Top 10 Video Games of All Time

clock September 19, 2016 14:16 by author EliciaT

Ranking the best video games of all time is incredibly difficult. To some, it doesn’t feel like the video game industry began that long ago. There has been some debate as to when the first video game was created. But, many argue that the first record of a video game was in 1958, when an American physicist named William Higinbotham created Tennis for Two. Of course, it wasn’t until the Pacman and Asteroid games of the 70s and 80s that video games, as we traditionally think of them, took off.

In that timespan, there have been some amazing and groundbreaking video games developed that deserve recognition. In this blog, we are ranking the top video games (only one from a franchise) of all time, based on several factors, such as: story, animation, characters and gamer popularity.

10. World of Warcraft

 

The multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) World of Warcraft may be considered dated compared to games like Skyrim. However, it wasn’t the world’s most popular MMORPG game for no reason. Its creative use of questing and resting or player pauses, may have set the tone for future role-playing game successes.

9. BioShock

 

BioShock is a solid video game series. However, when it comes to which game is the best, we vote for the original BioShock. This is because of the creators’ strategic and artistic use of a detailed and dark atmosphere to help tell the intriguing story.

8. Halo: Reach

Choosing the best from the first-person shooter game franchise Halo, is a toss up. But, because of its adrenaline-inducing, finite time to save a planet and advanced multiplayer capabilities, Halo: Reach wins it. It also has more detailed graphics and scenes that make you feel more like part of the doomed planet.

7. Super Mario 64

Super Mario 64 is a little over 20 years old, but it is still one of the best games to date. Of course the graphics aren’t much, compared to today’s standards. At the time, they had an unusual artistic 3D quality. The game had solid player capabilities and challenges, fun Easter eggs, and intuitive controls.

6. Final Fantasy X

 

Final Fantasy is another amazing video game franchise that has a string of successful titles. With so many to choose from, it is hard to select just one for this list. However, Final Fantasy X is on here for two main reasons: the cinematic storytelling and quality character design.

5. Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

Instead of giving gamers whatever features and customization that they want, Call of Duty 4 used constraints to enhance the overall game experience. The designers really stuck to the idea of submerging the player into the game world by using realistic body and facial animations and gritty, detailed settings.

4. Resident Evil 4

Resident Evil 4 is one of those games that has graphics, animation and a story so well-crafted that it gives you chills. Over 10 years old, it still holds up to the test of time with unique camera angles, and eerie, isolated village environments that make you genuinely feel like you are alone and fighting vicious zombies in a life-and-death battle.

3. Portal 2

 

When it feels like a ton of video games follow the same or similar model, Portal 2 is a breath of fresh air. It’s imaginative storyline that touches on artificial intelligence and its unique environment are what makes it a truly great game. There are not targets or enemies that you need to kill, but instead puzzles. Those features, combined with its solid graphics and animation make it one of the top.

2. Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

There are few video games that can live up to Zelda. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was the first Zelda game to feature 3D graphics and it was even listed as a Guinness record highest rated game. The music and story, which intertwines time travel, a love story and a hero’s journey are a few other reasons that you could go on all day about its greatness.

1. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

 

Skyrim, the role-playing game by Bethesda has great game design, plot devices, character features and animation but most importantly, it has a unique quality that not only makes players enjoy it the first time but the thousandth time that they play. This is probably because of it's seamlessly never-ending challenges and player mods. Mods can result in funny and breathtaking scenes within the game.

What video games would be on your top 10 list?



The Uncanny Valley: What It Is and How to Avoid It In Your Animation

clock September 8, 2016 21:29 by author EliciaT

 

If you are a gamer, professional animator or animation enthusiast, you’ve undoubtedly heard about the “uncanny valley”━and also, that you should avoid it at all costs. To designers and animators everywhere, the uncanny valley is something that you never want to see in your work.

What is the Uncanny Valley?

Today the term is common lingo in the art and animation industries, but it started out in a different field. The coin was termed in 1970 by Masahiro Mori, a Japanese robotics professor who studied how humans react to non-human beings.

