Thursday, May 28, 2009

News - 05/28/09...

Toy Story 3 plot details revealed

According to The Associated Press, during the premiere of Disney/Pixar’s Up at the the Cannes Film Festival, early rumors were confirmed that Toy Story 3 would show what happens after Andy grows up and goes to college. Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter stated “The thing they worry about the most is all the things in life that prevent them from being played with, and probably the thing they fear the most is being outgrown.” Ed Catmull also added “It feels like the summation of a trilogy,” adding that the filmmakers had hit on a big emotional finish to Toy Story 3.

‘Green Lantern: First Flight’ Screenwriter Likens Film To ‘Training Day’

As the Green Lantern of Space Sector 2814, Hal Jordan is responsible for the well-being of everybody and everything on Earth. But with a Machiavellian partner like Sinestro showing him the ropes, Hal Jordan’s experience in “Green Lantern: First Flight” promises to be a lot more like the Denzel Washington-starring “Training Day” than any DC Comics adventure before it — according to the film’s writer, that is.

“[Warner Bros. Animation] had been going through some ideas for Green Lantern stories and none of them were quite working out,” said screenwriter Alan Burnett. “So, I just pitched it to them in one line, ‘Have you ever done Green Lantern as Training Day?’ with the idea of the Denzel Washington role being Sinestro. They said, ‘That sounds pretty good — start writing.’ And that’s how it began.”

Burnett’s take on “Green Lantern” is certainly unique, emphasizing the policing aspect of the character. For Hal, the subtitle “First Flight” is truly significant, as the film chronicles the character’s first day on the job as 2814’s defender.

“We’re treating all the sectors of the universe as precincts and there’s, I believe, about 3,600 Green Lanterns — one for every precinct. Hal Jordan covers our section,” said Burnett. “The story is essentially Hal Jordan’s first day on the beat as a cop and he’s partnered with Sinestro. He’s seeing the universe for the first time, and we get to look at the universe through his eyes. It’s a bizarre place, but it’s also pretty recognizable.”

Much has been said about Sinestro in the film, including words from voice actor Victor Garber himself. Burnett himself had some thoughts to share, saying that he viewed Sinestro as a man with good intentions that spiral out of control.

“Sinestro is the dark side of the Green Lanterns — he wants absolute control, while Hal Jordan is more about serving the people,” he said. “The other thing about Sinestro is that he doesn’t think of himself as a villain. He has a plan which he thinks is going to benefit everyone, but unfortunately what this plan does is give him absolute power. And, of course, absolute power corrupts absolutely — and you can see that it’s corrupting him even as he tries to wield it.”

Briefly: Pickups for "Iron Man," "RollBots," "Galactik," and KidsCo

* KidsCo has signed distribution deals that will carry the kid broadcaster into Taiwan and Vietnam. [World Screen]

* Australia's Network Ten has picked up local broadcast rights to RollBots, an animated series about a crime-fighting robot. [World Screen]

* Turner Entertainment Networks Asia will add Iron Man to its Cartoon Network channels in south and southeast Asia. [World Screen]

* CITV and ITV4 have licensed Galactik Football for broadcast in the United Kingdom. [Animation Magazine]

Jetix Channels in Central, Eastern Europe Rebranded as "Disney Channels"

Jetix channels in Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and the Czech Republic will be rebranded as Disney Channels later this year, c21 Media reports.

The change comes as the Disney Company has taken full ownership of Jetix Europe, and is part of the company's move to increase its distribution in central and eastern Europe. The rebranded channels will carry a mix of live-action and animated Disney programming dubbed into local languages.

Donald Duck Fans Invited to Submit Official Portrait

Donald Duck's fans will have a chance to paint his official portrait for his official Disney fan club as part of the toon icon's 75th birthday, AWN reports.

The contest, being sponsored by D23: The Official Community for Disney Fans, is open to all D23 members. The winner will have his or her entry displayed at D2 Expo in September and will also receive an authentic "Duckster," an award created by Walt Disney himself and last awarded twenty years ago.

Rules and submission forms can be found at the D23 website.

Tony Peters R.I.P.

Animation writer Antony (Tony) Peters passed away this past Sunday in New York. He was a longtime Asifa-East board member and veteran animation story artist on several Rankin-Bass classics, including Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Willie McBean & His Magic Machine and Tales of the Wizard of Oz. He also wrote episodes of Rocket Robin Hood and Grantray-Lawrence’s Marvel Super Heroes cartoons of the 1960s. Since then, he produced dozens of industrial and commercial films out of his studio, Instant Miracles in New York. David Levy will be posting a proper obit this week on the Asifa-East website.

