On Their Way to the Bake-Off

Animation Magazine - - Features -

A snap­shot of this year’s 10 vfx con­tenders.

Last month, the Acad­emy of Mo­tion Pic­ture Arts and Sci­ences se­lected 10 ti­tles to move for­ward in the visual ef­fects cat­e­gory for the 90th Acad­emy Awards. Th­ese films will par­tic­i­pate in the an­nual “bake-off” in early Jan­uary, dur­ing which the vfx branch will vote to de­ter­mine the nom­i­nees. It’s in­ter­est­ing to see less splashy of­fer­ings such as Dunkirk and Okja be­ing rec­og­nized in­stead of more pre­dictable fare such as Beauty and the Beast, Pi­rates of the Caribbean, Won­der Woman and Thor Rag­narok. Nom­i­na­tions for the 90th Oscars will be an­nounced on Jan. 23. The cer­e­mony will be held on March 4 at the Dolby Theatre in Hol­ly­wood, and will be tele­vised live on ABC. Here’s a quick break­down of the big Bake-Off 10 listed in al­pha­bet­i­cal or­der: Stu­dio: Fox VFX Houses: MPC, Luma Pic­tures, An­i­mal Logic, Frame­store, Ris­ing Sun, Atomic Fic­tion, Peer­less Cam­era Co. VFX Su­per­vi­sors: Neil Cor­bould, Vin­cent Cirelli, Fer­ran Domenech, Marcus Dryden, Charley Hen­ley, Dan Oliver High­lights: Ri­d­ley Scott took the fran­chise back to the grit­tier, grungier na­ture of the orig­i­nal Alien, while con­tin­u­ing with the de­sign aes­thet­ics car­ried through Prometheus. Conor O’Sul­li­van’s sublime crea­ture de­signs in­cluded a new mon­ster called the Neo­morph, which is seen both as a baby and a full-grown alien. Other high­lights in­cluded some ma­jes­tic en­vi­ron­men­tal work cour­tesy of MPC and two land­ing ships with gi­ant sails. Of course, you got to cel­e­brate the film’s chest­burster and face­hug­ger mo­ments, which were much more ad­vanced mod­els of the mon­sters we first met in 1979. Stu­dio: Warner Bros. VFX Houses: Dou­ble Neg­a­tive, MPC, Frame­store, Atomic Fic­tion, Ter­ri­tory Stu­dio, BUF, Rodeo FX, UPP, Weta Work­shop VFX Su­per­vi­sors: Richard Clegg, Paul Lam­bert, Vik­tor Muller, John Nel­son, High­lights: Fol­low­ing up the orig­i­nal sci-fi clas­sic’s trail-blaz­ing ef­fects from 1982 was no easy task, but John Nel­son and his team did a ter­rific job of recre­at­ing the brave, new world of Ryan Gosling’s of­fi­cer char­ac­ter, who is in charge of re­tir­ing Repli­cants. Among the dystopian high­lights of the movie were the Bru­tal­ist ar­chi­tec­ture of the fu­ture cities, the new holo­graphic char­ac­ters, and an eye-pop­ping, dig­i­tal re­pro­duc­tion of Rachael, Sean Young’s orig­i­nal ro­botic char­ac­ter who is for­ever young, thanks to the seam­less vfx work. As Nel­son points out, “In­stead of throw­ing a bil­lion things at the viewer, why don’t we throw a hun­dred things, but have them be re­ally, re­ally good?” Stu­dio: Warner Bros. VFX House: Dou­ble Neg­a­tive VFX Su­per­vi­sors: An­drew Jack­son, An­drew Lock­ley, Tim McGovern, Paul Cor­bould High­lights: Christo­pher Nolan’s epic WWII movie re­ceived high marks for its “you’re-there” re­al­ism, and re­lied mostly on optical ef­fects to re­count the evac­u­a­tion of the 330,000 Al­lied sol­diers from the beaches of North­ern France. Us­ing IMAX and 70mm 5-perf film stock, the film uti­lized pre­vis for the aerial dog­fights. As su­per­vi­sor An­drew Jack­son ex­plained, “We might have one or two real planes in the shot al­ready, do a cam­era track of the real plane, and an­i­mate CG planes into that scene un­til we were happy with the ac­tion.” The film­mak­ers also used CG for crowd ex­ten­sions, en­vi­ron­men­tal cleanup for the wa­ter (the ocean-based shots were filmed in Hol­land in the Zuiderzee in­land sea), adding hori­zon lines and smoke ef­fects, and mak­ing ad­just­ments to sand dunes. Stu­dio: Dis­ney VFX Houses: Frame­store, Weta Dig­i­tal, An­i­mal Logic, Deluxe Method Stu­dios, Scan­line VFX, Trix­ter, Lola VFX, Cantina Cre­ative, Luma Pic­tures, The Third Floor VFX Su­per­vi­sors: Christo­pher Townsend, Jelmer Boskma, Paul Butterwort­h, Alessandro Cioffi, Vin­cent Cirelli, Trent Claus, Adrian Cor­sei, Matthew Cr­nich, Jonathan Fawkner, Venti Hris­tova, Cor­nelius Porzig High­lights: How can we for­get the adorable Baby Groot as we look back at the visual high­lights of 2017? Of course, there was a lot more to love in this per­fect sum­mer es­capist thrill ride: Crea­ture work, daz­zling space­ships, “the best open­ing se­quence in the world” (as dic­tated in the script), an eight-ten­ta­cled, semi-translu­cent crea­ture known as the Abilisk, the golden Sov­er­eign world and the ruth­less priest­ess Aye­sha were all part of the pack­age. “The ti­tle se­quence was an enor­mous un­der­tak­ing: one of the most com­plex I’ve ever ex­pe­ri­enced in my ca­reer,” says Frame­store an­i­ma­tion supe Arslan Elver. “The en­tire set was re­flec­tive and the cam­era doesn’t cut, mean­ing the team was faced with 800 frame-long ef­fects and the need to run sim­u­la­tions that were thou­sands of frames long!”

