yarn about how Santa manages to deliver presents around the world in just one night. Co-director Barry Cook got his start as an effects animator on 1982's "Tron" and became the visual-effects supervisor on "Aladdin" and "Beauty and the Beast."

"Happy Feet 2 in 3D" (November 18, 2011): "Mad Max" creator George Miller is headed back to the icy world of toe-tapping penguins in this sequel to the 2006 original. Expect another all-star cast, including Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Elijah Wood.

"Alvin and the Chipmunks 3D" (December 16, 2011): The first two films in this live-action/CG-animated hybrid have grossed almost three-quarters of a billion dollars. Cue the third 'munk saga this time in three dimensions.

"Frankenweenie": Tim Burton has long had plans to turn his 1984 short, about a boy who brings his dead dog back to life, into a feature film. Now it's going to happen — with the added bonus of a third dimension. An exact release date has not been announced, but it's expected to arrive in late 2011.

"The Bear and the Bow": Set in a mythical Scottish kingdom and starring Reese Witherspoon, this Pixar film should be the studio's second film of 2011 after "Cars 2," opening in theaters around Christmastime.

"Hotel Transylvania" (February 17, 2012): Long in development, the animated comedy will finally arrive in early '12, bringing together Frankenstein, the Mummy, Dracula and Werewolf in a hotel outside Transylvania.

"Dr. Seuss' The Lorax" (March 2, 2012): Co-directors Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul, who co-wrote "Horton Hears a Who!," told MTV News they're sticking to Dr. Seuss' iconic aesthetic as they deliver the first 3-D-ified adaptation of the author's work.

"The Croods" (March 30, 2012): Nicolas Cage and Ryan Reynolds have joined together for this animated comedy about cavemen. The co-director of "How to Train Your Dragon," Chris Sanders, will be sharing directing on "Croods" with Kirk De Micco, the director of "Space Chimps."

"Madagascar 3" (May 18, 2012): The first flick in this series about the journey of a zebra, a lion, a giraffe and a hippo sold $533 million in tickets. The sequel bested that sum by over $70 million. Film number three is said to take the chattering animals to Europe as part of a circus.

"Newt": Pixar's 2012 plans include a story about two blue-footed newts living in a university bio lab. Director Gary Rydstrom has won seven Oscars for his sound-effects work and made his Pixar debut with the alien-abduction short "Lifted," which ran in front of "Ratatouille" in 2007. It should hit theaters in the summer of 2012.

"The Guardians" (November 2, 2012): Leonardo DiCaprio makes his animated feature-film debut in this fairy tale in which Jack Frost, Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and the Sandman join forces to fight evil.

"Popeye": This spinach-eating muscle man started as a cartoon-strip character in 1929 and has since seen many iterations, including a 1980 live-action movie starring Robin Williams. Sony recently announced its intention to revamp "Popeye" for a 3-D animated feature film, though no release date has been announced.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Japanese Animated Film in Russia’s Cartoon Characters

A Japanese animated film centering on one of Russia’s most famous cartoon characters, Cheburashka, has become one of the main highlights of the highly prestigious Tokyo International Anime Fair.

The Japanese feature-length animated cartoon revolves around the adventures of the quirky Russian creature with large funny ears, Cheburashka and his friend, Crocodile Gena.

Created back in 1966, Cheburashka was the brainchild of Russia’s Eduard Uspensky, author of many popular books for children and whose characters were often turned into cartoons.

The beloved Russian character, worshiped by several generations of Russian children, also enjoys popularity in Japan. In 2001, an old, Soviet cartoon about Cheburashka, made back in the 1970s, was screened in Japan. Since then, the jug-eared creature has become a sought-after character in the Land of the Rising Sun. Its smiley face is often featured on T-shirts, pens, mugs and other souvenirs sold in Japanese toy shops.

It is not the first time Japanese animation artists have turned Cheburashka into the lead character of a film. Last year they created an animated cartoon series which was screened on several local TV channels

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Ben 10 Ultimate Alien Arrived with Ultimatrix

April 23, 2010 is the day that all the cartoon lovers are waiting for. This is because this is the day of the premiere of the Ben 10: Ultimate Alien Force. This will be the new sensation for all the American Animated TV fans.

There has been a new sequel from Ben 10, and its called “Ben 10: Ultimate Alien”, this sequel of Ben ten is going to be pretty exciting, after meeting up with newer monsters and aliens in this season, its going to be back on Cartoon Network, Find out what this Ben 10: Ultimate Alien Sequel is all about we get to see it Ben 10: Ultimate Alien Sequel Premieres tonight. The reason why people are starting to go crazy with this Ben 10: Ultimate Alien Sequel is because of the new action figures that will be released along with the premiere of the new season of Ben 10.

