Wednesday, September 30, 2015

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Disney Releases Practical Guide to Hyperion


Illuminated by more than 216,000 street lights, the city of San Fransokyo has 83,000 procedural-built buildings and an equal number of street props and trees.

Walt Disney Animation Studios has released a new practical guide for its in-house production rendering software, Hyperion, posting a video guide and detailed breakdown of the rendering technology behind films such as the forthcoming Zootopia.

Introduced at the Eurographics Symposium on Rendering in 2013, Hyperion was two years in the making. An early version was first employed on the studio’s Oscar-winning short Paperman, with Big Hero 6 becoming the first WDAS feature to use the new rendering technology. Hyperion is capable of achieving a high level of realism by using physically-based ray tracing to capture and render indirect lighting effects such as refraction and glossy reflections.

As shown in the images below, even light that reflects several times (called multi-bounce light) has an impact on the scene, incorporating subtle and not-so-subtle lighting effects.

Here the images show the influence of multi-bounce light on the appearance of Big Hero 6’s Baymax as he approaches the staircase. Note the soft indirect light emanating through Baymax, making him appear translucent:

Here a close-up of the Big Hero 6 team lab rendered with and without Honey Lemon rolling in the explosive ball. Note the subtle influences she has on the look of the lab environment thanks to the accurate simulation of light:

To optimize path tracing for complex settings, such as the fantastically detailed city of San Fransokyo, Hyperion handles several million light rays at a time by sorting and bundling them together according to their directions:

Head over to www.disneyanimation.com to read the full story.

Source: Walt Disney Animation Studios

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Jennifer Wolfe is Director of News & Content at Animation World Network.

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Source http://www.awn.com/news/disney-releases-practical-guide-hyperion

Iron Claw Creates Cinematic Trailer for MasterImage 3D


LOS ANGELES -- Emmy-winning production studio Iron Claw recently created a new 3D theatrical trailer for MasterImage 3D, a leading provider of 3D technology for cinema and mobile devices. The electrifying piece has been made available to all MasterImage 3D theater customers over 8,000 screens in more than 100 countries, as well as at industry and trade events worldwide.

MasterImage 3D approached Iron Claw with a mission to create a trailer with a logo reveal that reflected their premiere 3D technology; moreover, to wow clients and moviegoers alike with a presentation of design and animation that would push the limits of stereoscopic 3D. Immersing the audience into a vibrant 3D universe, the presentation bursts from a single drop of color. The camera reverses back to the point of origin at warp speed through an intricate network of visual synapses before morphing into the MasterImage 3D logo.

“We got the sense that Sean [Koriakin] and his team at Iron Claw were big creative thinkers who love to dream up a challenge,” remarks Matt Liszt, VP of Marketing at MasterImage 3D. “Their extremely high standards drove this project, as Iron Claw worked tirelessly to make the absolute best 3D trailer in the cinema technology business, and they totally nailed it.”

“Although the message was technical, we wanted to convey it in a uniquely visual way,” says Iron Claw founder and executive creative director Sean Koriakin, whose experience as both a live-action commercial director and animator was brought to bear on this months-long project. “I kept coming back to the idea of making the stereo 3D tell the narrative. It was like creating a beautiful abstract painting for the silver screen in 3D.”

The trailer marks the latest example of why Iron Claw integrates different creative disciplines to achieve tailored solutions that meet the demands of its various clients, from brands to movie studios to networks.

“We liked that Iron Claw had a mix of 3D and VFX experience, as well as logo projects,” adds Liszt. “Sometimes, you get one or the other, but not many companies can check all the boxes.”

The film was created entirely at Iron Claw’s Los Angeles studio. The 3D assets were produced in Maya while mixing in practical elements from live-action footage. Compositing and color were done in After Effects and Nuke. The production concluded at a full-sized theater for the testing phase, the project’s greatest challenge, according to Koriakin.

“The most rewarding part is seeing this on the big screen and knowing it will live on for years,” says Koriakin. “Matt and Scott at MasterImage 3D were awesome partners from the get-go. They supported us all the way through, and knew how to bring this piece to the finish line without any alterations to the original idea. After all, trust is essential when you’re making a stereo piece of this scale.”

Source: Iron Claw

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Jennifer Wolfe is Director of News & Content at Animation World Network.

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Source http://www.awn.com/news/iron-claw-creates-cinematic-trailer-masterimage-3d

Imira Entertainment Inks Global Deals


'The Hero of Color City'

'The Hero of Color City'

MADRID, SPAIN -- Imira Entertainment, a leading production and distribution company specializing in kids and youth programming, has signed several global broadcast deals across its catalogue ahead of MIPJr.