I met Tony once about 15 years ago in New York and told him I was a big fan one his work on the 60s Paramount cartoons. We both agreed his best film was The Itch (1965) - he was quite proud of it, in fact. So was Howard Post, it’s director, who told me how he decided to tell the story with Ronald Searle-inspired art style - and how he convinced actress Hermione Gingold, appearing on Broadway at the time, to come in to record, uncredited, the part of the wife. It hasn’t been shown much at all, and is one of the best cartoons the studio ever made — so here in tribute to Tony Peters, is The Itch:

(Thanks cartoonbrew)

Lalen, Estar Muriendo

I love seeing examples of animation from around the world, especially from regions that have developing animation scenes. This is the trailer for a stylish short film from Santiago, Chile-based Plano Visual. The directors of Lalen, Estar Muriendo are Felipe Montecinos E., Mariana Contreras and Constanza Wette.

(Thanks cartoonbrew)

Cheapo Cartoon Man

I hadn’t seen this before, but thanks to You Tube we now know that long before Robert Smigel and TV Funhouse, a short-lived British sketch comedy show The End of Part One (1979-80), also featured a parody of limited TV animation series:

(Thanks, John Dredge)

(Thanks cartoonbrew)

Jane Randolph, 94, was "Bambi" ice-skating model

Film noir actress Jane Randolph, the model for a scene involving the title character of Walt Disney's Bambi, died May 4 in Gstaad, Switzerland of complications from a broken hip. She was 94.

Randolph starred alongside Simone Simon in the 1942 classic Cat People and its 1944 sequel, The Curse of the Cat People.

She was one of two human models who were used for one scene in 1944's Bambi. "Actress Jane Randolph and Ice Capades star Donna Atwood acted as live-action references for Bambi and Thumper's misadventure on ice," according to the Disney Archives, part of Disney's official Web site.

Atwood modeled for Bambi in the ice-skating scene, while Atwood was the uncredited model for Thumper.

She was born Jane Roermer in Youngstown, Ohio on October 30, 1915. Growing up in Indiana, she moved to Hollywood in 1939 to pursue an acting career. Studying at Max Reinhardt's school, she was picked up by Warner Bros., which started her in bit parts in 1941. RKO picked up her contract the following year.

Other films noirs where she had leading roles included Highways by Night (1942), Jealousy (1945) and Railroaded! (1947). She also appeared in two films in the series featuring the detective called the Falcon.

Her role as blonde insurance investigator Joan Raymond in comedy thriller Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) was one of her last appearances. A year later, she married movie producer and Southern California businessman Jaime del Amo. Retiring to Spain, she became a socialite.

Later, Randolph returned to Los Angeles, but she also maintained a chalet in Switzerland as her second home.

Jane Randolph with Tom Conway and George Sanders in The Falcon's Brother (RKO, 1942).

"Century of Smiles" opens Friday in Lincroft, NJ

Although animation had its earliest beginnings in Europe in the 1800s, it took root in the United States at the dawn of the 20th century and is considered to be a true American art form.

Opening Friday, May 29 at the Monmouth Museum in Lincroft, New Jersey with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m., "A Century of Smiles: Cel-ebrating 100 Years of Animation Art" pays tribute to the animation studios and their creative artists who have entertained us for the past 100 years, both on the silver screen and on TV.

The exhibition features vintage and contemporary animation art from the CEL-EBRATION! Animation Art Gallery in Red Bank, New Jersey. Owners Pam and Bob Martin became enchanted with collecting animation art in the 1970s. This is the 25th year in business for CEL-EBRATION!, which is the oldest continuously owned animation gallery in the U.S.

The history of animation will be revealed in production art from the hand-animated short Gertie the Dinosaur, circa 1914, and many other decades of films, through computer-generated images from Pixar and Blue Sky Studios. Visitors will learn about the process of animation and get a first-hand view of original cels, drawings, storyboards, maquettes, backgrounds, model sheets, and the various steps involved in creating the finished product -- a cartoon. Be prepared to have fun while gaining a new appreciation for an art form that has become a daily part of our lives.

Animation artist Mike Kupka, whose work is featured in the exhibit, will create his interpretation of animated characters from Disney classics during a demonstration at the museum from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, June 13. He will demonstrate the techniques and design process used to capture the likeness and the personality of these cartoon movie stars.

