Thanks in part to several new creatively challenging assignments -- including a comprehensive campaign for General Mills that includes both on-air and online components -- Calabash Animation, the animation studio led by Creative Director Wayne Brejcha and Executive Producer Sean Henry, has made several significant investments in new animation talent and technology.
''This has been an amazing year for Calabash,'' Henry said. ''The assignments we're getting have been more exciting and challenging and it was the right time to reinvest in fresh animation talent and some state of the art technology, including some tools that allow us to move to a more paperless workflow.''
Specifically, Calabash has welcomed animator Jessica Plummer, an accomplished designer and animator hailing from New York. The company has also recently taken delivery of several new Cintiq tablet display systems from Wacom, and the latest version of Toon Boom's Harmony software.
A graduate from Pratt Institute, New York, Plummer comes to Calabash Animation following work as a freelancer that included a project with animation legend Bill Plympton, perhaps best known for his advertising work for Nutrasweet, Taco Bell, AT&T, Nike, Geico, United Airlines and Mercedes-Benz, among others, as well as his animated short films. She also worked with animator Fran Krause (also her professor at Pratt) on his animated film THE UPSTATE FOUR, which recently won the top prize in the "TV for kids" category at the Ottawa Animation Festival.
According to Henry, Plummer was instrumental in landing a new General Mills assignment and is playing an integral role in its production.
''Jessica helped us pin down the look of the pitch and the overall feel of the animation, plus she has Flash animation experience, which is very helpful with the online components of the campaign,'' Henry said. ''She is exactly the kind of animator we look for -- someone who can do a lot of things and isn't pinned into a specific look or style. She's well developed in the fundamentals of animation and we see a lot of potential in her.''
In addition to Plummer joining the company, they also took delivery of two key pieces of technology -- the Cintiq interactive pen displays from Wacom, and Toon Boom's new Harmony ink and paint software.
The Cintiq interactive pen displays combine the advantages of an LCD monitor with the feel and performance of Wacom's patented, professional pen technology. Calabash now has six of the devices in their arsenal. Toon Boom's Harmony software is a revolutionary team-based infrastructure for animation production that increases productivity, encourages creativity and perhaps most importantly, enables a paperless workflow.
''These tools are incredibly powerful and in the hands of our great animation team will allow us to deliver a superior product for clients, while also helping refine our workflow so that it is more efficient," said Henry, "and use less paper in the process.''