He found that when we are exposed to increasing depictions of realism the amount of emotion or connection we feel for the non-human depiction increases. However, once the level of realism crosses a certain point, where the inanimate object becomes almost too real, we are repulsed.

The chart of the below response shows that when inanimate objects look not quite realistic, our emotional connection to them immediately drops off. Instead of these inanimate creations being perceived as life-like or realistic, they are as dead as a corpse. Furthermore, when these corpse creations are animated to move, it starts to look more like a scene from Night of The Living Dead or Resident Evil. Unless you are creating a zombie animated film or game, you don’t want your characters falling into this realm.

 

(image source: Smurrayinchester)

Why the Uncanny Valley Can Ruin Your Animations

The problem with the Uncanny Valley in animation is not that a creation is too realistic. It is that it is almost but not quite realistic. Something is off in the way a 3D model is constructed or animated that makes it creepy and off-putting to viewers. Some highly anticipated animated films like The Polar Express and Beowulf bombed at the box office and were harshly criticized because they made this fatal animation mistake.

How to Avoid the Uncanny Valley

The key in beating the Uncanny Valley is in quality modeling and animation, but also in expressive facial animations. Usually, it is in the facial expressions of computer-generated characters that the flaw becomes the most noticeable.

Don’t give the dead eye.

The phrase, “the eyes are the windows to the soul,” is more accurate than you may think. For example, psychologists and researchers have conducted several experiments that show that eye shape, movement and even pupil dilation can express a person’s emotional state. For instance, your eyes are different when you give a fake smile out of politeness than when you genuinely smile at something that you find enjoyable or funny. When animating, pay close attention to your characters’ eyes. 

Get rid of inconsistency.

The Uncanny Valley is fundamentally caused by a series of inconsistencies. For example: 

  • Inconsistency of realistic modeling and creepy animation;
  • Inconsistency of the animation of one part of the face and another;
  • Inconsistency of the 3D face animation and the expressions of our own faces.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was an animation software that could eliminate these inconsistencies? This is where NaturalFront 3D face animation software can help. It creates 3D models directly from one or more photos of a real person, and realistically simulates the movement of complex facial muscles to create believable expressions ranging from sweet smiles to bitter anger. Furthermore, the software is extremely easy to use, with nearly zero learning curve.    

Lip-sync carefully.

When audio doesn’t perfectly match with an animated character it throws us off. When that animated character is also creepily realistic, it increases our repulsion even further. Lip-syncing is one of the more difficult animation tasks, but with the help of tools like NaturalFront’s 1-Click Animation, animators can upload audio to their creations and perfectly sync it to mouth movements.

Facial animations should reflect actual expressions.

One of the huge reasons why animations fall into the ugly uncanny valley is their not-quite human facial expressions. In animation, you can either be cartoonish or overly expressive or produce expressions that are so realistic and relatable that they stir emotion in viewers. Mediocre or almost there facial expressions will land you in the valley.

However, seasoned animators know that creating believable facial animations is easier said than done. Researchers have mapped more than 3,000 facial expressions that humans are capable of conveying. But professional animators may model millions of possible facial expressions for their characters. Doing all of that in a small team or on your own is nearly impossible for most. That is why NaturalFront also aims to make facial animation easier by generating a wide range of believable expressions in a matter of seconds with its Facial Animation Software and Unity Plugins.

The magic of animation is that it can allow us to create and do things that either wouldn’t be possible or poignant if done in live-action. Creating realistic animations can stir up emotional connections to a point, but it is important to know where that limit is and how to avoid crashing into it.






Kubo and The Two Strings: How the Film Combined Origami, Digital Animation & Stop-Motion

clock September 5, 2016 11:14 by author EliciaT

 

In recent years, it seems that stop-motion animation in the traditional sense has died off. Today, computer animation technology can do everything that traditional stop-motion creators can, and many times it can do it better, faster and at a significantly lower cost and reduced production timeline.

However, the new stop-motion animated film Kubo and the Two Strings is proving that the two forms of animation don’t need to be pitted against each other. In fact, beautiful and amazing animation feats can be accomplished when creators combine the best of the two techniques.

