Click 3X has expanded its creative staff by adding two new designer/directors Michael Wiehart and Christine Lin and a senior inferno* artist Steve Zourntos. Wiehart is one of four artists that formed Zurich-based motion-graphics design firm, Frame by Frame. He has won a Gold Lion at Cannes for his work on a spot for Pioneer. Wiehart said, "Early in my career, I tended to be involved in every aspect of my projects, from developing the idea, the concept, through production and post, and I've held onto that. I still like to do work on the machines.
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Mixin Pixls has created visual effects for the Hyundai spot "Ice City," which launches the new EF Sonata for Korea. The commercial has a lone car entering an icy metropolis, which begins to melt the snow and bring life to the city. "To create the desired look, two production options were discussed," said Mixin Pixls' executive producer Dan Filice. "One was to shoot a miniature set and composite the necessary images. The second was to create the 'city' via computer animation.
Red Sky's Boston office (formerly Olive Jar Studios, Inc.) has wrapped on the new integrated television campaign for Chili's Grill & Bar. Chili's and the Austin, Texas ad agency GSD&M developed the creative concept for 30-second "Butterfly." The spot begins at sunrise when a chili pepper character, hanging from a tree and back lit by a morning sky, appears to pulse or "breathe" deeply. As the day draws on, the chili pepper metamorphoses into a mushroom, sprouts wings and flies away to land atop a sizzling fajita.
REZN8, a design and animation production house, developed part of the opening sequence for the 73rd Annual Academy Awards telecast Sunday, March 25, 2001. REZN8 designed and created the special video segment that introduced Oscar host Steve Martin. Traveling through deep space, viewers were treated to animated radio signals and past Academy Award moments composited by the REZN8 graphics team over film footage. The opening culminates in a 3D NASA space station, modeled and animated by REZN8.
A memorial service for Mr. Hanna has been scheduled for Monday, April 2, at 6:00 pm, at:
Warner Bros. Studios
Steven J. Ross Theater
4000 Warner Boulevard
Guests are asked to enter through Gate 7/Forest Lawn Drive, and not to arrive before 5:15 pm. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to one of the following:
The William D. Hanna Research Fund
c/o Elly Brtva
919 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 1100
Pixar executive vice president and two-time Oscar-winning director John Lasseter has signed a ten year contract to provide his services exclusively to the studio. "John Lasseter, more than anyone else, has shaped Pixar into the world-class animation studio it is today. With John leading our creative team for the next decade, our dream of nurturing a golden age of animation at Pixar may come true," said Pixar CEO Steve Jobs.
PDI/DreamWorks has named Michael Garner and Laura Lockwood producers at the company's commercials division. Both have just finished their duties as production supervisors on PDI's 3D animated feature SHREK. Previously, Garner worked as production coordinator on PDI's first feature ANTZ. Prior to PDI, he worked at Digital Domain, where his credits include TITANIC, DANTE'S PEAK and THE FIFTH ELEMENT. "I've always gravitated towards the more technical, multi-tasking types of production," Garner said.
DIC Entertainment and Riverdale Productions announced an agreement to co-produce, distribute and merchandise a new animated television series based on the JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS comic book. Riverdale Productions is the film and television arm of Archie Comic Publications and MultiModal Media Group.
Since Fox didn't air their usual Sunday animation block of THE SIMPSONS, KING OF THE HILL and FUTURAMA, there were only three shows that made their way to primetime this week. Tied with five other shows for 104th, WBs THE PJS scored a 1.4 rating/2 share. Tied with four other shows for 110th, UPN's GARY & MIKE scored a 1.3 rating/2 share. Tied with four other shows for 115th, UPN's CELEBRITY DEATHMATCH scored a 1.2 rating/2 share. These ratings and shares represent primetime TV in the U.S. on broadcast networks for the week starting Monday, March 18 through Sunday, March 25, 2001.
Vancouver-based Natterjack recently wrapped on three spots for the "Got milk?" campaign, featuring the Powerpuff Girls. "We were asked to create concentrated mini-episodes," said Steve Evangelatos, Natterjack's director, "with the girls battling their familiar foes: Mojo Jojo, Fuzzy Lumpkins and the Gangrene Gang." Each spot features a different girl to promote chocolate, banana and strawberry flavored milks. In all three spots, the villains unexpectedly threaten the supply of milk, until one of the girls saves the day. "When you see the ads, don't blink!
Zeros & Ones, Inc., a Santa Monica-based holding company with operations in content, technology and production, has launched Zeros & Ones Studios. The new studio will focus on cutting-edge digital animation production that will maximize the potential of Flash and other 2-D tools in the creation of media that plays across all platforms. Newly appointed VP-Managing Director Tim Rummel, has put together a team headed by Michael Adamo, co-founder of New York-based AMPnyc Animation.
