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Top Animation News: Barack Obama cartoon, Mike Judge returns and more!

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Top Animation News is a weekly column that rounds up the biggest, best and breaking stories from the world of animation. This edition covers August 25 to September 01, 2017.

  1. Want to see Barack Obama and Joe Biden as time-travelling heroes?

If the answer is yes, you can support this Kickstarter. Launched by filmmaker Adam Reid, he hopes to raise $100,000 to produce the pilot of "Barry and Joe". The action cartoon will follow a fictionalized version of the former POTUS and VP as they save the day across space-time, guided by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. Reid had the idea following Donald Trump's election to the White House and it has already reached its goal.

Elect to read the full "Barry and Joe" story on "Vice".

  1. Toon Boom ramps up for growth in Japan.

As Japan celebrates a century of anime, Toon Boom is taking a large step towards growing its footprint in the country with the planned opening of a Tokyo office. This will be overseen by their new Japan country manager, Immanuel Martin, who brings over 20 years' experience in software business development. As the world's most ubiquitous 2D animation software, Toon Boom is well positioned to bring paperless and cut-out digital solutions to the Nippon nation's highly traditional market.

Venture for more Toon Boom Tokyo details on the Toon Boom blog.

mike_judge_tales_from_the_tour_bus.pngSource: Cinemax.

  1. Mike Judge returns with an animated country music series.

The "Beavis and Butthead" and "King of the Hill" creator is back next month with a new series for Cinemax, "Tales from the Tour Bus". Chronicling the careers of country music stars, it is set to profile Jerry Lee Lewis, George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Waylon Jennings and more. It will mix animation with live-action archival footage as well as interviews with former bandmates and friends. "Tales from the Tour Bus" premieres on September 22.

‘Toon' into Mike Judge's return to animation on "Pitchfork".

  1. YouTube Red orders cartoon comedy "Dallas and Robo".

The streaming service has enlisted animation studio and prodco Shadowmachine ("Robot Chicken", "BoJack Horseman") to produce the eight-episode series, which will star "2 Broke Girls" favourite Kat Dennings as space trucker Dallas and former wrestler John Cena as poet Robo. YouTube Red is the video platform's entry into the subscription streaming market, offering audiences original content and ad-free viewing for $10 a month.

Stream the rest of the story on "The Hollywood Reporter".

  1. Violent video games unplugged from Olympics.

Before a single base could be captured or alien vaporized, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is already putting limitations on e-sports. Despite a growing popularity and the draw for younger audiences, the event's organizers have taken violent video games off the medal table. "We want to promote non-discrimination, non-violence, and peace among people. This doesn't match with video games, which are about violence, explosions and killing. And there we have to draw a clear line," says Thomas Bach, president of the IOC.

Explore e-sports at the Olympics further on "South China Morning Post".

  1. Real-time rendering could revolutionize animation and VFX.

Unreal Engine, produced by Epic Games, just released a real-time rendering tool. This allows images to be rendered fast enough that users can interact or move around in an environment — typical augmented or virtual reality, or a video game. Having raised the bar on quality, Unreal Engine is moving into filmmaking production pipelines. For animation, this could reduce reliance on overnight rendering and render farms.

Read the story in real-time on "Cartoon Brew".

  1. This animation studio is threatening agencies with violence.

It seems that competition in London has become so fierce, those trying to survive have resorted to drastic measures. Animation studio Agile Films has threatened creative agencies Lucky Generals, Ogilvy & Mather UK and Mother London with severe bodily harm for work — albeit, through rather cheeky cartoons. Working with mercenaries from an alien to a giant octopus, the message is simple: send scripts or else.

(Don't) take the threat seriously on "Digital Arts".

  1. Netflix's "Voltron" cartoon gets into the VR game — literally.

There's little doubt that Virtual Reality (VR) will play an important role in shaping animation's future. Innovators like Netflix are tapping into this already. The streaming giant's animated series "Voltron Legendary Defender" will be transformed into a VR video game: "DreamWorks Voltron VR Chronicles". Available on September 26, fans will be happy to know the style and voice actors from the show will be present in this new experience.

Plug into the Voltron VR video game info on "Engadget".

  1. "Vixen" is the black female superhero series we all need.

As Toon Boom pointed out in our story on "Mysticons", there are not enough female-driven action animations — particularly those featuring women of colour. "Vixen" stars the eponymous DC Comics' hero who can mimic animals' abilities. The CW launched it as an online cartoon in 2015 and gave it a primetime debut this week, with all 12 short episodes repackaged as a two-hour feature on August 30. The series takes place in the "Arrowverse" alongside other DC televised properties "Arrow", "The Flash" and "Legends of Tomorrow".

Leap into the "Vixen" animated action on "Gizmodo".

  1. How to quit your job and become an Instagram animation star.

Rachel Ryle went from being the marketing director of a toy company to pursuing her creative dream of illustration and animation. Encouragement from friends and fans on Instagram pushed her to quit her job, and today she has over 1.1 million followers on the platform. Ryle is now living as an artist in New York City, and working with brands and movie studios doing what she loves best.

Be inspired by Rachel Ryle's life and animation career on "Entrepreneur".

What Top Animation News were you most excited about this week? Was there something we forgot to mention? Let us know in the comments below!

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