"A Century of Smiles" runs until July 5 at the Monmouth Museum, located at 765 Newman Springs Road on the Brookdale Community College campus in Lincroft. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Admission is $7; Brookdale students and staff with valid ID and children under two are free. For further details, call (732) 747-2266 or visit

Good Compositions Take Self Control

People who are good at composition have to exercise a lot of self-control.

Instead of starting a picture with small details, they instead have to plan a big visual statement that reads clearly and simply. I've picked a couple simple Eisenberg images to demonstrate this.

The overall image above is broken into 4 basic shapes. Then each major shape is again broken into subdivisions.

Then the next level.

Someone with less control would get all absorbed in the details early on. Maybe he'd start by drawing a bunch of individual leaves and hope they ad up to an overall tree shape. Or he might do a wild pose of the character - with all the limbs sticking out in every direction, and no overall silhouette.

Good layout artists have to have this kind of self-control - to avoid getting lured into the details too early. I wish I had Eisenberg's control. I've always struggled with composition, because I want to get right to the character.

Here's another example. The characters look great, but they fit perfectly into a much simpler framework, which helps them read well.

Ranger, Cindy and Baba Looey act as one form, that in turn fits into the bush shape behind them. They together are well separated from Yogi, who is the focus of the picture. Boo Boo looks up at Yogi and is framed by the bushes behind him. If all the characters were evenly spaced and the same size, the picture would be confusing and wouldn't draw your attention to anything in particular.

The characters and BG also frame the skywriting plane in the BG.

You can see this deft arrangement of shapes in all of Eisenberg's pictures.

Great illustrators like N.C. Wyeth use these exact same principles, only apply them on more complex levels with more complex drawing:

You can still see the big shapes dominating the compositions, and the details being subservient to them through many levels.

...and great use of negative space

(Thanks John K.)

Eisenberg Subtleties Studies

Huck's head shape is full of tricky subtleties. Eisenberg constructs it pretty logically, then bends some of the forms organically to make the character look alive, rather than perfectly symmetrical and wooden.

Huck's eyes taper together at the top. Then they wrap around his cylindrical head. His nose and muzzle stick out, and that is reflected by the construction. But then Eisenberg takes the mouth and twists it to one side of the face. The mouth in turn pulls the flesh of his muzzle and nose towards itself. This makes the character look very natural - not flat or wonky.

People think of stylized characters like Hanna Barbera's as being stiff. Many stylized cartoons use poses that are straight up and down. Good cartoonists like Eisenberg make their poses organic, flowing and dynamic whether the designs are stylized or not.

This HB human on the left could have been drawn with a completely stiff vertical pose, but instead he is drawn balanced by breaking up his parts into opposing angles along a subtle line of action. His butt leans backward, his torso leans forwards and his head leans backwards. All slightly.

The design of his head is full of subtle contrasts of angles, planes and curves. All these different directions of angles are hard to control. They have to hold together solid forms.

When I was copying the drawing I didn't just look at each line and figure out what angle it was on, I instead looked at the shapes within the lines and then drew the lines around the shapes - if that makes any sense.

The shapes inside the lines are more important than each individual line. You have to use self control to not let your lines go all over the place and not contain sensible appealing solid shapes.

(Thanks John K.)

Social Networking Site Launched for Transformers

Superhero Hype! received the following heads-up this morning:

To promote the release of TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN, Paramount Pictures International and The Picture Production Company have launched a new Transformers website 'Choose Your Side' – a fan site where anyone can grab a wealth of Transformers content to share across their own social web.

The fan site invites visitors to express their allegiance to either Autobots or Decepticons, through a variety of creative and compelling content including site skins for Twitter, Myspace and bebo, desktop downloads and a profile pic creator. The 'transmitter' and 'banner builder' are two personalised applications that you can embed on your social network, blog or site to deliver the latest news about the movie direct to you and your subscribers.

You can check it out the site here.

1 comment:

lpcyusa said...

#What It’s Like to Chill with the Most Ruthless Men in the World
Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic:
Confessions of a Female War Crimes Investigator

Retrospectively, it was all so simple, natural and matter of fact being on a boat restaurant in Belgrade, sitting with, laughing, drinking a two hundred bottle of wine and chatting about war and peace while Ratko Mladic held my hand. Mladic, a man considered the world’s most ruthless war criminal since Adolf Hitler, still at large and currently having a five million dollar bounty on his head for genocide by the international community. Yet there I was with my two best friends at the time, a former Serbian diplomat, his wife, and Ratko Mladic just chilling. There was no security, nothing you’d ordinarily expect in such circumstances. Referring to himself merely as, Sharko; this is the story of it all came about.