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Digimation has started shipping Cluster-O-Matic, a new clustering and animation plug-in for Discreet's 3ds max 3 and 4. Developed by Di-O-Matic, Inc., Cluster-O-Matic is designed for clustering collections of vertices together and linking them to other objects directly within 3ds max scenes. According to the company, Cluster-O-Matic can be used for modeling and animation, and it is especially suited for doing facial animation and touching up 3D models. "Cluster-O-Matic is a very handy tool! This plug-in gives you so much more control over your models than anything 3ds max provides!
In a weekend with lackluster results at the box office, ENEMY AT THE GATES fell from second to fourth, grossing $8.4 million. The WWII sniper saga, with primary visual effects by Das Werk, Die Nefzers, Double Negative, The Computer Film Company and AudioMotion Ltd., has accumulated $26.2 million thus far. Staying in the sixth spot was CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON which collected another $4.62 million. The Oscar winner for best foreign film, with primary visual effects by Blue Sky Studios, CFC/MVFX and Manex Visual Effects, has amassed $106.26 million.
UPN has ordered a pilot for an animated sketch series from Urban Entertainment. The untitled project will feature Webtoons bridged together by an animated host. Urban Entertainment plans to license some content from other sites for the series. Company founder and CEO Michael Jenkinson said to the DAILY VARIETY, "It will be a broad sweep of the best stuff that's out there on the Internet. It will be youthful and hip and will definitely have an attitude." This deal isn't the first between UPN and Urban Entertainment.
Nickelodeon has laid off 30 staffers as a streamlining measure. Most came from Nickelodeon Studios in Orlando, Florida. Nick spokesmen Dan Martinsen said, the East Coast branch is moving toward a "show-to-show production model." A source said that this move is due to the economy slow down and that no other lay offs are likely. Other Viacom divisions MTV, VH1 and TNN were not affected by the cost-cutting move.
On March 25, 2001 in Los Angeles, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the winners for this year's Oscars. Taking home the prize for outstanding animated short was Michael Dudok de Wit's lyrically elegant FATHER & DAUGHTER. The big winner for the evening was the visual effects epic GLADIATOR, which received five Oscars for best picture, best actor Russell Crowe, best visual effects, best costume design and best sound. Oscar was also kind to the other big visual effects film of the year CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON.
iXL Digital Video Group provided visual effects for Tide's new "Angel" commercial. In the spot, a woman in a white ski suit makes snow angels, however she reaches the ground below getting dirt all over her clothes. The dirt in the live-action footage was not prominent enough, so senior visual effects artist Doug Dimon was assigned to "bring out the dirt," in addition to multiplying the angel mark five times for the final scene. "While the finished spot appears natural, we did a lot digitally to enhance the dirt," said Dimon, who sampled dirt from several plates in flame*.
Curious Pictures has wrapped on a new CGI spot for Lugz athletic shoes entitled "Pirate Radio." In the 30-second commercial, after the Lugz's Blue Man subverts the city power, the hero must avoid the electric company's thugs in order to run a pirate radio station for rooftop parties across the city. "In the Lugz spot, we created characters with a lot of personality surrounded by computer-animated environments that are rich and beautiful," said Chel White, Curious Pictures' director.
Alliance Atlantis has promoted Jennifer Bennett to vice president, merchandising and licensing. Bennett will oversee the licensing of all Alliance Atlantis' television properties, including children's label, AAC KIDSTM. She has been with the company for the past seven years, most recently as director, merchandising and licensing. "Jennifer has been invaluable to Alliance Atlantis' merchandising and licensing initiatives over the past three years since joining the M&L team," said Ted Riley, president, Alliance Atlantis Television Distribution.
Blur Studio has hired Tim Brown as their new co-creative director of the design division. Prior to Blur, Brown served as creative director of the design and animation house, RezN8. Brown's work on CBS's coverage of the 1998 Winter Olympics helped the project earn two Sports Emmy Awards for graphic design and technical innovation. Brown said, "Here, we have a design engine that is integrated with a production engine. Very few design firms have direct access to 3D animation and visual effects production, or to artists of the caliber we have at Blur.
Apple introduced artists to the new version of their award-winning video editing software, Final Cut Pro, late last week. Final Cut Pro 2 is an all-in-one editing solution, featuring real-time editing, breakthrough Power Mac G4 performance and a scalable architecture that allows users to output content into any video format. With Final Cut Pro 2, real-time editing and compositing functions are integrated into the video production workflow seamlessly.
Dosch Design has just released several new products, including version 2.0 products from its state-of-the-art Dosch Textures line. Rust & Metal, Stone & Concrete, Skin, Industrial Design, Broadcast-Design and Special-Effects now include many additional textures, plus a large number of textures which are provided in even higher resolution than in the previous version. The products have been expanded for a wider variety of contents and will soon be supported by the new Dosch Design InfoBase, which will be established on the Dosch Design Website.
AWN's Web Animation Guide is the place for what's new on the Net. In this week's installment a humorous short by Steve Martin, a new Bill Plympton Webtoon and the winners of the Thugs on Film Tosser Awards. Plus, much, much more.
Get your Web Animation Guide here!
Also every week AWN's associate editor Rick DeMott highlights what he thinks is the top new toon in cyberspace in "Rick's Picks!"