Extending the Animation Family Always on the leading edge of technology, Toon Boom is once again breaking new frontiers to open up untapped creative possibilities for content creators. From the release of Harmony 9, which delivers features never possible before, to Storyboard Pro 3D, making 2D-3D integration a reality at the pre-production stage. What a great time it is to have Toon Boom technology serve your creative impulse and let you bring it to life efficiently!
Summer 2011 was quite busy with education, even though kids were out of school! On June 8, 2011, the Association of Educational Publishers (AEP) granted the Distinguished Achievement Award (DAA) in the Curriculum/Arts category to Toon Boom’s Flip Boom Classic Art Curriculum for K-5 and Flip Boom All-Star Art Curriculum for Grades 6-8. The DAAs recognize the year’s best products according to subject area and grade level in the categories of Curriculum, Periodicals, Professional Development and Technology. The awards highlight the standard of excellence other developers can measure their products against. Toon Boom’s Curricula deliver high standards in literacy building while being fun to do!
On June 22, 2011, Toon Boom announced its relationship with SMART Technologies. Flip Boom Classic for elementary students and its respective curricula are now compatible with the SMART Board™ 600 series and 800 series interactive whiteboard, with an Elite certification that entails multi-touch single user functionalities. Porting Toon Boom’s entry-level educational product to SMART Board interactive whiteboards is a natural step towards offering engaging creative applications on collaborative and interactive learning devices. Students will be able to create and export finished files for easy inclusion in the teaching resources of SMART Notebook collaborative learning software.
This issue’s cover courtesy of Imira Entertainment (Lucky Fred) Toon Boom Corporate Headquarters +1 514 278 8666 5530 St. Patrick, Suite 2210 Montréal (Québec) H4E 1A8 Canada
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In its mentorship role to new studios in the Caribbean, Toon Boom hosted a delegation from Jamaica and Barbados during the week of July 25, 2011. Toon Boom organized some interesting visits for the delegates, including tours of leading animation facilities and post-secondary educational institutions in Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. During these tours, each delegate had the opportunity to understand how studios are set up and how this fits with the type of projects they do. They also became familiar with the implementation of higher education curriculum used to train graduates for the marketplace. Looking forward, the Toon Boom team has a full calendar of events and tradeshows lined up for the Fall. Mark up your agenda with the following dates: CaribbeanTales 2011 Film Showcase and Market Access Program, in Toronto (September 7-17), during which Joan Vogelesang took part of the Market Incubator Program. Cartoon Forum, in Sopot, Poland (September 13-16). Comiccon Montreal (September 17-18) during which Toon Boom sponsored the Meet and Greet Event with Stan Lee and Jim Davis’ friend and peer, Lynn Johnston (For Better or For Worse) conducted workshops on creativity and storytelling using Garfield’s Comic Boom. Ottawa International Animation Festival (September 20-25), during which Toon Boom held two events: the first with Lilly Vogelesang along with Darin Bristow from Nelvana held a seminar on Efficient Production Pipelines at the Television Animation Conference. The second was a 90 minute workshop on Toon Boom Storyboard Pro 3D and Harmony 9 for professional animators and students. Experts of the Animation Industry Conference, in Bogota, Colombia (September 28-30), during which Toon Boom will present a line-up of seasoned professionals who will share their expertise in the fields of IP development, pitching, storyboarding, production management as well as animation creation. MIPCOM 2011, Booth C1.05, in Cannes, France (October 3-6), during which Toon Boom will sponsor the Lucky Fred launch with Imira Entertainment. Montreal International Game Summit, (November 1-2) during which Toon Boom will host a storyboarding contest using Storyboard Pro 3D as well as an exciting lineup of presentations on 2D-3D integration. CTN Animation Expo, in Burbank (November 18-20), during which Toon Boom will conduct a seminar on 2D-3D Integration. Hope to see you soon!!!
TOON BOOM STAR This section is dedicated to Toon Boom employees. In each issue, we will introduce you to the people behind the technology and put a face to the voice you may have spoken to.
Philip Greenstein began working at Toon Boom in early 2008. A real go-getter, his first mandate was to find new markets for the then recently launched, Storyboard Pro. This driven attitude proved extremely successful, as he managed to infiltrate untapped markets and generate significant revenue for Toon Boom. Hot on the heels of this success, he became responsible for inside sales and more recently, for academic sales in Europe. Philip is constantly on the phone, some of us believe that his headset is literally stuck to his ear! If his desk had an “On-Air” light, the red light would always be on! As customer care is one of Toon Boom’s core values, Philip is perfect for the job. He takes great pride in advising and guiding customers through their investigating and decision making processes. No matter if they are creative entrepreneurs, small or large studios, game developers for the iPad or iPhone, or hobbyists, Philip is always there when they need him. By talking to people and taking a keen interest in what they do, Philip builds excellent relationships with them. This personal approach is quite unique, especially in today’s automated corporate world. Philip is closely involved with our Flexible Payment Plan initiative and Pilot Production Program, enabling start-ups and independent professionals to include Toon Boom’s leading edge technology in their toolset. Born and raised in Montreal, Philip has also lived in Japan and Hong Kong. Prior to joining Toon Boom, he worked for the world famous Cirque du Soleil organization and for IMG; the global leader in sports, fashion and media. On a personal note, Philip is the very proud owner of a fox terrier called Zoe, taking her to a doggy-daycare while he is at work. Philip certainly has an eclectic taste of recreational interests, including walking and hiking, international cooking and being an avid watcher of television.
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Toon Boom Harmony 9 Ready to Ship
Toon Boom Storyboard Pro 3D Now Available
The documentation and video tutorials for Toon Boom Harmony 9 are now ready to go. Available as a standalone or network license, Harmony 9 delivers features that were not possible before. Feature highlights include:
Open the door to a new dimension of storyboarding with Toon Boom Storyboard Pro 3D. Adding the ability to import 3D CGI objects lets you work artistically while streamlining your workflow. Whether you are working in 2D, 3D, live-action, games, or mixed media, you will see the real benefits of storyboarding in a 3D space.
2D-3D Integration: Import and use 3D assets within Harmony as well as transform objects on all 3 axes. True Pencil: Draw with pencil lines supporting textures and variable line thickness. Deform: Deform images and drawings animated over time using advanced bone and curve deformers. Effects Inside: Access built-in particle effects and dozens of other effects.