The film unfolds around the story of Kubo, a young Japanese boy who tells captivating stories with his magical guitar that brings the characters to life in origami form. (It’s also an ode to what animators do everyday as a profession.)

Instead of pitting traditional animation against computer animation, Travis Knight, the film’s director and CEO of Laika Entertainment━the animation studio behind Kubo and The Two Strings as well as Coraline, Boxtrolls and ParaNorman━took the “if you can’t beat them join them” approach.

Background characters were created with digital animation technology.

Building characters for stop-motion is an incredibly laborious challenge. One character could have hundreds of identical models produced. Now, 3D printing and digital technology can help simplify and accelerate the process.

For example, in the animated film scenes where there were many villagers, the team would model a select few as physical puppets in the same style as Kubo. However, in order to save time and minimize costs on creating hundreds of puppets, computer animation technology was used to create background villagers that blended seamlessly into the rest of the crowd.

They 3D modeled thousands of facial expressions.

Creating expressive facial animations, especially when it comes to paper origami style characters may seem practically impossible. But, the film pulled it off. Although the creators of the Samurai-inspired film built most main characters by hand using traditional techniques, they used digital animation tech and 3D printers to produce many of the facial parts.

Each individual character in stop-motion can have thousands of eyes, mouths, eyebrow and other pieces produced in order to animate them and create fluid facial animations. Before, it would take whole teams and years to produce all the necessary parts required to animate a stop-motion character. To overcome this challenge, but still preserve the traditional stop-motion look, the animators modeled the parts digitally and used 3D printers to manufacture them.

In a report by FXGuide, creators behind the impressive stop-motion film said that,

“The Kubo character has 11,007 unique mouth expressions and 4,429 brow expressions, allowing for over 48 million possible facial expressions.”

Imagine how much time and how many people it would have taken to create that amount without the help of digital technology?







Are Female Faces Really Harder to Animate?

clock August 30, 2016 11:19 by author EliciaT

 

Some of the most experienced and renowned animators in the industry struggle with facial animation. A few were publicly criticized after they made statements claiming that animating facial expressions for female characters is more difficult than male characters.

Right before Frozen was released in 2013, Disney animator Lino DiSalvo sparked controversy after stating that, "Historically speaking, animating female characters is really, really difficult, because they have to go through these range of emotions, but you have to keep them pretty."

Even Ubisoft creative director Alex Amancio caused some to stir in their seats at the E3 Conference when he said that women weren’t in the Assassin’s Creed: Unity because, “It’s double the animations, it’s double the voices, all that stuff and double the visual assets.”

Structurally, women and men have the same types of muscles, bones and anatomical layout responsible for creating facial expressions. So, from a technical perspective, are women really harder to animate?

There are thousands of facial movements.

First, facial animations have traditionally been one of the hardest parts of animating, regardless of gender. This is because humans have thousands of facial expressions and a slight movement can alter their entire meaning. In fact, University of California researchers once mapped over 3,000 facial expressions, but that doesn’t represent the full scope of possibilities.

The vast range of expressions is part of the reason why facial animation has traditionally been a challenging process. But, in reality, female facial expressions aren’t harder to animate than men.

Facial animation tech and processes are evolving.

For many animators, animating facial expressions on both male and female 3D models is an equally intricate and complex challenge. But, thanks to advances in animation technology, 3D animators have more options for accelerating and improving the process. If animators use the right tools and processes to animate their characters, facial animation is relatively simple.

NaturalFront’s Facial Animation software drastically simplifies traditional animation processes and produces life-like facial expressions. In minutes, hobbyists and professional 3D animators can create female and male character models and animate them in a few mouse clicks. Because NaturalFront technology uses photos of real people to generate high-quality 3D facial models in seconds, the animations are virtually limitless and incredibly life-like.

The core innovation of NaturalFront software is its outstanding ability to very efficiently simulate the complex movement of different muscles, as well as their interactions. As we know, women and men have the same types of muscles that produce expressions. Thus, what has been unimaginable is now unavoidable – you can animate female faces as easily, fast and realistically just as male faces, by using NaturalFront software.     

