Saturday, January 26, 2008

Animated Oscars

Here are the 2008 Oscar Nominees for Best Animated Feature Films and Best Animated Short Films.

In the Best Animated Feature Films category, there are two Feature Films animated with a 3D technique, Ratatouille and Surf's up and the third contender is Persepolis being the only Animated Feature Film made with a Classical Animation Technique.

In the Best Animated Short Films category is the opposite, there is just one short film with a 3D technique "Meme les pigeons vont au paradis" by BUF and the 4 others are traditionally animated.

For four of the nominees these are their first Academy Awards nomination while Alexander Petrov comes back for his 4Th Academy Awards nomination, he is well known for his Animated Short Film "The Old Man And The Sea".

You can watch some of the trailers here at Ticklebooth

Animated Feature Films

Surf's Up
Ash Brannon and Chris Buck

ACADEMY AWARDS HISTORY
These are the first Academy Award nominations for Ash Brannon and Chris Buck.

FILM SYNOPSIS
As surfing penguins converge on the tropical isle of Pen Gu for a contest among the world's top competitors, television coverage of the event profiles the contestants and provides a history of the sport. For young Cody Maverick, who is preparing to take on his rival, Tank, the competition offers a chance to learn some valuable lessons about riding the waves from surfing legend, Big Z.

Ratatouille
Brad Bird

ACADEMY AWARDS HISTORY
Including his nomination this year for Original Screenplay for RATATOUILLE, this is the fourth Academy Award nomination for Brad Bird. He was previously nominated for:

THE INCREDIBLES (2004) -- Winner, Animated Feature Film

THE INCREDIBLES (2004) -- Nominee, Writing (Original)

FILM SYNOPSIS
Remy the rat longs to exercise his talents as a gourmet chef and gets the chance when he finds himself in a famous Parisian restaurant after becoming separated from his family during an escape through the sewers. When his secret improvements to the restaurant's food are mistakenly attributed to Linguini, the garbage boy, the two team up to form an unlikely culinary partnership that will benefit them both.

Persepolis
Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud

ACADEMY AWARDS HISTORY
These are the first Academy Award nominations for Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud.

FILM SYNOPSIS
For young Marjane and her family, the overthrow of the Shah of Iran at first seems to be the longed-for beginning of a free and democratic future for their country. With the election of a conservative Islamic government, however, the little girl finds her life changed dramatically as increasing political repression and the restriction of women's freedom lead her parents to the decision to send Marjane to Austria to complete her education.


Animated Short Films

Peter & the Wolf
Suzie Templeton and Hugh Welchman

ACADEMY AWARDS HISTORY
These are the first Academy Award nominations for Suzie Templeton and Hugh Welchman.

FILM SYNOPSIS
A young boy and his animal friends face a hungry wolf in Prokofiev's classic musical piece.

My Love (Moya Lyubov)
Alexander Petrov

ACADEMY AWARDS HISTORY
This is the fourth Academy Award nomination for Alexander Petrov. He was previously nominated for:

THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA (1999) -- Winner, Short Film (Animated)

THE MERMAID (1997) -- Nominee, Short Film (Animated)

THE COW (1989) -- Nominee, Short Film (Animated)

FILM SYNOPSIS
In nineteenth-century Russia, a teenage boy in search of love is drawn to two very different women.

Même les Pigeons vont au Paradis (Even Pigeons Go To Heaven)
Samuel Tourneux and Simon Vanesse

ACADEMY AWARDS HISTORY
These are the first Academy Award nominations for Samuel Tourneux and Simon Vanesse.

FILM SYNOPSIS
A priest tries to sell an old man a machine that he promises will transport him to heaven.

Madame Tutli-Putli
Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski

ACADEMY AWARDS HISTORY
These are the first Academy Award nominations for Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski.

FILM SYNOPSIS
A timid woman boards a mysterious night train and has a series of frightening experiences.

I Met the Walrus
Josh Raskin

ACADEMY AWARDS HISTORY
This is the first Academy Award nomination for Josh Raskin.

FILM SYNOPSIS
In 1969, fourteen-year-old Jerry Levitan snuck into John Lennon's hotel room with his tape recorder and persuaded him to do an interview.

The selection of the Animated short films and the diversity of them proves what the Academy Awards members including John Lasseter were fighting for. At an earlier year, the Academy was receiving a lot of Animated Short Films submissions, the question was brought up to the members if they were willing to cut the number of submissions in order to make the process easier. Their answer was a bold "No" adding that EVERYONE should have a chance to win, no matter where the film comes from, technique, story, etc. Anybody driven by the passion of telling stories through Animated Short Films should get a chance to win.