See it in action at toonboom.com/harmony
Create comics with sound using Garfield’s Comic Boom
Import 3D Objects 3D objects can be imported directly into Storyboard Pro 3D. Once imported, a user can subselect meshes in that object, and they can even manipulate the position, rotation, and scale of those objects.
Working in a 3D Space
You can draw and add sound, then share your comics with your friends. Learn cartooning secrets from the master himself -- Jim Davis, Garfield’s creator, shows you how to make great comics one step at a time using Garfield’s Comic Boom. “WOW! I wish that I had this when I was a kid! Hours and hours of creative entertainment. It’s a perfect platform for kids who want to create their own comic strips and comic books. I hope teachers utilize this software in the classroom!” GARY BAKER Assistant Cartoonist for GARFIELD© Studio; Past comic book penciler for Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, Image
Buy it now for only $39 Garfield character(s) © Paws. All rights reserved.
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Storyboard Pro 3D has now expanded to a 3D space. With the use of the Camera View, Top View, and Side View, you can position your 3D objects or 2D drawing layers in 3D space.
Building a Library Just like with Storyboard Pro’s 2D assets, you can save your 3D assets into an easy-to-access library within Storyboard Pro 3D for reuse in multiple project files.
Exporting to 3D In addition to Storyboard Pro’s landmark export to PDF, users can now export their projects back to their 3D software. Like the export to Harmony, this will create 3D scene files of the appropriate length, with all the assets from the Storyboard Pro 3D project with the camera moves intact, allowing the layout artist or animator to begin work right away. Watch the video at: toonboom.com /storyboardpro3d
Don’t Forget the Stories!
Recently, now I am an independent producer, I have been reading a lot of pitch bibles as I build my slate. Several times I have been left feeling as though I am standing on the edge of a cliff – wanting more but suddenly having to stop short! As I have started to read I get involved in the overview of the show – the world, the main characters and the tone. The artwork is great and so is the colour palette. I am engaged! Then comes the character descriptions that describe the main characters – who they are, what they want, their hopes and dreams – and they are funny, dynamic and unusual. I am in! Then I turn the page, wanting to read stories and there are none. Many times the key to solidifying interest in your project is summed up in those story springboards. They are important so here are a few tips to help you make them all that they can be. I think five is a good number of springboards. Three is a minimum and seven is really probably too many. So focus on producing five solid story ideas. They should have a clear, beginning, middle and end that really shows how your characters’ unique traits get them into problems and how their unique character traits resolve the problems. People want to read what they are going to see on TV so make sure there is a clear resolution. Use your characters and set-up! If you set up in your character descriptions that someone is grumpy and someone else is perpetually an optimist then let’s see how this creates havoc in a story. If you have set up that someone always has get rich schemes then we should see one of these schemes in action. If you discover one of your characters is never used and doesn’t drive stories, then you should reconsider the need for the character or re-work their personality. Awesome art depicting a funny or action-packed moment from a few of your episode ideas really helps as well. We don’t need a shot from every story – just a few to get the flavor. Creating strong stories can be the hardest part of creating a pitch bible but if done correctly, strong characterdriven complete stories can really help you move a project forward more quickly.
Our computers keep getting faster, but production timelines keep getting shorter and I’m always looking for ways to work faster. Working digitally has always been faster for me than working on paper. Every board artist who has to cut and paste panels and redraw all their backgrounds and hand write the scripts on their boards and constantly renumber entire sequences by hand will agree this all takes a huge amount of time when working on paper. With Storyboard Pro, I don’t have to worry about any of that. I can simply drag panels Magic City storyboard sketch by to new positions on my Mark Simon board, backgrounds are easily and quickly duplicated, scripts are imported and renumbering is as quick as making a click with my mouse. But I did run into something else recently that saves me even more time. When I board using my 21 inch Cintiq monitor, the drawing area is pretty big. Bigger than the 3x4 inch panels I would sketch when working with pencil and paper. And, like most artists, when you have room for detail, you add detail. Detail takes time. Last week I was in Miami storyboarding a new TV series coming to Starz called Magic City. I carried my 12 inch Cintiq and laptop with me to do the boarding. The smaller screen size kept me from wanting to add too much detail and I worked much faster. I was talking to one of my artists who said he ran into the same time-consuming issue of drawing too much detail with his large Cintiq so he just zooms out so his drawing area is smaller. Such a simple step to save time, and yet so difficult to do. As an artist it goes against my nature to reduce my drawing area, but it is something I am forcing myself to do, at least when I’m sketching quick thumbnails. However I do find that using my smaller Cintiq makes it easier to accept drawing smaller. Plus I can still zoom in as much as I want to work on the details if I need to. More is not always better.
Heather Kenyon is currently working with Kid Glove Creative, a new division of B. Wooding Media. For five years, she worked at Cartoon Network, as Senior Director of Development, Original Series, leading the development of all series for children aged 6 – 11. She is also currently Vice President of Production and Development for Citizen Skull Productions, a predominately unscripted and documentary producer.
Mark Simon is a 25-year entertainment industry veteran amassing nearly 3,000 production credits. He is head of story on the upcoming Hong Kong Phooey feature for Warner Bros and animation producer on Fox's Tooth Fairy 2. Mark has landed more than 25 deals for his original concepts. He is owner of three industry companies in Orlando, FL and the author of ten popular industry texts. He also lectures around the world.
