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21

Oct

A cool video showing Takeshi Obata, the artist for Death Note, Bakuman, and Hikaru no Go, sketch Ryuk and L from Death Note.

-
Josh

A lot of news sources are reporting on Walt Disney Animation’s next project, Moana, advertising it as an idea just plucked from the Disney vault that no one had heard about — or worse, calling it “the next Frozen.” [Get out of here, HelloGiggles. I love you, but you don’t know what you’re talking about.]
While news of this project IS NOT NEW — we reported on it last December — there are some additional details previously unreleased. Like that it’s coming out two years before expected (now slated for November 2016)!
Like that Disney released of some awesome concept art (above, and I’ll post more again later when I can verify which is actually from Disney and which is early fan art). 
The press release included a plot summary, below, which I believe is what has made so many news sites run away with their excitement (not that I blame them…). 

In the ancient South Pacific world of Oceania, Moana, a born navigator, sets sail in search of a fabled island. During her incredible journey, she teams up with her hero, the legendary demi-god Maui, to traverse the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous sea creatures, breathtaking underworlds and ancient folklore.  

Previously we were informed that Moana would be animated in the same style as Paperman. Now they’re only promising “cg animation,” so I guess we will see as the release date gets closer.
If you can’t wait to see the Ron Clements and John Musker-directed Moana (yes, a return to the team that brought you Little Mermaid and Aladdin), you can temporarily satiate your hunger for tropical islands with this year’s Disney short film “Lava,” a clip of which you can watch now here.
- Courtney (HarmonicaCave)

A lot of news sources are reporting on Walt Disney Animation’s next project, Moana, advertising it as an idea just plucked from the Disney vault that no one had heard about — or worse, calling it “the next Frozen.” [Get out of here, HelloGiggles. I love you, but you don’t know what you’re talking about.]

While news of this project IS NOT NEW — we reported on it last December — there are some additional details previously unreleased. Like that it’s coming out two years before expected (now slated for November 2016)!

Like that Disney released of some awesome concept art (above, and I’ll post more again later when I can verify which is actually from Disney and which is early fan art). 

The press release included a plot summary, below, which I believe is what has made so many news sites run away with their excitement (not that I blame them…). 

In the ancient South Pacific world of Oceania, Moana, a born navigator, sets sail in search of a fabled island. During her incredible journey, she teams up with her hero, the legendary demi-god Maui, to traverse the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous sea creatures, breathtaking underworlds and ancient folklore.  

Previously we were informed that Moana would be animated in the same style as Paperman. Now they’re only promising “cg animation,” so I guess we will see as the release date gets closer.

If you can’t wait to see the Ron Clements and John Musker-directed Moana (yes, a return to the team that brought you Little Mermaid and Aladdin), you can temporarily satiate your hunger for tropical islands with this year’s Disney short film “Lava,” a clip of which you can watch now here.

- Courtney (HarmonicaCave)

16

Oct

Yes, this is legit: Toy Story is back for a half-hour special this year, enabling Pixar to sneak in a bit of animation in this current feature-length Pixar drought (since The Good Dinosaur was pushed back to a late 2015 release, Inside Out is set for June, and Big Hero 6 is not a Pixar movie).
As you may recall from Toy Story 3, Woody and Buzz now belong to adorable little girl Bonnie — and this is where the story picks up. The gang, who are voiced by original cast members including Tim Allen and Tom Hanks, work with old pals (Jessie, Rex, Mr. Potato Head) and newer friends (Trixie the triceratops and Mr. Pricklepants the hedgehog [because I know you probably had no idea who he was]) to combat some delusional dino-themed action figures. The story is directed by Steve Purcell, of co-directing Brave fame.
It premiers not on the Disney Channel but on Disney-owned ABC, to accommodate a larger audience, so don’t despair if you don’t have cable. 
Can’t wait ‘til December 2? Take a break from watching your parents struggle with Internet and enjoy these prehistoric figures fighting with the Wee-Fee (wifi) instead, in this broadband Internet commercial previewing the latest Toy Story short. 
- Courtney (HarmonicaCave)

Yes, this is legit: Toy Story is back for a half-hour special this year, enabling Pixar to sneak in a bit of animation in this current feature-length Pixar drought (since The Good Dinosaur was pushed back to a late 2015 release, Inside Out is set for June, and Big Hero 6 is not a Pixar movie).

