Archive for October, 2013


The 2014 ceremony of the British Animation awards has announced the newest categories for judging this year. Some of the newly added categories include best Voice Performance, Best Animation in Visual Effects, and Best Motion Graphics.

From the source article, here is the full list of regular categories that will join these new ones:

Best Student Film
Best Short Film
Best Children’s Pre-school Series
Best Children’s Series
Best Mixed Media Children’s Series
Best commercial: 2D
Best Commercial 3D
Best Film/TV Graphics
Best Animation: Long form
Best Commissioned Animation

The British Animation Awards will be held on March 7th, 2014 at the BFI in South Bank, London. The purpose of it is to celebrate animation including short films, motion graphics, and even music videos (my favorite!). It is held every 2 years since 1996, and this year the BAA director Jayne Phillips, says things will be special.

BAA Director, Jayne Phillips, said: “With the dramatic upsurge in production following the recent tax-break changes and various other new initiatives to develop production potential, infra red structure and training within the UK, we plan to make BAA 2014 a truly celebratory occasion.”

I think it’s really cool that they’re adding the new categories. Computer animation is all consuming these days!



Director Paul Frieg announced that the rumors of him producing a “Peanuts” Film come 2015 are true. The Director, who is known for Bridesmaids (one of my favorite movies, ever) and The Heat (haven’t seen it but looks funny) will join with Blue Sky Studios and 20th Century Fox to make a movie based on the film strips by Charles Schultz.

From the source article:

The news may be a surprise to fans of Feig’s adult comedies, but it’s a dream come true for the filmmaker. “Growing up, Peanuts was my Star Wars,” he told Deadline. “Charles Schulz’s characters influenced everything in my career, especially Freaks And Geeks.” It will be Feig’s first animated project.

While I am not the biggest fan myself of Peanuts, I recognize it’s influence on comic strips and even Holiday themed specials on television. Charlie Brown is iconic and I’m sure many people will be excited for this movie.

Charlie and his beloved dog, Snoopy.


Beginning October 25th to November 3rd, the 10th annual London International Animation Festival begins for this year! Animation festivals are really cool things that I hear about and I’ve always wanted to go to them. I read up a little bit about LIAF and it seems like it would be so fun to go to. There are lots of things that can spark your interest, no matter if you’re into gorey, scary animation or simple children’s animations.

There is an opening Gala where you can meet up with filmmakers, chat over fine food, and see the highlights that this festival will feature. From the source article, here are some of the things you can plan on:

Start with the best. To celebrate 10 years of the festival, three special screenings will share the top 10 comedy, sci-fi and horror (on Halloween, of course) animations from the first decade of the festival. You can also dip into themed sessions: Abstract Showcase, Animated Documentaries, Late Night Bizarre and Music Videos. There are Amazing Animations for little kids (0-6) and Marvellous Animations for slightly bigger ones (7-15).

Seems like there is something for everyone. It’s so nice to see these types of things happening, where people come together to celebrate the wonderful mediums CGI, 2-D and 3-D animation can bring us.


Guillermo Del Toro is one of my favorite Directors and artists. A bunch of celebrities are signing up for his newest feature, an animated comedy movie called the Book of Life. Those who have given the thumbs up to join include Christina Applegate, Channing Tatum, and Zoe Saldana.  The movie is being produced by 20th Century Fox and Reel FX animation.

I’ve always been a Del Toro fan. He made a lot of CGI and live action movies including Pans Labyrinth, Hellboy 1 and 2,  as well as the 2013 box office destroyer Pacific Rim. From the source article, here is the plot to Book of Life:

Book is described as the journey of Manolo, a young man who is torn between fulfilling the expectations of his family and following his heart.  Before choosing which path to follow, he embarks on an incredible adventure that spans three fantastical worlds, where he must face his greatest fears.

The movie will have a unique visual style and the studios are promising a fresh take on popular pop songs. The original score and songs will be composed by Gustavo Santaolalla (Brokeback Mountain, Babel), who is currently touring with the popular Argentine band Bajofondo, which was just nominated for a Latin Grammy.

Looks like a  lot of cool names are going to be involved with this movie. I am so excited to see Del Toro take on a more comedic film– his artistic flair will make it both beautiful to look at but with the comedy theme it will be more lighthearted than his usual films (probably!)

The lines between what is a live action movie and what is a computer generated 3-D movie are becoming more blurred by the year.

Before I jump into this blog post, I want to invite the reader to take a look at this video, a “before and after” compilation of scenes from  The Great Gatsby Movie released in 2013, a remake of the popular novel.

If you were going into this movie with no idea how much CGI was used to create it, would this clip surprise you? Filmmakers piece together the action they have from live actors and in post production they create fabulous mansions, exquisite gardens, glowing 1920’s city scenes that didn’t even exist. CGI effects are even placed on actors, sometimes to enhance their complexion, and make their eyes seem to sparkle. Disgruntled youtube users comment “wow, this movie is like 90% CGI” and “you sit on a throne of lies!”.

Leonardo DiCaprio stands in front of his gorgeous estate: an estate that will be completely CGI

But, The Great Gatsby  movie makers aren’t the only one doing this. Live action movies are increasingly filled with computer graphics to create scenes that production companies were never able to make until the 21st century.  Some directors say that they almost feel pressured to do so to wow audiences with large explosions, scary monsters, and the like, others see CGI as a valuable tool in their movie making.  In an interview with the Directors Guild of America, director Christopher Nolan described his thoughts on CGI.

“The thing with computer-generated imagery is that it’s an incredibly powerful tool for making better visual effects. […] There are usually two different goals in a visual effects movie. One is to fool the audience into seeing something seamless, and that’s how I try to use it. The other is to impress the audience with the amount of money spent on the spectacle of the visual effect, and that, I have no interest in.”

