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Animation & Games & more...


  Animation Factory To Jupitermedia


JUPITERMEDIA'S JUPITERIMAGES DIVISION ANNOUNCES ACQUISITION ANIMATION FACTORY

(New York, NY - December 27, 2005) - Jupitermedia Corporation (Nasdaq: JUPM) today announced that its Jupiterimages division has acquired the assets of Animation Factory, Inc., which includes the MediaBuilder Network of Web sites, (www.animationfactory.com) and (www.mediabuilder.com), from VA Software Corporation (Nasdaq: LNUX - News) for $9.35 million in cash and the assumption of certain liabilities. Animation Factory, based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, offers paid online subscriptions for royalty-free 3D clip art, animated graphics, video backgrounds, Microsoft PowerPoint templates, and e-mail, and Web page backgrounds for business and personal use. Creative professionals and prosumers access Animation Factory's collection of more than 400,000 original animations and Web designs to incorporate graphics into e-mail, Internet messaging, Web pages, presentations and mobile phones. Animation Factory's MediaBuilder Network of Web sites, which generates over 18 million page views per month, also offers free online graphics tools which help to drive users to buy Animation Factory's paid products.


"Animation Factory's leadership position in providing 3D animations, clipart, video clips and PowerPoint presentations further expands Jupiterimages' range of image offerings and solidifies Jupiterimages' position as the dominating company providing images by paid online subscription," stated Alan M. Meckler, Chairman and CEO of Jupitermedia Corporation. "We anticipate significant sales and business synergies between Animation Factory and our Jupiterimages division as well as our other Jupitermedia properties. We also expect that this acquisition will immediately be accretive to our earnings and cash flows," added Meckler.

Full Press Release

 

  The Ant Bully


Warner Bros' upcoming animated movie, The Ant Bully, is starting to show itself bit by bit. You can watch the teaser trailer from official ant bully site, and catch a fresh 5 min. movie from here.

Story of the animation is based on a book by John Nickle, which tells us about a boy who floods an ant colony and gets the appropriate punishment for what he did. He is magically shrunken down to ant size and had to do hard labor in the ruins he made. Movie has a great cast as follows:

Jake T. Austin .... Nicky
S. Scott Bullock .... Glow worm
Nicolas Cage .... Zoc (voice)
Larry Cedar .... Ant #8 (voice)
Alan Cumming .... Fugax (voice)
Paul Giamatti .... Stan (voice)
Myles Jeffrey .... Steve (voice)
David Kaye .... Ant (voice)
Regina King .... Kreela (voice)
Ken Mitchroney .... Guard ant
Ricardo Montalban .... Head of Council (voice)
Cheri Oteri .... Doreen Nickle (voice)
Julia Roberts .... Hova (voice)
Clive Robertson .... Wizard Ant (voice)
Meryl Streep .... Queen Ant (voice)
Lily Tomlin .... Mommo (voice)
Zach Tyler .... Lucas Nickle (voice)
Tyler James Williams .... Blue Teammate #1

We will be seeing The Ant Bully, in summer 2006.
 

  Walking, talking and even fighting if you will...


Finally, a powerful and rich source to present us the key notes of motion. Experienced and recognized by many talented animators, Principles Of Motion is a potential hit within animation related publications. Just order the DVDs you have selected from the collection, and enjoy the motion guidance and reference.

Check out the original site...
 

  The better to eat you with, my dear


Hoodwinked trailers are ready to be seen. Wonder how the whole group gets in trouble? Watch them :) For the official site of the movie, visit here.

 

  One Man Band


Check out the full story behind Pixar's new short film, One Man Band. The most interesting fact of the feature is that the story had been prepared simultaneously with the score. Interesting huh?

See more...
 

  How Do They Do IT?

'How Do They Do IT?' Animation Masterclass

A unique insight from Stop Frame to CGI.... Animator to Animator

  • an exclusive professional masterclass, designed and taught by animators for animators;
  • an exciting journey focusing on the transition from one form of animation to another;
  • an opportunity to discover how Aardman Animations and Dreamworks are translating the skills of highly experienced Stop Frame character animators into CGI;
  • a presentation concentrating on the animation aspect of learning Maya;
  • It's not just about the learning process - it's about the magic in the middle!
For more information and registeration: Official Site
 

  Mr. Finnegan's Giving Chest


As the "weekly favorite" book of OOMPH for the last week of 2005, Mr. Finnegan's Giving Chest also requires a full review and presentation.