Stu­dio: Warner Bros. VFX Houses: ILM, Hy­bride Tech­nolo­gies, Rodeo FX VFX Su­per­vi­sor: Jeff White High­lights: For this state-of-the-art in­car­na­tion of the cin­e­matic beast, the team at ILM built on its re­cent hairy mam­mal ex­per­tise (War­craft, The Revenant) and de­liv­ered even more emo­tional fa­cial work for Kong. Ac­cord­ing to vfx su­per­vi­sor Jeff White, one of the big­gest chal­lenges was the scale: It takes much more hair to cover a char­ac­ter that large: “We es­ti­mated about 19 mil­lion hairs cov­ered Kong’s body,” he says. “Also, we couldn’t get away with the hair be­ing long and sim­ple be­cause then we’d lose some of the scale cues … We de­vel­oped new tech­nol­ogy that al­lowed us to put leaves and sticks and caked-on mud in his hair and we had a swarm of flies around him.” The film also fea­tures lots of wa­ter sim­u­la­tion and a va­ri­ety of mag­nif­i­cent dig­i­tal crea­tures that in­habit the is­land, along with Kong. Stu­dio: Net­flix VFX Houses: Cre­ative Party VFX Su­per­vi­sor: Erik-Jan De Boer, Jun Hy­oung Kim, Jeon Hy­oung Lee High­lights: The team at Method Stu­dios cre­ated the life-like gi­ant pig star of the movie, which is roughly 12 feet long, eight feet tall and weighs about 12,000 lbs. Os­car-win­ner Erik-Jan de Boer (Life of Pi) re­fined the look of the crea­ture and de­vel­oped a highly de­tailed as­set that would seam­lessly in­te­grate with prac­ti­cal footage. “We aimed to make Okja a re­al­is­tic pres­ence on set and fo­cused on mak­ing the young ac­tress play­ing Mija com­fort­able even though her pri­mary costar is an inan­i­mate foam shape,” says de Boer. “We had in­tri­cate shots with up­wards of five peo­ple touch­ing Okja at once, shots where Okja is in frame for a full minute, and many shots with Mija hug­ging Okja, al­low­ing time to scru­ti­nize ev­ery con­tact point and shadow. This re­quired lots of roto, paint, ro­toma­tion and an­i­ma­tion with an in­cred­i­bly high fi­delity.” Stu­dio: Fox Search­light VFX Houses: Mr. X VFX Su­per­vi­sor: Den­nis Ber­ardi High­lights: Ber­ardi and his team worked on over 60 min­utes of the film (ei­ther dig­i­tal en­hance­ment or full dig­i­tal cre­ation). “I’m most proud of the open­ing se­quence, where we start with an un­der­wa­ter seabed, which was en­tirely dig­i­tally cre­ated by Mr. X and move up into a set piece (El­iza’s apart­ment), which we shot dry, us­ing smoke and pro­jec­tors. We floated fur­ni­ture, some of it was prac­ti­cally hung on monofil­a­ment, and some were dig­i­tally an­i­mated.” The vfx artists also did a ter­rific job mix­ing the footage of ac­tor Doug Jones in crea­ture cos­tume with keyframe an­i­ma­tion to de­liver the bi­o­lu­mi­nes­cent glow. The cre­ative team looked to na­ture and sea crea­tures that gen­er­ate their own light, like cut­tle­fish, to come up with