Malaysian 3D Animated Movie 'Ribbit' Underlines a Cosmpolitan Industry

clock July 9, 2014 13:38 by author christpaul

The cosmopolitan nature of modern animation has been underlined once again with the results of the ‘Best Family Film’ Award at the Niagara Integrated Film Festival (NIFF) 2014 in Canada on Saturday. The winner was not made in North America, or the UK, or Europe, but in one of the new animation powerhouses - East Asia.

‘Ribbit’ – a 3D animation comedy / adventure story carried off the gong for ‘Best Family Film’ at the festival, giving indication that the usual suspects in the world of 3D animation are starting to be challenged by animators from the so-called developing economies.

This can only be good news for fans of 3D animation. While the 3D animation industry has been growing rapidly in recent years, to the point where it is one of the most dominant in the entire world of cinema, more frontiers opening up for the technique could lead to some exciting films going forward.

This Malaysian production also had a distinctly international feel given the voice talent and movie personnel that worked on it. ’Ribbit’ was directed and written by Chuck Powers, and featured well-known western actors such as Sean Astin (‘Lord of the Rings’), Tim Curry (‘The Hunt for Red October’), Russell Peters (stand-up comedian), and Cherami Leigh (‘Fast Food Nation’).

Demonstrating the pull of Hollywood over even the 3D animation industry was the fact that the movie was recorded in Los Angeles, California. Once the shooting was completed, the post-production work was entirely completed in Cyberjaya, Malaysia, while further work was also carried out by animation studies based in the Indian city of Mumbai.

Truly, modern 3D animation productions exploit a wide variety of different techniques and locales. Where the United States was once completely dominant in the 3D animation industry, it looks likely that the nation will have many competitors in the coming years.

The release of ‘Ribbit’ should see it achieving mainstream success; indeed, it will be interesting to see whether the movie can perform as well as releases from some of the world’s most established animation studios. ‘Ribbit’ will be released in a number of major territories including the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, Japan, China, South Korea, South America and the Middle East, with the releases staggered and beginning on September 4 this year.

The rise and rise of 3D animation seemingly knows no bounds, with the techniques able to produce movies that please adults and children alike. The critical acclaim of ‘Ribbit’ shows that this appeal is spreading further still.



Google 3D Focus is Big News for 3D Animation

clock July 6, 2014 17:15 by author christpaul

The rise of the 3D animation industry has been dramatic; a rapid expanse in the production of animated movies which has made 3D animation a multi-billion dollar industry. It has led to a restoration in the reputation of Disney, and to some other massive companies rising up to compete in this huge commercial enterprise.

With 3D animation being so big, and with the consumer electronics industry looking for a new angle in the next raft of products that it releases, it seems natural that some of the biggest corporations in the world will start prioritising 3D animation in the near future. It is perhaps not surprising then that Google has made 3D technology a key aspect of its future strategy, at least according to its recent pronouncements. 

In San Francisco, on the second day of the annual Google I/O developers conference, Google focused strongly on its Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group, and the consumer products that it will produce. High on the list of Google’s priorities are apparently are tablets that will provide a 3D view of the world, and that will have animated and real world images literally jumping out of the screen of a computer into a viewer’s consciousness.

The central facet of this policy from Google is its codenamed Project Tango, which is centred on this attempt to create both tablets and smartphones that are 3D-enabled. This attempt has apparently included a collaboration with the consumer electronics giant LG, with the intention that a 3D tablet can actually go on sale by 2015.

Using 3D sensors and cameras, Google predicts that it will be able to offer absorbing 3D animation and technology on a mass scale within just twelve months.

Already Google have prototypes of this system available for demonstration. During the San Francisco conference, Google executives demonstrated a system which created a 3D rendering of the space around them. A pretty impressive piece of hardware, and one that could have a massive effect on the 3D animation industry.

Google’s move into this area mirrors the behaviour of several other big companies, and presages an era in which 3D will be massive. The Hollywood film industry has already apparently decided that 3D film will really take off when glasses-free 3D comes out, and thus they are likely to pour massive investment into achieving this.