Instead of guessing how to rig, morph or manipulate your 3D model to make the expressions that you want, you can choose from a wide library of facial animations. You can also customize and tweak animations to be as subtle, pretty, ugly, exaggerated or as human as you want. But, because you start with an anatomically representative 3D model, the hard labor and guesswork that used to go into creating facial animations disappears. Instead, you can easily and efficiently create animations that are more diverse, human and realistic, regardless of gender.

Would your mum be more difficult to smile to you than your dad?

 



What’s New in the Updated Complete Unity Face Animation Plugin?

clock July 29, 2016 13:32 by author EliciaT

NaturalFront is excited to announce an updated version of the 3D Face Animation Plugin Complete on the Unity Asset Store. With the facial animation plugin, 3D animators and hobbyists can create and animate life-like models in seconds and at little cost. With the updated version, animators can produce professional-quality, realistic animations even when they are short on time, budget and training. What features have been added to the new version to make the animation process even easier than before?

In previous versions, users can create as many models as they want by uploading a photo of a person’s head into the Unity software. After clicking on a few key points on the photo, the plugin will generate a realistic, 3D facial model that is incredibly accurate and ready to animate.

Other benefits include:

  • Synchronized lip movement to audio- Say goodbye to spending hours struggling to match up mouth movements to audio files. The plugin takes the hard work and guessing out of lip syncing through its 1-Click Animation feature.

  • 1-Click Animation - The plugin has a vast range of facial expressions and mouth shapes already built-in. So, you can skip the manual animation process of morphing and spend almost zero time by selecting from the expressions and mouth shapes available. In addition, you can blend the expressions and mouth shapes together, thus generating literally unlimited number of facial poses, in a few clicks of your mouse.

Users can still look forward to all of those benefits in the updated complete version, but they can now also add a few more to the list.  

First, animators can save and reload their facial models and animations. Simply click File and Save when you want to hold on to an animation.

C:\Project\Work\PluginTests\Complete20\Test\Assets\NF3DFaceAnimationComplete20\documentation\13.png

When you want to reuse that animation, click File>Load>and Select the saved animation file.

C:\Project\Work\PluginTests\Complete20\Test\Assets\NF3DFaceAnimationComplete20\documentation\13_B.png

The plugin will reload the file and when you click Animate, it will generate the previously created animation. For optimal results, users should note:

  1. Only one 3D model can be reloaded at a time.

  2. If you want to reload multiple models to animate them in a scene at the same time, you can do so with other NaturalFront software.

  3. Models that you save and reload in the plugin can be used in other NaturalFront software.

  4. The current version only works with Windows operating systems.

Second, the new version is offered at an even lower price than before. Animators and hobbyists can take advantage of the 3D Face Animation Unity Plugin Complete at $100. Previous NaturalFront 3D Face Animation Unity Plugin Complete users can receive a voucher for a free upgrade to the latest version by contacting us by email here.





Two New Versions of NaturalFront 3D Face Animation Unity Plugin Available

clock June 19, 2016 21:39 by author EliciaT

 

NaturalFront has just released two, updated versions of the 3D Face Animation Unity Plugin. The updated versions fix reported bugs and issues, while also adding more features that make the facial animation process cost-effective, fast and simple for 3D animators.

Animators and hobbyists can choose from the two versions of the plugin: Basic and Complete. Each version vastly improves the animation process by creating 3D facial models in a matter of seconds. Instead of devoting hours to rigging, morphing, sculpting or key-framing to create and animate realistic facial models and expressions, users just need to upload a photo and the plugin does the work.

After uploading a headshot photo, users are prompted to select key points on the face. Then, the plugin creates a mesh with thousands of vertices for precise animations. It also comes with a diverse range of built-in facial expressions and mouth shapes, and works seamlessly with Unity 3D Editor. Both versions accelerate the animation process, but there are a few differences between them.