by Heather Kenyon
by Mark Simon
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Cromosoma Addresses Old Age Using Harmony Founded in 1988 in Spain, Cromosoma is an audiovisual production company focused on animation. Its biggest success, The Triplets, an animated series for children, has opened the door to the development of many projects, such as Tom, Miniman, Juanito Jones and The Baby Triplets. Cromosoma also has publishing and licensing departments that handle all ancillary rights for its series. The company is currently staffed with 70 professionals as well as twenty-odd freelance professionals carrying out the entire process from design to the broadcast master copy. As a long time Toon Boom Harmony customer, the studio
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is now working on several HD and 16:9 animated series, including Pixi and The Mint Fairy, which will also be available on emerging platforms such as Internet and mobile phones. Even though Cromosoma has traditionally produced programming for pre-schoolers, the studio has decided to embark on a 80-minute animated feature film project targeted to adults, titled Wrinkles (Arrugas). Based on Paco Roca’s comic of the same title (2008 Spanish National Comic Prize), Wrinkles portrays the friendship between Emilio and Miguel, two aged gentlemen shut away in a care home. Emilio, in the early stages of Alzheimer, is helped by Miguel and colleagues to avoid ending up on the feared top floor of the care home, also known as the lost causes or “assisted” floor. Their wild plan infuses their otherwise tedious day-to-day life with humour and tenderness; even though for some their lives are coming to an end, for them it is just beginning. The production team working on Wrinkles brings together highly-talented and experienced people, including Paco Roca, Co-Script Writer and Character Designer, Dani Martínez, Line Producer and Executive Producer, Helena Fortuny, Production Manager, Baltasar
Images courtesy of Cromosoma
Images courtesy of Imira Entertainment
Case study: Cromosoma
Pedrosa, Animation Supervisor, María Arochena, Ángel de la Cruz, as Executive Producers, Manuel Cristóbal and Oriol Ivern as Producers; as well as Ignacio Ferreras as Director. “Wrinkles arose from a need to discuss old-age, a scarcely-touched topic in literature or cinema. Upon collecting his Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, Michael Caine lamented the lack of leading roles for his age. In today’s society, old-age is like being a supporting actor and so Wrinkles reflects what the elderly are feeling, estranged from the starring roles,” explains Paco Roca.
This production follows a full paper-based traditional process, with Cromosoma handling the pre-production and compositing while the animation is done 75% by 12 Pingüinos in Madrid and the balance by Top Draw Animation in Manila. Both of these animation studios are in charge of the in-betweens, scanning and colouring. The production is scheduled to be completed by the end of September 2011, for a theatrical release at the end of 2011 in Spain and internationally early 2012. Overall, the animation portion enabled to have approximately 55 people on board, with 30 in Madrid and 25 in Manila. The scanning,
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Case study: Cromosoma (continued) colouring and compositing teams represent a total of 15 people. Both 12 Pinguinos and Top Draw send their line tests to Cromosoma for approval. If revisions are requested, the line-tests are resent. Once approved, studios start cleaning and colouring. Between Barcelona, Madrid and Manila, all studios used password protected FTPs to exchange files. “Once you deal with digital files, distance and shipping are a non-issue!” comments Dani Martínez. At the colouring stage, 12 Pinguinos and Top Draw used the colour palettes that Cromosoma provided them. “This is a great Harmony feature as it ensures colour consistency throughout the process. No matter how many studios are involved, they all use the same colour models, with their unique colour codes. Once the coloured scenes are approved, we start the compositing. If a colour change is required during the compositing stage, we do it in realtime,” adds Dani Martínez. In order to monitor the production progress, Cromosoma receives weekly reports from Top Draw and 12 Pinguinos. To remain true to the comic book style, Wrinkles required a certain type of compositing. “We are close to the Persepolis or Waltz with Bashir look and feel. Our lead composer was very pleased with Harmony’s compositing engine. He mastered it in no time!” shares Dani Martínez. Wrinkles is co-produced with Perro Verde Films, a Spanish production and distribution company while international sales are handled by Six Sales. TVE, TV Galicia, TV Valencia and ICAA (Spanish Institute of Cinema and Audiovisual Arts) contributed to the funding of this touching project. “We feel animation is not just for children, it can also be used to address serious topics. This is why we decided to embark on this humane and realistic adventure,” concludes Dani Martínez On a lighter note, Cromosoma is also getting ready for the production of Pixi, a 27 episode eleven minute television series based on the famous Pixi books, which sold over 200 million units in Europe. Another magical project is titled The Mint Fairy, a 26 episode seven minute television series, based on the book collection of Gemma Lienas. Delivered in HDTV, The Mint Fairy will also be available DVD, e-books, social networking as well as educational and interactive website. Both of these projects present rich textured lines and colours, which lend themselves perfectly for Harmony 9. Cromosoma is based in beautiful Barcelona and delivers high-quality products, two great reasons why it makes such a valuable co-production partner! •
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Images courtesy of Imira Entertainment
Case study: Imira Entertainment
Lucky Fred Rocks on Harmony Barcelona-based production and distribution company, Imira Entertainment is one of Spain’s leading companies specializing in youth programming. Imira projects have universal appeal due to their innovative content for kids with strong designs and editorial lines. Keeping up with the latest technology, its productions are developed for cross-media exposure such as TV, video, licensing, mobile, smart phone, online, merchandising and publishing. Imira Entertainment has a worldwide distribution catalogue of over 4000 half hour premium kids programming, including animated feature films. Imira’s track record is a great testament to the quality of its highly-experienced management team. CEO Sergi Reitg and Myriam Ballesteros, Creative Director, have more than 20 years successful experience in the animation industry. The production team includes some of the industry’s most prestigious scriptwriters, who have participated on series like Futurama, Phineas & Ferb, Penguins of Madagascar and Jimmy Neutron, among others, as well as a Spanish scriptwriter who has written for successful shows such as Lola & Virginia and Sandra, Fairytale Detective. Having implemented the Toon Boom pipeline with Storyboard Pro and Harmony, Imira is all set to create their new high-calibre project titled Lucky Fred, a 52 twelve minute episodes series that combines advanced cut-out techniques with frame-by-frame animation. A co-production of Imira Entertainment, Televisió de Catalunya (TV3),