This climate of big corporations putting money into 3D technology will unquestionably cement the future of 3D animation, and lead to more studios, animators and developers working with this exciting and popular technology.



Natural Front Intuitive Pro - Saving Animation Studios Time, Money and Hassle

clock July 2, 2014 17:04 by author christpaul

If you’re in the business of making 3D facial animations then you will be well accustomed to the sort of difficulties that such complex animations tend to entail. Spending hours manually building 3D face models can eventually produce some rewarding results, but there’s no doubting the downsides of the process.

Not only do such established animation techniques take up a lot of time, but they’re also expensive. In the competitive world in which animation studios operate today, we know only too well that the bottom line of a business can be extremely tight. Thus, it adds insult to injury to know that the commonly utilised method of producing 3D facial animations not only eats up man-hours, but also easts into the profits to boot.

And if that isn’t enough in itself, we all know that 3D character animation then requires some further processes which make animating a face even more time consuming and complex. Such techniques as morphing, rigging and key framing bring life to a 3D animated character, but suck yet more hours away from teams of even the most dedicated and skilled animators.

But what if there was a completely new way of producing 3D facial animations? And what if it helped animators produce facial animations that are even better than the results that they’re able to achieve via facial modelling? And what if these results could be obtained in a much short timeframe? And what if someone told you that other time consuming techniques such as morphing, rigging and key framing were made obsolete by this system? And above all else…what if someone told you that you could save money by putting this system into place?

You’d probably think that you were dreaming, or that the system in question was pie in the sky. But you’d be very wrong.

Natural Front Intuitive Pro is the ideal system for any animation studio which is looking to produce 3D facial animation efficiently and affordably and to a world-class standard. Natural Front Intuitive Pro eliminates any need for 3D facial modelling, and confines morphing, rigging and key framing to the dustbin of history.

The curve controlled modelling system used by Natural Front Intuitive Pro makes animation so much easier, quicker and more intuitive than old fashioned systems based around modelling. It really represents a revolution in 3D animation. So we recommend any professional animation studio owner interested in cutting costs without compromising quality to check out the free trial of Natural Front Intuitive Pro today.



Natural Front Intuitive Pro Ideal Solution for Small to Medium Studios

clock June 22, 2014 11:30 by author christpaul

With the latest version of Natural Front’s Intuitive Pro software having just been released, we’re extremely positive about the Natural Front Intuitive Pro 2.1 set-up at present. Having consulted with our customers extensively, the latest Intuitive Pro is particularly designed to make facial animation easier and more cost effective, and we’ve already had some excellent feedback from customers. 

This seems an ideal time then for us to outline some of the benefits of Natural Front for a wide variety of people. In particular, we envisage that Natural Front’s Intuitive Pro software will offer a standout package for small to medium 3D animation studios. This is an extremely powerful yet affordable animation solution, which makes producing facial and character animations in particular far more intuitive, fluid, saving your studio time and money.

A variety of small to medium 3D animation studios have already signed up for the Natural Front Intuitive Pro package, and have provided us with consistently glowing feedback. Among the studios who have utilised Natural Front Intuitive Pro to produce commercial animations are Cannysage Studios in Norwalk, California, GDRS Animation Studios in Thessaloniki, Greece, StudioGX Inc located in Setagaya-ku,Tokyo, Japan, yLAn Studios in Peschiera Borromeo, Italy andBbouncyfruit.com, located in Kihei, HI 96753, USA, have all provided us with much valued testimonials regarding the quality of our animation software for small to medium studios. 

Their words and recommendations can all be viewed through out testimonials page. Time and time again we receive reports that not only does Natural Front Intuitive Pro help with producing world-class 3D animations, but also that the affordable nature of the software has helped animation companies boost their profit margins.

 

Aside from small to medium animation studios, another sector of the animation community and fraternity who we believe will particularly benefit from the Natural Front Intuitive Pro 2.1 release is freelance animators. Those who work under their own steam and of their own volition, but have serious commercial animation projects to deal with, are certain to benefit from the powerful tools packed into the latest release from Natural Front. But the affordable nature of the software, something regarding which we have received considerable praise, will also suit the budget of freelancers ideally.

