Spike and Mike's Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation have bought the rights to the series pilot of SICKCOM from comic book artist Robert Steven Rhine (MY BRAIN ESCAPES ME, CHICKEN SOUP FOR SATAN) and his partner, animator Frank Forte (LI'L PIMP movie, THE VAMPIRE VERSES, THE CLETUS AND FLOYD SHOW).
ZODIAC MEDIA founder/president H. Paul Gill died suddenly of heart failure while playig basketball on June 25, 2003 at the age of 28 in Toronto, Canada.
Matt Jones, in-house director for Uli Meyer Animation in London, recently completed a new promo, CLAPPING SONG, for Nickelodeon UK. Animated in Flash, it promotes the Nick Junior shows DORA THE EXPLORER, THE HOOBS, LITTLE BILL, BLUE'S CLUES and YOU DO TOO.
Jones designed all the new characters and storyboarded the promo, working with Nick Jr. producer Maria Timotheou, in just under six weeks. The colorful & simple style is intended to appeal to kids under five years old. Flash animation was produced by Jon Jones and Jason Kotey.
Flash specialty studio ANIMAX is producing a 35mm-animated short film for Jellyman Prods., CATCHING KRINGLE, in a mix of 2D techniques. ANIMAX is using Flash, USAnimation and traditional hand animation for the holiday themed short, featuring the voices of Danny De Vito and John Rhy-Davies, with a cameo by Larry King. The film will be ready to exhibit at film and animation festivals in time for the holiday season.
Atomic Cartoons has retooled its original all Flash Website, www.atomiccartoons.com. "We figured it was time to update our already extremely successful Website, so we went for a total redo. I think it is a cleaner, easier to navigate site now," said Atomic ceo Trevor Bentley.
Video Symphony, one of Hollywood's leading TV, film and DVD education centers, has been awarded a two-year, $1.5 million contract by California's Employment Training Panel (ETP) to retrain professionals employed by the state's digital media production companies.
ETP funds are awarded to a select group of training centers, such as Video Symphony, to help keep California's digital technology companies competitive, and to diminish export of production work to other states and nations.
Utah-based Strata once again makes it easier for designers, illustrators and animators to create high quality content with Strata 3Dpro3.8, which runs on Windows 98, Me and XP as well as Apple's OSX.
New features include:_ Photon light refraction and reflection_ Stochastic sampling for enhanced realism in Raydiosity?_ Toon rendering for quick, high quality cartoon images_ Enhanced deform for modeling and animation effects_ Jiggle enhancements for more realistic motion_ Power user features for streamlined workflow
FINDING NEMO, the computer-animated underwater comedy/adventure from Disney/Pixar, exceeded all expectations with a record-breaking bow of $70.3M last weekend. That's the best opening ever for an animated feature, topping the $62.6M grabbed by MONSTERS, INC., the fourth Pixar/Disney movie from 2001. It's also the best three-day gross for any Buena Vista feature, live action or animated.
The Ink Tank has wrapped on a new stylized documentary for PBS entitled FASHIONATION. The 30-minute program takes a tour of the high fashion world using animation, archival material, runway footage and original interviews with curators and designers Karl Lagerfeld, Sonia Rykiel and Christian Lacroix.
Bent Image Lab has just finished production on the first Reese's Pieces ad in more than two decades for Hershey's and agency partner DDB New York. For the CENTER OF ATTENTION CAMPAIGN, it was Bent Image's job to bring to life an action-packed world where the center of the frame always contains a Reese's Pieces candy as the focal point. The style has been done in live action before where camera harnesses lock the person attached to camera in the center of the frame like in REQUIEM FOR A DREAM, but this is the first time it's been done in mixed-media or 3D stop-motion animation.
The Comedy Central test of showing via a series of interstitial spots pulled from the HOUSE ARREST pilot worked as the cablenet has given the show a greenlight for 13 half-hours to premiere in 2004. The new animated show, from comic Denis Leary and Jim Serpico's Apostle studio, started airing as spots at 9:58 pm on May 1, 2003.
Wildform, creators of video and animation software, have released Wild fx 3.0, a major upgrade to its Flash text animation software, previously sold under the name SWfX. The new version has more than 100 new effects, including 45 that are infinitely customizable. These custom effects can also be used as templates to create new effects, which can be saved and added to the Wild fx library. All the effects can be moved, deleted and organized in a drag and drop folder tree.
New York City-based Animation Collective, Inc., has appointed Aundrea DeFur to the newly created position of head of production. She will oversee the studio's production slate and manage client relationships.
