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Top Animation News: Japanese anime in Harmony, Annie Awards 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 February 02 to 09, 2018.

1. How Japanese anime was (literally) brought to life in Toon Boom Harmony. 

Tokyo-based studio D’ART Shtajio wanted to transition from traditional to digital animation, requiring a software solution that could emulate pencil-and-paper quality, while respecting Japanese artists’ unique process and culture. Founder Arthell S. Isom’s research led him to Toon Boom Harmony, which his team used to create their latest anime: The Doll. The short follows a doll-maker who loses his job and purpose, but finds new meaning in his creation.

Follow D’ART Shtajio’s journey with The Doll and Harmony on “Cartoon Brew”.

2. Five reasons to be excited for Kidscreen Summit 2018 including…
A huge launch for Toon Boom! The secret is out: the latest version of wildly popular storyboarding and animatics program Storyboard Pro will be launching on February 12 at Kidscreen Summit 2018. For more details, keep an eye on Toon Boom’s blog and social media. Additionally, there will be keynotes and panels on topics including LGBTQ inclusivity in kids’ content, a conversation with animation legend Marty Krofft, the future of Netflix and more.

See the full list of Kidscreen Summit 2018 highlights on the Toon Boom blog.

3. Coco and Toon Boom productions big winners at Annie Awards 2018.
The 45th annual Annie Awards were last Saturday and Pixar’s Coco took home 11 of its 13 nominations, including Best Animated Feature. It had to share the spotlight with series and films produced in Toon Boom animation software though, with The Breadwinner (produced in Storyboard Pro), Rick and Morty and Disney’s Mickey Mouse (both Storyboard Pro and Harmony) winning in major categories. Cuphead, a 2D hand-drawn video game coloured in Harmony, was also honoured with the Outstanding Achievement, Character Animation – Video Game prize.

Scan the full list of Annie Awards 2018 winners on “Deadline”.

4. Here are the first details of Disney’s streaming service.
Set to launch in 2019, the House of Mouse’s answer to Netflix will be playing it safe for now. Initially, it will only be available in the U.S. and host content in line with Disney’s brand: family-oriented, nothing R-rated and focusing on recent successes. It will debut four or five original IPs in its first year, with long-term plans including new series based on Monsters, Inc., High School Musical, Marvel and the first live-action Star Wars show. Disney will be investing $25 to $35 million per 10-episode run.

Preview even more Disney streaming service details on “The Verge”.

5. Scuola Internazionale di Comics becomes TheSign Comics & Arts Academy.
Toon Boom Authorized Training Centre (ATC) Scuola Internazionale di Comics in Tuscany, Italy, is now known as TheSign Comics & Arts Academy. The school has nearly 500 students enrolled in areas including graphic design, digital colouring and more. Its three-year 2D animation program begins with a year of fundamentals, followed by a sophomore run-through of the basics of Toon Boom Harmony and Storyboard Pro, and then a deep dive into Harmony in year three.

For more on TheSign Comics & Arts Academy, visit its website.

netflix-overthemoon-toonboom.jpgSource: Netflix.

6. Animation legend Glen Keane leads Netflix’s Over the Moon.
Toon Boom signed a Memorandum of Understanding (M.O.U.) alongside China’s WeKids last week, a sign of the rapidly growing east-west collaboration in animation. Now, Disney animator Glen Keane will be directing Over the Moon, an animated musical adaptation of a classic Chinese myth. Produced by Shanghai’s Pearl Studio (formerly known as Oriental DreamWorks) for Netflix, it will follow a young girl who builds a rocket ship so that she can meet the moon goddess Chang’e.

Have a look at all the Over the Moon details on “Gizmodo”.

7. A marketer’s guide for hiring 2D animators.
As this blog has written plenty about recently, 2D animation is increasingly becoming a top medium for advertising. However, many marketers remain unfamiliar with the field and may not have the requisite knowledge to make the right hire for their project. Casper Horton-Kitchlew of Movidiam breaks down the basics of 2D animation skills, including skills in a certain software (read: Toon Boom).

Check out the full 2D animator hiring guide on “The Drum”.

8. The Oscar-nominated animated short film reviews are in.
The animated shorts category at the Oscars is rarely controversial, however this year’s #MeToo movement has thrown Kobe Bryant’s Glen Keane-directed autobiographical piece Dear Basketball under heavy scrutiny. “The New York Times'reviewer goes on to note that while other nominees Lou, Negative Space and Revolting Rhymes have their merits, it is France’s Garden Party that truly shines this year.

Dig into the reviewer’s reasoning on “The New York Times”.

9. Bob Marley’s music will soon be an animated feature.
Fox Animation and Universal Music Group’s Polygram Entertainment have collaborated on a film based on Bob Marley’s songs, described as as “an animated musical love letter to the late Marley’s legendary music and to the people of Jamaica”. Black-ish’s Kenya Barris is writing and producing alongside Cedella Marley, the late singer’s daughter, plus David Blackman (head of Polygram Entertainment) and E. Brian Dobbins of Principato-Young.

Venture over to “Variety” for more on the Bob Marley animated feature. 

10. YouTube animation Simon’s Cat to become a mobile game.
Beloved YouTube 2D animated series Simon’s Cat is being transformed into an endless runner mobile game by Good Catch. Titled Simon’s Cat Dash, users can play as the eponymous feline and help him catch butterflies in order to to secure a date with his crush, Chloe. Simon’s Cat is among the most successful animated YouTube channels ever, with over 4.6 million subscribers and 950 million views. The game will be free to download on iOS and Android devices.

Learn more about Simon’s Cat Dash on “Tubefilter”.

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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