The story of Ben 10: Ultimate alien is a story about Ben Tennyson who is sixteen years old. He also has his friends namely Gwen 16-year old and Kevin 17-year old. In this series Ben is already known in the whole world as the new popular super hero. Children are a big fan of him while some adults are not giving warm welcome with this new hero. This is even exciting as Ben has a mysterious new Omnitrix and it is called as Ultimatrix. He also has his new car which is the “DX Mark 10”. If you are a big fan of him you must have been seen this is Ben 10: Alien Swarm. His friend Kevin also has “The Mecha Vehicle” that is an innovative jet.

Other characters include Max Tennyson and Julie Yamamoto. While the known alien that he and his friends will be fighting for are Terraspin, Water Hazard, Amphibian, Nanomech, Ultimate Swampfire, Ultimate Humongousaur, Ultimate Big chill, Ultimate Spidermonkey, Ultimate cannonbolt, Ultimate Echo Echo, Armodrillo, and NRG.

Great news for the cartoon lovers is that there will be a FushionFall that will allow a free play in the Internet for the next month. This is given by the Virtual World News. This will features the Adventure time with Finn and Jake, Generator Rex, Symbionic Titan, and Ben 10: Ultimate Alien. No wonder why this is call as FushionFall.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Waking Sleeping Beauty Disney Animation

“Waking Sleeping Beauty” is a moderately engaging documentary about the renaissance of Disney animation during the golden decade (1984-94) that yielded.

Hard as it is to believe today, it was not so long ago that animation in general and Disney animation in particular were art forms given up for dead. Things got so bad that in 1984 the studio, which had been kick-started into success by "Snow White" almost half a century earlier, ungraciously booted its beleaguered artists off the lot and onto bleak rented premises.

But, as it happened, the glories of the world were not yet ready to depart the stage. As detailed in the fascinating new documentary "Waking Sleeping Beauty," an unlikely combination of personalities and circumstances came together in the next decade to create a run of animation successes “The Little Mermaid," "Beauty and the Beast," "Aladdin" and "The Lion King" that exploded into unprecedented profitability.

This tale of artistic reincarnation is a classic show business story, not lacking in temper tantrums and clashing egos, and as told in "Waking Sleeping Beauty" it's got a terrific inside Hollywood sensibility plus an unblinking candor that lets the chips fall where they should. Which, given who made it, is something of a pleasant surprise.

Waking Sleeping Beauty is Directed and narrated by Don Hahn; written by Patrick Pacheco; edited by Ellen Keneshea, Vartan Nazarian and John Damien Ryan; music by Chris Bacon; produced by Peter Schneider and Mr. Hahn; released by Stone Circle Pictures and Red Shoes Productions.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Star Wars Cartoon New Series

The existence of a new Star Wars cartoon based on a line of super-deformed toys has leaked out of Skywalker Ranch.

A source at IESB has revealed a new Star Wars animated series that will be based on the Star Wars: Galactic Heroes line of toys. The Galactic Heroes toys are a collection of super-deformed miniature figures that include a wide variety of characters from Lando Calrissian to Yoda.

Lucasfilm is reportedly in very early development on a new animated Star Wars series aimed at preschoolers. A report on the web site reports the series will be based on the kid-friendly Galactic Heroes line of toys, which features the series’ popular characters in cartoon-ish proportions. Reports also say that a director has been hired for the project, which is tentatively titled “Squishies.”

A director has just been hired to guide the new show, which reportedly has a working title of Squishies. This may seem like an incredibly odd name, but it makes a little more sense when you consider that a very young audience of preschoolers to kindergartners is being targeted for the show. Even for a kid's cartoon, this is a pretty young age group, so maybe Squishies could end up being some kind of educational program in the same vein as Yo Gabba Gabba or the like, but one that features lightsabers and Boba Fett. I, for one, think that would be pretty cool for kids.

The transition of Hasbro's Star Wars: Galactic Heroes toys into an animated series is reminiscent to what was done with Hasbro's Marvel Super Hero Squad line, which also became a television show and later spawned a videogame.

Lucasfilm Animation launched Star Wars: The Clone Wars as a regular television series for kids in 2008, a successful venture that warranted a release of two Clone Wars Wii games, so it makes sense to try to go for a repeat and aim it at a different audience. Those of us that want a more mature Star Wars experience will probably have to wait for the untitled television series that is currently in production and expected by 2012.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

NetToons to Create Your Own Cartoons

NetToons is one of 65 companies chosen by VentureBeat to launch at the DEMO Spring 2010 event taking place this week. These companies do pay a fee to present, but our coverage of them remains objective.

NetToons is launching a real-time animation platform today that lets just about anyone create their own animation to share with friends on the web.

