Bring it on!

With the purchase of Pixar Animation Studios by The Walt Disney Company, the future for Disney Animation looks brighter than it has in a long, long time. According to Floyd Norman, a Disney old timer who has also had the privilege of working at Pixar as well,

"As a guy who has been lucky enough to work for both companies, I can truly say this merger will be a benefit for both Disney and Pixar. As a Disney old timer, I can tell those who wonder what the difference is between Disney and Pixar, that culture difference we keep hearing about -- Pixar is simply the way Disney use to be before Eisner and his managers screwed everything up. With true creative leadership in place Disney will be free to thrive again.This is good news for everyone in animation.'

Nothing captures the moment as well as Floyd's cartoons from his book Son of Faster Cheaper. One in-particular that stands out in my mind is this one on page 86. I still get a kick out of it, but now it's even more fitting as a prediction come true.

john&steve
©2003 Floyd Norman. All Rights Reserved

Good one Floyd!


- the other jon and steve!

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Animo

animovectors
Recently I've received some questions about Animo. It's a piece of animation software that Hoops and I been using for over a decade for all of our animation needs. Everything from ink & paint to animation and character design using the vector tools (from the older system). Just to clarify a few things. Yes, Animo was the tool used for WB and Dreamworks' 2D features. Yes, Cambridge Animation is still around. Yes, Animo is still available. The current version is 6.0. I know of four studios here in L.A. that just recently started using Animo for their ink & paint needs. There are many others across the globe that use it as well. It runs on both Mac OS X and Windows and it has the best color model system around. I believe there is a student version available. If you are looking for more info about Animo, please head over to the CAS website.

If you are interested in the older vector tools have a look at my personal website. I've put up some samples and even the original demo reel of the product. Yes, that's the original Animo running on NeXTSTEP in the demo! Yes that's a screengrab of Animo 1.7 running on Mac OS X!

- steve



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Pixar board to approve Disney takeover

The board of Pixar Animation Studios, the digital animation company, is set to meet tomorrow to approve the company's $7bn (£3.9bn) takeover by Disney.


Here's hoping nothing but good things come to the animation industry from this merger.

- steve and hoops

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The Year Ahead

All
Hey folks! Butcher here. Been awhile since the last time I swung my cleaver, but I'm back and ready for some choppin'! It sure looks like a banner year for animation in 2006! There is no shortage of animated features due out this year. Plenty of animator's working hard to bring enjoyment to all. Sounds like the late 90's all over again doesn't it? Well, guess what? Nothing much has changed since then. There are a ton of studios out there trying to cash in on the "animation bandwagon" and make a quick buck. Don't believe me? Have a look at the following list and see what you think.

Hoodwinked - January 13th, 2006
Now remember, I am just looking at the trailers and not the films so these are just impressions of what the audience can see at this time. Hoodwinked sports some amazingly bizarre model work, some incredibly minimal jointing and some really weird lighting. The standard Warner Bros type script makes this a radio play with incidental art attached. My own sense is that this has to be a good film writing wise because the art is so unbelievably weak, right ? It's lucky trailers are short because otherwise I would have to kill myself.

Ice Age 2 - March 31, 2006
The rodent/squirrel makes me laugh. The trailer/teaser is mostly that thank goodness. Animations the same, designs the same and they don't tell you a thing about the story. Oh, who cares, it's funnier the second time, no matter what right?

The Wild - April 14th, 2006
The thing I hate most about this preview is the insipid preschool commercial you have to sit through to watch the trailer. You will actually lose brain cells watching it. The Wild is the final version of what started years ago as an early Disney CG project as I remember. Seen Madagascar ? Then you've seen this, or so it would seem. Animals escaping the zoo. The models aren't bad (if you like stuffed toy animals ) but the jointing and animation is weak. It's hard to tell as this trailer works just like lifting heavy weights. It makes me tired.

Over The Hedge - May 19th, 2006
Now I find the writing in OTH kind of typically bad (see Sharktale) but I like the models/lighting (excellent)/rigging here. And how can you lose with Shatner playing a possum playing Shatner. Brilliant !!!!!! There are some.... well, awkward lines here but .... well thats life . The squirrel saying "Wanna see my nuts"? Ha ha ! So .... funny (imagine Shatner saying that). You can expect juvenile humor like that throughout the film I suppose but DreamWorks is getting a lot of things right. Hate to say it but there is hope for them I think. Oh, the humans, well, no one is perfect. Looks good though.

The Ant Bully - Coming Soon
I had to watch this four times. I , I just couldn't believe there was so little worth remembering from this trailer. I would get to the end and it was like I couldn't remember what I had just seen. The models are better lit but remind me of Antz/Jimmy Neutron. Hey, I have a bunch of dust under my bed, I think I should make a film called "The Dust Bunnies". Ha! Thats so cute....and probably ten times deeper than The Ant Bully. If there is a film here they are hiding it... somewhere . But not in the trailer. Animation seems fine but what's it about? An ant bully?Whuuuaaaaahhh ???????????

Monster House - Summer 2006
From the people who brought you the magic motion capture of Polar Express. What this is, is a live action movie done in CG. That's all. No real surprise here. Oh yes, the models are fat cartoonier than PE but they still move like roto. You know that nice acting key framing you see in Pixar films ? Not here. Some nice art direction and lighting and Zemekis feels it's done. Please God , let there be a story with interesting characters, please!!!!! I just can't take any more films without a story. (The Butcher holding his cleaver to his throat).

Yankee Irving - August 2006
No trailer here and the web page tells you why. "Lets skip the trailer and release it before anybody gets wise". What did I ever do to you people to deserve this?! What?! I think the ugly baseball bat should work Irving over, but good. He's just a puppet, he wouldn't feel it. Trust me.

Open Season - September 29th, 2006
Ok, there's a new Open Season trailer. A vast improvement over the last one in that it has a story and it sort of makes sense. See, a bear is living in this garage, like a pet, see, and then this deer , er antalope or whatever comes to take it outdoors, away from it's owner? Then the bear is mad because it hates being out in nature and they run into nut tossing ... squirrels ? Squirrels are as big as giraffes this year in the cool characters to cast department. Everybody's got'em. Oh, hell maybe I'm just old. Nice animation in this baby anyway.

Happy Feet - Nov 17, 2006
Oh my lord in heaven, kill me. What the..... dancing penguins, voiced by, Robin Williams.... and ? story ? Is there a story ? I can feel the heaving of my gut now. No, don't look. It is too scary.

Barnyard - Coming 2006
And thats where you will wish it stayed. In the Barnyard. Oh, one thing folks, COWS ARE FEMALE!!!!!!!!!! Holy Jesus, this is dumb. The cow designs will make you want to break out your Playmobile toys to compare which has more detail. I hate the models , I hate the humor, I hate...... oh you get it. This one is the winner in the weak premise contest, hands, hoofs down. If you do not die from having every bit of your soul destroyed by it's smarmy cliche and lowbrow humor you will tear your eyes out trying to avoid it's weak design and poor execution. Damn the makers for not putting their names on the trailer! I wanted to sue them for causing brain damage. Next time, just do a film like this with hand puppets.

Now, does this really look like a list of movies that were created because of great stories and great characters? Or does it look like a bunch of suits saying "We've got to get in on that Shrek and Nemo action!" Folks, if it looks like a turd and smells like a turd, well.... you decide with your hard earned entertainment dollars. I for one will be putting my own dough into automobiles...er...um...Cars this summer.

The Butcher



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