DAZ Products used NVIDIA 3D technologies to bring CG images into storytelling with a brand new point of view. NVIDIA tells about the project:
"The telling of stories has been a part of the human experience since the beginning. Even in our fast-paced world today, everyone recognizes the magic that occurs when you take the time to sit and read a book to a child. The artists and innovators at DAZ Productions wanted to make it even more magical—they’ve used their free 3D software, NVIDIA graphics, and affordable PC rendering platforms to give artists a new medium for bringing story visuals to life. Their first picture book, a charming Christmas story, combines the talents of the DAZ team and story-enthusiast Dick Van Dyke. Mr. Finnegan’s Giving Chest brings computer-generated imagery to the page and a streamlined, affordable process to the illustrator’s workshop."



Application Highlights:

DAZ Productions The Challenges The NVIDIA Solution The Results

Visit the official site, and experience an enthusiastic story book with CG images... The official web site is sold out for book orders, but you can get one from Amazon.

 

  Annecy 2006


THE Animation reference
Annecy is the number one competitive international festival entirely dedicated to animation.
Over forty years after coming to the town, the Festival competition is now open to five categories: - short and feature films, - commissioned films, - TV films, - graduation films - and internet films presenting a diversity of techniques. The capacity to present and promote animation in all its different forms has made Annecy a world-wide point of reference for animation professionals.

Festival Q&A

Can I enter another episode of a series that was selected two years ago?

Yes.

Can I enter my film in more than one category?

No, afraid not. You have to make a choice!

Can I get accreditation on the spot ?

You will be able to get accreditation on the spot, from the beginning of the Festival on 5 June :
- At the Festival hospitality area : " Festival " accreditation (55 euros), " Conferences + Festival " accreditation (140 euros).
- At the Imperial Palace Congress Centre : " Conferences + Mifa + Festival " accreditation (470 euros).

Can I have access to Mifa just for one day?

Yes, you can buy (on site only) a day pass, catalogue included for 180 €.

Can I send photos by e-mail?

Yes, in high resolution (300 dpi) and jpg format at: >>photo@annecy.org

Do I have accreditation if I submit a project in the International Project Competition ?

No, only creators of selected projects receive fre Festival accreditation and a day pass to Mifa.

Do I have to pay to enter my film?

No, registration is free, but you have to pay for both way transport of your film.

Do you accept NTSC videos?

Yes, we do, but only for selection, or on VHS or DVD.

I don’t work in animation, can I attend the screenings ?

There are different screening passes available to the general public.
Forms can be downloaded from the beginning of May or passes can be bought from the Bonlieu ticket office during the Festival.

If my film is selected, what is the deadline for sending the screening copy?

The date is 15th May 2005, but if we have to subtitle the film we will need it earlier.

Is it possible to see films outside of Festival screenings?

Only Mifa delegates and buyers have access to the Mifa digital video library.

When will the list of films chosen for the official selection appear?

It will published around 15 March.

Where can I go with my student accreditation ?

Strictly personal and non-transferable, the student accreditation gives access to Festival screenings and exhibitions, the conferences (except NPAR), the Creative Focus and Job Fair and the Chill Out, Institutional, New Technologies and Training Organizations areas at Mifa.
It also includes a one-day pass to the Mifa (exhibition marquee) worth 180 €, from the “Student”welcome desk (Bonlieu) and the different publications, which will be given on presentation of your badge.

Will I be invited to the Festival, if my film is selected?

It depends on the category. Check out the rules and regulations on the entry forms for films and internet films for more information.
>> Regulations

Will I have access to Mifa if I get a “Festival” accreditation?

You will not be able to get into the exhibition hall, but you will have access to the following: "Institutional", "Creative Focus", "New Technologies", "Training Organizations" and "Chill out".




OFFICIAL SITE
 

  IMAGINARIA Call For Entries


IMAGINARIA Awards 2006: It’s time to register!
CALL 4 ENTRY


Conversano (Italy), December 14, 2005

Until April 30, 2006, it will be possible to send in film works in order to take part in the fourth edition of IFF (Imaginaria Film Festival) which will take place in Conversano (Italy) on 01-07 August 2006. All the information regarding the registration and the official Call for Entry can be found on the website http://www.imaginariafilmfestival.org.