At the DEMO conference in Palm Desert, California, San Francisco-based NetToons is showcasing an animation platform that lets users create and share branded animations, dubbed ToonCasts. For instance, you can create an animation about your favorite cartoon character using a full set of brand-approved components, such as characters, props and backgrounds.

The platform lets you create animation defined by the participating brands, including existing cartoon characters. You can’t drag your own content into the animation, so it’s a safe space for brands because users can’t create anything that might tarnish their good names. In this sense, NetToons is different from animation sites such as Aniboom, where anyone can upload animations built with any tools.

With NetToons, the tools are simple enough so that no animation experience is necessary to use the tools. You register for an account, and then you select a backdrop, and populate it with animated characters. Then you can add props and other pieces, and figure out what you want to have happen in the animation. Add your own music, sounds, and dialogue. You can select actions that your characters can perform. The results will look like you created an animation from scratch.

One of the NetToons Company’s partners is Future US, a web and magazine publisher that specializes in niche industries, such as video games. NetToons is releasing its first two cartoon properties through an unannounced distributor. The first features pop icon Emily the Strange, a Goth character who has millions of fans already. The fans can create their own animations of Emily selecting from thousands of pieces of Emily art and animated actions. They can set the animation to rock and Goth soundtracks, and share them with other fans.

Another partner is ReVerb, a casual music game, allowing users to create and share animated music videos. Both titles will feature add-on content that users can buy. The creations can result in advertisement and marketing opportunities for the partners’ syndication sites where the Tooncasts are shared.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

3D Revival of "Popeye the Sailor Man"

Filmmaking's recent 3D revival has brought us memorable, eye-popping images such as 'Clash of the Titans'' hideous Cracken, 'Alice in Wonderland's' Cheshire cat and the naked, blue majesty of 'Avatar's' Na'vi.

And now Popeye the sailor man with spinach.

A 3D, computer-generated version of the cartoon classic 'Popeye' will soon hit the big screen, according to Variety. Sony Pictures Animation will head up the production, with Avi Arad producing a script from up-and-coming screenwriter Mike Jones.

This will be the first big screen version of 'Popeye' since acclaimed director Robert Altman's 1980 live-action take on the tale, with Shelley Duvall as the prim Olive Oyl and Robin Williams as the spinach-enhanced sailor man.

While little is known about the new plot or who may voice the characters, Olive Oyl will make a return as Popeye's love interest, as will their adopted baby, Swee'Pea, and Popeye's nemesis, Bluto.

But 'Popeye' isn't the only animated classic getting an update. Last year, Sony announced plans to bring the '80s cartoon 'The Smurfs' to theaters as well. With the re-emergence of the 'Transformers' franchise and news of a third sequel to 'Ghostbusters,' now all we need is a 'Punky Brewster' reboot and children of the '80s lives will at last be complete.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Dirtgirlworld Animation for Preschoolers

Philadelphia Sprout will celebrate Earth Day by introducing dirtgirlworld, an Australian import that combines live action, animation, photomontage and illustration plus catchy songs in a series that introduces preschoolers to the joys of outdoor play and sustainable green living. Sprout has slated the exclusive U.S. premiere of DECODE Enterprises dirtgirlworld.

The series will launch on Earth Day with a special marathon, Sprout's Dig into Earth Day with dirtgirlworld which was created by writer/producer Cate McQuillen and composer/writer Hewey Eustace.

The music-centric show takes the audience to a world where the real and unreal collide. Dirtgirlworld shares an environmental message, explores the natural world and invites the audience to “go get grubby” with dirtgirl, a gumboot wearing girl who grows awesome tomatoes, knows clouds’ names and drives a big orange tractor.

Helping dirtgirl are her best friend, scrapboy, a cowpunk who is a whiz with junk; grubby, with her grub’s eye view; ken the weevil, a super stunt star with an inferiority complex; roger the rooster and the chicks; hayman the monosyllabic scarecrow; and the green thumbs — real kids shown in real gardens.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Tim Burton’s 3D version of The Addams Family

American filmmaker Tim Burton is reportedly planning to make an animated 3D version of popular fictional cartoon characters ‘The Addams Family’. The 52-year-old director has wowed audiences with his 3D version of Lewis Carroll’s classic ‘Alice In Wonderland’, which has pulled in £130.4 million during its two-week run at the box office, Contact music reported.

Now, he is planning to use the technique to resurrect the spooky Addams Family, who was last seen in theatres back in the 1993 film ‘Addams Family Values’. Illumination Entertainment has acquired the rights to the original cartoons by Charles Addams, and the company’s boss Chris Meledandri will act as producer.