the mem­o­rable glow of the crea­ture from the Ama­zon. Stu­dio: Dis­ney VFX Houses: ILM, Hy­bride, Im­por­tant Look­ing Pi­rates, Jellyfish, One of Us, Rodeo FX, Blind Ltd. VFX Su­per­vi­sors: Richard Bain, Ben Mor­ris, Michael Mul­hol­land, Chris Cor­bould High­lights: To put things into per­spec­tive, all three movies in the orig­i­nal Star Wars tril­ogy won Oscars for their vfx achieve­ments. The first two of the pre­quels were also nom­i­nated ( Re­venge of the Sith was ig­nored). The Force Awak­ens and Rogue One also re­ceived Os­car noms, so the odds are pretty strong for The Last Jedi as well. There are plenty of breath-tak­ing vi­su­als to cel­e­brate in Rian John­son’s deeply sat­is­fy­ing opus, who takes the fran­chise to un­ex­pected heights, from clearly chore­ographed ac­tion se­quences and lightsaber fights to the puf­fin-in­spired Porgs, the re­mark­able sea birds that kept Luke com­pany on the planet Ahch-To. Stu­dio: STX En­ter­tain­ment VFX Houses: Weta Dig­i­tal, ILM, Rodeo FX VFX Su­per­vi­sor: Scott Stokdyk High­lights: Stokdyk, who won the vfx Os­car for his work on Spi­der-Man 2 12 year ago, has the chal­leng­ing task of work­ing with a huge amount of con­cept work from artists all over the world. Set in the 28th cen­tury, Luc Bes­son’s movie is based on a pop­u­lar French comic-book se­ries and fea­tures a host of amaz­ing alien back­drops and crea­tures. Hu­man ac­tors in­ter­acted with alien char­ac­ters us­ing mo-cap suits, then a pass with only hu­man char­ac­ters was record, and all had to be put to­gether smoothly in post. An­other high­light was a shapeshift­ing alien named Bub­ble, played by Ri­hanna. “A lot of it was a leap of faith, know­ing that Weta could re­place an arm, leg or even a face if needed,” says Stokdyk. “The tech­nol­ogy gives us free­dom to make some­thing in­ter­est­ing.” Stu­dio: Fox VFX House: Weta Dig­i­tal VFX Su­per­vi­sors: Joe Let­teri, Dan Lem­mon, Erik Win­quist, Dan Cervin High­lights: This year’s ac­claimed chap­ter of the sci-fi epic found Andy Serkis’ Cae­sar out on a re­venge mis­sion that takes him through ex­treme snow and other con­di­tions that would have been im­pos­si­ble to vi­su­al­ize a few years ago. As Joe Let­teri told Dead­line, “War takes us on this epic jour­ney into re­ally harsh con­di­tions, where we were cap­tur­ing in the snow, and in the rain, and re­ally dif­fi­cult lo­ca­tion work … But it showed that you can take this tech­nol­ogy and evolve it, and di­rec­tors and ac­tors can use it to cre­ate a scene any­where.” The char­ac­ters’ nu­anced per­for­mances, the re­al­is­tic in­ter­ac­tion of dig­i­tal fur with snow, a beau­ti­ful se­quence fea­tur­ing Apes rid­ing horses, and some stun­ning close-up work (made pos­si­ble by Weta’s Manuka ren­derer) are among the film’s many vfx high­lights. Im­age cred­its:

AIn the past, an­i­mated fea­tures have of­ten been shut out when it comes to be­low-the-line awards, but the tide may be turn­ing. By Karen Idel­son

ni­mated fea­tures have never just been for kids. They bring mil­lions of peo­ple to movie theaters world­wide each year. They’re some of the most con­sis­tent per­form­ers at the box of­fice, home en­ter­tain­ment kiosks, pack­aged me­dia sales and in down­loads. Many of the world’s most tal­ented and lauded film­mak­ers tell their sto­ries through an­i­ma­tion. How­ever — out­side of the an­i­mated fea­ture, short film and song cat­e­gories at the Acad­emy Awards — you’d strug­gle to re­mem­ber the last time some­one was nom­i­nated out­side of those cat­e­gories for the work they’d done on an an­i­mated film.

Even though they’re not rack­ing up Acad­emy and other awards sea­son nods, the cos­tume de­sign­ers, sound de­sign­ers, cin­e­matog­ra­phers and many other mem­bers of the crew who work in an­i­ma­tion face the same chal­lenges, solve the same prob­lems and es­sen­tially do the same kind of work as they un­der­take a live-ac­tion project.

Deborah Cook, a highly re­garded cos­tume de­signer and pup­pet mod­eler, made all of the cos­tumes for LAIKA’s 2014 stop-mo­tion film The Box­trolls by hand be­cause there isn’t a cos­tume rental house for minia­ture cos­tumes and there’s re­ally no place to buy them, ei­ther. So, she must de­sign cos­tumes, select fab­rics and of­ten hand dye them to cre­ate the right col­ors. Cook is on the fore­front of cos­tume work in an­i­ma­tion. Last year, she be­came the first de­signer to re­ceive a nom­i­na­tion from the Cos­tume De­sign­ers Guild for her work on Kubo and the Two Strings.

“I see our tal­ented team of film­mak­ers as equal to live-ac­tion film­mak­ers. We have the same ex­per­tise and, ad­di­tion­ally, have a spe­cial­ist knowl­edge of stop-frame film­mak­ing and a skill set for smaller-scaled de­tails,” says Cook. “I feel proud that my nom­i­na­tion chal­lenged the wider movie in­dus­try to see us as equals and com­peti­tors in any com­pa­ra­ble cat­e­gory in the in­dus­try.”

Cos­tume de­sign­ers for an­i­ma­tion also some­times de­sign cos­tumes that aren’t ac­tu­ally built in the tra­di­tional way (they’re cre­ated us­ing soft­ware and then wrapped around a char­ac­ter). Other times, a cos­tume that has al­ready been cre­ated by hand is then scanned and the di­men­sions are taken into the com­puter for an an­i­mated char­ac­ter. Jac­que­line Dur­ran’s work for the Beast’s wardrobe in this year’s live-ac­tion Beauty and Beast went through just that adap­ta­tion.

Th­ese kinds of tech­no­log­i­cal changes have made cos­tume de­sign for an­i­ma­tion dif­fi­cult to de­scribe and, as a re­sult, dif­fi­cult to nom­i­nate or award, ac­cord­ing to Sal­vador Perez, pres­i­dent of the Cos­tume De­sign­ers Guild.

“In the past, cos­tume de­sign­ers who worked in an­i­ma­tion were some­times called ‘char­ac­ter de­sign­ers,’ so it wasn’t some­thing that was nec­es­sar­ily rec­og­nized,” says Perez. “You have to keep up with the tech­nol­ogy and once the amaz­ing work of Deborah Cook was sub­mit­ted as cos­tume de­sign, it was no­ticed, be­cause how could you not see how much work she put into Kubo?”

Perez says the Cos­tume De­sign­ers Guild is also work­ing on out­reach pro­grams that ed­u­cate its mem­bers in the tech­no­log­i­cal changes com­ing to their in­dus­try as cos­tume de­sign is in­creas­ingly done for both live ac­tors and an­i­mated char­ac­ters, whether they’re in “live-ac-

tion” films or purely an­i­mated fea­tures.

The Acad­emy it­self once in­cluded an­i­ma­tors un­der the Short Films branch of AMPAS. It wasn’t un­til 1995 that it be­came the Short Films and An­i­ma­tion Branch in or­der to bet­ter suit an­i­ma­tors who of­ten worked ex­clu­sively in fea­ture an­i­ma­tion.

In the past, hy­brid films like Who Framed Roger Rab­bit and Mary Pop­pins have also re­ceived nods and awards. The for­mer won for best visual ef­fects, best film edit­ing and best sound ef­fects edit­ing. In 1964, Mary Pop­pins won for best ac­tress, best visual ef­fects, best film edit­ing, best orig­i­nal song and best score.

Per­haps the Acad­emy Awards cat­e­gory that’s seen the great­est in­flux of an­i­mated nom­i­nees is sound edit­ing, which in­volves creat­ing and de­sign­ing the sounds we hear in films. In the last 20 years, Mon­sters, Inc., Find­ing Nemo, The Po­lar Ex­press,

per­cent­age of films that get nom­i­nated for sound Oscars are films with lots of bat­tle scenes. We think loud sound, lots of sounds, that must be good sound. And, to be hon­est, I think one of the rea­sons The In­cred­i­bles won an Os­car is that it’s an ac­tion film.”