After the success of the third edition, which was particularly appreciated by the critics and by the audience because of the accurate selection of the competing works, the Festival -with the support of the Directorate for Cultural Policies of the City of Conversano and with the contribution of the Puglia Region and University of Bari - is becoming an important appointment for independent cinema, on a national and international level.

This year too, the festival undertakes to develop collaboration networks with the main production and distribution companies. A great chance for independent filmmakers to present their original works to the Italian audience as an absolute premiere. Over 65 works will be selected for the competition (in the 2005 edition, the festival received over 850 works from 30 countries).

The competing sections are:
Feature Films;
Short Films;
Animation;
Documentary Films (documentary films on human rights and on free themes);
Videoart;
Videoclip;
International Student Films (for film students);


The programme will be enriched with retrospective events and seminars concerning various aspects of the world of cinema. In the four previous editions, special prizes have been granted to Marco Bellocchio, Luigi Lo Cascio, Maya Sansa and Marcello Prayer.

Info:
Luigi Iovane e Giuseppe De Mattia - imaginaria's art directors
luigi@imaginariafilmfestival.org
giuseppe@imaginariafilmfestival.org

Press office :
Valentina Rossi
T. +39 3403423949
press@imaginariafilmfestival.org

Secretary office :
Ilenia Ucci
ilenia@imaginarifilmfestival.org

Imaginaria Film Festival
Circolo del Cinema Atalante
C.P. 50
70014 Conversano - Italy
info@imaginariafilmfestival.org

OFFICIAL SITE
 

  David Schaub Interview


VFXBlog has published an interview with David Schaub, Sony Pictures Imageworks animation supervisor, on The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

Here is a part of the interview:

The characters are quite amazing. Why do you think the characters are so successful in the film?

Well, I’d like to think they are the successful. I think it goes back to the idea that if they’re talking animals you make sure they don’t look caricatured. We’ve gone out on a limb and tried to make them as real as possible. The wolves, for example, need to have all the nuances and mannerisms that you see in real wolves, but timed in a certain way to support the dialogue. As soon as you start going too humanised, you’ve got a cartoon on your hands.

Then with the beavers - they are a little more stylised and human-like. They’re not really built like a beaver. If you look at real beaver anatomy, they’ve got very short arms and their bodies are essentially just a bag of fat, but we needed to do more with them. If you look at a beaver standing on his hind legs, it looks pretty strange. They’re got the short arms and balance on the ground with their tail, which means their upper body tetters in a very strange way. We took those liberties in design to make the beavers more human-like in their performance.


Check out the full interview in VFXBlog.
 

  Miyazaki With 3 New Features


Three new short movies from Hayao Miyazaki will be shown in Studio Ghibli Museum in Japan, between Jan. 3, 2006 and March 13. These movies are House-Hunting, Mon-Mon The Water Spider and The Day I Harvasted A Star.

For more information about Hayao and Ghibli Museum, click here.


 

  HP Says Halo

Press Release from HP



HP Unveils Halo Collaboration Studios: Life-like Communication Leaps Across Geographic Boundaries

Collaboration Studio fosters global face-to-face communication, decreases need to travel and increases productivity

NEW YORK, Dec. 12, 2005

HP today introduced a first-of-its-kind collaboration studio for simulating face-to-face business meetings across long distances, brought to life in partnership with DreamWorks Animation SKG.

The HP Halo Collaboration Studio enables people in different locations to communicate in a vivid, face-to-face environment in real time. Whether across a country or across the world, users are able to see and hear one another's physical and emotional reactions to conversation and information as it is being shared.

By giving participants the remarkable sense that they are in the same room, the Halo Collaboration Studio is already transforming the way businesses such as PepsiCo, Advanced Micro Devices and DreamWorks communicate across the globe. Halo significantly increases team effectiveness, provides faster decision-making capabilities and decreases the need for travel.

Vyomesh Joshi, executive vice president of the Imaging and Printing Group at HP, and Jeffrey Katzenberg, chief executive officer of DreamWorks, officially unveiled the collaboration studio in New York City.

"The HP Halo Collaboration Studio enables remote teams to work together in a setting so life-like that participants feel as though they are in the same room," said Joshi. "To create this experience, HP is harnessing its expertise in color science, imaging and networking in this new category of innovation. It's something we believe will not only disrupt the traditional video conferencing market, but will also change the way people work in a global market."

Early on in the production of the animated film Shrek 2, DreamWorks realized a significant return on investment using the Halo technology. By connecting its California teams in Glendale and Redwood City, DreamWorks was able to speed up many aspects of the production.