In the highly competitive world that animators and animation studios are forced to operate today, it is a necessity for every commercial operation to look for ways to boost the profit margins related to character animation. We strongly believe that Natural Front Intuitive Pro version 2.1 can make a huge contribution to this process, and urge all new customers to sign up for a free trial today.



Natural Front Intuitive Pro 2.1 Release Offers Exciting Feature Set

clock June 19, 2014 10:13 by author christpaul

It’s not many moons ago that we at Natural Front released our second version of the Natural Front Intuitive Pro software. But we don’t rest on our laurels for long, as responding to the desires of our customers is extremely important to us. So we’re pleased to announce that we’re already in a position to release our latest update to the Natural Front Intuitive Pro software - Intuitive Pro 2.1.

Our latest software release is particularly valuable for owners and animators at small-to-medium 3D animation studios, and will also find particular favour with freelance professionals and educators. We have significantly improved on the already excellent Intuitive Pro package, with this latest release that enhances the powerful feature set included in Intuitive Pro, providing a piece of software that offers even greater animation power and value for money.

Central to the Intuitive Pro 2.1 release was our desire to improve the speed and cut the cost of 3D facial animation. Natural Front has particularly specialised in producing facial animations, and many of our customers have appreciated this; indeed, it has been one of the central reasons that animators have signed up to Intuitive Pro in the first place.

But although the facial animation package offered by Natural Front has attracted many animation studios, we wanted to do even more. So based on customer feedback, we have produced our latest release which offers an even more user-friendly and powerful package. Already feedback from our beta testers indicates that the new changes have gone down extremely well, so we’re very happy that the Natural Front Intuitive Pro system continues to grow and build on its reputation of being one of the very best facial animation packages in the world.

 

Additionally, although small-to-medium animation studios have been the core audience for previous releases of Intuitive Pro, this latest release also offers an improved feature set related to pre-visualization. This should be particularly useful for larger animation studios, who often require this functionality during large animation productions.

The latest 2.1 version of Intuitive Pro is currently at the beta release stage, and also includes among its improvements to the core Natural Front software the ability to create and export 3D models in quad mesh. Our previous version 2.0 only had triangles for the mesh, and we felt after receiving customer feedback on this matter that it was important to improve on this functionality.

All in all, we are extremely excited about the release of Intuitive Pro 2.1, and would heartily recommend it to any established professional animators, particularly those interested in producing high-quality facial animations.



Why is 3D Animation so much more successful than 3D film?

clock June 13, 2014 13:56 by author christpaul

The development of the 3D genre over the last few years has actually led to something of a diversification in fortune. While 3D animation has seemingly gone from strength to strength since the technology first became available on a mass scale, 3D live action movies have yet to achieve the same level of success and acceptance.

There have been exceptions to this trend, most notably in the case of ‘Avatar’, which was primarily shot and released in 3D, and which is the highest grossing film in the history of cinema. James Cameron’s belief in and commitment to 3D clearly paid off handsomely. But elsewhere, 3D film outside of the animation genre has generally met with a lukewarm critical and commercial response.

While there have been notable critics of 3D live action movies, most notably the British film critic Mark Kermode, who has volubly decried 3D as a medium for live action film. What is perhaps surprising and intriguing about Kermode’s opinion is that he has shown no such scathing attitude towards 3D animation, and in fact has praised and reviewed numerous 3D animated features favourably, while deriding even James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’. So why does Kermode not rate 3D live film, and is this attitude indicative of a malaise across the industry? And why does 3D animation so evidently simply work well?

Certainly Kermode’s view isn’t echoed across the industry. Many filmmakers from the more traditional days of movie making have come out in support of 3D. Dreamworks, for example, believe that the genre has a very rosy future, but this may be predicated on the fact that the studio has been involved in numerous successful 3D animated movies.

With technology offering ever increasing quality in 3D animation, not least Natural Front itself, the opportunity to produce high-quality animated movies is increasing all the time. By contrast, 3D movies necessitates a pretty high production cost in order to be successful. It is perhaps not surprising then that the most warmly received 3D movies so far, in live action terms, have been those which have been the most successful at the box office. To produce a 3D movie without a big budget is simply not practically possible.