It seems that James Cameron’s 3D sci-fi epic ‘Avatar’ has inspired a number of other filmmakers to adopt the popular technique with George Lucas planning to revive his ‘Star Wars’ films in 3D, while studio bosses at Warner Bros have confirmed the technology will be implemented for the final installments of the ‘Harry Potter’ franchise agencies.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Cartoons Teaches Children Right From Wrong

Cartoons have been a great source of education and entertainment since my childhood days of watching Thundercats and Rainbow Brite but they’ve gotten a bad rep as frivolous and only for children. After watching hundreds of hours of animation, the biggest concept I’ve learned is the difference between good and evil. Not an easy thing to teach a six year old mind you, but cartoons have served as a way for the littlest members of the human race to understand and develop a moral compass that they’ll need to survive in this world.

While the good guys have gotten most of the good press over the years, I also have to thank the villains who have played their parts superbly. It’s not easy after all to come up with plan after plan only to be foiled by their nemesis at the last second. It takes a lot of courage, risk taking, and boldness to be undaunted by their failures and to continue their quests for power.

In today’s cartoon world, are villains still seeking the same thing? What is their agenda and is it still able to help children learn right from wrong? I attempt to answer this by looking at a few animated evil-doers from some of the most notable cartoon series from my childhood to more contemporary ones airing today.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Repo Men Motion Comics Animation

Repo Men hits in theaters but intrigued fans can get a taste of the story telling they have in store now with a free motion comic. The comic, commissioned by director Miguel Sapochnik, gives a sneak look at Jude Law's character, Remy, courtesy of two comic book veterans. Jimmy Palmiotti wrote the script, and Dennis Calero provided the art for the two part project, but in a bit of a non-traditional working fashion.

Calero was pulled in a while after Palmiotti had written the script in a traditional comic style. After Sapochnik picked his art from a group of artists shown to him by Double Barrel Studios producer Jeff Krelitz, the director worked with the artist on how to tweak the script and panel descriptions to fit the unique medium, and decided to direct these shorts himself.
"The animation is limited, which can change the way we have to interpret the writing. You don't have the limitation of a static picture, but not the freedom of full animation."

As for motion comics' future, Calero didn't want to speculate too much, acknowledging that while free promotional videos like this get millions of views, the paid model has yet to pan out in a big way for the medium. He would, however, like to try out more animation, and is in the midst of making that dream come true.

As for Repo Men itself? Calero still hasn't gotten to see the whole thing, but saw portions of it during the editing process for reference.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

DreamWorks Animation Vikings and Dragons

DreamWorks latest animation movie is “How to Train Your Dragon”

The Vikings are all brawn and matted, bushy hair and there's an implication of not much brains while the dragons are a menagerie of fierce flying, fire-belching, multitasking creatures that fear and are feared in equal measure. From this, DreamWorks Animation tries to fashion a 3D movie that will intrigue kids and adults alike but might play raggedly in both camps.

Despite its jocular title, the film contains intense action scenes and violence, enough so that small children supplied a background of cries at one recent screening. Nonetheless, March 26 should find long lines in front of cinemas. How favorably youngsters respond to the dragons might determine what kind of legs the cartoon eventually will achieve.

The film is directed by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois, who did the marvelous "Lilo & Stitch." In many ways, it's the same movie: A child adopts, and then tames a lethal creature. But the intimacy and pop culture references of the "Lilo & Stitch" story are jettisoned in favor of ancient warriors and mythical creatures that feel remote. It's hard to form a rooting interest in either Vikings or dragons.

More curious from an animation standpoint are the dull human characters. They are plastic creatures that look like ads for children's dolls. Most of the male Vikings come off as no-neck athletes on steroids. The youngsters look closer to cartoon humans, and at least they come in different sizes, with our protagonist and a valiant young Viking girl who catches his eye being downright skinny.

The centerpiece of the movie is a developing friendship between a Viking boy, Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel), and a dragon nicknamed Toothless. By befriending rather than killing a wounded dragon as tradition and genes should dictate Hiccup realizes that everything his elders know about dragons is wrong.

Dragons are trainable, peaceable and affectionate. But try telling that to tribal elders or your father (Gerard Butler) who just happens to be the chief or even that friendly dragon master (Craig Ferguson, thickening that Scottish brogue even more if such a thing were possible).

The film treats them with ambivalence as the animators can't decide between ferocity and cuddliness. Toothless has a kind of feline look, and the others look like they belong in a Chinatown parade. "Dragon" represents a solid effort from DreamWorks, but the audience perhaps feels the effort more than it should.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Day & Night

Walt Disney Pictures released the first photo, a promo title treatment, for Pixar’s next short film, Day & Night, directed by Teddy Newton. The photo, seen above, featured two characters, one filled with day, the other filled with night. At the time we speculated that the short might be a 2D animated film, and not the computer animated short film we’re use to from Pixar. And now people within Pixar are calling it “unlike anything Pixar has produced before.” What does that mean? Is it 2D or 3D? Details after the jump.