Unity Plugin Complete Version

The complete version is packed with valuable features that make facial animations easier, faster and more realistic. Here are some of the top capabilities to look forward to:

Lip Syncing

Lip syncing computer animated characters is one of the most difficult and labor-intensive tasks for 3D animators. The complete version of the NaturalFront Face Animation Unity Plugin fixes that and many other issues that animators face. When you upload audio tracks into Unity with the plugin, it can be synced in seconds with our patented 1-Click Animation technology.

1-Click Animation

A wide range of built-in facial expressions and movements are at users’ disposal with the complete version of the Unity plugin. Customizing mouth shapes and blending them together can be done within a few clicks of your mouse.

Professional Quality Facial Animations

Animators don’t need to spend thousands of hours or dollars to produce high-quality 3D models and animations. With the plugin, models are realistic and produce life-like facial expressions. Plus, there is no limit to the number of 3D characters that you can create.

Basic Version 1.1

Each version features NaturalFront’s unique 1-Click Animation ™.and makes the facial animation process fly by. The basic version is offered at a download price of $39 in the Unity store. Of course, it has some limitations in comparison to the complete version.

Primarily, the range of facial expressions and movements is limited. For professional animators or users that want a nearly unlimited number of facial movements at their disposal, the complete version is recommended.

If you are currently using previous versions of the Unity plugin, you can easily upgrade for between $5 and $115. For new users, the complete version costs $160.Each can save animators thousands of hours and funds that would otherwise be spent manually modeling and animating 3D models. Windows operating system is required for the download. To create and animate custom-built 3D heads quickly, you should have at least: 4-core i7/i5 CPU (or their equivalences) running at 3GHz, with 64-bit OS and 8GB RAM.

For more information on the new NaturalFront 3D Face Animation Unity Plugin complete and basic version, visit the Unity store.



NaturalFront Releases Free Unity Plugin On All Operating Systems

clock June 19, 2016 18:19 by author EliciaT

 

In February of this year, NaturalFront released a free version of the 3D Face Animation Unity Plugin. It hosted a number of features that made the facial animation process quicker, eliminating the need for rigging, morphing, key-framing and other costly techniques.

Now, NaturalFront has released the 2.0 free version of the plugin in the Unity store. After reviewing user feedback, we noticed a significant number of users requested that the plugin be made available on all operating systems and listened to those requests.

Before, the plugin was only compatible with Windows. With the 2.0 free version, users can test out the software on all operating systems, including: Windows, Mac and Linux. The free version has received high praise for its features and capabilities. Users can expect the same with the new plugin download.

What features come with the free plugin?

Using traditional computer animation techniques to configure facial models and animate them, takes animators weeks or longer. With NaturalFront’s 3D Face Animation Unity Plugin, realistic facial models can be created and animated in a matter of seconds.

Users just need to upload a headshot photo into the Unity software and mark specific points on the face to create a mesh. Then, a fully-functional 3D facial model is generated and already has a range of different animations built in. Also, since the plugin works seamlessly with Unity 3D Editor, you can start animating it right away.

The plugin not only makes animating a wide range of facial expressions fast and easy, but it improves the lip syncing process as well. Animators can download the audio track straight into Unity and the plugin will help match the lip movements to the audio file.

How can you get the NaturalFront Unity Plugin 2.0?

Downloading the free 2.0 version of NaturalFront’s Unity Plugin is easy. You can visit the Unity store and download the new version here. Users must have the Unity 5.3.5 version or higher to download. To create and animate custom-built 3D heads quickly, you should have at least: 4-core i7/i5 CPU (or their equivalences) running at 3GHz, with 64-bit OS and 8GB RAM.

If you have already downloaded the old version of the plugin, you can update your version to work with all operating systems. For a beginner’s tutorial on using the plugin, check out our video.



There Will Be a Toy Story 4: What to Expect

clock May 12, 2016 17:09 by author EliciaT

 

When the original Toy Story film was released in 1995, it revolutionized the animation industry. It was the first feature film to be created entirely by using computer animation technology. With Steve Jobs leading Pixar in its early days, the film was renowned for its technology innovation but also for its witty script, loveable characters and unsurpassed animation.