Thom also points out that a large num­ber of the sound pros in the Sound Branch of the Acad­emy — which gen­er­ates the nom­i­na­tions for the sound cat­e­gories — work on phys­i­cal movie sets in­stead of an­i­ma­tion. So, they may not have as strong a con­nec­tion to sound work done for an­i­mated fea­tures.

Thom, Cook and Perez would all like to see

Rank, Ti­tle (Stu­dio) 1. De­spi­ca­ble Me 3 (Univer­sal) 2. Coco (Dis­ney-Pixar) 3. The LEGO Bat­man Movie (Warner Bros.) 4. The Boss Baby (DreamWorks) 5. Cars 3 (Dis­ney-Pixar) 6. The Emoji Movie (Sony) 7. Cap­tain Un­der­pants (DreamWorks) 8. The LEGO Ninjago Movie (Warner Bros.) 9. Ferdinand (Fox/ Blue Sky) 10. Smurfs: The Lost Vil­lage (Sony) Rank, Ti­tle (Stu­dio) 1. Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Dis­ney) 2. Beauty and the Beast (Dis­ney) 3. Won­der Woman (Warner Bros.) 4. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (Dis­ney) 5. Spi­der-Man: Home­com­ing (Sony) 6. It (Warner Bros.) 7. Thor: Rag­narok (Dis­ney) 8. Lo­gan (Fox) 9. Jus­tice League (Warner Bros.) 10. The Fate of the Fu­ri­ous (Univer­sal)

OThe An­nie Awards will cel­e­brate an­other year of bril­liant achieve­ments in an­i­ma­tion and visual ef­fects by in­die artists and stu­dio teams alike.

ne of the best things about work­ing in the an­i­ma­tion and vfx in­dus­try is at­tend­ing the In­ter­na­tional An­i­mated Film As­so­ci­a­tion’s (ASIFA-Hol­ly­wood) An­nie Awards ev­ery year. This year’s event, which takes place on Satur­day, Feb. 3 at UCLA’s Royce Hall, prom­ises to be an­other un­for­get­table cel­e­bra­tion of the art and amaz­ing peo­ple who work in the in­dus­try. We caught up with ASIFA-Hol­ly­wood Pres­i­dent Jerry Beck to get his take on the 45th edi­tion of the awards, which fea­tures 36 cat­e­gories as well as spe­cial ju­ried awards.

“We are still in the plan­ning stages, but we have a new stage set and we’ll un­veil a new logo,” says the dis­tin­guished an­i­ma­tion his­to­rian and au­thor. “What’s dif­fer­ent and ex­cit­ing is — as al­ways — the range and scope of the nom­i­nees. The en­ergy of the event comes from our mem­bers and the qual­ity of the fea­tures and TV rep­re­sented. The range of tech­niques be­ing hon­ored in­clude retro-style video games ( Cup­head is get­ting a spe­cial award) to oil paint­ing an­i­ma­tion, from ma­jor stu­dio CGI to anime, and some in­cred­i­ble vir­tual re­al­ity in­no­va­tions.”

Beck says au­di­ences should ex­pect a few jaw-drop­ping sur­prises, but he prom­ises that no­body will read the wrong win­ner for Best Pic­ture! He adds, “A high­light for me — and I’m so proud of our nom­i­nee judg­ing com­mit­tees, all made up of in­dus­try peers in each cat­e­gory — is the qual­ity of the nom­i­nated films and film­mak­ers. The An­nie Awards is truly a cel­e­bra­tion of all the in­cred­i­ble tal­ent in the field to­day. It’s a huge turn-around from the way the busi­ness was when I moved to Los An­ge­les in 1986, when an­i­ma­tion was de­fined by low-bud­get Satur­day morn­ing car­toons, a few fea­ture films, com­mer­cials and scat­tered in­de­pen­dent shorts. To­day, we have over 20 fea­tures per year, loads of gam­ing, op­por­tu­ni­ties in spe­cial ef­fects, pro­gram­ming on cable TV, stream­ing chan­nels, on and on. And, al­most ev­ery col­lege has a se­ri­ous an­i­ma­tion pro­gram. The An­nies truly re­flect the best of our com­mu­nity over the last year. You want to see the fu­ture of an­i­ma­tion? Keep your eyes on our nom­i­nees and win­ners.”

Over­all, Beck be­lieves the an­i­ma­tion and vfx in­dus­try couldn’t be health­ier.

“We are still a stepchild to the movie in­dus­try, but those of us in the field, those of us who make films, those of us who de­vote our­selves to an­i­ma­tion know it is the great­est ex­pres­sion of art and storytelli­ng in cinema,” he stresses. “There are more voices mak­ing new fea­tures, shorts and se­ries. More voices, more choices, more ideas, more in­clu­sion. It’s not just Hol­ly­wood — it is truly an in­ter­na­tional medium with­out bound­aries.”