Now The Pixar Blog has uncovered a few new bits about the project:
  • Up art director Don Shank writes on blog: “I am very excited that the public will finally get to see it because it’s unlike anything Pixar has produced before.” Shank, who served as production designer on the short film, calls his experience “one of the best times I’ve ever had working on anything”. Unlike anything has produced before? What does that mean? It certainly doesn’t mean 2D as Pixar’s short Your Friend the Rat, included on the Ratatouille DVD/Blu-ray release, and was filled with 2D hand-drawn animation. So what can that mean?
  • Cartoon Brew’s Jerry Beck claims that the images “inside” the characters will be Computer animated, but the Day & Night characters are 2D, hand drawn.
  • Sounds like an interesting theory and certainly fits with Shank’s claim that it’s “unlike anything Pixar has produced before.” And since it will be attached to prints of Toy Story 3 in 3D, one would assume that the characters will acts as animated windows into a 3D world which might look kinda cool. We’re set to see the short film on Wednesday at ShoWest, so we’ll know soon enough.
So what is it about? Here is the official plot synopsis:
When Day, a sunny fellow, encounters Night, a stranger of distinctly darker moods, sparks fly! Day and Night are frightened and suspicious of each other at first, and quickly get off on the wrong foot. But as they discover each other’s unique qualities and come to realize that each of them offers a different window onto the same world the friendship helps both to gain a new perspective.

Newton is a Cal Arts guy, very respected, considered one of the most influential visual development artists in the field of animation. Composer Michael Giacchino is providing a score for the short. The Academy Award-winning composer has been working with Pixar for some time, providing the score for The Incredibles, Ratatoille, Up, and short films Lifted and Partly Cloudy, so it makes sense that he might also be working on the company’s next animated short as well. In the late 1990’s, Teddy formed a partnership with Giacchino to make animated films, but they apparently couldn’t come up with the capital to make it happen.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

China's cartoon and animation

China's cartoon and animation exports totaled $30.57 million in 2009, a surge of 150 percent from the previous year, Xinhuanet.

The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television said exports of movie and video programs soared 44.2 percent to $58.98 billion in 2009 over the previous year.

For the first time in history, exports in cartoons and animations surpassed TV series to hold the biggest share, 51.8 percent of the total, the report said. Exports in TV series were worth $20.05 million, accounting for 34 percent of the total.

Exports in documentaries and variety shows reached $8.37 million, accounting for 14.2 percent of the total, according to the report.

China exported 10,617.2 hours of movie and video programs in 2009, with 79 animation programs of 1,490 hours, accounting for 14 percent of the total.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Rapunzel Renamed Cartoon Movie

Everyone knows the story of "Rapunzel," about a girl with mile-long hair kept in a tower. A handsome comes to her aid and saves the day and they live happily ever after.

So Walt Disney Studios have renamed their animated version of the storybook classic "Tangled" in order to lure more young boys into movie theaters.

Why? Disney's latest animated feature, "The Princess and the Frog" fell well below studio expectations, so they're making sure that this version of the classic tale is "girl-centric" to put off boy filmgoers.

"We did not want to be put in a box," Ed Catmull, president of Pixar and Disney Animation Studios says. "Some people might assume it's a fairy tale for girls when it's not. We make movies to be appreciated and loved by everybody."

The feature-length animated film in 3-D is set to be released to theaters November 24. To insure that boys will be interested in the cartoon, a swashbuckling, macho hero has been added to the storyline

"In our film, the infamous bandit Flynn Rider meets his match in the girl with the 70 feet of magical golden hair," the film's producer Roy Conli, has said online. "We're having a lot of fun pairing Flynn, who's seen it all, with Rapunzel, who's been locked away in a tower for 18 years."

Disney interested in emulating the success of its corporate sibling, Pixar. Pixar's movies have been huge hits with girls, boys and adults. It’s most recent release, "Up," grossed more than $700 million worldwide, and was nominated for Best Picture.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Dora Cartoon Rocks

Dora the Explorer, Nickelodeon's cartoon preschool heroine, is turning 10 and has a host of marketing partners to help her celebrate. Dora continues to resonate, educate and entertain millions of preschoolers around the world. Dora demo is very important to the bureau and its "Children Count Too" initiative this year.

In the coming months, Dora will appear in everything from public service advertisements for the U.S. Census to a backpack program with Salma Hayek to a seat-belt safety initiative with State Farm to Australian passports each serving a different multicultural marketing purpose, and all before her diamond anniversary this August. Hard to believe a character now seen in 151 countries and 30 different languages might have once been thought of as a marketing challenge just over a decade ago.