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Visual Effects Society: Animation Nominees


The Visual Effects Society ceremony will take place in February 10th, at Hollywood & Highland that will recognize visual effects in film, television, commercials and video games.

Here is an excerpt for:
1.- Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Motion Picture
2.- Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Motion Picture
3.- Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Motion Picture
4.- Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Broadcast Program or Commercial
5.- Outstanding Effects on an Animated Motion Picture

Game lovers have also Video Game categories:
6.- Outstanding Real Time Visuals in a Video Game
7.- Outstanding Pre-Rendered Visuals in a Video Game

1.- Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Motion Picture

Ratatouille
Michael Fong, Apurva Shah, Christine Waggoner, Michael Fu


2.- Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Motion Picture

SPIDER-MAN 3 - Sandman
Chris Yang, Bernd Anger, Dominick Cecere, Remington Scott

THE WATER HORSE: LEGEND OF THE DEEP - Crusoe
Richard Frances-Moore, Martin Hill, Marco Revelant, Daniel Barrett

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD’S END - Davy Jones
Hal Hickel, Marc Chu, Jakub Pistecky, Maia Kayser

ENCHANTED - Pip
Tom Gibbons, James W. Brown, David Richard Nelson, John Koester

TRANSFORMERS - Optimus Prime
Rick O'Connor , Doug Sutton, Keiji Yamaguchi, Jeff White

I AM LEGEND - The Infected Leader
David Schaub, Marco Marenghi, Josh Beveridge, John Monos


3.- Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Motion Picture

SURF'S UP - Chicken Joe
David Schaub, Moon Jun Kang, Brian Casper, Andreas Procopiou

SHREK THE THIRD - King Harold
John Cleese, Guillaume Aretos, Tim Cheung, Sean Mahoney

BEOWULF - Beowulf
Keith Smith, Scott Holmes, Pericles Michielin, Kenn McDonald

SURF'S UP - Cody
David Schaub, Pete Nash, James Crossley, Shia LaBeouf

RATATOUILLE - Colette
Janeane Garofalo, Jaime Landes, Sonoko Konishi , Paul Aichele


4.- Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Broadcast Program or Commercial

DOCTOR WHO 'THE LAST OF THE TIME LORDS' - Series 3 Episode 13
Nicolas Hernandez, Adam Burnett, Neil Roche, Jean-Claude Deguara

CHEMICAL BROTHERS - SALMON DANCE - Fatlip shots
Nicklas Andersson, Mike Mellor, Sylvain Marc, Florent DeLa Taille

PRIMEVAL - Episode 6 - Predator Animation
Mathieu Vig, Antoine Birot, Simon Thistlethwaite, Kevin O'Sullivan

AMP - Paper
Fred Raimondi, Chris De Santis, Angie Jones, Narbeh Mardirossian

BEN 10: RACE AGAINST TIME - Grey Matter Sequence
Brent Young, Michael Smith

PROPEL - Stress Monster
Jeff Willette, Sean Faden, Matt Hackett, Denis Gauthier


5.- Outstanding Effects in an Animated Motion Picture

BEOWULF - Dragon Chase
Theo Vandernoot, Vincent Serritella, Rob Engle, Pericles Michielin

SHREK THE THIRD - Effects
Matt Baer, Greg Hart, Krzysztof Rost, Antony Field

RATATOUILLE - Food

Jon Reisch, Jason Johnston, Eric Froemling, Tolga Goktekin

SURF’S UP - Riding Wave - CG Style
Rob Bredow, Daniel Kramer, Matt Hausman, Danny Dimian

RATATOUILLE - Rapids
Darwyn Peachey, Chen Shen, Eric Froemling, Tolga Göketkin


6.- Outstanding Real Time Visuals in a Video Game

NEED FOR SPEED PRO STREET - ProStreet
Michael Mann, Wilson Tang, Eduardo Agostini, Carl Jarrett

CRYSIS - Realtime Visuals
Michael Endres, Michael Khaimzon, Tiago Sousa, Magnus Larbrant

TEAM FORTRESS 2
Jason Mitchell, Moby Franke, Chris Green, Dhabih Eng


HALO 3 - Halo 3 Footage
Marcus Lehto, Jonty Barnes, Stephen Scott, CJ Cowan

MASS EFFECT - Game Sequence
Derek Watts, Casey Hudson


7.- Outstanding Pre-Rendered Visuals in a Video Game

COMMAND AND CONQUER 3 TIBERIUM WARS - GDI, NOD & Scrin Scenes
Richard Taylor, Matt Britton, Ben Hopkins, Katai Tang

HELLGATE: LONDON
Tim Miller, Jerome Denjean, Al Shier

WORLD OF WARCRAFT: THE BURNING CRUSADE - Cinematic Intro
Jeff Chamberlain, Scott Abeyta

THE WITCHER CINEMATIC - Intro
Tomek Baginski, Marcin Kobylecki, Grzegorz Kukus, Maciek Jackiewicz


The Visual Effects Society (VES) is the entertainment industry's only organization representing the full breadth of visual effects practitioners including artists, technologists, model makers, educators, studio leaders, supervisors, PR/marketing specialists and producers in all areas of entertainment from film, television and commercials to music videos and games. Comprised of a diverse group of more than 1,600 members in 17 countries, the VES strives to enrich and educate its own members and members of the entertainment community at large through a multitude of domestic and international events, screenings and programs.