By contrast, 3D animation is not necessarily either more time consuming or expensive than making a 2D animated flick. Thus, 3D animation is definitely here to stay, while 3D movies must wait for technology to develop if they are to become truly mainstream.



Bears on Stairs Shows Potential of 3D Printing for 3D Animation

clock June 9, 2014 21:30 by author christpaul

A unique 3D animation produced via computer has recently garnered a great deal of attention, even attracting a column in Time Magazine. The animation which can be viewed at Amid Amidi’s Cartoon Brew, and is entitled Bears on Stairs. To the immediate impression of the viewer there is nothing particularly extraordinary about it, but scratch beneath the surface and Bears on Stairs is actually rather unique and revolutionary.

While the Bears on Stairs 3D animation looks as if it was produced by a fairly basic computer system perhaps back in the 1980s. But what sets this particular computer animation apart is...it isn’t a computer animation at all! Bairs on Stairs may appear to be a standard 3D polygon animation, but in actual fact it hasn’t been constructed from bits. The bear in the 3D animation is in fact a physical object. Or to be more precise, fifty of them.

This truly unique animation was produced by two London-based companies DBLG and Blue Zoo. In order to create the animation, the small animation studios, rather than merely rendering a collection of frames – the usual approach for this form of animation – the two protagonists instead printed out the sequence involved as fifty separate models. Once this was complete, the animation was then photographed as a stop-motion sequence.

 

Although 3D printing being involved in 3D animation is not an entirely new idea, this might have been the first example of it being actually executed. And what is particularly imaginative and clever about the Bears on Stairs animation is that it makes it 100% clear to the viewer that computers have been used to produce the animation, which lulls the viewer into genuinely believing that it is a purely digital production.

While this particular 3D animation has no commercial imperative, it was merely produced as an experiment, the future of 3D animation could be seriously influenced by this short production. With the animation combining conventional 3D animation, 3D printing and stop motion animation, Bears on Stairs shows how several different technologies can collaborate to intriguing effect. With studios continually looking for ways to innovate in 3D animation, this little effort might inspire some bigger imitations.



Kong 3D Animated Movie is Cannes Film Festival Smash

clock May 20, 2014 21:17 by author christpaul

The Cannes Film Festival remains one of the most prestigious opportunities for any film-maker or movie studio anywhere in the world. Making a big splash at Cannes can have a massive financial impact on any movie, yet the festival also retains an indie and critical credibility which makes it one of the most important events in the annual movie calendar.

Previous Cannes winners and notable movies have gone on to make a massive splash on the international stage. It is interesting then that the biggest buzz about the 2014 Cannes Festival is apparently being generated by a 3D animated movie.

With Godzilla currently running roughshod over the box-office, it appears that giant monster action is very much in vogue. Thus, it is perhaps not that surprising that the big animated hit at his year’s Cannes is set to be another monster picture which provides a contemporary 3D animated twist to a classic tale.

The first teaser trailer has already been released for the movie in question, and it has created quite a stir on the Internet. The $40-million 3D animation feature Kon has been worked out lovingly by producers Jeongjung Kim and Gary Lee, and the quality of animation in the production is already being praised, even if critics and fans alike have only seen the tiniest snippet of the actual movie.

The Kong franchise is of course one of the most venerated in the history of the genre, dating back nearly a century. Not only has it been a staple of the cinema, but it also inspired one of the most important video games of all-time, Donkey Kong. This game then inspired the movie King of Kong, so in time the whole Kong industry went full circle!

This latest iteration of the Kong-line is a 3D animated science-fiction film based on the Asian tale of ‘Sun Wukong’, which roughly translates as Monkey King in English. The producers have sunk a huge budget into this animated feature, and are seeking distribution rights with a major picture company at the Cannes Festival.

Whether the movie will have the plot to go with the incredible animated effects remains to be seen. Some will think that this sort of misses the point; no-one goes to see a monster flick in order to witness Shakespearean writing and plot creation. A fair point, but despite the quality of the animation and the apparently guaranteed audience, Kong wouldn’t be the first big budget turkey should it fail to attract a suitable audience.