Imira Entertainment has sold the imaginative animation The Hero of Color City to AMC Network for its EMEA channels, while the same broadcaster has taken preschool series Cleo in Poland and Benelux.

In further deals, Imira has sold its vibrant comedic vignette series Larva to air on Nickelodeon channels in Central & Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, Germany, Austria, Netherlands and Greece.  Kidoodle.tv has scooped up a trio of Imira Entertainment’s series to air in the US and Canada, Cleo, a playful preschool series, The Happets, and health-centric Vitaminix.

Sergi Reitg, CEO of Imira Entertainment says, “We are delighted to be spreading our footprint even wider in the international content market, strengthening our relationships with broadcasters from all corners of the globe.”

'Cleo' Cleo is an excitable puppy enchanted by his young owner Irma’s multi-colored braces - which give her a smile like the rainbow. Imira Entertainment distributes the series, with crayon-style animation and the narration of the titular hound, worldwide, holding all rights globally.

In The Hero of Color City, a diverse band of crayons strive to protect not only their magical multihued homeland, but the imagination of children everywhere from a terrifying monster. The series is produced by Exodus Film Group, Magnolia Pictures, and Toonz Entertainment.

The Happets are a group of friendly animals that live all together in a beautiful tree house in the middle of the mountains, where each episode is a whole new adventure. The series aims to entertain and stimulate children between the ages of 3 to 6 and help them discover the world around them through playing, expressing their feelings and being themselves.

Source: Imira Entertainment

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Jennifer Wolfe is Director of News & Content at Animation World Network.

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Source http://www.awn.com/news/imira-entertainment-inks-global-deals

New Aardman Short Addresses the Loneliness of Aging


LONDON -- The award-winning animation studios, Aardman and the Bristol Ageing Better (BAB) partnership have created a short film illustrating local older people’s experience of social isolation in the city, and what they can do to be less lonely.

There are an estimated 11,000 lonely older people in Bristol. BAB works with local organizations to help older people across the city live fulfilling lives. The partnership is led by Age UK Bristol and funded by the Big Lottery Fund.

The short film aims to raise awareness of the effects of social isolation among older people, but also to promote positive activities and BAB as a single point of contact for people to get involved and improve their lives.

Judith Brown, Deputy Chair of BAB and Chair of Bristol Older People's Forum said, “BAB partnership has over 130 organizations with all sorts of activities to make life more enjoyable. We wanted to reach out in a fun way to people who may not be in contact with anyone else, and invite them to contact us. Aardman used the voices of local people, and I think the film is brilliant, and will help people to be less lonely."

Heather Wright, Executive Producer at Aardman added, “Hearing the voices of older people in Bristol talking about loneliness, helped us to understand just how easy it is for people to become lonely.   They gave us real stories that touched our hearts and minds.  Our job was simply to bring them to life in a memorable way whilst addressing what is undoubtedly a serious issue for us all.”

Jackie Prescott, one of the volunteers whose voices were used for the animation said following the premiere, “I was excited and very comfortable with it, it was lovely, it was really fun. Joan Owens, also starring in the animation added: “If I can make people laugh I’m happy and I think if we can laugh with older people we’ll live longer.”

The animation was successfully premiered as part of the launch of the 2015 Celebrating Age Festival, which highlights the positive contribution the over 50s make to life in Bristol. The celebration took place at the MShed on the 27th September.

The Celebrating Age Festival runs until the 12th October with a range of activities and events to suit everyone across the city. Please visit The Celebrating Age Festival for more information.

Source: Aardman

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Jennifer Wolfe is Director of News & Content at Animation World Network.

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Source http://www.awn.com/news/new-aardman-short-addresses-loneliness-aging

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Simulcast GET: Gundam Iron-Blooded Orphans heads to Daisuki.net and Hulu


2 minutes ago - 6:30 PM on 09.30.2015 // Salvador GRodiles

New Gundam series for everyone!

It looks like there's another good reason to be a Gundam fan this year, since the upcoming series, Mobile Suit Gundam Iron-Blooded Orphans, hits Daisuki.net and Hulu on Oct. 4 at 7:30 p.m. Japan Standard Time/3:30 a.m. Pacific Standard Time/6:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. To top off the icing on the Mobile Suit Cake, the show's streaming to GundamInfo's YouTube Channel on the same date as the two outlets mentioned earlier.