RAI Fiction and Top Draw Animation, this project has a budget of 5.5 million euros. Disney has participated with the development and production of Lucky Fred, and has acquired the broadcasting rights in several of the 150 countries where it has already been sold. Nickelodeon has acquired broadcasting rights for the series in Benelux, Scandinavia, Latin America, South East Asia and South Korea; Disney Channel will have the rights in Spain, France, Germany, Italy, India and Australia; TF1 will have the rights for France and RAI for Italy. Lucky Fred will be on air on Q4 premier in Spain. The series follows the comic adventures of Fred, an ordinary 13-year-old boy who accidentally became the owner of a super-powered, shape-shifting robot who can, with a simple voice command, turn into any object Fred can dream of. The robot’s real name is Anihilator 9-0-90-9-0-niner, but he answers to the name Fred gave him — “Friday”. Before he veered off-course, Friday was sent to the Earth and was intended for Fred’s new next-door neighbour Braianna, a weird girl from his class whose actuToon Boom News
Case study: Imira Entertainment (continued) al identity is Agent Brains — a highly skilled member of a secret, intergalactic security force called ‘the Protectors’. Brains is the Protector assigned to the Earth, and routinely gets called to save the Earth before an alien attack becomes public knowledge. Fred, Friday and Brains are a trio of loyal friends who have fun together, navigate middle-school together, and save the planet together. While Fred and Friday are always finding the fun in everyday life, Brains strives to keep her identity secret and the aliens’ bottoms kicked. To date, 34 episodes remain to be produced between Imira, at their Vitoria (Spain) facility, and Oasis Animation in Montreal. While pre-production, final compositing and post-production are handled by Imira, the animation production and compositing are taken care of by Oasis. Final delivery is scheduled for May 2012. Overall, this production employs a mix of 50 permanent and freelance artists in Spain, as well as 44 animators, 5 background artists, 5 riggers and 4 production staff in Montreal. Patxi Santamaria, Head of Production (and a Flash power user) explained how challenging and complex it became to use Flash to create projects requiring such a high level of quality and a sleek traditional look. “We have done 3 series in Flash and with the last one, we simply hit a wall. It was too hard to achieve the quality we wanted using Flash. That was our opportunity to adopt the Toon Boom pipeline and we have not looked back since then,” he explains. “It is much faster to work in Harmony, the production time is significantly reduced. With a well-run pre-production process, we can maximize Harmony’s integrated pipeline, by producing faster at a higher quality. We also appreciate a lot having such a powerful compositing engine built-in Harmony, all changes are real-time,” he continued. Patxi went over the entire production process: “Disney is tightly involved throughout the production. We send Disney UK the animatics in QuickTime format for comments and final approval. All storyboard artists use Storyboard Pro, it is very handy and easy to understand the process. Changes are easy, especially if you use the Cintiq! The storyboards are very complete, they almost look like layouts. Storyboard Pro is convenient for the Animation Director to make comments and corrections. All action notes and dialogs are also entered so that when they export each project as a CSV file, they can recover the production information into their in-house database
10 Toon Boom News
system, showing which character in which scene. It is very practical to manage assets and content. Once approved, each project is exported directly to Harmony to recover the file structure, timing and camera information.” At this point Oasis takes over and starts producing the animation. “The team begins with the posing, some models and specific backgrounds. Once all items are approved, they start building the asset library and rigging. Oasis sends the source files to Imira for comments. We simply add a layer on top of the scenes to put our comments and generate a template that we send back to Oasis for reference. Then, the team is able to implement all the requested changes and deliver the final version via FTP. The process works really well,” stated Patxi. “Our goal is to produce Season II of Lucky Fred. Considering the extensive asset library we have built in Season I and our proficiency with rigging techniques, we feel we will be even more efficient. In addition, we would be using Harmony 9, taking advantage of the 2D and 3D integration. This will enable us to push the quality envelope even further,” concluded Patxi.
From left to right, back row to front row: Alexander Lorena, Javier Galdos, Richard Cretenze, Javier Cuesta, Patxi Santamaria, Julian Larrauri, Marcos Gonzalvez, Tathiana Schorr, Inaki Amurrio, Myriam Ballesteros, Ramir Medina, Ferdinand Lorena.
As far as cross-media development goes for Lucky Fred, here is what Myriam Ballesteros explained: “All the projects we work on are designed for multiple platforms. They are conceived for all kinds of distribution windows and they have very flexible formats, adapted to the needs of the different platforms. The series will be supported by a licensing and merchandising roll out and we are also developing interactive games for the whole family to play, which will be available via Facebook and both the broadcasters and Lucky Fred websites. There will also be a geolocalised cell phone application with missions for fans to track down and neutralize aliens in exchange for prizes including exclusive collectables and discounts for local attractions. It’s a fascinating treasure hunt that the whole family can be involved in.” Imira Entertainment certainly has all the ingredients to be successful with Lucky Fred as well as all of its other undertakings. With such passion, dedication and aspiration to high standards, the company’s future bodes well for great hits to come. •
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Images courtesy of Nelvana Limited
Case Case study: study: Nelvana Nelvana
Raising the bar made easier with Toon Boom! “When we got the green-light for a third season of Sidekick — the immensely popular kids action-comedy based around the slightly neurotic side-kick Eric, who’s lost his hero, Maxum Man — we knew we wanted to take the entire show to the next level,” says Darin Bristow, Nelvana’s Supervising Technical Producer. Recently sold to Cartoon Network, Sidekick is a huge hit and gaining even more momentum amongst viewers. “Already setting the creative bar high in the sky for its cutting edge Design and Art Direction, we wanted to really focus on taking the Animation to a whole new creative and technical level,” Darin continues. Kevin Colbourne, Supervising Technical Director, and Kevin Micallef, Series Director Darin Bristow, Supervising Technical Producer
12 Toon Boom News
“Joey So, Dean Outschoorn (Sidekick Director/co-creator and Animation Director respectively), and I knew that trying to top the first season’s stunning animation (provided by Nelvana’s internal animation team and the highly talented team at Pipeline Studios Inc.) would prove to be really
Joey So, Director; Dean Outschoorn, Animation Supervisor; Rob Risek, Design Supervisor; Katrina Santilly, Technical Director
tough challenge.“ Dean readily admits he was impressed by the outstanding quality of the first and second season’s animation. “It was actually a really interesting situation because Pipeline’s team and our team were animating every other episode, so it stimulated a friendly competition about who could out-animate the other team!” explains Dean. Joey So quickly adds to Dean’s comments: “The only winner was the show, as each team turned in highly impressive episodes! I was a very very happy Director!” The Sidekick animation style in the first season is very fluid, highly exaggerated, and highly entertaining. It really enhances the series’ humor and pushes the boundaries of television animation. So strong was the animation quality, that it would take a detailed strategy to attempt to push it further. With Harmony 9’s release on the horizon, it was to become part of the plan. It is usual for many studios to avoid major software upgrades while in production, but after Nelvana saw what the new version had to offer, they had to make it work. “We sat down and discussed the specific areas of the animation style we really wanted to enhance, and once we pinpointed exactly what our goal was, we decided Toon Boom News