"In 2002, while we were producing Shrek 2, we realized that DreamWorks needed face-to-face collaboration between key creative talent in different locations," said Katzenberg. "We weren't satisfied with the available video conferencing systems, so we designed a collaboration solution that would fulfill our needs. HP took the system and turned it into Halo, which is now the only solution on the market that allows this kind of effective communication."

The HP Halo experience: A new dimension of executive collaboration

Unlike any other communication tool on the market today, the HP Halo Collaboration Studio is a precisely designed broadcast studio that contains all the components necessary to enhance business communication.

To connect via Halo, organizations purchase at least two Halo rooms set up for six people each. There are three plasma displays in each room that enable participants to see those they are collaborating with in life-size images. The rooms come equipped with studio-quality audio and lighting and participants use a simple on-screen user interface to begin collaborating with just a few mouse clicks.

An intricate software control system ensures Halo rooms work easily and seamlessly together. The control system also provides precise image and color calibration, so participants see each other as they appear in real life. A dedicated HP Halo Video Exchange Network provides a high-bandwidth experience with imperceptible delays between Halo studios worldwide.

To ensure a 24x7 connection and eliminate the need for enterprises to manage the operation and maintenance of a Halo room, services offered include network operations and management, remote diagnostics and calibration, concierge, equipment warranty and ongoing service and repair.

Participants can easily share documents and data directly from their notebook PCs with individuals in other rooms using a collaboration screen mounted above the plasma displays. The rooms also contain a high-magnification camera that enables individuals to zoom in on objects on a table, revealing the finest of details and color shading, and a phone that opens a conference call line to those not in one of the Halo rooms.

"We believe there is a personal connection that comes with Halo that just clearly doesn't come from any other kind of technology we've used in the past," said Steve Reinemund, chief executive officer, PepsiCo. "Halo is one of the best investments we've made to improve the effectiveness of our business and work/life balance for our people."

Improved time-to-market with HP Halo Collaboration Studio

While using the Halo Collaboration Studio to produce Shrek 2, the creative process at DreamWorks remained undisturbed because color-critical artwork could be approved between sites using color-calibrated, high-resolution HP platforms. Using the Halo rooms, the technical knowledge that brings a computer-generated image to life was shared by each site involved. Halo makes it possible for DreamWorks to marshal the best talent available and bring them together to produce some of the most successful animated films.

PepsiCo installed HP Halo Collaboration Studios at its three main U.S. headquarters in Chicago, New York and Plano, Texas. Prior to using the Halo rooms, executives frequently traveled between the three cities for internal meetings. Since it began using Halo, PepsiCo's travel solely for business between these locations has been substantially reduced and in some cases eliminated. This results in quicker decision-making speed, greater overall productivity, lower expenses and improved quality of life.

Microprocessor design and manufacturing firm AMD gains similar benefits from the HP Halo Collaboration Studio at its Sunnyvale, Calif., headquarters, and Austin, Texas, facilities. AMD increased the frequency, speed and quality of executive interactions with Halo, and it nearly eliminated the need for executives to spend an entire day traveling between locations for meetings.

HP has 13 Halo Collaboration Studios installed at its facilities worldwide. The rooms are improving the quality of life of employees, partners and customers as they are able to conduct business more efficiently and spend less time in airports and on planes.

Availability and pricing

The cost of the HP Halo Collaboration Studio solution varies depending on the number of rooms purchased. In smaller quantities, the rooms are approximately $550,000 each; pricing falls as more rooms are purchased by the same companies. Network and service fees in the United States are $18,000 monthly per room. These fees vary in other countries due to cost differences.(1)

HP, through its financing arm HP Financial Services, is offering a 48-month financing(2) payment plan in which U.S. customers would pay less than $30,000 per month(3) per HP Halo Collaboration Studio room, including network and service fees. The plan includes the flexibility for customers to add on more studios and upgrade existing technology as business needs change. Additional monthly payment plans are also available for 36-month and 60-month terms.

Additional information about the HP Halo Collaboration Studios, including video, is available in an online press kit at http://www.hp.com/go/HaloLaunch.

About HP

HP is a technology solutions provider to consumers, businesses and institutions globally. The company's offerings span IT infrastructure, global services, business and home computing, and imaging and printing. For the four fiscal quarters ended Oct. 31, 2005, HP revenue totaled $86.7 billion. More information about HP (NYSE, Nasdaq: HPQ) is available at http://www.hp.com.