For those who would rather watch it on a different site, Funimation and Crunchyroll are getting their share of the Gundam action on Oct. 11 at 4:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time/1:20 a.m. Pacific Standard Time. While a majority of the show's simulcasting locations are exclusive to North America, Daisuki.net's stream of Iron-Blooded Orphans is viewable in 242 countries and territories, which makes it the most accessible outlet to catch the series on. Best off all, it'll be subbed in 13 languages; thus giving people the chance to view it in their preferred format.

In other news, Sunrise plans to stream Gundam: Reconguista in G on Hulu, which hits the site on Oct. 2. I guess this is good news for those who couldn't catch the series on GundamInfo when they made the series exclusive to Asia after their late showing of the program's first half. If anything, this scenario will give me the chance to finally complete G-Reco, since I was affected by this outcome.

Seeing that Iron-Blooded Orphan is getting an amazing simulcast treatment, are you all looking forward to watching the series?

[Gundam Iron-Blooded Orphans' GundamInfo, Funimation, and Crunchyroll simulcast news via ANN]




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New ‘Peanuts Movie’ Featurette Delves Into the Legacy of Charles Schultz


Charles M. Schultz

Twentieth Century Fox has released a new featurette for The Peanuts Movie, the upcoming CG-animated film from Blue Sky Studios, which explores the legacy of legendary Peanuts creator Charles M. Schultz.

Schultz, or “Sparky,” as he was widely known, first published the syndicated version of Peanuts on October 2, 1950, and continued to work on the beloved comic strip until February 13, 2000. At its peak, Peanuts ran in more than 2,600 newspapers, with a readership of 355 million in 75 countries, and was translated into 21 languages. It helped to cement the four-panel gag strip as the standard in the United States, and reprints of the strip still run in almost every U.S. newspaper.

Part of Fox’s “The Art of Dreaming Big” series giving fans a look into the making of the highly-anticipated film, the featurette includes some new footage from the film alongside commentary from Schulz’s wife Jean Schulz, Charles M. Schulz Museum director Karen Johnson, museum archivist Cesar Gallegos, museum creative director Paige Braddock, and The Peanuts Movie director Steve Martino.

“My dad always said, ‘If you read the comic strip you know who I am,’ and you can see that all the characters in the comic strip are really elements of him,” Schultz’s son Craig Schulz says in the video:

Written by Cornelius Uliano with Schulz’s sons Craig and Bryan, The Peanuts Movie is produced by Paul Feig and features the voices of Noah Schnapp, Hadley Belle Miller, AJ Tecce, Noah Johnston, Venus Schultheis, Alexander Garfin, Francesca Capaldi, Mar Mar, Mariel Sheets, Rebecca Bloom, William Alexander Wunsch, Anastasia Bredikhina and Madisyn Shipman.

Here’s the synopsis:

Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus and the rest of the beloved “Peanuts” gang make their big-screen debut, like they’ve never been seen before, in state of the art 3D animation. Charlie Brown, the world’s most beloved underdog, embarks upon an epic and heroic quest, while his best pal, the lovable beagle Snoopy, takes to the skies to pursue his arch-nemesis, the Red Baron. From the imagination of Charles M. Schulz and the creators of the ICE AGE films, THE PEANUTS MOVIE will prove that every underdog has his day.

The Peanuts Movie arrives in theaters everywhere on November 6, 2015.

Source: 20th Century Fox

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Jennifer Wolfe is Director of News & Content at Animation World Network.

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Source http://www.awn.com/news/new-peanuts-movie-featurette-delves-legacy-charles-schultz

WATCH: Light Chaser Releases First Trailer for ‘Little Door Gods’


Light Chaser Animation held a special event in Beijing last week to launch the roadshow for Little Door Gods, a 3D-animated movie the studio produced over 29 months. Director and screenwriter Gary Wang, producer Yu Zhou, and voice actors Gao Xiaosong, Yi Xiaoxing (Joy Show), Bai Ke (White-K) and Ji Guanlin spoke at the event. Representatives of distribution and co-financing parties, including Alibaba Pictures CEO Zhang Qiang, China Film Beijing Distribution Company General Manager Xu Bing, Head of Alibaba Yu Le Bao Yu Wei, Tencent Penguin Pictures Film Division Director Chang Bin, Baidu Nuomi Movie Business Department General Manager Xu Yongming, and Gewara CEO Liu Yong were also in attendance on stage.

At the event, Light Chaser released its first official trailer for Little Door Gods. The two-and-a-half minute trailer demonstrates the film’s high production quality. In addition, Light Chaser announced that its movie screening roadshow for Little Door Gods would start on October 3 and revealed the first round of cities.