As Nickelodeon legend goes, the Viacom kids' network's head of animation, Brown Johnson, was attending a conference about Latinos' portrayal on TV or lack thereof, at the time when a light bulb went off in her head. Creators Chris Gifford and Valerie Walsh Valdes shifted the focus of their original series about a problem solving "Blues Clues" esque bunny rabbit to a 7-year-old Latina girl explorer who could teach preschoolers how to speak Spanish. The show debuted in 2000 as the No. 1 most watched show among preschoolers in all of TV, and has held that status for six of the last 10 years.

Now that Nickelodeon is sharing the Dora brand with a series of new partners, Pam Kaufman, the network's chief marketing officer, described the risks as a lot less challenging this time around.

"Dora the Explorer is a well-recognized character who's bilingual and certainly reaches the young viewers and will help us get the message to the parents and child-care providers of those younger viewers"

The National Parents and Teachers Association and the Children's Defense Fund are also relying on Dora to help prepare the under-5 circuit for preschool with an upcoming "Beyond the Backpack"

"We know through our research that Dora speaks to teaching a second language, problem solving, interpersonal skills and familiarizing kids with computer technology."

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

KATZ Fun Taiwan's 3D animated cartoon

Taiwan's 3D animated cartoon "KATZ Fun" has made its debut on TV channels in the U.S. and will be broadcast there for three months in its first season, according to a manager of Bright Ideas Design (BID).

"Season one of this cartoon series, comprising 13 episodes; will be broadcast on TV channels in 17 states in the U.S.,” said Erica Lee, Manager of International Marketing with BID.

The company, including 70 members of its research and development department, has spent four years and NT$ 60 million to develop the cartoon.

"KATZ Fun" depicts a story of a mystical tiger named Katz who helps children develop their potential talents, the Central News Agency.

The characters are lovable and the story teaches positive values, adding that believes these factors were the key to attracting buyers from other countries.

In addition to the U.S., the company is in the process of reaching a final deal with buyers from Southeast Asia. Some representatives of TV channels from South Africa and Europe have also expressed their interest in the animation.

It also revealed that in Zhejiang province, China, the company has started to promote this cartoon as well.

Bright Ideas Design is a digital content development company in Taiwan. It stepped into the field of animated cartoons after cooperating with the National Palace Museum to combine art and humanities with digital technology to show the beauty of art.

In addition to making animations, the company is building a KATZ Fun amusement park in Zhejiang, China this year, which will include a theme park and movie theater.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Adventure Time with Finn & Jake American Cartoon

Adventure Time with Finn & Jake is an upcoming American animated television series created by Pendleton Ward, based on the animated short Adventure Time that aired as part of Frederator Studios' Random! Cartoons. The animated short was nominated for an Annie Award for Best Animated Short Subject of 2006.

Henry Rollins, isn't busy enough between his publishing, traveling, acting, and current Frequent Flyer talking tour, here's another cookie jar Rollins has got a hand in - the Cartoon Network.

Henry Rollins (born February 13, 1961 as Henry Lawrence Garfield) is an American singer-songwriter, raconteur, stand-up comedian, spoken word artist, writer, publisher, actor, radio DJ, and activist.

Adventure Time with Finn and Jake tells the tales of the adventures of two best friends who live in the Land of Ooo: Finn who's a 12-year old boy and Jake, a 28-year-old dog with magical powers.

From the mind of creator Pendleton Ward, Ooo is a land built for adventure. Teeming with imposing mountains, lush green plains, accessible forests, ubiquitous prairies and winding rivers, the cities and towns are filled with bizarre characters in need of unique assistance. Whether it’s saving Princess Bubblegum, defeating zombie candy, mocking the “oxy-moronic” Ice King or rocking out with undead music wiz Marceline the Vampire Queen, with Finn & Jake it’s always Adventure Time.

The series premieres April 5 at 7pm CST for those in the Chicagoland area, and features celebrity voices including Henry Rollins, Mark Hamill, George Takei, Lou Ferrigno and Erik Estrada.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Tim Burton Cartoons

The current special-effects technology of motion capture used famously in "Avatar," the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy and "The Polar Express" uses actors' movements and expressions to control digitally created characters. Because it combines the performance of the actor with the images created by teams of visual artists, this somewhat new frontier has blurred the line between animation and live action and caused controversy among animators and awards committees. So there may not be a more fitting director to try out the technique than Tim Burton, the Disney animator turned live-action director. He's done just that in "Alice in Wonderland," combining mo-cap characters with live ones and pushing his already stylized cinematic worlds to new, more exaggerated plateaus.

In honor of this development, let's take a look at Burton's previous live action films that best showcase his animator sensibilities.