The 4th Bitfilm Festival for Digital Film and New Media is looking for entries for the event that will take place in Hamburg, Germany on September 19-26, 2003. Prize money totaling 45,000 Euros will be awarded in five categories: Digital FeaturesFilms that run 90 minutes, which use 3D animation and digital effects as an artistic means.Bit ShortsShort films, music videos and ads which use 3D animation and digital effects as an artistic means. FlashLinear films and interactive works made with Macromedia Flash.Machinima
COO Joan Vogelesang has been appointed president of Toon Boom Technologies Inc., replacing Jacques Bilodeau who has left the company. She now takes complete charge of the company's direction and will continue to spearhead sales, marketing and operations, according to Hubert Manseau, chairman of board. Regarding Bilodeu's departure, Manseau said, "The Board of Directors would like to thank Mr. Bilodeau for his past contributions at Toon Boom Technologies and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors."
Chel White, Ray Di Carlo and David Daniels have combined strengths to form an artist-driven studio Bent Image Lab, in Portland, Oregon. "Our mission is to generate the future in 'mixed media/animation/live-action'," said partner/executive producer Di Carlo. "We are artists doing business, not businessmen trying to make art." Di Carlo however, has a successful business background and will operate Bent under a highly unique business model.
Expression Center for New Media has named one of its state-of-the-art digital media labs in honor of late animation legend Chuck Jones. The Chuck Jones Lab in Emeryville, California will be used by Expression Digital Visual Media students to create 3D animation and modeling using Maya, After Effects, Flash, Vicon Workstation and Kaydara FiLMBOX software, plus Dell precision workstations with 2.2GHz processors and Trinitron monitors.
Nominees for the 1st Annual International 3D Awards have been announced and Jason Schleifer, animation lead at Weta Digital (LORD OF THE RINGS), will host the Short Films category at the ceremony to be held in the evening, May 9, 2003 at the 3D Festival 2003 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Schleifer also chaired and oversaw the judging process for the Short Films category with an international panel of jury members from the 3D industry. The short film nominees are: - SHOW & TELL, Kapow Pictures, Australia- THE CHUBBCHUBBS, Sony Pictures Imageworks, USA
Alias|Wavefront has announced its new Maya 5 can be downloaded immediately by customers on full annual maintenance and registered for eSupport via www.aliaswavefront.com/maya/support, a week before its due to ship, May 1, 2003, for new and upgrading customers. Maya 5 offers enhancements especially helpful for character animation, dynamics and polygonal modeling, and has become more applicable to 2D artists, Web developers and technical illustrators.
International toy and game company University Games has formed an alliance with Warner Bros. Consumer Products to create a number of JUSTICE LEAGUE products, based on the popular DC Comics comic book series and Cartoon Networks hit animated show that includes the worlds most powerful superheroes: BATMAN, SUPERMAN, WONDER WOMAN, GREEN LANTERN, MARTIAN MANHUNTER, HAWKGIRL and THE FLASH.
Hong Kong-based animation studio STVDIO Media has produced an animated spot for Coca-Colas Slurpee "Brainfreeze" product in Singapore and its agency M&C Saatchi. DR. BRAINFREEZE'S LABORATORY features the creator of the ice-cold Slurpee drink, Dr. Brainfreeze, who loves his drink even though he has to go to great lengths to thaw out his head after each sip. He employs various gadgets such as hairdryer and a blowtorch-wielding robot to thaw out. The animators used a DEXTER'S LABORATORY inspired style for the mad doctor.
When Spanish newcomer Zinkia Entertainment attended MIPCOM, the Madrid-based company received more interest in its older-skewed series, SHURIKEN SCHOOL (6-10-years-old). But at the conclusion of MIP-TV, Maria Doolan, director of int'l co-productions at Zinkia, reports a mood change with buyers showing interest in her pre-school show POCOYÓ. "The pre-school market appeared to be more buoyant again," said Doolan. Zinkia is close to signing int'l pre-sales on both series. POCOYÓ is a 52-part, 3D animated series starring Pocoyó, an inquisitive toddler who wants to reach out and touch everything, as well as a plastic yellow duck, a magic clown, an athletic elephant and a friendly narrator. The series is created in short stimulating blocks for infant learning and development, using vibrant sound, music, movement and images. Zinkia has developed its own technology to give a clay-like quality to the characters. The comedy action series SHURIKEN SCHOOL (52x13), aimed at kids 6-10, features a manga style student, Eizan Kaburagi, attending the oldest and most respected ninja academy in the world, a weird and wild place where anything can and does happen. Produced entirely in Flash animation, the series is due to start production in spring 2003. Both series, which have been developed and created in English, have been created as multimedia concepts and are fully compatible with all kinds of multi-platform applications. Zinkia Entertainment (www.zinkia.com), is a multi-platform production company, creating quality entertainment, animation, commercials, IDs, graphics and music.
Toon Boom released its latest version of USAnimation with improved features and a new name to distinguish one of the most widely used 2D animation softwares in the world. USAnimation OPUS features a new user interface for users to configure layouts to suit their own workflow preferences. Camera, Xsheet, Paint and Scene Planning functions have been merged into one Universal Stage Module. "Our next generation of vector technology allows more functionality and increases quality of the work," said Joan Vogelesang, Toom Boon Technologies' COO.