Check out the new trailer in the player below:

Origins and Making of the Movie

Little Door Gods is the modern-day story of two “Door Gods” (Shen Tu and Yu Lei) facing unemployment in the spirit world as ever fewer people in today’s human world still believe in the spirits. One of the door gods ventures into the human world to do something big in order to prove his value, leading to unexpected encounters and transformations.

Director Gary Wang told the audience that inspiration for the film came from two encounters on his travels. The story of the film was first envisioned three years ago, and the script went through 30 versions of continuous refinement. Furthermore, according to producer Yu Zhou, Little Door Gods is the product of two and a half years of effort from Light Chaser’s 160-person team. Production of Little Door Gods was completed in early July. Director Gary Wang said, “This is our first piece of work. I hope audiences will enjoy the movie and feel touched by it.”

Voice acting for Little Door Gods began two years ago and, in line with standard Hollywood practice, was done before animation, resulting in the accurate and vibrant animation performance in the movie. The voice actors for the lead roles, including Gao Xiaosong, Yi Xiaoxing, Bai Ke and Ji Guanlin, attended the event and shared their stories with Little Door Gods.

The first official trailer for Little Door Gods was shown at the special event. Compared to the first teaser released on March 12, this trailer reveals more of the film’s content, putting on display its fine picture details, its imaginative soundtrack, and the Chinese story features that make its quality unprecedented for animated movies produced in China.

According to the director, the trailer is divided into three sections, in accordance to the three main segments of the story. The tempo rises from warm and tender to intense and action-filled, creating dramatic contrast. The audience had a chance to experience the movie’s carefully crafted production quality, with many saying after the event, “Two and half minutes just weren’t enough.”

Little Door Gods in Numbers

At the event, producer Yu Zhou shared some production numbers with the audience: the final version of the film took 80 million CPU render hours, compared to 60 or 70 million render hours for recent Hollywood-made animated films. This suggests that the picture quality in Little Door Gods has reached a similar level with its Hollywood counterparts. From departments such as script, art design, storyboard, modeling, to animation, special effects, lighting, etc., a total of 102,000 intermediate versions were created, achieving its final well-crafted look. In addition, both music and sound effects in Little Door Gods were produced in Dolby Atmos, a first for a domestic Chinese movie production. The movie also marks the first time for a Chinese animation studio to work with the world-class sound effect team at Skywalker Sound, creating an unrivalled audio-visual experience for audiences. A video on the film making process for Little Door Gods entitled The Creation of a Shot was also released, depicting the process of making a four-second shot and how every shot involves the coordinated effort of the entire production team and continuous polishing and refinement.

Distribution and Co-Financing Partners

Light Chaser has received a considerable amount of industry attention and support since its founding two years ago. Little Door Gods will be distributed and co-financed by a joint team consisting of Alibaba (including Alibaba Pictures and Yu Le Bao), China Film, Tencent, Baidu, and Gewara -- marking the first time that the three Chinese internet giants of Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent (commonly known as BAT) co-invested in one single movie. In recent years, BAT has aggressively entered the movie industry, aiming for success in the intersection of technology and art. According to director Gary Wang, the collaboration between Light Chaser and the three Internet giants strives to achieve this objective and showcase the spirit of “artistic craftsmanship” that has been a long-time goal of Light Chaser.

Little Door Gods is the first animated film co-financed and distributed by Alibaba Pictures. Producer Yu Zhou noted that Alibaba Pictures has a distinctive advantage in fields such as e-commerce, online promotion, distribution, and unique presence in the global market. Producer Yu Zhou said, “We appreciate the investment from Alibaba Pictures and their confidence in the movie. Light Chaser is delighted to work with Alibaba Pictures to bring Little Door Gods to Chinese audiences.”

At the end of the special event, the guests unveiled together the roadshow roadmap and launched the countdown for advance ticket bookings to screenings.

Little Door Gods will hit mainland China cinemas on January 1, 2016. The three-month roadshow, starting on October 3, will cover 36 cities nationwide, with Qingdao, Changchun, Changzhou, Zhengzhou, Kunming, Foshan and Taiyuan as the first round locations.

Source: Light Chaser Animation

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Jennifer Wolfe is Director of News & Content at Animation World Network.

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Source http://www.awn.com/news/watch-light-chaser-releases-first-trailer-little-door-gods

OP Up! Macross Edition


So who's excited over the news of a new Macross show on the horizon with Macross Delta? I've always loved the series' mix of future science fiction transforming jet robots with pop music idols. I'm so looking forward to all the new awesome music that is in store for us with this new entry in the Macross series.

So I thought it would be cool to take a look at some of the openings and songs that the series featured in past entries. So enjoy some of the selection of great music below!

Is there a Macross opening that you love that I didn't feature on here? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!!!

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