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3rd November 2008

Breakthrough Animation to Produce New PreSchool Series With Treehouse

TorontoBreakthrough Animation is proud to announce that they have closed a production deal for My Big Big Friend, a new series that will be produced in association with Canadian preschool network Treehouse. Production on fifty-two eleven minute episodes will begin later this year.  The announcement was made today by Kevin Gillis, Ira Levy and Peter Williamson, Executive Producers at Breakthrough Animation.

“We are delighted to be working on My Big Big Friend with a broadcast partner that has an international reputation for quality entertainment,” said Kevin Gillis, executive producer and managing partner, Breakthrough Animation.  “Treehouse has had a tremendously positive effect on our creative development and our international broadcast relationships.  We anticipate that this series will be a major hit in all territories around the world. As our first Canada/Brazil CoProduction we believe 2DLab will be a wonderful partner on the series, bringing a tremendous amount of talent!”

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19th October 2008

NFB Celebrates World Animation Day with Tour

October 28 is World Animation Day – and Canada is getting animated. The National Film Board is celebrating this special day with a 13-city tour of Get Animated!, a series of free public screenings from the NFB’s Oscar-winning animation studios. Get Animated! will showcase amazing new creations from Canada’s public producer, for young and old, from October 22 to November 9, 2008.

After celebrating the 65th anniversary of NFB animation, National Film Board studios have found a fresh burst of energy, producing works that have garnered international acclaim, including a record-setting 70th Academy Award nomination last year – more than any production company or organization outside Hollywood – as well as awards across Canada and around the world. Get Animated! is part of a broader commitment at Canada’s public producer and distributor to ensure that Canadians from coast to coast have access to outstanding NFB productions.

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18th October 2008

ACM SIGGRAPH Vancouver Presents Richard Williams

Three-time Oscar winner and Director of Animation for “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” Richard Williams, has now combined his best-selling book ”The Animators’ Survival Kit” with his legendary Masterclasses. He will present the 16-DVD boxed set which was filmed at Blue Sky Studios in New York, inter-cut with over 350 specially animated examples in a mini- Masterclass.

Appearing on Monday, October 27 at the VanCity Theatre in Vancouver, Richard Williams will engage in Q&A presentation with the audience, followed by a book signing (bring your copy for signing if you already have one) and a screening of the feature film ”Who Framed Roger Rabbit”, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. The presentation will begin at 7:30pm, admittance is free, but tickets will only be available at the door on a first come, first served basis.

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10th October 2008

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences salutes the NFB in Washington

To honour half a century of Oscar® nominations , 12 wins and more than 65 years of valuable work in short film, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will pay tribute to the NFB in a special event on October 23. Organized with the Charles Guggenheim Center for the Documentary Film and the Foundation for the National Archives, the evening will be hosted by animation critic and historian Charles Solomon with an introduction by Academy President Sid Ganis.

The evening will feature a panel discussion with Government Film Commissioner and Chairperson of the NFB, Tom Perlmutter, producer Marcy Page and director Torill Kove, whose film The Danish Poet/Le poète danois won the Oscar® for Best Short Animation in 2007. Several films, including Neighbours/Voisins (1952), Walking/En marchant (1969), Bob’s Birthday/L’anniversaire de Bob (1993), Ryan (2004) and The Danish Poet/Le poète danois (2006), will be screened.

The event takes place in the William G. McGowan Theater at the National Archives.

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1st October 2008

New Animated Series Debuts

Vancouver – Animation Brewery Productions is proud to announce the debut of Gross National Product!, a series of animated political satires featuring the talents of the legendary comedy duo Double Exposure. These hilarious animated shorts will poke fun at current events with the celebrated wit of Double Exposure’s Bob Robertson and Linda Cullen.

The first episode, which takes aim at the federal election’s upcoming Leaders’ Debate, debuts today online at the official GNP site. Episodes will also be posted on Animation Brewery.

Double Exposure Brings Two Decades of Comedy Experience

Multi-talented comedians Bob Robertson and Linda Cullen began working together as Double Exposure on CBC Radio 21 years ago, then toured their shows across the country throughout the 1990s, and eventually found a home on television on both CBC TV and CTV. The award-winning Vancouver duo will write the scripts and perform the voices for Gross National Product!

You can also keep up to date and find some behind-the-scenes info at the GNP Blog

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26th June 2008

Vancouver SIGGRAPH Closes Season with Ratatouille

logo-siggraph Last night we attended the final ACM SIGGRAPH Vancouver Chapter seminar for the season, and what a treat it was. Guest speaker Sharon Calahan, Director of Photography/Lighting for Pixar Animation Studios gave a presentation on the lighting processes used in Pixar’s animated film Ratatouille, which was followed with a special screening of a 35mm print of Ratatouille.

Beginning with the research and philosophies that went into the development of Ratatouille and walking the audience through the processes she and her team implemented to achieve the rich appearance of the film, Sharon lead us on a wonderful journey of passion and challenges. Having the ability to learn from the masters in the industry always lends to more appreciation for the talent and processes behind the scenes of any digital media piece which many of the general public never get a chance to learn about.

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18th June 2008

Building An Elephant

[Press Release]artifex
Building An Elephant…

Vancouver, Canada June 15, 2008.

Artifex Studios created a photorealistic 3D elephant for Nissan.The carefree elephant hitching a ride on the back of a Nissan pickup truck was built and animated for Filmmates Productions (Mexico City) and Clemente Camara & Associates  in collaboration with The Oranj Group out of New York City. The spot opens on a beautiful field, warm sunlight and an endless winding road.  The new Nissan product carries a statuesque elephant.  The elephant, moved by the view with the wind in its ears and the fantastic looking vehicle it rides on, slowly lifts its hind legs and opens its arms in a human-like gesture that seems to say “I’m the King of the World”. Although a live elephant was used for parts of the commercial, the realistic movement for the last sequence was completed in full CG utilizing a realistic 3D elephant modeled after the live action animal.

The Plates: Since there was a ‘stand-in’ elephant that needed to be painted out prior to moving forward with 3D, there was a great amount of prep work completed on the plates even before animation took place.  First, the plates needed to be tracked in 3D since both the camera and truck moved throughout each shot. Camera solutions were exported to both Maya and Nuke.  Maya was then used to create projection geometry, which was then exported to Nuke.  In Nuke a combination of stills were painted onto the geometry and the exported camera data from the 3D tracking software was used to create a clean sequence without the stand- in elephant.

The Animation: The elephant model was achieved by creating a base mesh in Maya.  ZBrush was used to create high-resolution detail such as wrinkles and folds.  Existing photos were used as reference and colour maps were created by painting.  With the combination of the colour and displacement map, a photoreal elephant was rendered using HDRI photography for lighting and subsurface scattering to help simulate skin.  In addition, for the elephant’s close-up Maya Fur was utilized for an added touch of realism and detail.  Rendering was achieved through Renderman.

Animating the elephant required a balance of realistic motion and pushing the limitations of an elephant’s actual range of motion to achieve the client’s objective, all the while maintaining a sense of believability. Artifex Studios Ltd. is located in Vancouver, BC and has been creating digital effects and 3D animation for film and television since 1997.

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7th May 2008


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