The animated Kong movie will be showing at Cannes until 25th May.



The First Facial and Character Animation Tip for All Animators

clock May 14, 2014 12:23 by author christpaul

Facial animation and character animation is at the heart of the Natural Front experience. The software has been created with making these complex techniques simpler and more accessible, while sacrificing none of the quality associated with the animation.

Any professional animator knows that facial modelling in particular is extremely tricky. Even for the most experienced and gifted professional animators, facial animations can be a very time consuming process to enter into. Many animators are constantly looking for facial animation tips or facial animation advice to make this process more fluid.

One of the best and most obvious pieces of character animation advice that we can give to any would-be animator, no matter how experienced he or she is, would be to get hold of the latest iteration of the Natural Front Intuitive Pro software. This program has been developed, cultivated and built with the primary intention of making facial animation easier, and eliminating many of the most bothersome aspects of facial and character animation.

Focusing on the artistic side of facial animation instead of being tied down by a series of processes that are often extremely irritating is a very liberating experience for the professional animator, and it is one that can be delivered through the Natural Front Intuitive Pro software.

Aside from this, one of the best facial animation tips that anyone should bear in mind no matter how experienced and skilled they may be is to do appropriate research before you get started. This is the number one item of character animation advice offered by the two of the most accomplished exponents of 3D animation in the world.

Pixar’s directing animators Andrew Gordon and Robb Denovan state that just jumping straight into a particular sequence, scene or shot without doing research first is taking a risk. No actor would think of attempting to play a major part without research, and animators should view their discipline the same way.

A valuable character animation tip is to prepare yourself for work in the best way that suits your job and approach. Sketching, drawing, online research and video-based work are all valid ways of preparing yourself for facial animation. animators Andrew Gordon and Robb Denovan state that you should do whatever works for you and make it a habit.

Facial animation advice is not easy to come by, so we hope to dispatch many more tips on this blog in the coming months to help you with your 3D animation creations, and to get the most out of Natural Front Intuitive Pro.



Rich Text Format 3D Animations To Become Web Standard

clock May 12, 2014 15:10 by author christpaul

The Internet and the web pages that ultimately make it up are continually increasing in both quality and complexity. One of the reasons for this is the introduction of ever more sophisticated rich text content, which is producing web pages that are ever more absorbing in terms of content. Now a Swedish developer is producing advertisements that incorporate interactivity, rich 3D graphics, and HTML5 standard technology to create a genuinely impressive visage.

Complex and absorbing advertising is nothing particularly new, of course, but the promise of 3D advertising certainly is. Goo Technologies’ new ad-creation tool called Goo Create will apparently enable this new content to be produced and provide yet another field which 3D animation is apparently breaking into.

It seems just a while ago that 3D animation was still an embryonic concept, one that had a long way to go in terms of development in order to produce lifelike animations. Yet this perception has changed so rapidly that it seems that all sectors of business all over the world seem to want to incorporate this technology into its operations.

According to Goo, the Stockholm-based company intends to become the market leader in 3D web pages that are based on the WebGL and HTML5 web standards. This is still a relatively new concept, but pages will soon be capable of running rich 3D animations in web browsers with no plug-ins, and they will work with any site that supports HTML5, and its 3D animation counterpart WebGL.

It had been thought that the day when we see genuine 3D animation in such a setting was some way away, but with the technology associated with it becoming cheaper and more sophisticated simultaneously, it may be much closer than we’d imagined.

Given that the forthcoming Playstation virtual reality helmet, Project Morpheus, has been in the news recently, a device that will enable gamers to play the latest releases in vivid 3D, this seems an appropriate time for Goo to be coming to the forefront. The company began life working on WebGL and HTML5 games, and it is from this humble beginning that it first garnered a passion for 3D, and an understanding of the possibilities associated with 3D animation.

Already, Goo claims that it has successfully created the first WebGL-powered online ad. This apparently enables a user to move through a 3D scene and look at an advertisement from multiple angles.

As 3D technology becomes more prominent and affordable, there is no doubt that 3D animation will become even more popular. Although 3D animation is already a multi-billion dollar industry, the future could be brighter still for 3D animation as an art form.



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