(1) Estimated U.S. prices. Actual prices may vary.

(2) Financing available to qualified commercial customers through Hewlett-Packard Financial Services Company or one of its affiliates and is subject to credit approval and execution of standard HP Financial Services documentation. Other restrictions may apply. HP Financial Services reserves the right to change or cancel this promotion at any time without notice.

(3) Monthly rate quoted is for a 48 month lease with a fair market value end of term purchase option. Excludes other amounts payable under the lease such as taxes and shipping.


This news release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, as well as assumptions that, if they ever materialize or prove incorrect, could cause the results of HP and its consolidated subsidiaries to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements and assumptions. All statements other than statements of historical fact are statements that could be deemed forward-looking statements, including the expected development, performance or rankings of products or services; statements of expectation or belief; and any statement of assumptions underlying any of the foregoing. Risks, uncertainties and assumptions include the development, performance and market acceptance of products and services and other risks that are described from time to time in HP's Securities and Exchange Commission reports, including but not limited to HP's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the fiscal quarter ended July 31, 2005, and other reports filed after HP's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended Oct. 31, 2004. HP assumes no obligation and does not intend to update these forward-looking statements.

 

  Cartoon In Real


Want to find out what your favorite cartoon character would look like if he/she was a real person? Fark.com has prepared a pool of pictures, showing some reallife projections for several animated sweeties.... Check the site for more pics and number of votes for each.
 

  Best Visual Effects Oscar

7 feature films, announced by the Academy for the consideration of Best Visual Effects are:

Batman Begins
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
King Kong
Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
War of the Worlds

Best luck...
 

  Run Brian Run


If you know how to use lipstick as a weapon, gender changing basketball players, or the fact that you can try to call aliens by notes, you know who and what I am talking about:)

Runaway adventure game, of Pendulo Studios, will be with us soon. Sequel of the game is being prepared as we speak and you can watch the first trailer for the game here in Gamespot.

If you did not play the game, you most certainly missed a lot. Runaway gave us a delight of 2D adventure, and won awards including best PC game in France. Gina alos will be joining us in the sequel, whlie as Brian we will be trying to run away again and again...

Production team is having a contest in the official site, where you can post them your most and least favorite things about the game. Post and help the guys to make the game better and better... If you want to catch up with the game info, check out the official Pendulo site here.
 

  All on a world called EARTHSEA



Incredible writer Ursula K. Le Guin's famous story of Earthsea is becoming an animated movie. The movie is adapted by Goro Miyazaki, son of animation legend Hayao Miyazaki. It has been clear that the animation version will cover the third and fourth books (The Farthest Shore and Tehanu) in the six-volume series, and it will be titled GEDO SENKI (TALES FROM EARTHSEA).

 

  Upcomings...


First trailer for the upcoming Dreamworks CGI (lets call them DW until they say no:)) is now in Yahoo. Check out the exclusive trailer, the cast and even the official poster. And please notice that they not only voiced the character, but also made him smile in the Bruce way...
 

  Article By Washington Post

"The End of a Dream For Spielberg & Co.

Studio Never Fulfilled Founders' Vision

By Steven Levingston
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 13, 2005; Page D03

Hollywood is littered with broken dreams -- even if your name is Steven Spielberg.

The fantastically successful film director and his partners, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen -- no Hollywood slouches themselves -- conceived DreamWorks SKG Inc. in 1994 with the goal of creating a media empire.

The announcement Sunday that Paramount Pictures agreed to buy DreamWorks for $1.6 billion brought to a close the trio's original ambition to house a movie, television, music, animation, video game and Internet juggernaut under the one roof of an independent studio.

"They, like everyone else in Hollywood, mistakenly thought all these businesses were highly related and there would be all sorts of synergy -- and there was not," said Tom Adams, president and senior analyst at Adams Media Research, an entertainment industry research and consulting firm in Carmel, Calif.

For the past decade, the lofty aims of the DreamWorks team have been steadily pared back. The studio's Internet venture, Pop.com, never got off the ground; its music business was sold off; it jettisoned its video game operation; its TV productions met with limited success; and the animation side turned out some stellar hits and was spun off from DreamWorks into a separate public company.