Case study: Nelvana (continued)
that in order to achieve it we would have to re-invent our approach to how we use the Harmony toolsets,” notes Dean. Relying on their well-established Toon Boom pipeline for some time, Nelvana had to be careful about altering their proven recipe for success. Nelvana’s teams are always trying to push their project’s artistic and technological limits, and their goal of delivering an even higher quality new season of Sidekick would prove no different. Determination and perfect timing seemed to play integral roles in their next decision. “All of the powerful Harmony toolsets were already being implemented on Sidekick,” Darin Bristow explains, “so when we heard Harmony 9 was being released, we did some extensive internal testing, and with Toon Boom’s technical support team fully backing us, we discovered that with an enhanced character break, plus implementing Harmony’s new deformer modules at precise rig levels, we could achieve the superior animation style we desired, while still meet the hectic deadlines and delivery dates that a TV series schedule demands.” The results of Harmony 9’s implementation have been outstanding. James O’Connor, a Sidekick Animation Lead explains: “The overall ability to add 3D-like animation and subtle volumetric touches to essentially flat characters is truly remarkable, and the way we’ve re-rigged our assets allow for greater speed and durability. Harmony’s many new features have affected the production beyond just the animation too. Rob Risek, Sidekick’s Design Supervisor agrees: “As a designer, Harmony 9 gives me every14 Toon Boom News
thing I’ve wanted in a 2D digital animation program. The new features within the line tool alone have opened up countless design possibilities, which will allow for an even broader range of design options, and thus greatly enhance the look and appeal for our future shows. It also makes production more efficient which lets me focus on being creative.” Toon Boom’s technologies are used to solve many other production challenges that Nelvana’s many complex productions can present. On Detentionaire, another hot new series from Nelvana’s 2011 line-up, the team was faced with a completely different challenge. “Detentionaire is a very unique project,” Bristow admits, “and with each unique project comes a very specific set of creative and technical obstacles we must solve in a efficient and reliable way that can be sustained on a very rapid production schedule.” The obstacle in question was how to re-create a very 3D looking background within the 2D production environment. Lee, the lead character does a lot of skateboarding down the hallways of his high school, so to avoid separately rendered frame elements, Nelvana used the 3D building tools in which each wall was painted within Photoshop, then mapped onto the appropriate surface and rotated into place. Kevin Colbourne, Detentionaire’s Supervising Technical Director explains: “Using Harmony’s Z-depth capabilities we were able to transform and arrange our 2D background elements on all 3 axes within the camera’s 3D space to create dynamic back-
ground ‘sets’ for our chase and skateboarding sequences. This has really added to the unique look and feel of this ambitious series”. The result is simply stunning and of course easily re-useable within the Harmony template library system. When Detentionaire Director Kevin Micallef went to Post to view some of the latest dailies, he was simply blown away. “Toon Boom has given our team the tools to showcase their talents and knowledge of classical animation. From storyboard to final compositing, this software enables us to push the boundaries and deliver top quality entertainment.” Now that Nelvana has made the successful jump to Harmony 9, all future productions will be following suit. The teams are excited about getting their hands on the new version and there is a buzz around the studio about the new creative possibilities that await them. In fact, Darin and his Technical team were so astounded by Harmony new features that they launched a studio-wide software ‘sneak peek’ and invited everyone. “When Francisco [Del Cueto] and Steve [Masson] came to show us the latest release, as always we were excited for what they were going to show us. We always love having our extended family here, but this time around when they previewed the new tool sets such as the animation deformers, the texture manipulation tools, the line tool upgrades, and the vector particle generators, our jaws just dropped! This version is leaps and bounds above the competition. There is no comparison anymore!” Darin concludes • Toon Boom News
Monarch Media, Inc., operates out of Santa Cruz, CA, and specializes in eLearning course development, multimedia and flash programming, mobile learning and app development, and learning management system implementation and hosting. The courses and projects they develop often include animated cartoons that make learning more engaging and interactive. For one recently completed project, an online tobacco vendor training program for the State of Iowa’s Alcoholic Beverages Division, Monarch Media designed six animated “How to Refuse” scenarios. It produced these scenarios using Toon Boom Animate to create realistic 3D environments in which tobacco retailers can practice the skills they’ve been taught through16 Toon Boom News
“I enjoy using Animate and would recommend it to others. I was able to transition quite easily from Flash to Animate and found the documentation and instructional videos to be a big asset is learning to use its tools and feature set,” he says.
Image courtesy of Tartar Studio
Based in Port of Spain in Trinidad, Full Circle Animation was contracted to produce a series of 6 books and animations for the Be Trinity Smart campaign. The campaign is aimed at pre-schoolers to educate them on drugs, alcohol and other substance abuses. The campaign is an initiative of the National Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Program (NADAPP) Secretariat in collaboration with the Government of Trinidad and Tobago’s Ministry of Education, Ministry of The People and Social Development and Ministry of National Security with the Embassy of the United States of America. The studio is currently also producing two pilots based on traditional Caribbean tales, Monkey Polo by famous storyteller Al Ramsawak and Krik Krak Anansi supported by the Trinidad and Tobago Film Company. Recently they also began production on an animated music video for an American production called The Mighty Majestics in collaboration with ICAIC studio in Cuba. Full Circle Animation Studio is the first of its kind in the English speaking Caribbean. They will be the main feature on the business day of the 10th Anniversary of the Animae Caribe Animation Festival in November in Trinidad and Tobago.
Image courtesy of Monarch Media, Inc.
Image courtesy of Full Circle Animation
out the training. “Animate’s feature set has streamlined the process of creating time-line based cartoon animations, from digitizing drawings to exporting the final Flash video,” says Philip Jackson, one of Monarch Media’s multimedia designers.