This feel­ing of bright op­ti­mism also in­cludes what is in store for us in 2018. “I’ve only seen snip­pets of some of the up­com­ing fea­tures slated for next year and — to be hon­est — it looks like we will top our­selves again in 2018. The whole field is mov­ing for­ward and I’m happy to say: that’s how it should be!” To learn more about this spe­cial cel­e­bra­tion and to nab your tick­ets be­fore they’re gone, visit www.an­nieawards.org.

Here are some of the 45th An­nie Awards nom­i­nees in the ma­jor cat­e­gories: Best An­i­mated Fea­ture Cap­tain Un­der­pants (DreamWorks) Cars 3 (Pixar) Coco (Pixar) De­spi­ca­ble Me 3 (Il­lu­mi­na­tion) The Boss Baby (DreamWorks) Best An­i­mated Fea­ture (In­de­pen­dent) In This Cor­ner of the World (Taro Maki, GENCO, Masao Maruyama, Mappa Co.) Lov­ing Vin­cent (BreakThru Films) Nap­ping Princess (Nip­pon TV) The Big Bad Fox & Other Tales (Fo­li­vari, Panique!, Studiocana­l) The Bread­win­ner (Car­toon Saloon, Air­craft Pic­tures, Melu­sine Prod.) Best An­i­mated Spe­cial Pro­duc­tion Imag­i­nary Friend So­ci­ety “Feel­ing Sad” (Hor­net) Olaf’s Frozen Ad­ven­ture (Walt Dis­ney An­i­ma­tion Stu­dios) Pig: The Dam Keeper Po­ems (Tonko House, Inc.) Re­volt­ing Rhymes (Magic Light Pic­tures) Tan­gled: Be­fore Ever After (Walt Dis­ney Tele­vi­sion An­i­ma­tion) Best An­i­mated Short Sub­ject Dear Bas­ket­ball (Glen Keane Prod., Kobe Stu­dios, Be­lieve Ent. Group) Hedge­hog’s Home (Na­tional Film Board of Canada, Bono­bostu­dio) Neg­a­tive Space (IKKI Films, Manuel Cam Stu­dio) Scav­engers (Tit­mouse, Inc., Adult Swim) Son of Jaguar (Google Spot­light Sto­ries, Reel FX) Best An­i­mated TV/Broad­cast: Preschool Mickey and the Road­ster Rac­ers “Goofy Gas!” (Dis­ney TV An­i­ma­tion) Oc­to­nauts “Op­er­a­tion Deep Freeze” (Vam­pire Squid, Sil­ver­gate Me­dia, Brown Bag Films) Peg + Cat “The Mari­achi Prob­lem” (The Fred Rogers Co., 100 Chick­ens Prod.) The Stinky & Dirty Show (Ama­zon Stu­dios) Through the Woods “A Snowy Morn­ing” (Houghton Mif­flin Harcourt, The Fred Rogers Co., PIP An­i­ma­tion Ser­vices) Best An­i­mated TV/Broad­cast: Chil­dren Buddy Thun­der­struck “To Pro­tect and Swerve / Robo Truck of the Fu­ture” (Stoopid Buddy Stood­ios, Amer­i­can Greetings for Net­flix) Lost in Oz “The Pearl of Pin­ga­ree” (Ama­zon Stu­dios) Niko and the Sword of Light “From the Cliffs of Catas­tro­phe to the Pools of Des­tiny” (Ama­zon Stu­dios) Tan­gled: The Se­ries “Queen for a Day” (Dis­ney TV An­i­ma­tion) We Bare Bears “Panda’s Art” (Car­toon Net­work) Best Gen­eral Au­di­ence An­i­mated TV/Broad­cast Big Mouth “Am I Gay?” (Net­flix) BoJack Horse­man “Stupid Piece of Sh*t” (Tor­nante Prod. for Net­flix) Rick and Morty “Pickle Rick” (Wil­liams Street Prod.) Ro­bot Chicken “Freshly Baked: The Ro­bot Chicken Santa Claus Pot Cookie Freak­out Spe­cial: Spe­cial Edi­tion” (Stoopid Buddy Stood­ios) Sa­mu­rai Jack “Episode XCIII” (Adult Swim) Best Stu­dent Film Cra­dle (Devon Man­ney) Else­where (Junyi Xiao) Good Night, Every­buds! Once a Hero (Xia Li) Poles Apart (Paloma Baeza) Spe­cial Ju­ried Hon­ors Win­sor McCay Awards for ca­reer con­tri­bu­tions to the art of an­i­ma­tion: Bri­tish char­ac­ter an­i­ma­tor James Bax­ter; SpongeBob SquarePant­s creator Stephen Hil­len­burg; Os­car-win­ning Cana­dian di­rec­tors Wendy Tilby & Amanda For­bis ( When the Day Breaks, Wild Life) The Ub Iw­erks Award for tech­ni­cal ad­vance­ment: TVPaint, for its ver­sa­tile soft­ware for 2D an­i­ma­tion The Spe­cial Achieve­ment Award: Stu­dio MDHR En­ter­tain­ment for its 1930s-in­spired won­der-game Cup­head. The June Foray Award: An­i­ma­tion his­to­rian Di­dier Ghez. The Cer­tifi­cate of Merit will be awarded to David Nimitz, de­voted friend and care­taker of vet­eran voice ac­tress, and ASIFA-Hol­ly­wood & An­nie Awards pi­o­neer, the late June Foray.