Now, over 20 years and three successful films later, the franchise has announced that it will be adding a fourth film to continue the tales of Woody, Buzz and the rest of the beloved toys.

After the neatly wrapped up and captivating ending to Toy Story 3, the possibility of a fourth film didn’t seem to be on the horizon. However, it is, and filmmakers have a huge challenge to create another film that stacks up to its predecessors. Toy Story has been one of the rare instances, in which each film━breaking box office records and receiving critical acclaim━has been a dazzling addition to the franchise.

Too often, franchises seem cursed to create sequels that are subpar or down-right terrible, especially when they keep adding more movies to the lineup. However, Toy Story 4 may be able to break the franchise curse again and delight us. Here’s why:

 

1. John Lasseter is directing again.

The famous animator and Disney executive will be the film’s director once again. Lasseter was part of the original story development team, alongside Pete Docter (Inside Out, Up) and Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, Wall-E). The Chief Creative Officer of Disney has always been involved in Toy Story in some way but didn’t direct Toy Story 3. This time around, Rashida Jones and Will McCormack are reported to have joined the writing team.

 

2. Woody and Buzz will be back━along with some long-lost characters.

Since the beginning, the cowboy and astronaut have led the cast, and this time is no different. Disney hasn’t revealed too many cast details, but it is known that Tom Hanks and TIm Allen will be reprising their roles. Another character that was absent during Toy Story 3 will return━Bo Peep.

Woody’s former love interest was a prominent part of the first movie but seemed to fade out in Toy Story 2 and was missing from Toy Story 3. It is assumed that the toy had the fate of so many toys and was tossed aside or given away by her owner in between. It is likely that the next movie will reveal more about what happened to Bo Peep.

3. The story is unique.

Toy Story 4 has some high expectations to meet━Toy Story 3 is the third highest grossing animated film of all time and has a 99 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. However, recent reports say that the film doesn’t plan on continuing the story from where the last movie left off. Instead, it is meant to stand on its own as a love story between Bo Peep and Woody as he sets off on a journey to find out what happened to her.

After three successful works in the Toy Story franchise, a fourth film wasn’t expected. But, now that it is officially happening, the excitement of fans and animators is mounting. Toy Story 4 will be released in June of 2018.



The Most Anticipated 3D Animated Films of 2016

clock April 14, 2016 22:05 by author EliciaT

Looking at this year’s lineup of animated films, there are a number of promising titles. However, a few of the 2016 animated releases stand out from the rest. Here’s a list of the top 3D animated films to look forward to this year.

Kung Fu Panda 3

The DreamWorks Animation film is the third featuring the cuddly, karate-chopping panda Po, voiced by Jack Black. As the third installment, Kung Fu Panda 3 faces the challenge of not falling into the category of just another mediocre movie, trailing behind the success of its predecessors. However, this movie stood on its own, as creators animated it in two languages━English and Mandarin.

The storyline is not bad either. Po finally meets his biological father and visits his village with other pandas, which he must help save by training them in the art of kung fu. It is playing in theaters right now.

Zootopia

Zootopia is a 3D computer animated film by Disney’s Pixar Studios. The film takes place in a city of anthropomorphic animals. The main characters are a rabbit police officer and a con artist fox working together to find an otter that is missing. On the surface, it may sound like a simple, comedic animated flick about animals living in the big city. However, the film touches on real-world issues, such as intolerance and racism.

The animation is impressive too. Animators wanted to make sure every detail in the film was just right, specifically when it came to the fur. They studied animal hair under a microscope to aid in their animation and created unique hair types for each of the 64 animals featured in the film.

The film has surpassed expectations━it currently has a 98 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, has smashed box office records and has received widespread critical and audience praise. So far, it is the highest grossing film of the year.

The Angry Birds Movie

If you are a fan of the popular Angry Birds game, you’re probably already looking forward to the release of the animated movie. The Finnish game developer partnered with Sony Pictures to create the feature-length film. In it, the birds have more depth and story than in the game. Red, Chuck and Bomb are the three main birds that are on a mission to figure out why green pigs have invaded their island. Angry Birds fans can watch the film when it is released in May.