Based in North Sudan, Tartar Studio is a non-profit animation studio founded by Amin Bahari in March 2011. Its mission is to promote the Sudanese culture, values and traditions through the production of local content videos. “Tartar” is the colloquial Arabic term for a second-hand tire children play with, rolling it along the road and trying to keep it balanced and upright. Tartar Studio presents an opportunity for Sudanese animators to fill in the gap in quality between the dominant imported animation films and series and the very few locally produced ones. Tartar also provides aspiring animators with technical guidance encouraging them to produce their own videos. Tartar’s
coming 5 years are to produce two short film series and one feature film. The company has a mission to introduce the films not only in Mongolia, but also to launch them abroad to an international audience. “Turning our comics into animation with Toon Boom Harmony will guarantee us a solid future in the world of animation. We chose Toon Boom Harmony, because it allows us to save time without having to compromise quality and detail,” said Delgerjargal Anbat, founder and owner of Irmuun.
Image courtesy of Irmuun
team all work on voluntary basis from home without any financial support from Tartar. Despite the small number and the amateur experience of Tartar’s team, it has so far managed to produce three 2D short animated videos on YouTube, the second of which had become popular reaching 100,000 views in a period of a week. Tartar has also taken part in the “Love From Sudan” Twitter initiative which resulted in the production of a short YouTube message of love to the newly formed country of South Sudan. As it maintains its commitment to local content and as it keeps growing; Tartar plans to embark on a number of projects of a larger scale, one of which aims at transforming the Sudanese fairy tales into an animated series to compete with the foreign tales of Cinderella and Red Riding Hood. Tartar currently uses Toon Boom Animate 2 as its animation software.
Operating from Mongolia, Irmuun was first established as a printing house and a graphic design agency in 1999 by four young colleagues, who were in their third and fourth year in college at the time. Through the years, the company has persistently improved its capacities and further established a professional photo studio, professional painting studio, an integrated designer and editors’ room, an animation studio, which all grew out to be the front-runners in their fields respectively. Irmuun was the first to introduce comic series in Mongolia. It includes The Adventures of Tsondooloi and Tsundeelei and Dinza, which instantly became best sellers. “Today, we are stepping into the world of animation with Toon Boom Harmony by our side. Cartoon creation is a relatively new and lesser studied art segment in Mongolia, with almost no experience and an obvious lack of experts in the field, Irmuun is contributing an invaluable investment into the segment. Even though Irmuun has skilled character designers, background painters, animators and film makers, without a professional pipeline our production lacked speed. Irmuun is extremely excited and happy to have Toon Boom Harmony as a software and system solution,” shared Javkhlan Sonomdorj. The objectives of the animation studio in the Toon Boom News
Based out of Brooklyn NY, Robert Kohr is the owner of Kohrtoons Studio, a freelance multimedia design, production and animation company and an animator for Nickelodeon’s on-air promos team. His first animated short, I Am, received worldwide recognition and his second animated 18 Toon Boom News
short The Lift is his first professional film. For Nickelodeon online, the Downward Doghouse and Wonder Pets Save the Day online games that he developed animation for received Silver and Bronze Broadcast Design Awards in 2005 and 2007. At Nickelodeon on-air the Halloween spots he co-directed also received Gold BDA awards as well as a One Show honoree mention. For Kohrtoons Studio, Robert is actively involved in creating animated assets for a number of upcoming iPhone games. ”Animate Pro allows me to work in a resolution independent workflow while creating shading that would otherwise need to be done in Flash and After Effects with complicated mattes. Animate Pro streamlines this. The tone and colour matte modules give you so much flexibility you can combine soft and hard edge shade on the same colour field,” explains Robert.
Image courtesy of Rafael Alvarez
Image courtesy of Juan Carlos Concha
As graphic designer, director and animator, Juan Carlos Concha has been working in the audiovisual world since 1992, getting involved in varied projects ranging from documentaries, to shorts, background design, set design, animated films and experimental videos. He has also taught different courses and seminars on audiovisual production, along with masters in their field, namely Patricio Guzmán, José Luis Guerin and Bigas Luna, among others. After creating his own animation production company called TAKINGSHAPE in 2000 with five artists in Barcelona, Juan Carlos then created APEMANSTUDIO in 2004. Between his multiple teaching assignments in different animation schools in Barcelona and Bogota, he has also worked on several European animated feature length projects, as an animator, background artist and director assistant. Main recent titles include Little Big Panda, Chico y Rita, The Illusionist, and Mia et le Migou. In 2011, Juan Carlos headed animation classes for children in Ecuador, in conjunction with a practical course on audiovisual language and a documentary produced for the Aboquehura community. Juan Carlos is quite proficient in all Toon Boom’s professional products and is currently working on a personal project titled Flora, using Harmony.
Rafa Alvarez got an MBA in Madrid (Spain) and started to work in Marketing for an American multinational. After 8 years in different countries, he decided to take a break to re-evaluate his career. He created his own illustration agency “Alvarez Studio” and started to freelance for several advertising-related projects (American Express, Paramount Pictures, SJ Berwin or Etihad Airways among others). After one year, he applied for the School of Visual Arts of New York, got accepted in an MFA program, and moved to Brooklyn. Today, he finishes the graduate program while he is commissioned for different illustration and animation projects. “As long as deadlines allow it, I like to mix different media (ink, acrylics, Photoshop, vectors...). I use Toon Boom Animate because it gives me the flexibility of working separately and then import and animate all the materials together in a smooth and fast workflow,” explains Rafa. “When it comes to animation projects, it means normally short videos (1-2 minutes) with shorter deadlines (2-4 days). Animate allows me to quickly access a library of characters and prepare simple animations, but at the same time including subtle rigging, camera effects and lip-sync details that make a difference in quality and are not available or easy with other software,” he concludes.
John K. Drops Flash for Toon Boom Harmony in clean up because the animator can combine multiple steps into one.” Another aspect relates to colour lines, colour palettes and changing colours. “I like to use coloured lines on my characters and Harmony makes this really easy to do. You can name each colour by character and part - “Furry Man eyes” or “Furry Man Pupils” and then draw the animation in the actual colour. You can create multiple colour palettes, one for each character and you can constantly add colours to it as you go. If later I want to change the colour, I can do it right on the colour swatch itself and I don’t have to go back and repaint every cel individually. This is a great tool and allows me lots of creative leeway. I can easily change colours from scene to scene according to the mood of the scene.” Then comes Harmony’s Layers. “I like to combine straight ahead full animation with classic limited animation techniques. I can create a character using multiple layersone for the body, one for each arm, each leg, the head, the mouth, eyes, etc. This could be become an unwieldy mess when you have more than one character in a scene and each character has multiple layers. But in Harmony, you can group all the layers of a character into a folder (called a “group”) and only open the layers of one character at a time as you work on it. You can also colour the timeline of each character so that when you see a lot of layers open, you know right away which layers are what character instantly.” Last but not least, John K. discovered a new array of capabilities related to Harmony’s camera and pegs: “I have found that there are a lot of interesting ways you can move characters and do zooms, north south actions and more by giving each character his own set of pegs and one overall set of pegs for the whole scene.” John K. has put Harmony to work on a series of Adult Swim shorts for Cartoon Network. He started working on a new project that will certainly draw a lot of attention so make sure to stay tooned to his blog! johnkstuff.blogspot.com
Images courtesy of John K.