TV is in need of rein­vent­ing it­self as stream­ing and on de­mand ser­vices are pro­lif­er­at­ing, eS­ports is on the rise, and gam­ing is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly main­stream. At The Fu­ture Group, we want to merge real and vir­tual worlds, and cre­ate shows where TV con­tes­tants and view­ers at home are put into the same vir­tual uni­verse, com­pet­ing in the same chal­lenges and win­ning the same prizes.

To make this hap­pen we use our own pro­pri­etary tech­nol­ogy Fron­tier™; a heav­ily-en­hanced ver­sion of Epic’s Un­real game engine and Ross Video hard­ware. Fron­tier lets us merge the phys­i­cal stu­dio en­vi­ron­ment with vir­tual worlds, al­low­ing TV con­tes­tants in the stu­dio to com­pete in the same vir­tual worlds as view­ers at home, who can ac­cess the same games through their mo­bile de­vices. We call this In­ter­ac­tive Mixed Re­al­ity™.

Lost in Time is the world’s first In­ter­ac­tive Mixed Re­al­ity game show, made in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Fre­mantleMe­dia ( Idols, X-Fac­tor). It was launched on Dis­cov­ery Net­work’s TVNorge chan­nel in Nor­way dur­ing spring this year. Now, two sea­sons of 13 episodes each has been com­mis­sioned by Dubai Me­dia Group’s Dubai TV for air­ing in 22 ter­ri­to­ries in 2018. In each episode of Lost in Time, three con­tes­tants work to­gether to in­crease the prize pot be­fore they go head-to­head in a win­ner-take-all fi­nal, while a lucky player at home wins the same cash prize.

For TV con­tes­tants, the ac­tion takes place in a green-screen stu­dio, where all phys­i­cal props and cam­eras are con­nected to Fron­tier. While the con­tes­tants are driving, shoot­ing, solv­ing

[Adult Swim exec VP],” note Sen­re­ich. “We then made the pilot at Stoopid Buddy, and it’s been a blast since then.”

Wysol’s wild cre­ativ­ity is one of huge rea­sons that the show stands out from sim­i­lar an­i­mated fare, says Sen­re­ich. “He does a lot of the an­i­ma­tion, even the mu­sic … he would work on one se­quence, then he’d go back and fix it. Brian has a dif­fer­ent kind of sen­si­bil­ity than the rest of us: He’s a real re­nais­sance man. The show is the per­fect com­bi­na­tion of Rick and Morty and Ro­bot Chicken in a way. It has the fast-paced jokes of Ro­bot Chicken with the char­ac­ter def­i­ni­tion of R&M. You think you know where the show is go­ing in the first ‘Don’t be afraid to cre­ate your own con­tent. Even if it’s not good at first, you should keep go­ing, make some­thing else and strive to get bet­ter.’

“There are so many cool shows out there,” says Wysol. “There are some great se­ries on Adult Swim and Car­toon Net­work. I also love anime, and we’re see­ing so many amaz­ing things com­ing from Ja­pan. There are shows like BoJack Horse­man that is do­ing some­thing ‘You think you know where the show is go­ing in the first 10 sec­onds, but then it jumps to other things and takes you to a com­pletely dif­fer­ent place!’

dile, Rick, and the bad­dies Mas­ter Frown and Brock) have very dis­tinct per­son­al­i­ties of their own, so it makes it re­ally fun to watch them match up against Unikitty’s char­ac­ter.”

