Short

Virtual Reality and the Future of Animation

Within the last couple of years, virtual reality has taken off and companies continue to use the latest technology to advance us within this realm. As virtual reality becomes something that is accessible to all consumers, it's important to think about how filmmakers are and will be creating content for VR. Today we'll look at products and trends in virtual reality and think about how this could be a mainstream way of watching animated content in the future. 

Multiple production companies are thinking about how they can produce quality content for VR. One of the biggest problems for animators is that it's so time consuming to create the content, and the technology is improving quickly. An article on The Verge explains how most animated content only lasts about 10 minutes. Baobab which has over $6 million in funding from Comcast Ventures recently explained that "From a technology viewpoint, tech changes so quickly that by the time we could finish a full length film, the tech would be obsolete." (Read the full article from The Verge here.) 

Although animated content for VR can be hard to produce, that doesn't mean it's not being produced. In fact, there's been an incredible amount of VR content produced for the Sundance Film Festival and most recently, the Tribeca Film Festival. 

Not only is virtual reality a way for us to view content for the purpose of entertainment or gaming, it's making waves in education by giving students who are visual learners a new way to experience the lesson plan. Virtual reality has even been used for surgeons to map out brain activity and remove a tumor during brain surgery. 

Some of the most common virtual reality viewers include the Samsung Gear VR (powered by Oculus), PlayStation VR, HTC Vive (pre-order available now), and of course the extremely accessible, Google Cardboard

So should you go out and buy a headset? VR is extremely new and there are still quite a few kinks to work out before it becomes a mainstream way of viewing animated content. However, it sure is fun to play with for now! 

We think this is a very exciting space and have started to explore how we can create animated content for VR. We look forward to sharing more as we get into it deeper. 

Talent Spotlight: Introducing Jared White!

We're lucky enough to work with the talented writer and director, Jared White! Jared has been working as an editor on Bink as well as writing and storyboarding for other projects we're working on! 

Jared was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley and was always passionate about filmmaking. In addition to making home movies when he was younger, Jared would make his own animated stop-motion films! Although animation was always a love of his, he ended up going down the path of live-action films. After graduating from Cal State Northridge with a degree in Film Production he started working at Panavision. Jared was a workflow consultant on major feature films like Ted, Smurfs, Captain America, and more! Since Jared was so familiar with the equipment, he began making his own independent films on the side. 

Eventually, Jared decided to go out on his own and started working as a freelance writer and director. Two years ago, he decided to start his own production company, Squared Pictures. Jared has had the opportunity to work on various web series and work with reputable companies like College Humor and Funny or Die. His short films have been featured in festivals in the U.S. and internationally, and he recently won an award at the 48 Hour Film Project

It was so exciting for Jared to be able to return to animation once again when he started working with Eric Miller Animation. He enjoys keeping up with animation news and watching animated films in his free time.

When Jared's not working, he enjoys traveling with his wife. Recent travels include Europe and Costa Rica, and they're currently planning a trip to Japan.

Want to learn more about Jared and his production company? Check them out at www.squaredpictures.com!
 

2016 Oscar Nominees

We're so excited for the 2016 Oscars this Sunday, February 28th. Take a look at some of the nominees below and let us know which movies you think will take home awards in the categories of Best Animated Feature and Best Animated Short Film! 

Nominees for Best Animated Feature

Anomalisa

Anomalisa is a stop-motion animated film that is centered around the life of an inspirational speaker who meets a woman who shakes up his boring life. This film targets an adult audience and has gotten quite a bit of attention due to how accurately it is able to portray emotions and relate to an adult audience through claymation. This drama film was released by Paramount Pictures and directed by Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson.

Boy and The World

This film looks at the world through a young boy's eyes. The young boy, Cuca discovers the beautiful world around him as he goes on an adventure to find his father. The story depicts the contrast between a rural village and the city. During his adventure in the city, Cuca is taken to a beautiful and abstract place. The film is almost completely silent. This movie was created in Brazil and is written, directed, and animated by Alê Abreu. 

Inside Out

A young girl named Riley has to leave her home and move to San Francisco. This movie gives you an inside look at what's going on in Riley's brain by following her emotions joy, anger, fear, disgust, and sadness. This movie is a 3-D computer animated movie which was directed by Pete Docter. This movie was produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. This is a great movie because it addresses the kind of emotions children go through as they grow up and also addresses mental health.

Shaun the Sheep Movie

This stop-motion film follows Shaun and his sheep friends on an action-packed adventure as they take on a big city and try to rescue their farmer. This movie follows a character, Shaun, who was first introduced in the Wallace and Gromit shorts. Shaun The Sheep later became a TV Series and is now a full-length feature film! It is a British film produced by Aardman Animations. 