As you may recall from Toy Story 3, Woody and Buzz now belong to adorable little girl Bonnie — and this is where the story picks up. The gang, who are voiced by original cast members including Tim Allen and Tom Hanks, work with old pals (Jessie, Rex, Mr. Potato Head) and newer friends (Trixie the triceratops and Mr. Pricklepants the hedgehog [because I know you probably had no idea who he was]) to combat some delusional dino-themed action figures. The story is directed by Steve Purcell, of co-directing Brave fame.

It premiers not on the Disney Channel but on Disney-owned ABC, to accommodate a larger audience, so don’t despair if you don’t have cable. 

Can’t wait ‘til December 2? Take a break from watching your parents struggle with Internet and enjoy these prehistoric figures fighting with the Wee-Fee (wifi) instead, in this broadband Internet commercial previewing the latest Toy Story short. 

- Courtney (HarmonicaCave)

14

Oct

For the first week since its release in US theaters, Guardians Of The Galaxy is not in the top ten films in the box office. For 10 weeks running Guardians stayed in the top 10. The movie has continued to do well since its release, and now is blowing up in China. It has reportedly done so well that there is going to be an animated series. This test footage for the animated series premiered at New York Comic Con. I like the look. It looks like a superhero show, but the animation looks just a little different. 

Here’s what director James Gunn had to say about how well the film has been doing:

To be clear, it’s a huge feat. In our 10th and 11th weeks in theaters, we are outperforming any comic book movie in box office history. We’re bringing in more than the Avengers, any Dark Knight, any Spider-Man, or any X-Men film at this point. Part of this is because of new people discovering Guardians, but a huge part of it is because of you guys seeing the movie again and again (like the kid whose ticket stubs I posted on Twitter yesterday, who has seen GotG in theaters 28 times). I don’t mean to focus on box office dollars or money. For the record, I don’t make any more money the more it makes in theaters – my box office bumps stopped a long time ago because no one expected the film to do this well. But I continue to be flabbergasted and overjoyed that the movie speaks to people, that we were able to make something that was simultaneously big AND sincere, and that it connected with all of you – comic book fans, science fiction fans, film fans, and, just, you know, HUMAN BEINGS.

I’m glad James Gunn will be back on the second Guardians Of The Galaxy film.

- Chris

13

Oct

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works (2014)

An adaption of Kinoku Nasu’s famous visual novel, Fate/Stay Night follows Shirou Emiya as he’s thrust into a war between Magi over the Holy Grail, which will grant a single wish to the victor of the war.

Fate/Stay Night is part of the incredibly popular Fate franchise which includes 2011/12’s prequel anime Fate/Zero.

Being adapted by Ufotable (Garden of Sinners), who were also responsible for Fate/Zero's adaption, Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works adapts the 2nd route of the original visual novel.

Fans of the source material can be rest assured that this adaption won’t end up being incredibly rushed and poorly done like the 2010 movie. Ufotable is being careful and precise in making sure that all of the content from the visual novel is in this adaption.

The character designs are great, background art breathtaking, and the directing superb; especially during the fight scenes.

If you haven’t gotten into the Fate franchise yet you can either read the original visual novel, or watch Fate/Zero, as the studio is setting this adaption up to work as a sequel to Zero in both how it’s being directed as well as the world building aspect of the series.

You can watch Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works for free on hulu.com here.

-Josh

10

Oct

I’m completing my trifecta of cool CGI videos this week with a look at some of the process of special effects from the Guardians of the Galaxy. Didn’t Method Studios do an amazing job? 