Finding Dory

In the 2003 animated film Finding Nemo, audiences fell in love with the lovable but forgetful Dory. This year, the film is finally getting a sequel in Finding Dory, with Ellen DeGeneres returning as the voice of the blue tang fish. This time the story focuses on Dory, as she struggles to remember her family and loved ones and embarks on a journey to find them. Along the way, she is helped by her fish friends, Hank the octopus, Destiny the whale shark and others. Marlin and Nemo make an appearance too.

However, the release of Finding Dory isn’t just exciting because it is the long-awaited sequel to Finding Nemo. Filmmakers also put a lot of work into it, experimenting with new animation software and techniques in order to create it. For example, animators used Renderman RIS and path tracing techniques to create more enhanced lighting effects in the water. The film opens up in theaters in June.

Moana

Another animated movie by Disney, Moana is about a girl in Oceania, who embarks on a journey at sea to get to an island━that may or may not exist. Many are looking forward to the new movie, since it is the first to feature a Polynesian princess. Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock, is the voice of the demi-god Maui, while Moana is voiced by Auli'i Cravalho, a 14-year old native Hawaiian. The film is being directed by Ron Clements and John Musker (The Princess and the Frog) and will be their first time directing a full feature 3D computer animated film. You can check it out in theaters in late November.

 

This year, animation fans have a lot to look forward to. From animals dealing with relatable problems to cultural firsts, 2016 seems to be a promising year in animation. What animated flicks are you excited for this year?






Top Contests for 3D Animators

clock March 27, 2016 18:32 by author EliciaT

Participating in media arts and animation contests is one way to help animators share their work with others, get constructive feedback, improve their skills and maybe even make some extra cash along the way. However, there are hundreds of contests out there, some not worth the time or entrance fees. As animators time is extremely valuable, so we have picked out some of the top contests that are worth checking out.

Stuttgart Festival of Animated Film

The Stuttgart competition is one of the biggest and most renowned animation events in the world. The competition runs in conjunction with the international film festival, which lasts for about six days and nights and brings animation companies and leaders from every corner of the globe. The festival doesn’t only focus on animated films either. It also has a category dedicated to computer games.

The festival takes place April 26 to May 1, 2016. Winners may have their productions showcased at the event and win a lump sum of cash.

Animation Block Party

 

If you are a young animator looking to get recognition on the east coast of the United States, then Animation Block Party could be the contest for you. The contest is international but has an entrance fee between $25 and $45, depending on when you register. The prizes aren’t as grand as some of the other contests on the list, but winners have a chance to share their media with a crowd in Brooklyn. The last day to submit your animations is June 3, 2016.

Nickelodeon Shorts Program

 

The TV network channel Nickelodeon has an annual international animation competition. The competition accepts ideas for programs and shorts that would be targeted to young kids. For animators that are in the early stages of a production, this contest may be more feasible. In order to submit their ideas, applicants must have strong visuals, which can be in the form of storyboards.

Winners receive production and development support to transform their pitches into animated shorts that may be aired on the Nick TV channel, website or mobile app. Interested applicants can view last year’s winners here. Submission is free and the deadline is April 15th.

Melbourne International Animation Festival

 

The annual festival in Australia has grown significantly since it first launched in 2001. It brings guests and entrants from all over the globe. If selected, winners are considered for other festivals like London, Sydney and New Zealand International Film Festival. The submission deadline has passed, but the festival takes place between June 21-28. 

Animayo

 

Resumen Animayo 2015 from ANIMAYO on Vimeo.

Animayo is an international festival and competition that includes animated films, video games and visual effects. It is held in different locations around the world, such as Los Angeles, Gran Canaria, Madrid and Mumbai. The application is free and winners may have their works promoted by the festival for up to five years after submission.

Animation can be a strenuous, time-consuming art form, so it is important to recognize when an individual’s hard work pays off. Participating in festivals and competitions gives animators recognition and opportunities to progress in the industry.

 



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