Among global audiences, anime has evolved from niche to normalized, counting celebrities from Michael B. Jordan to Ariana Grande among its fans. Just this week, The Association of Japanese Animations (AJA) announced the Nippon industry saw a record-breaking$19.1 billion (￥2.15 trillion) in revenue in 2017, fuelled by overseas sales to streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, alongside Chinese entertainment giants. Sales from outside Japan hit a new high of $8.81... Read more »
Top Animation News: SIGGRAPH, Pixelatl, Disney streaming and more!
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 3 to 10, 2018.
1. SIGGRAPH 2018: Disney, Toon Boom and more!
SIGGRAPH 2018 kicks off this weekend in Vancouver, immersing the public in the latest innovations in animation, Virtual Reality (VR), games, digital art, mixed reality, emerging technologies and more. Running August 12 to 16, among the most exciting highlights are a full slate of debuts from Disney Animation (including its first VR short, Cycles), a spotlight on women in CG and a Toon Boom Harmony demo hosted by Melanie Daigle (lead animator, My Little Pony: The Movie) at the Wacom booth (no. 1023).
Catch up on the full slate of events on the SIGGRAPH 2018 website.
2. Pixelatl announces star-studded speaker line-up.
Mexican animation festival Pixelatl has grown from a best-kept secret to one of the LATAM industry’s most essential events, connecting regional talent to the global market. This year’s speakers will include Kat Morris and Hilary Florido (both Steven Universe), Deanna Marsigliese (Pixar) and Amanda Rynda (The Loud House), among others. Toon Boom will also be there, with further updates to be announced soon.
Investigate the Pixelatl itinerary further on “Cartoon Brew”.
3. Disney streaming service details emerge.
Anonymous sources revealed to “The New York Times” some details on Disney’s mysterious streaming service. The insiders said at least nine films are in production plus animated features The Lady and the Tramp and The Sword and the Stone are being remade. Additionally, a slew of new series are in the pipeline, including one based on Monsters, Inc. and a new season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. CEO Bob Iger said this week Disney’s streaming service will likely launch in late 2019 and is expected to be cheaper than Netflix.
Dig into all the Disney streaming service details on “The New York Times”.
4. Denis Do, director of Cristal Award winner Funan, shares Toon Boom experience.
Funan won the prestigious Cristal Award for Feature Films at the 2018 Annecy International Animated Film Festival. Set in Khmer Rouge-ruled Cambodia in the 1970s, it was loosely based on first-time director Denis Do’s mother’s life. He shared his experience and advice for other budding filmmakers, saying, "We saved a huge amount of time working with Toon Boom Harmony, and it helped keep us on-schedule and on-budget — both of which were tight!”
Read the full interview with Funan director Denis Do on the Toon Boom blog.
5. AMC breaks ground with primetime animated drama, Pantheon.
American broadcaster AMC has announced it will be establishing a writers room for primetime animated drama, Pantheon. Based on a series of short stories by Ken Liu about uploaded intelligence, multiple scripts will be created alongside a five-minute animated presentation because of its unique nature. Writers rooms are emblematic of the scripts-to-series model AMC uses — a strategy that is increasingly gaining popularity in the industry.
Browse the AMC Pantheon announcement on “Deadline”.
6. Rooster Teeth announces $2.5 million fund for animation creators.
Fresh off its RTX Austin 2018 event last weekend, where the Starship Goldfish pilot launched (produced in Toon Boom Storyboard Pro and Harmony), Rooster Teeth has announced a $2.5 million fund to support animation creators on YouTube and other platforms in developing digital video content. It is also wooing them to its network by helping them earn extra revenue through advertising, subscriptions and more. Rooster Teeth’s ultimate goal is expanding its subscription video service, which currently has 250,000 paying members.
Sink into the Rooster Teeth animation creator fund on “Digiday”.
7. New app uses animation to measure pain.
Medical animation is a well-established industry, however a new mobile app has made it all gain for patients with pain. Painimation aims to improve communication between patients and doctors. It monitors and assesses pain better than previous measurements, which are often reliant on a one-to-10 scale or qualitative words, which can lead to misunderstanding and overprescription of opioids. Painimation uses animation to let patients describe pain quality, type and location, then other toon tools to describe its severity. These animations can then be increased or decreased in speed, saturation, focus and size to accurately match experience.
Download yourself on the Painimation app on “Futurity”.
8. Nigerian gay refugee-turned-activist tells his story through animation.
While LGBTQ animations like In a Heartbeat improve the community’s cartoon representation, overall it is still lacking. Combine that with African stories, which are also growing but largely missing from the industry, and it makes The only gay in Nigeria truly unique. It tells the story of Bisi Alimi, a popular Nigerian soap opera star who was fired and forced out of his country following coming out publicly. Now, he is an LGBTQ advocate hoping to improve the situation in his homeland, where it is still highly taboo to be gay.
Watch The only gay in Nigeria above and read Bisi Alimi’s full story on “Advocate”.
9. Adult Swim orders two new animated series.
It seems the adult animation trend isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Adult Swim has ordered two new toons, Tigtone and The Shivering Truth. The latter is a stop-motion anthology series produced by ShadowMachine. Tigtone will be brought to life by Titmouse and follows a “quest-addicted hero who slashes his way through a satirical fantasy universe with melodramatic ferocity and a complete disregard for the collateral damage he inflicts along the way”. It will feature a mixture of animation styles, including 2D, motion-capture, hand-painted fantasy art and more.
‘Toon’ into the new Adult Swim animated series on “Vulture”.
10. Steven Universe x Dove collaborate for girls’ confidence.
Cartoon Network series Steven Universe (produced in Toon Boom Storyboard Pro) and the Dove Self-Esteem Project launched their two-year content marketing partnership earlier this year, including six shorts. The latest tackles the typical teen girl response of “I’m fine”. Exploring beauty, self-esteem and adolescents’ internal narratives, it is part live-action, part animated advertisement — produced by Ogilvy and directed by Sweetshop's Andrew Lang.
View the Steven Universe x Dove short above and read more about it on “Ad Age”.
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!
Banner image source: Disney.