For more information on how to become a member please visit Visual Effects Society.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Shows cancelled


You would think that big entertainment firms working on high profile projects have the production under control, in particular their Administration Department. As part of the Executive Producers' job is to analyze the budget required for the show, allocate it wisely and approve it to start production.

After a show is green lit, Entertainment firms identify and hire the studio(s) capable of doing the job, then the studio with the same departments as the Entertainment firm: Executive Producer, Producers and Coordinators re-allocate the show's budget and hire computer graphics artists: modelers, animators, textures, FX artists, etc. Then, production for the show starts.

-Honey, I got a job!.

When Computer Artists are deep into what promises to be the latest and greatest project of all time, it gets cancelled; it all ended. No further explanation other that *they-need-to-re-visit-the-budget*.

-Computer Artists: Huh? How could a project that its already being produced gets cancelled?, Didn't it go through careful consideration and proper budget revisions already? Isn't the budgeting stage one of the first ones and we are already in the middle of the show?.

-Administration: Well, it went over budget, there is no idea why its so expensive or where the money is going. We are stopping production.

-Honey, I'm home early.

From a Computer Artist perspective this is not good at all, chances are that some will be let go or the entire team will be laid off, fired, Caput, C'est finis, nada. ta-da!. All their life will be shaken mainly because they were counting with that money, whatever plans they had, now the Computer Artists *need-to-re-visit-their-budget*.

As there is no quick cure for these type of situations, here are some ways to cope with them:

-Apply for a Staff position, you will be transferred to a different project.
-Stay in contact with your other potential employers, let them know how lucky they are, now you are free and work for them.
-Remember what your art teachers use to say? Don't fall in love with your art, with your character, drawing, pose, model, shot, acting, etc. In this case, don't fall in love with the show, project, company, movie, show... just move on.
-Keep you sanity -Whatever you do, don't take it personal.
-Use your humor to see the good side of things, after all you are an animator.

Managing shows is not an easy task, being part of the Management team as a Producer, Coordinator, P.A. etc, is one of the most difficult positions to be in, they are trapped between the Entertainment firm and the Production Team, in one hand the Entertainment firm keeps tightening the budget, in the other the artists need to hire more artists or work over time in order to accomplish the demands of the show. Management teams are often seen as bad cops, don't forget to give them a break and assume that they are doing the best they can.

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Sunday, January 6, 2008

Artists must have books: Orbiting the Giant Hairball


I got to know about this book while listening to the Stanford University's series of podcasts on business entrepreneurs. What sounded very appealing to me was that the author Gordon MacKenzie is an artist that managed to stay 30 years working for a single company: Hallmark, the company that does all-occasion cards.

As Animator artists we are striving to get better with our art, trying to stay on top of things and come up with the latest trends on acting, posing, staging, etc. When we already have a few years working with the same studio, company, project, we are inevitably facing the corporate side of them too often, this makes us stagnate with our ideas, with our creativity, with our art.

Gordon MacKenzie explains in his book what its called a "Hairball", he says that every idea its a hair and when two of them come together will form a little tiny puny hairball. In a company, ideas are coming from every angle resulting in hairballs and in big corporations there are giant hairballs. MacKenzie says that the trick is to stay innovative when being part of hairballs.

MacKenzie's writing style will glue your attention to every page, his ideas, stories and anecdotes are eye opening, he has a peculiar way of seeing things, the book contains a lot succinct drawings that explain his concepts in a very simple way, chapters names such as "Introducing... your brain", "Paint me a canvas", etc. you will love the reading.

Gordon MacKenzie brings up a thought that every artist has had. The idea of being discovered by a company, a studio, a person. Someone that recognizes our talents and gives us that opportunity we were waiting for a long time to prove the world who we are and what we have to offer. Someone that will help us grow and will elevate us as artists, someone that believes in us, someone to validate us. But no one never came.

"There is still hope, you are an adult now, as an adult you will be in a position to redeem your creative genius. Reviving the creative genius in you is the beginning of Orbit".

--Gordon MacKenzie

Vancouver Animated News by Mario Pochat