Not that John K. needs an introduction but writing an article about this influential animator requires to do it right. Originally from Canada and born as Michael John Kricfalusi, John K. is now based in Los Angeles. He is the creator of The Ren & Stimpy Show, its adults-only spin-off Ren & Stimpy “Adult Party Cartoon”, The Ripping Friends animated series, and Weekend Pussy Hunt, which was billed as “the world’s first interactive web-based cartoon,” as well as the founder of animation studio Spümcø. He now works on several projects such as commercials, rock videos, station IDs for Cartoon Network and other networks. John K. has recently made the transition from Flash to Toon Boom Animate Pro then Harmony. “Already during the production of the first Ren and Stimpy season, I started thinking it would be great if someone would create a program that allowed you to not only ink and paint but to do the whole process of animation directly on the computer,” states John K. “Flash always seemed to me to be a program that was not designed for animation but was the only one that you could bend to do it. When I use Flash I am forcing it to do things that it’s not really capable of. I have to trick it into faking what I want. Jean Raymond [Lemieux] came by a couple years ago and installed Animate Pro on my computer and showed me the basics - an exposure sheet (which Flash doesn’t have), the brushes and the camera. I started drawing and right away saw how much easier it was to draw and animate. The brush tool is infinitely superior and I was able to quickly animate some stuff and play it back,” he explains. As a traditional animator going paperless, there are several aspects of Harmony John K. appreciates. Let’s start with the first one, the Brush tool. “Once I got used to drawing with the brush in Harmony, I realized that I could almost animate straight ahead with clean lines. In many instances, with no roughs at all! Not only that but I can do it with a perfectly clean thick and thin line as if I was inking with a real brush. I’ve never been able to ink well with an actual brush, but now I can make my animation drawings look like illustrations or comic book inking. This can save a lot of time
Toon Boom News
Image courtesy of Powerlight Studios
SCHOOLS ON BOARD
Every summer, Joey Travolta directs two week short film camps at college campuses all over the country for children and teens with autism. The program is designed to develop self-esteem, confidence, social skills and creativity through acting, improvisation, and digital film making within their peer group. Each age group writes
a script, pitches it to the Inclusion staff, then follows the entire process through filming and post production and a red carpet premier of the thesis film in the fall. This year, Joey added animation to the mix, with classes taught by a 16 year old girl with autism named Dani Bowman, who founded her company, Powerlight Studios at age 14 and has been working as an animator professionally ever since. At the camps in Jacksonville, FL, Edgewood Cliffs, NJ, and Detroit, MI, the campers are divided into three groups by age, from 10-13, 14-15, and 16-17, and the campers are paired up two to a computer to help teach collaboration skills. During each class of approximately 20 students, Dani teaches the basic process of computer animation and by the end of the class, the students have successfully animated a jumping character of their own creation, and work on animation to accompany the camp thesis projects. Toon Boom Software is helping support the camps through sponsor ship as well as providing the Toon Boom Studio software for the camps as part of a new outreach initiative to the special needs community. Many children and young adults with autism excel in the visual arts and exposure to animation software can be the foundation of a successful and self supporting career leveraging their unique skills.
Become Toon Boom Certified If you are interested in teaching with Toon Boom Professional and Enterprise solutions in educational institutions, training centres, studios, or as corporate trainers or freelancers, the Toon Boom Certification Program is for YOU!
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Validate your skills and knowledge Open up career opportunities Boost your credibility within your field Highlight your resume with a Toon Boom Certificate and logo Get referred in the Toon Boom Certified Instructors database
Get certified on Storyboard Pro, Animate Pro or Harmony As a Toon Boom Certified Instructor, you will be recognised as a qualified instructor able to produce and deliver your own course using the chosen software. Information about the Instructor Certification Program is available at: toonboom.com/certified-instructor
20 Toon Boom News
Toon Boom Graduates Wanted at Atomic Cartoons Atomic Cartoons is an independent full-service animation studio located in Vancouver, Canada. Atomic Cartoons creates and produces animation for television series, commercials, music videos and features. Atomic Cartoons partners Mauro Casalese, Rob Davies, Trevor Bentley and Rob Simmons head-up a landmark studio that includes some of Canada’s most creative animators, directors, producers and writers. Adept at multiple genres and animation styles, Atomic Cartoons is internationally recognized as one of the leading animation studios in North America. “Atomic has been sitting on the animation software fence for the last 5 years or so... at least when it came to adding Toon Boom Harmony to our quiver of tools. We’ve always liked the thought of a specific animation package that was built for animation, as opposed to using software that sort of works for animation, but wasn’t really giving us everything we needed without workarounds and various additional steps using multiple software packages. If you’re producing any digital 2D animation you know what I’m talking about. As we became increasingly frustrated with our software situation we were compelled to make some decisions. At the end of 2010 we finally got off the fence and decided to migrate to a full Harmony system,” explains Trevor Bentley. Atomic Cartoons’ production line-up is loaded with highprofile projects in which Harmony will be put to great use. One of them is for Sketchers and includes a series of three
20 minute direct-to-video installments. There are several other projects in development which testifies to Atomic Cartoons’ dynamism, ambition and dedication to quality. Knowing that their projects required a more traditional look while using digital techniques, Harmony has enabled Atomic Cartoons to take full advantage of its superior drawing, rigging and scene-planning capabilities. These tasks are critical steps in their process which implies that they have a good knowledge of Harmony in order to make full use of the technology and enjoy the ultimate in digital control. The Atomic Cartoon studio currently employs 85 people and may need to add 50 to 60 new animators by the end of the summer 2011. When recruiting, the team is actively looking for people who are already familiar with Harmony, either from a previous work experience or from school. “Graduates have a good foundation on the fundamentals of animation such as the design, colours and timing. On the technology side, they have been trained on Photoshop and Flash, but we need to have Toon Boom trained students. The talent is not where it needs to be at the moment on that front,” states Trevor. In order to reach the right level of Harmony best practice, Atomic Cartoons has internal training sessions which run at night, enabling the most proficient users to share their knowledge with others. “Harmony is a skill set we are definitely looking for so we look forward to receiving students’ portfolios which include this expertise,” concludes Trevor.