DreamWorks has delivered some acclaimed movies -- such as Oscar winners "American Beauty," "Gladiator" and "Saving Private Ryan" -- but also disappointments, including "The Island," "The Legend of Bagger Vance" and "Just Like Heaven." For Paramount, a unit of Viacom Inc., the deal puts DreamWorks' current projects in the studio's pipeline. Under new head Brad Grey, Paramount is seeking to emerge from a period of lackluster box-office performance and add some edginess to the nearly 100-year-old studio.

But the prize Paramount acquired comes in a far smaller package than what the DreamWorks creators had once envisioned. Despite loads of ambition, talent and hype, the principals could not overcome industry forces that worked against the formation of a new major studio operating across media. Other efforts to create Hollywood synergies in tangent industries have foundered.

Miramax Film Corp. and former New Yorker editor Tina Brown linked up in 1999 to exploit strengths across magazine and book publishing and the movie business, but the project was dissolved in 2002. Adams said that like DreamWorks, other studios have sought to create in-house enterprises in music and video games but also have stumbled.

"It seemed like a reasonable dream to take three hyper-talented guys and go into all those businesses at once because all the major studios were doing it," Adams said. "But movie studios don't have anything special that gets you a prominent position in games, television or music."

DreamWorks' small size also left it at a disadvantage against the behemoths in the industry in the attempt to aggregate a variety of media under one roof. Competition in the music and video game markets had intensified over the decade, curtailing opportunities for smaller players.

"When you're competing with such bigger companies and trying to fight so many battles, you're still a small fish in every large pond," said Marla Backer, media and entertainment analyst at Research Associates-Soleil Securities. "You can be successful maybe in one pond or two but not on all fronts."

As a filmmaker, DreamWorks produced fewer films each year than the major studios, placing greater importance on the success of each release. "For a company like DreamWorks, one big disappointment can have a big negative impact on performance," Backer said.

Small, however, does not describe the stature of three men who formed DreamWorks, nor the enthusiasm that surrounded the studio's launch. Spielberg has reigned over the world of film directing since his early blockbuster "Jaws," which was followed by other huge moneymakers such as the "Indiana Jones" trilogy and "Jurassic Park." Katzenberg was the force behind the Walt Disney Co.'s success with "The Lion King" and other animation. Geffen was a power in the music business, promoting the likes of the Eagles and Jackson Browne.

Few Hollywood debuts were greeted with as much fanfare as the launch of the trio's venture in 1994. The new studio was portrayed as heralding a tectonic shift in the way the industry operates. The perception was fed by the principals themselves, with Katzenberg telling reporters at the launch news conference, "I look at the three of us and think this has got to be the Dream Team."

Shortly after the announcement, the media had fun with the fact that the partners said they had planned parts of their new company during a state dinner they all attended honoring Russian President Boris Yeltsin. Time magazine quoted Spielberg as saying, "We're in tuxedos talking about a brand new studio, and just across from us there's Yeltsin and Bill Clinton talking about disarming the world of nuclear weapons." Then, pushing the metaphor about as far as it would go, Time's Richard Corliss added that the announcement by this most powerful troika "smote Hollywood with nuclear force."
"

Washington Post

 

  Dreamworks No More

" Paramount buys DreamWorks for US$1.6b

LOS ANGELES: Paramount Pictures on Sunday agreed to buy DreamWorks SKG in a US$1.6bil cash-and-debt deal that gives the Viacom Inc-owned studio a much needed boost and ends the efforts of Steven Spielberg and two other moguls to build an independent movie and television empire.

Viacom will pay about US$774mil in cash. The rest of the US$1.6bil purchase price is assumption of debt.

Paramount and its media conglomerate parent sealed the deal in about a week, snatching privately held DreamWorks from General Electric Co's NBC Universal, which had been in on-again, off-again talks for most of a year, executives said.

Viacom plans to sell DreamWorks' 59-title library, which includes Oscar winner American Beauty and hit Gladiator, for US$850mil to US$1bil in the next couple of weeks, leaving it with a net purchase price of US$500mil to US$650mil, Viacom executives said in a conference call.