"Frankenweenie" (included on the DVD for "The Nightmare Before Christmas") is a 30-minute live-action short Burton directed while still at Disney. In stylish black and white, it tells the story of Frankenstein in the world of a child, as young Victor Frankenstein uses household items to resurrect his dead dog. Burton is currently reworking this short as a stop-motion feature.

"Pee-Wee's Big Adventure" was Burton's first feature, and still one of the funniest movies ever made. Pee-Wee's world is something of a living cartoon, but the movie also uses some hilarious cutaways to stop-motion animation (Large Marge, animated T-rex), a technique Burton also used to great effect in "Beetlejuice."

"Edward Scissorhands" is maybe Burton's most personal work of cartoon-goth. His pallid, colorless hero lives in a gothic castle that springs from the middle of a candy-colored, cookie-cutter suburb straight out of an animation background painting.

Although it marked a decline in Burton's emotional attachment to his work, something he's never quite recovered from, "Mars Attacks!" was Burton's most animated live-action movie until "Alice." Its humorously one-dimensional buffoon characters are no match for the anarchic mayhem of the CGI big-brained little green men created by Industrial Light and Magic. Burton originally tried to create the Martians with stop-motion animation before finding it financially prohibitive.

The personality of Burton's squiggly animation designs can be seen in pretty much all of his movies: the purple and green evil of The Joker in "Batman," the Shreck's Department Store cat mascot of "Batman Returns," the eye-popping witch of "Sleepy Hollow," even the haunted-house ride in "Ed Wood" (Burton's most minimalist movie). It will be interesting to see if the worlds of Burton's art and his human beings merge even more as the technology continues to progress.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

New Series of Pink Panther & Pals

For the first time in almost two decades, The Pink Panther is back with a new series of cartoons, MGM announced.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM) and Rubicon Group have announced the launch of Pink Panther & Pals, the first new series in the iconic franchise in 17 years, on Cartoon Network on March 7 at 7:30 a.m.

Pink Panther & Pals is based on the animated Pink Panther character created by David DePatie and Friz Freland and the Pink Panther films of Blake Edwards. Each show contains two episodes depicting a teenage Panther and his buddies, and one episode featuring the Ant & the Aardvark characters.

"Cartoon Network getting behind this new series by featuring new episodes every Sunday this spring is giving Panther fans across America something new to laugh about," said David J. Corbett, executive producer.

“Each show contains two episodes of a teenage Panther and his buddies, and one episode featuring the Ant & the Aardvark characters,” according to MGM.

The new cartoon series is based on the old Pink Panther created by David DePatie and Friz Freleng, the studios said, as well as the movies directed by Blake Edwards.

Executive producer Walter Mirisch added, "The Pink Panther is one of those rare characters that parents trust yet he is also versatile enough to entertain generation after generation."

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

India’s animation Toonz Entertainment

Indian animation firm Toonz said it has set up a new distribution division in the United States as part of plans to make inroads into world film markets.

Toonz Animation India Pvt. Ltd has opened its new distribution division based in Los Angeles under the registered name of Toonz Entertainment, USA. Toonz Entertainment will specialize in the world-wide sales and distribution of, animated feature films, direct to video content and television series. Toonz initial distribution slate will consist of Wolverine and X-Men Season 1 and 2, Speed Racer 2, Speed Racer Classic, Mostly Ghostly 2 and 3, Freefonix apart from other well known properties.

Chief executive of the Singapore-based Toonz Entertainment parent company P. Jayakumar said the new distribution arm would allow the firm "to grow as a full fledged media house."

Toonz, a major provider of animation to the top US and European producers, is South Asia's most admired animation studio and part of the international business conglomerate, Comcraft Group, based out of Geneva. Founded in 1999, Toonz's client list includes the biggest names in media and entertainment like Marvel, Hallmark, Paramount, Disney, BBC and Cartoon Network. Toonz Animation offers its world-wide clientele end-to-end animation services including 3D animation, 2D animation (digital and traditional), Flash, Stop Motion and VFX on a full spectrum of media platforms. The Animation Magazine has heralded the company as one of the top-ten multimedia studios in the world.

Animation and special effects are a growth market in India as the domestic film sector, including the popular Bollywood Hindi-language movie industry, turns to more modern production methods.

Specialist companies are being increasingly used by Hollywood and other foreign studios because of their lower costs.

India's animation and special effects industry is expected to be worth 23.3 billion rupees (505 million dollars) this year and is expected to grow to 39.4 billion rupees by 2013, consultants KPMG said last year.

The animation sector is projected to grow by almost 22 percent in the five years to 2013, it added in a report on the media and entertainment industry for the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Ray Favata and His Hand-Drawn Animation

Ray Favata made Sonny the Cuckoo Bird "koo-koo for Cocoa Puffs" and gave Billy Joe his Jive.