When Marnie Was There

This is an Anime film which was written and directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi. This film follows a young girl named Annie and how a new friend, Marnie, changes the way she perceives her life. Annie is able to discover more about her foster parents and the truth about her real family by spending time with Marnie. This movie is based on a novel by Joan G. Robinson and is produced by Studio Ghibli. 


Nominees for Best Animated Short Film

Bear Story

Bear Story is a dark film which follows the life of a lonely bear who has been separated from his family. A bear creates a mechanical diorama and people can peek into the peephole of this mechanical diorama for a coin. The diorama depicts a family who has been separated because the male was taken to the circus. This film is created by the Chilean animation company, Punkrobot. This short actually addresses the way families were torn apart during the Pinochet regime in Chile in the 1970s.

Prologue

Prologue is an animated short film which is the first part of an upcoming feature film. This short is based on the play Lysistrata by Aristophanes, which has to do with women who withhold sexual interactions from men in order to win a war. The storyline revolves around Spartan and Athenian warriors and takes place 2,400 years in the past. A little girl witnesses an intense battle between Athenian and Spartan warriors and goes back to her grandma to seek comfort. 

Sanjay's Super Team

This is a great Pixar short directed by Sanjay Patel. This movie is about a boy who wants to play with his toys and watch TV, but his dad wants him to be quiet and pray with him. Sanjay's imagination runs wild, and gets a new respect for the gods his father is praying to. The inspiration for the film comes from Sanjay's own childhood.

We Can't Live Without Cosmos

This is a dialogue-free short which follows two cosmonaut friends as they train for their mission in space. This short is fun for anyone who is interested in space or ever dreamed of becoming an astronaut. This is an animated short film written and directed by Russian filmmaker Konstantin Bronzit. 

World of Tomorrow

World of Tomorrow is sci-fi short film which was written, directed, produced, animated, and edited by Don Hertzfeld! This film follows a young girl, Emily. A clone of Emily from the future walks Emily through her life and helps her make decisions. The film has already won 42 awards, will the Oscars be it's 43rd? 

Which movies do you think will take home awards? Leave a comment below! Don't forget to tune in to the Oscars this Sunday! 

Update on Bink!

We're so excited about all of the progress we've made on the Bink project and anxious to see how the project plays out over the next couple of months! We're currently working on the first episode which will contain 30 seconds of 3D Animation. So far, we've had around eighteen people contribute to this project. We're so thankful for all the hard work that everyone's put into this short and want to share a little more about what everyone's been doing!

Violette Sacre and Graham Cunningham have been working hard to get the fur on Bink to move properly with the animation and lighting and have been making great progress. Violette is also working on look development and grooming how the fur will look on Bink. Scott Raymond is making some final tweaks to the animation, this should be finished soon! Graham is our lighter and he will be working on lighting shot work soon. We are thrilled Jared White has agreed to come on and help with final video editing. 

We have an extremely talented composer, Carl Johnson, onboard to do the underscore music for the short. Some of our favorite projects he's worked on include: Hercules, Aladdin and the King of Thieves, WALL-E, Skyfall, and more! 

Boom Box Post will be doing the post-production sound effects, design, sound editorial, and re-recording Mix. The two owners of Boom Box Post are Jeff Shiffman and Kate Finan.  We're so excited for them and their team, as they were recently nominated for three Motion Picture Sound Editor’s Golden Reel Awards. We are honored to be working with such a talented group and will be crossing our fingers  for them on February 27th, when the winners will be announced.

Again, we're so thankful to everyone who's helped us create this short and we can't wait to share it once it's done. Here's a complete list of those who have contributed to this project, thank you for your hard work and dedication.


Carl Johnson - Composer
Charlie Petrek - Co-Creator/Writer
Farooq Qureshi - Storyboard Artist
Graham Cunningham - Lighter/Compositor/Renderer/Surfacer(Laboratory)
Jacob Gardner - Animation Blocking/Rig Wrecking
Jared White - Editor
Joachim de Brunier - Modeler (Bink, Hand, Laboratory)
Kate Luhr - Scientist Voice
Linda Kurgpold - Surfacer(Hand & Crate)
Nico Sanghrajka - Character TD
Phil Zucco - Modeler (Crate)
Rachel Wan - Concept Artist/Character Design(Hand)
Scott Raymond - Animator
Valerio Fabbretti - Character Designer(Bink)
Violette Sacre - Surfacer(Bink)
William Dougan - Bink Voice