Steven Spielberg, director of movies like Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan, will stay on at DreamWorks as producer-director and studio co-founder David Geffen will remain as chairman. "

thestar online

 

  Press Release by Telltale Games


NEW SAM & MAX COMIC HITS THE WEB

First Sam & Max escapades now online at http://www.telltalegames.com/comics/samnmax SAN RAFAEL, California – December 12, 2005 They’ve been printed, broadcast and digitized. Now, everyone’s favorite madcap dog and hyperkinetic bunny are going online with a new series of web comics. The first installments will appear exclusively at http://www.telltalegames.com/comics/samnmax, as part of the partnership between Sam & Max creator Steve Purcell and Telltale, Inc. Telltale, an emerging pioneer in interactive adventures and entertainment, delivers Tales for Your Imagination – high caliber interactive entertainment which features engaging stories, strong characters, and rich environments. Telltale is forming alliances with creative pioneers like Steve Purcell to bring their characters to life, and the Sam & Max web comic is the just first of the new stories planned for the coming months. Steve Purcell is writing and painting the comics, delving into a more illustrative style for the web series, which are the first new editions of the Sam & Max series since the late 1990's. “I love drawing and writing, but inking makes me crazy. So I’m employing a sketchy paint style that I like, based off of a lot of the concept work I've been doing in the past few years.” New installments of the web comic will come online regularly, and fans can get notifications about updates by signing up here http://snm.telltalegames.com. Fans can also celebrate the return of Sam & Max with memorabilia, now available for purchase at the Telltale site. In the first panel of the new series, we see a mysterious graveyard at a medieval English church. Sam & Max creator Steve Purcell promises that the series will tie in to an uncanny dog and bunny image carved into Kilpeck church in England almost 1000 years ago! Purcell says “I think Sam & Max are adaptable to almost any story format and this is a chance to send them on a rambling epic adventure. The main thrust of the story as always is to give Sam & Max a chance to blather on with each other against a colorful backdrop. In the second installment, Sam & Max's long-silenced yammering will pick up where it left off years ago.” “We’re having a great time working with Steve again” said Telltale CEO Dan Connors. “Our team is really looking forward to publishing new Sam & Max games next year. We’re using our proprietary tools, designed specifically for rapid creation of high quality, space-efficient titles so we’ll be able to publish titles much faster then we would have been able to in the past.” About Sam & Max Steve Purcell published “Monkeys Violating the Heavenly Temple” as his first Sam & Max comic in 1987. Sam & Max solve assorted crimes and mysteries as “Freelance Police” in their sturdy 1960 Black and White De Soto Adventurer from their home base in New York City. After a series of follow-up comic books, Purcell worked with a team at LucasArts to create the critically acclaimed “Sam & Max Hit the Road” adventure game in 1993. The dog and bunny moved to television, in an original animated series on Fox TV in 1997. About Telltale Telltale delivers Tales for Your Imagination – high caliber interactive entertainment which features engaging stories, strong characters, and rich environments. A new era of interactive entertainment is emerging, with customers expecting more from their investment in play time. Telltale is developing and deploying cinematic quality animation and storytelling technologies, to create entertaining and exciting interactive adventures which meet these new expectations. Staffed with long time industry veterans, Telltale is currently creating tales based on Jeff Smith’s Bone series, Steve Purcell’s Sam & Max characters and television’s popular CSI program in partnership with Ubisoft. Telltale offers content development and custom publishing services for license-holders interested in adapting their properties for interactive delivery. Telltale has created innovative tools, designed specifically for rapid development of high quality, space-efficient titles for digital distribution. Telltale titles can be downloaded from its website powered by Digital River, as well as online partners such as Yahoo! Games, Direct-to-Drive, Trymedia Systems, Boonty, and CNET. To learn more about Telltale, please visit www.telltalegames.com.

 

 


Disney announced the production of Peter and The Starcatchers, based on the same titled bestseller book. Script will be written by Jay Wolpert, who was also in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Looking forward to seeing more...

Official Site of The Book
 

  Aardman Fire Investigation

"The October 10 fire which destroyed the archive of Wallace & Gromit creator Aardman Animations was caused by an electrical fault and not arson, investigators said Friday.

"Despite the devastation we saw that day, the investigation has been able to pinpoint the fire to an office on the ground floor of the building," Bill Feeley, assistant chief fire officer for Avon Fire and Rescue, said at a press conference at Temple fire station in Bristol, England.

"The cause of the fire was an electrical fault with an appliance. Arson has been ruled out."

The blaze began in a ground-floor office of Aardman's Victorian warehouse in Bristol. The "entire history" of the company, including hundreds of sets, props, models and awards from the company's animated clay films were destroyed in the fire. Among these were sets from short films A Grand Day Out (1990), The Wrong Trousers (1993) and A Close Shave (1993), which introduced eccentric inventor Wallace and his dog Gromit.