Favata, a leading figure in animation from the 1950s through the 1990s, retired and moved to Washington County in 1997, but his body of work continues to inspire a new generation of artists.

"Ray was an innovator," said Ed Seeman, his long-time animation partner. "He paints with a pencil. He instinctively draws. He doesn't have to sketch. His first pencil line is the line."

Long before computers came into play, Favata helped transform the field with a quirky sense of design. He illustrated everything from Post Cereal commercials to segments for "Schoolhouse Rock" and Billy Joe Jive cartoons for "Sesame Street." Sugar Bear, My Little Pony and the "Tangeroo" are just a few of the characters he developed.

"I think, I spanned 50 years in animation," Favata said.

Through his career in Manhattan, Favata won a number of awards, including an Emmy for his drawing on the opening animated sequence of the 1980s children's series "The Great Space Coaster."

He regularly worked with comedians Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding, better known as Bob and Ray. Favata teamed with the comedy duo to create the animated 1950s Piels Beer campaign featuring the characters Bert and Harry. Looking at one of his old drawings of the two balding announcers (one short, one tall), Favata reminisced about the much-loved spots.

"They were extraordinary guys. Bob did this guy's voice (pointing to the tall character), and Ray did this guy's voice (pointing to the short character). Bob was shorter than Ray, but they reversed the voices," Favata said.

Favata claims he knew very little about cartoons and animation before he happened upon a job at Tempo Productions, one of the premier studios in the early 1950s.
"I was doing freelance work, and I was called in to do some storyboards, which I had never done. It was completely foreign to me," Favata said.

"Two weeks after I started at Tempo, I knew I loved doing this," he said. Favata was able to learn from some of the most talented artists in animation, including a number of people who had developed their art while working for Walt Disney.

"I was having a good time. This was a whole new dimension to drawing," he said.

Favata was hired at Academy Pictures, where he met his wife, Carol (who also worked for years in animation as an inker and painter). During the 1950s, he developed ties to some of the top animators and had a steady stream of work.

In 1957, he went to work at the revamped Terrytoons and then went on to team up with Bill Tytla to start a new commercial animation studio, according to Amidi. In the 1960s, the studio became Ray Favata Productions, which continued into the 1980s.

Seeman, who began working with Favata in the 1960s, has many memories of their collaboration.

Along the way, Favata and Seeman formed a working relationship with musician Frank Zappa in the mid-1960s. Zappa scored a Luden's Cough Drop commercial for them, and the artists spent some time photographing and filming the musician and collaborated on his "Uncle Meat" project.
The advertising business began to change in the 1980s, and Favata and Seeman closed their shop. But they still collaborated on freelance projects.

"I had no experience with computer animation, and I knew it was going in that direction," Favata said. "It's almost like the end of an era when I left."

Although Favata never received the mainstream notoriety of some animators, the artistic influence of his work is apparent on Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon.

From the "Powerpuff Girls" to "Chowder" and "Flapjack," a new generation of animation is paying homage to artists like Favata.

Favata hasn't worked in animation for more than a decade, but he remains active and still enjoys taking photographs. His house is filled with mementos of the golden age of hand-drawn animation.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Virgin Media With Turner Cartoonito Deal

Virgin Media announced a new agreement with Turner Broadcasting to make available the popular preschool kids' channel Cartoonito to its 3.7 million digital TV customers for the first time, as well as a range of Cartoonito shows on demand. As part of the expanded line-up of content, Virgin Media has also secured the rights to bring a range of Turner Broadcasting content available to its customers, both online and through mobiles.

Cartoonito is home to popular preschool shows such as Fireman Sam, the Care Bears and Hi-5 and will be included in the line-up of channels available to customers on Virgin Media 'L' or 'XL' TV pack from April. It joins the raft of Turner Broadcasting channels already available on Virgin Media including kids' channels Cartoon Network, Boomerang and CN Too, international news channel CNN, and classic film channel TCM (Turner Classic Movies).

The online elements include a range of TV on demand including shows such as Cartoon Network's Ben 10 and Boomerang's Scooby Doo, as well as new content from Cartoonito. The deal also means Virgin Media will be able to bring customers mobile versions of popular shows from Cartoon Network and Boomerang, as well as simulcast news from CNN.

Cindy Rose, executive director of digital entertainment at Virgin Media, said cross-platform distribution deals were becoming increasingly vital. “Our new deal with Turner Broadcasting will provide a huge boost to our three screen strategy as we develop an innovative new way for our customers to enjoy content,” said Rose.

The company now broadcasts 21 entertainment channels in 17 languages across approximately 100 countries in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. With a rich history of innovation, Turner Broadcasting is continuing to push the boundaries of media being at the forefront of development with its brands via the web, VOD, DVD, gaming, mobile, merchandising, publishing and emerging platforms.