Fluid dynamics has been an emerging technique in CG, with several productions utilizing dynamics in features such as PERFECT STORM and U-571 and several software companies, like Alias and Realflow, are developing fluid software. Is applying dynamics to forestry and foliage, for natural wind and lifelike shadowing effects, the next application to use natural physical dynamics? We'll see. . .
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MessageBay, Inc.s VoiceAnimations.com has added a text-to-speech feature to its lip-synching animation Website. The new feature allows Web surfers to create Personal Puppetgram e-mails by typing in the text instead of having to use a microphone to add the voices. Visitors can even control the speed, pitch, accent and gender of the selected voice. Then using the VoiceAnimations plug-in, the text is lip-synched to a variety of different animated characters.
With early reports having WHAT LIES BENEATH in fifth, once the dust cleared, SPACE COWBOYS showed its legs with a top F/X flick finish at the U.S. box office. With live-action films ruling the top four, COWBOYS, with primary visual effects by ILM, held its ground at #5 with a gross of US$2.52 million, lifting its cume to $82.2 million. The space spaghetti western has remained in the top ten while the #1 film HOLLOW MAN -- of COWBOYS debut weekend has disappeared quickly. THE CELL finished in sixth despite earlier reports placing it a slot lower.
Corus Entertainment Inc. has announced the acquisition of Nelvana Limited in a cash and stock deal worth CA$554 million (US$372.5 million). Corus will pay 60% of the $554 million in cash and the rest in Corus Class B non-voting shares. "The opportunity to acquire an outstanding Canadian content company with exceptional international credentials presents itself very rarely," said John Cassaday, president and CEO of Corus.
Toon In is AWN's guide to what's new on the Net. This week's installment features toon cops gone wrong on WHERE ARE THE TOONS NOW?, a Webtoon by Corky Quakenbush, GODZILLARY and much, much more.
Get your Toon In: Web Animation Guide here!
Every week AWN's associate editor Rick DeMott highlights what he thinks is the top new toon in cyberspace in "Rick's Picks!"
Rick's Pick For Friday, September 15, 2000!
Los Angeles-based Look! Effects recently finished 30 visual effects shots for the upcoming Universal Pictures release THE PAVILION OF WOMEN. Based on the novel by Nobel Prize winner Pearl S. Buck, the movie is about a frustrated woman in a traditional Chinese marriage and the American missionary who tries to help her achieve personal liberation. The drama stars Willem Dafoe and Chinese actress Luo Yan, who is also the writer, producer and director of the picture. Look! Effects had to create a sequence depicting Japan's invasion of China in the early days of World War II.
Stan Lee Media has bought the rights to CONAN THE BARBARIAN from Conan Properties Inc. for US$4.3 million in stock. Lee plans to turn CONAN into a Webseries. Currently, SLM is creating two other new Web series: one based off of Gene Roddenberrys STARSHIP and the second about futuristic cops. SLM currently produces Web action series 7TH PORTAL, THE ACCUSER and BACKSTREET PROJECT. Stan Lee Media is a publicly traded Web-based superhero-type content producer, started by comic book legend Stan Lee, the co-creator of SPIDER-MAN and THE HULK.
AlwaysI.com, an independent content destination Website, has signed a production, development and distribution deal with comic book production company Platinum Studios. As part of the pact, Platinum will have a first look option on all of AlwaysIs independent content for development into feature or TV properties, as well as licensing and merchandising. Platinum has a production deal with Miramax/Dimension Films and owns a portfolio of over 1,000 comic book characters.
On Monday, September 11, 2000, the family that owns the rights to Alvin and the Chipmunks filed a US$105 million lawsuit against Universal Studios, claiming it failed to license products adequately based on the cartoon characters. According to the lawsuit filed in State Superior Court in Los Angeles, members of Chipmunks creator Ross Bagdasarian Sr.'s family claim that Universal executives told them that the studio would make Alvin, Theodore and Simon "a cornerstone" of the company's licensing efforts.
ASIFA-Hollywood, the Los Angeles area-based branch of the International Animated Film Society, has announced the nominations for the 28th Annual Annie Awards. This years competition is a much more difficult field than last years feature sweeping run by IRON GIANT. In the best feature category, FANTASIA/2000, TOY STORY 2, THE ROAD TO EL DORADO, CHICKEN RUN and TITAN A.E. will be battling it out for the top prize.
Olive Jar Studios Inc. will be the exclusive U.S. representation of veteran director Bruce Alcock and his Vancouver-based company Global Mechanic. Alcock, the former creative director and co-founder of Tricky Pictures, joins Olive Jar with a resume featuring live-action with mixed-media, design-based drawn animation, stop-motion and experimental computer animation. Olive Jars executive creative director Fred Macdonald said, "I have been a big fan of Bruces work, and, having bid against Tricky Pictures in the past, know that Bruce is one of the few true experimental directors.
Peter J. Schankowitz has been appointed Film Romans new president of television programming and development. Schankowitz will oversee all aspects of the companys TV development and sales, including developing live-action and animated series and specials. For the past two years, he has been senior development executive for Jonathan Goodson Productions where he headed the creation and executive producing of the companys reality and game projects.
SGI announced that it would be providing Walt Disney Feature Animation with more than 500 of its Silicon Graphics visual workstations, which will include their new Silicon Graphics Octane2. Previously, Disney has used SGI workstations to create digital characters and special effects for their features GONE IN 60 SECONDS, MISSION TO MARS, DINOSAUR and the upcoming 102 DALMATIANS. The Silicon Graphics Octane2 has more visualization power, a high-performance MIPS RISC processor and new industry-first features.
Seattle-based Smarterville, Inc., a Web-based childrens media company, announced the launch of its Web site, smarterville.com. This is the first Web site to integrate ad-free learning for kids aged 3-7 safely with a revenue-generating destination for parents. Activities featuring animated characters are geared to the childs age, grade and skill level. A system of animated rewards encourages the child to return to the site. The activities are downloaded so children cannot jump to another location online, and no unauthorized people can send messages to the child.
Nickelodeon and HIT Entertainment PLC, a leading supplier of children's programming, have agreed to co-produce 26 half-hour episodes of a new Nick Jr. series entitled, OSWALD. As part of the deal, HIT Entertainment will control all international rights in all media excluding the U.S., which Nickelodeon will handle. The show tells the story of a blue octopus who lives in a whimsical city with his best friends, a pet hot dog, penguin and daisy. The animated series, which will be produced by Nicktoons, is based on characters created and designed by childrens book author Dan Yaccarino.
Digital Creative Development Corporation (DC2) announced that it has entered into a strategic distribution alliance with Heavy.com, a Web destination blending music, video and animation. Under the terms of the deal, DC2 will provide programming and various other business services to Heavy.com. In turn, DC2 will have access to Heavy.coms distribution pipeline that reaches over 135 million Internet users.
The WB TV network has decided to pick-up its newest toon, BABY BLUES, for a second season. The channel has ordered 13 more episodes of the series, which debuted in late July. The toon has preformed well in a tough Friday time slot for the WB and is one of the highest rated comedies the network has ever had. BABY could serve as the WBs quick replacement series if any of its new live-action comedy series dont work out. BABY is based off the newspaper comic strip of the same name and features the voice talents of Mike O'Malley, Julia Sweeney and Nicole Sullivan.