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Top Animation News: Your Name live-action, Harmony 15 and more!

Tags: News Animation Film Television Education Trends Games Top Animation News

Top Animation News is a weekly column that rounds up the biggest, best and breaking stories from the world of animation. This edition covers September 22 to 29, 2017.

  1. Toon Boom Harmony 15 is coming!

This week, Toon Boom officially announced the launch of Harmony 15 — its most powerful version ever that will revolutionize how artists create and animate. It is packed with new tools to improve production's productivity and quality, across drawing and painting, cut-out rigging, and scene layout and compositing. Harmony 15 is also the first software to break down the barrier between bitmap and vector.

To see what's new in Harmony 15, visit the Toon Boom website.

  1. J.J. Abrams is doing a live-action "Your Name".

The American sci-fi director's production company, Bad Robot, alongside Paramount, has won the rights to bring the hit Japanese anime to life. The two will partner with Toho Co., the producers of the animated original, to adapt the teen body-swapping story by Makoto Shinkai. "Your Name" earned over $300 million at the Japanese box office and was created with Toon Boom Storyboard Pro.

Look into the live-action "Your Name" on "Variety".

somnius-pitch-this-toon-boom.jpg
Source: Telus Storyhive.

  1. And winners of PITCH THIS! are…

Telus Storyhive with their series, "Somnius"! The team, including members Denver Jackson and Alain Williams, won the PITCH THIS! competition last week at the Ottawa International Animation Festival's The Animation Conference (TAC) industry event, where they competed against nine other pitches from six countries. The pair won a development deal with Nelvana, software licences and training for Storyboard Pro and Harmony, and entertainment legal services from Edwards PC, Creative Law.

For more on the "Somnius" PITCH THIS! win, see "Animation Magazine".

  1. Virtual reality: Coming soon to a theatre near you.

AMC Entertainment, the world's largest cinema chain, has invested $20 million into Dreamscape Immersive — a Virtual Reality (VR) startup that already counts 21st Century Fox, MGM and Warner Bros. among its backers. The theatre titans will also finance the rapid rollout of the company's "virtual-reality experiences" in its locations across the U.S. and Britain, starting with six over the next 18 months.

Dive into Dreamscape Immersive on "New York Times".

  1. New Toon Boom partnerships in Canada, Ireland, India and Russia!

Toon Boom has been ambitiously growing its global influence, largely through education initiatives. Among its newest partnerships are two Centres of Excellence (COE) in Canada and Ireland, its first Authorized Training Centre (ATC) in India and its premier authorized reseller in Russia. All of these represent key markets in the increasingly international animation industry, and will exponentially expand Toon Boom's reach and reputation.

Get more on Toon Boom's global partnerships on the blog.

natalie-nourigat-toonboom.jpg
Source: Gumroad.

  1. Must-read: "I Moved to LA to Work in Animation".

For anybody who wants to work in animation or already does, Natalie Nourigat's 70-page comic "I Moved to LA to Work in Animation" is requisite reading. The autobiographical piece is available on Gumroad and chronicles the experiences she faced in the early days of her California cartoon career. The comic is packed with insights, practical advice and common sense to make it not only a page-turner, but potentially a life-changer.

Read more about "I Moved to La to Work in Animation" on "Cartoon Brew".

  1. Mercury Filmworks' Jerry Popowich honoured by Algonquin College.

Just as the Ottawa International Animation Festival wraps up, local studio head Jerry Popowich has even more to celebrate. The cofounder and chief creative officer of Mercury Filmworks, which produces programs like "The Lion Guard" and "The Mickey Mouse Shorts" in Toon Boom animation software, was honoured by his alma mater, Algonquin College, at its first Alumni of Distinction Awards Gala. He shared the spotlight with former employee Trent Correy, who has gone on to work at Disney. Algonquin College is also a Toon Boom Centre of Excellence.

  1. Oriental DreamWorks names Peilin Chou as CCO.

The changes at Oriental DreamWorks continue — the Shanghai-based studio has named industry vet Peilin Chou as its Chief Creative Officer (CCO). She will be overseeing a slew of new projects including animated feature films from "Master Of None" co-creator Alan Yang, "Sex And The City" writer Jenny Bicks, "Toy Story 2" scribe Rita Hsiao and Audrey Wells, the writer behind "A Dog's Purpose".

Preview more details on Oriental DreamWorks' upcoming lineup on "Deadline".

cuphead-toon-boom.jpeg
Source: Studio MDHR.

  1. This video game looks like a 1930s cartoon.

Lovers of animation and video games will want to plug into "Cuphead" on Xbox One or PC. Created by indie outfit Studio MDHR, it was entirely hand drawn on paper before being inked. Inspired by the 1930s cartoon style made iconic by classics like "Betty Boop" and "Steamboat Willie", the creators also maintained authenticity by doing its backgrounds in watercolour paintings. In fact, the only aspect animated digitally was colouring.

See "Cuphead" for yourself on "The Verge".

  1. The video game voice actor's strike is over.

After 11 months, negotiations between the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) and 11 video game companies came to an end. The union went to battle with the likes of Activision, Electronic Arts, Insomniac Games, Take-Two Interactive and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment to revisit a collective bargaining agreement that had been in place since the 1990s. SAG-AFTRA felt it was no longer reflective of the modern stresses and situations video game voice actors face.

Pick through the picketing points on "Mashable".

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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