Toon Boom News
Classical Animation Training and Harmony Pave the Way to Success for VFS Graduates Founded in 1987, Vancouver Film School (VFS) is Canada’s premier post-secondary entertainment arts institution and one of the most distinguished in the world. With 13 production-oriented programs and a world-leading one-year education model, VFS prepares students to join the creative economy. The Animation & Visual Effects department at VFS includes three distinct programs: 3D Animation & Visual Effects (one year), Classical Animation (one year), and Digital Character Animation (six months). Graduates of the Animation & Visual Effects programs have a profound effect on the entertainment industry and have played key roles behind the scenes on productions such as Avatar, The Princess and the Frog, and Rango. Vancouver Film School has a proven track record of success, with alumni honours from Oscars to Golden Globes. In July 2011, VFS was named School of the Year for the second year in a row in cgCoach’s Computer Graphics Student Awards (CGSA). As part of their Animation & Visual Effects programs, Classical Animation students begin their year-long journey at VFS with an intensive first 3 terms that focuses heavily on the basics of animation, life drawing, character design, perspective, composition, and layout. From there, they delve deeper into storyboarding, effects animation, 22 Toon Boom News
colour theory, Photoshop, digital ink and paint, and a host of courses designed to broaden their skill sets. Just as in a studio, students learn to transform ideas into stories. In addition to studying the cornerstones of animation, they work with technologies like Toon Boom Harmony to cover character design, animation and digital techniques. By the end of the year these technical and creative skills are applied to their original short films, during which instructors serve as mentors and producers on these projects. With the resurgence of quality 2D animation, the future of classical animation is bright. “The ability to draw, to bring life to a character with your bare hands, is once again at the top of the list of skills studios are looking for today. While the traditions of classical animation are alive and well, the world has changed and that means animators today require the right training if they’re going to keep up with the industry,” states Dieter Mueller, Senior Instructor at VFS. This statement is truly exemplified in Grahaeme Cowie, who graduated from VFS in 2009. Grahaeme praises the quality of the training he received at VFS, not only the world-class level of the teaching staff but also the sense of community that made the school feel like home. “We start with the basics and move towards more complex techniques to build up our understanding of the animation principles. This thorough approach is excellent to learn movement, spacing, poses, lines of action and
Image courtesy of Grahaeme Cowie
SCHOOLS ON BOARD
silhouettes, which is a must, no matter what type of animation you end up doing after you graduate. The classical training has proven to be essential even to create cut-out animation!” states Grahaeme Cowie. As part of the program, Grahaeme Cowie had to complete two animation projects; one of them titled The Wayward Hat required the use of Toon Boom Harmony. At three-minutes long, this project was limited to 20 scenes and had to be completed in 5 months. The whole film was classically animated on paper, then scanned in, vectorized, painted and composited completely with Harmony. “This project gave me the opportunity to complete a project from beginning to end, just like a mini-production of my own. The teaching staff acts as a production team, just like in the real world. We need to present our project at four different milestones in front of the teaching staff, the head of the department and the class to get feedback. Everybody has a voice!” explains Grahaeme. For his second project, Grahaeme had to use Flash. He could immediately feel the difference between the two technologies: “Harmony is a great tool to use, being designed specifically for animators, whereas Flash was software adapted from other purposes to make animation. Harmony’s work flow was much closer to classical animation and that made the transition into cut-out a lot easier,” shares Grahaeme. Upon his graduation, Grahaeme did not waste any time putting his Harmony training to work, anxious to give his
traditional skills the chance to contribute to great animation projects. He quickly found a first contract at International Rocketship, followed by another contract at Bardel where he worked on Neighbours from Hell. This project enabled him to meet and work with some highly-respected creative individuals from Dreamworks and Bento Box. After moving to Montreal, Grahaeme was contracted by Mercury Filmworks as a Character Animator on their highcalibre projects. For this contract, he used a stand-alone version of Harmony which was perfect to work remotely with the studio. He now works at Oasis Animation as Lead Animator, on the Lucky Fred television series. Grahaeme is a very smart and wise artist who knows the importance of working hard, continuously developing his skills and being connected. “Each work experience is an opportunity to gain a reputation, brand yourself and be visible. In addition, digital networking has become a must activity. I check a lot of online portfolios to see who is out there, I hope people check me out also!” concludes Grahaeme. As a side project, Grahaeme illustrated two sections of a book on Peter Pan titled The Many Faces of Peter Pan, which will be released in Vancouver in November 2011. His talent combined with his top-of-the line animation training and proficiency with Harmony make him a very safe bet for any studio producing quality animation. Check him out! grahaeme.blogspot.com Toon Boom News
The Toon Boom Pipeline
Solutions for Animation Pre-Production and Production
A New Dimension. Import 3D Objects: Import 3D CGI objects and manipulate their position, rotation, and scale. Working in a 3D Space: Use the Camera View, Top View, and Side View to position your 3D objects or 2D drawing layers in a 3D space. Building a Library: Save your 3D assets into an easy-toaccess library for reuse. Exporting to 3D: Export the project back to 3D software using the FBX format. Digital Storyboarding: Take advantage of Storyboard Proâ€™s proven storyboarding capabilities such as drawing tools, script import, captions, animatic generation, and export to PDF and Quicktime.
Between the Past and Now. True Pencil: Draw with pencil lines supporting textures and variable line thickness. Deform: Deform images and drawings animated over time using advanced bone and curve deformers. Effects Inside: Access built-in particle effects and dozens of other effects. 2D-3D Integration: Import and use 3D assets within Harmony as well as transform objects on all 3 axes.