Method’s website has an interesting section on the different processes for scenes, complete with some interactive before-and-after shots of the movie.

"The Method team was supervised by Greg Steele in LA and Stéphane Nazé in London, and over the course of five months, 140 artists produced over 170 shots," says the website. "A wide range of VFX were required including digital environments, holographic effects and FX simulations."

Method created digital environments using “full CG elements and dimensional matte painting techniques” for some scenes, and on others, they added animated effects over practical effects, like with the infinity stone unveiling:

Before

After 

You really should read all about it on Method’s websitehttp://www.methodstudios.com/work/guardians-of-the-galaxy

- Courtney (HarmonicaCave)

08

Oct

While we’re on the subject of CGI people, the Guardian just published an interview with Framestore’s Mike McGee, the creative director behind the Galaxy chocolate commercial featuring a computer-animated Audrey Hepburn. You know, that one we talked about earlier this year

It’s a cool story about persevering when animation doesn’t go the way you want when you start towards your goal. I especially liked how McGee phrased the dilemma his team faced on this project.  

Audrey represents heritage, classiness and elegance. So from a strategic and creative point of view, it made sense for Galaxy to communicate its “silk, not cotton” branding through these qualities. What was less clear, however, was just how we were meant to recreate an iconic and globally recognized face when the original footage exists at a resolution incompatible with today’s high standards.

If you’re looking for a little mid-week inspiration, you should definitely check out the full interview here.

- Courtney (HarmonicaCave)

07

Oct

As one of my friends posted on social media: “We finally did it… We finally crossed the uncanny valley… Holy moley…”

That’s right; the guy above, as you’ll already know if you watched the video, isn’t real. He’s 100 percent animated!

The link my friend provided, to a website called Geekologie, had this to say about the incredible and much-less-bizarre-than-usual computer-animated man:

This is Ed, a super realistic face digitally rendered using Lightwave, Sculptris and Krita by Australian artist Chris Jones. I say super realistic, but you can easily tell it’s fake because it’s just a floating head — there’s no body. Nice try, but that’s a dead giveaway, Chris.

Another tip given for telling real faces from ultra-realistic animated ones was to check to see if you’re viewing the face through a computer screen.

Gee, thanks, guys.  

- Courtney (HarmonicaCave)

P.S. What do you think about this animation?

06

Oct

The first trailer for Durarara!!x2.

Durarara!!x2 
will be aired as a three part split show, meaning that each third of the show will be spaced between a season. The first part will air in January 2015, the second in July 2015 and the third and final part will air in January 2016.

As I already posted back in August, the major staff members will be returning for these new seasons.

-Josh

03

Oct

Cheer or despair, based on which is closest to your reaction to another bird-related computer-animated film; an Angry Birds movie has been cast.

Set to release July 1, 2016, Angry Birds will be produced by Sony’s Columbia Pictures and will feature a lot of stars, a lot of birds, and in all likelihood, a lot of pigs.

I’m not much for birds, so I’ll just give you a run-down on voice actors who will…fit the bill… (Get it? Bird pun. No, I won’t apologize.)

Maya Rudolph (Bridesmaids) and a gaggle of men —

— top the cast list. Danielle Brooks (Orange is the New Black), the two guys from SmoshJillian Bell, Hannibal Buress and everyone’s favorite youngest Bluth brother, Tony Hale, are also birds/pigs/bird-pigs/slingshots in this movie. 

Peter Dinklage as Miles Finch in 2003's Elf

The announcement comes at a convenient time for Angry Birds gamemaker Rovio, as Finland-based company announces the potential of more than 100 layoffs for their employees. So, if you’re from Finland and you see someone sobbing through movie previews in the next year or so, send an extra smile — rather than a avian projectile — his or her way. (Though perhaps smiling in a dark theater is a futile endeavor.)

Personally, I don’t see how Angry Birds could ever hope to live up to this parody trailer…

- Courtney (HarmonicaCave)