You can find more highlights from the interview here:

Hollywood heads may be the ones who make the movies, however what does the average movie goer think about the current state of CGI in movies? I interviewed 20 year old college student Dylan Hunt to see what she thinks when she sits under the silver screen.

“I’m sure that it’ll get so overdone that there are CGI scenes in Romantic comedies, but I hope not. I would like to see it used more strategically in movies.” Dylan Hunt said in our October 8th interview. “…[But] There have been a few movies, that combine CGI and real life in a great way. I think a lot of horror movies do it really well.”

It seem as if both the director Nolan and your typical college student have the same idea: using it strategically and for storytelling is the best way to go with CGI, over doing it for flash and pizazz makes a movie fall flat.

Sources: Interview with Dylan Hunt, conducted October 8th, 2013 in Fort Collins, Colorado.



I am not the biggest fan of Angry Birds, nor am I bursting at the seams awaiting the movie’s release, however I can appreciate those who are joining the project.  Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly have signed on to be co directors of the 2016 Angry Birds movie.  

Both of them have some good projects to boast about.

From the’s article:

A 19-year Disney employee, Kaytis recently worked as the animation supervisor on the likes of Tangled and was an animator on Wreck-It Ralph, for which he also oversaw the film’s end credits. He served as an animator on the studio’s upcoming Frozen. At Sony since 2003, Reilly has served as storyboard artist on the likes of Hotel TransylvaniaCloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs and its sequel, as well as head of story at Sony Pictures Animation.

Rovio, the original designers for the Angry birds app which made them billions, started discussing the production of a movie as early as 2011, and now their dream vision is becoming reality. In addition to working on a movie, they have also started an animated TV series.

I’m glad experienced hollywood animators and storyboarders are on the job; maybe, if they design the movie well enough I’ll be excited to see it. However, I would have liked something a little more artistic..


Animation still from Disney’s 2009 film Princess and the Frog

This has been a topic for more than a couple years. These days with kids movies you see things like Bolt, Tangled, but you don’t see much 2-D animation any more. Disney’s last 2-D project, The Princess and the Frog,  didn’t do as well as expected in theaters.  It only recieved 267 million in the box office, where as the 3-D films Bolt and Tangled both breached 300 million.

A lot of people these days ask themselves where 2-D animation has gone. In this UK movies article, Rachel MacGregor comments on the situation.

Commercially, CGI animations and 3D capabilities are much more viable options for the company to make a profit.

Sadly, this is the true state of how animated movies are seen these days. Kids are more interest, or rather, the adults taking them to the movies seem more interested in something that is 3-D rendered rather than hand drawn 2-D animation. It makes me somewhat sad but I know that in the future 2-D animation will seem more like a luxury to these production companies. I am in no way slamming 3-D animation (I love it, I made a whole blog dedicated to it…) but it is sad to see 2-D animation staggering as an art form. Hopefully it will not be all lost by 2020.


This year, artist Jayme Gordon started a lawsuit against animation giant Dreamworks, claiming that his work had been stolen to create Kung Fu Panda , which grossed 630 million dollars in the box office. Last tuesday, Gordon suddenly pulled out of the lawsuit. He agreed to dismiss the case which ensures that he isn’t allowed to bring it up again.

I had no idea this was going on, and I’m sure not a lot of people do either. Here’s the scoop from the article:

In the lawsuit, Gordon said he developed the “Kung Fu Panda property” in the 1990s and his work featured “a Kung Fu fighting giant panda who likes to eat; his companion, a rare small red panda who also is a Kung Fu fighter; and a Kung Fu fighting super group known as the ‘Five Fists of Fury’ that consists of a tiger, crane, mantis, monkey and a venomless snake.”

Perhaps most impressive was his 2000 copyright registration and the side-by-side comparison that was offered in his complaint.

Here is the picture in question.

Side by side comparison of Gordon’s sketches (left) and final rendered characters from Dreamwork’s movies.

Looks suspicious to me even if I don’t know the full story. However, many suggest, including Dreamwork’s lawyers, that Gordon had copied the idea himself from a 1996 disney coloring book, which he traced to come up with some of the character designs.

I suppose Dreamworks can sleep better tonight. However, it would have been interesting to see this lawsuit if it had played out.


Rough drafts of sequences and animations tests have surfaced of the long dead “Gatchaman” movie, a CGI animation superhero movie which began development in 2003 but was cancelled to the studio, Imagi’s, financial problems.

Imagi Animation studios began production early into the 2000s, with a release for the Gatchaman movie around 2012, but the studio fell into collapse and laid off over 30 of its workers in 2010. It officially shut its doors later that year and worked to become debt free.

Luckily for us, Slash Film got a tip about several bits of the Gatchaman production stages, and they have since gone viral. Here is a roughcut of  an animated sequence for a car chase scene- and it looks pretty cool.

Based off the 1972 anime, Gatchaman is a superhero fantasy set in the future following a team of heroes who fight against a terrorist organization set on destroying the world’s natural resources. I am unfamiliar with the Gatchaman series, both the anime and this movie, but these animation tests make me really disappointed that it never came to fruition. Here is another test sequence that was surfaced on the internet.

Looks exciting, doesn’t it? I find it sad that Imagi couldn’t secure enough funding. Animated films with environmentalist themes have lately become quite popular, including the Lorax, and several of Miyazaki’s films have such themes. However, I am glad that these bits have been revealed through the internet, we get to see an often secretive process of 3-D animation and see bits of it how it would be made. Maybe after seeing these, another production team might take hold!