Skud­der says he es­pe­cially likes the Toaster and Toast char­ac­ters. “They started as a one­off gag and have turned into to­tal sta­ples of the show,” he ex­plains. “They’re in tons of episodes and al­most al­ways just yell, ‘OOHHH!!!’ I also re­ally like Hype Bot. He’s so an­noy­ing — and sooo cool!” Wang says her fa­vorite in­ci­den­tal is a char­ac­ter called FeeBee. “She’s a mix be­tween a bee and a flower — and she’s pos­si­bly cra­zier than Unikitty!” Lots of Kitty to Go Around Unikitty! fans will be happy to know that the first or­der of the show is for 80 11-minute episodes.The show’s pre- and post-pro­duc­tion work is done in Bur­bank by Warner Bros. An­i­ma­tion. “We’re mostly a script-driven show, and we work with our di­rec­tors, sto­ry­board artists and edi­tors to punch up jokes, story points and di­a­logue, what­ever it may need as we see the episode evolve,” note the pro­duc­ers. “The fi­nal an­i­matic and all our de­signs are sent over­seas to the Philip­pines, where the very tal­ented team at Snip­ple An­i­ma­tion Stu­dios pro­vide our an­i­ma­tion. Our amaz­ing in-house an­i­ma­tion crew, led by Anna Hollingswo­rth, does ad­di­tional de­sign, an­i­ma­tion and com­posit­ing work to fin­ish each episode off.”

Skud­der and Wang are quick to men­tion the im­por­tance of their fa­vorite an­i­mated films and TV shows on their per­sonal style and artis­tic growth. “I grew up lov­ing Bruce Timm’s Bat­man: The An­i­mated Se­ries,” says Skud­der. “I watched it ev­ery sin­gle day after school and it re­ally in­spired me to pur­sue art and story-

Re­sults in De­scend­ing Or­der 50 to 35: You are a valu­able em­ployee! You are do­ing a great job ful­fill­ing your role as an em­ployee and are right where you should be, which is pro­vid­ing a valu­able ser­vice to your com­pany. 45 to 15: You are a great em­ployee with po­ten­tial for ad­vance­ment and lead­er­ship. 15 to -19: You are very well suited to lead oth­ers in your full-time em­ployee en­vi­ron­ment and have a good chance at con­tin­u­ing to

Should you choose to ven­ture out on your own, whether as an in­de­pen­dent pro­fes­sional or the founder of a full-fledged an­i­ma­tion stu­dio, you must ooze en­tre­pre­neur and in­no­va­tor traits from all your pores. The very same traits, mind­set and de­ter­mi­na­tion that will make you a suc­cess­ful busi­ness owner are the same ones that are needed to make you a suc­cess­ful in­de­pen­dent pro­fes­sional.

On the other hand, if you are per­fectly con­tent (if not thrilled) to re­main an em­ployee for the re­main­der of your ca­reer, you should still

would try and move to­wards a bet­ter so­lu­tion. Be­ing both the di­rec­tor and writer, Rian knew not only how to vis­ually show some­thing, but also how to write the story and char­ac­ters in such a way that com­ple­mented the vi­su­als.” Bat­tles That Up the Ante Pre­vis was pri­mar­ily used to vi­su­al­ize the ac­tion, but also for the de­vel­op­ment of the story. “Rian knew what he wanted story-wise and

ed with cel­e­brated pa­per en­gi­neer David Haw­cock, who built the mock-ups for th­ese book pages.

The open­ing was phys­i­cally shot in Gru­ber’s An­tiques shop. “The cam­era moves needed to be grace­ful and tie into the folds of each of the page turns, fol­low­ing the bears as they ex­plore their pa­per en­vi­ron­ment,” ex­plains Kind. Deep com­posit­ing was used to add Paddington and Aunt Lucy into the com­plex lay­er­ing of the CG scene. This was then com­pos­ited over a Nuke-pro­jected sky il­lus­tra­tion. “We wanted a hand-painted tex­ture. We did about 1,500 frames for this 30-sec- ond se­quence.”

Kind, who fondly re­calls the Film­fair/ BBC Paddington Bear se­ries which aired on TV in the 1970s, says it’s won­der­ful to see the prop­erty’s sim­plic­ity and kind­ness come to the big screen once again. “I think peo­ple re­spond to that gen­tle spirit, which has no cyn­i­cism,” he notes. “As I look back, I am hap­pi­est most about de­liv­er­ing shots that are gen­er­ally more com­plex and larger in am­bi­tion that the first film, and yet Paddington still feels the same kind and cour­te­ous lit­tle bear we all know and love.”

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