Also lost in the fire were models of TV favorite Morph (star of The Amazing Adventures of Morph), along with memorabilia from feature film Chicken Run and TV series Creature Comforts.

Not affected were sets and props from Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, the pair's first feature film.

Either a camera monitor or a water heater started the fire, Feeley said, adding that investigators were unable to conclude which of the two was the cause.

"There is no doubt in my mind that if the building had been fitted with a properly working sprinkler system, it would have confined any fire to a small one and would have prevented the devastation we saw on that day," he continued.

The warehouse contained a collection built up over 30 years. It took several days for firefighters to dampen down the remains of the building.

The investigation into the blaze lasted two months."

The Big Cartoon Forum
 

  Contents Under Pressure


New video game from Atari and The Collective, Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure, is a seven-year hardwork for Mark Ecko, who is the founder of Ecko Unltd. He has been preparing the game with a well-gathered team, and is willing to define a new genre in video game world. Getting Up focuses on urban life, presenting a journey from graffities to freedom of expression. As the game seems to be a potential for a hit in all gaming platforms, movie rights is acquired by MTV Films.

Ecko expressed his feelings about the agreement as follows:

"When I first began working on GETTING UP seven years ago, I wanted to create a storyline that provided a rare look inside of one of the most influential, yet often overlooked, artistic movements in recent history. Today, graffiti is a global cultural phenomenon and few understand its impact better than MTV, pioneers in its use as a motion graphics tool nearly two decades ago. I am delighted to have the ability to bring the depth of our story to life on film and look forward to working with the great team MTV has assembled."

Official Site of the game
 

  "On the fifteenth of May, in the Jungle of Nool, In the heat of the day, in the cool of the pool, He was splashing..."

Twentieth Century Fox / Blue Sky Studios announced the production start of an animated movie, which will be adapted from famous Dr. Seuss book: Horton Hears a Who. Movie is set to be released in spring 2008 for now, and Fox declared their excitement about the production, as the team is a gathering of quite impressive animation people. Horton will be with us within a couple of years, which will also determine the faith of a sequel possibilty; Horton Hatches an Egg.
 

  Animation in Grammy Awards

Nominees for the 48th Grammy Awards, which will be held on February 8th 2006, are announced. And here are the animation related nominations for Grammy:

Best Spoken Word Album For Children
  • Pooh's Heffalump Movie Read-along
    Roy Dotrice
    [Walt Disney Records]

    Best Comedy Album

  • Family Guy Live In Vegas
    Various Artists
    Seth MacFarlane & Walter Murphy, producers
    [Geffen Records, Fox Music]

    Best Score Soundtrack Album For Motion Picture, Television Or Other Visual Media

  • The Incredibles
    Michael Giacchino, composer
    [Walt Disney Records]

    Best Song Written For Motion Picture, Television Or Other Visual Media

  • Believe
    Glen Ballard & Alan Silvestri, songwriters (Josh Groban)
    Track from: The Polar Express
    [Warner Sunset/Reprise; Publishers: Warner Olive Music, Aerostation Corp., Universal-MCA Music Publishing, Jobanala Music.]

    Best Instrumental Composition

  • The Incredits
    Michael Giacchino, composer (Various Artists)
    Track from: The Incredibles - Soundtrack
    [Walt Disney Records]

    Best Instrumental Arrangement

  • The Incredits
    Gordon Goodwin, arranger (Various Artists)
    Track from: The Incredibles - Soundtrack
    [Walt Disney Records]
  •  

      Trailer Time!!

    Want to see latest trailers of upcoming animations?
    Just follow the links my friend, just follow the links...

    Charlotte's Web



    Curious George



    Ice Age 2

     

      Cannot Put Out The Fire

    Goblet of Fire

    The latest Harry Potter movie, Goblet of Fire, is declared as the number one box office movie again. Potter seems to be enjoying his journey in the lists, and is determined to continue this victory as the new movie Aeon Flux could only took the second place in its first week.

    As the first reviews of Aeon Flux are being released, be sure to check out the cool Flux website.



    Aeon Flux

     

      "...there comes in the end a sort of quietness..."


    Just few days before the release of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe movie, it would be fair to post a full view on Narnia and more...

    World of Narnia was created by C
    .S. Lewis (known as Jack among friends). Jack was inspired by four youngsters, who were billeted in his house during the second world war. Listening to amazing and imaginative stories, Jack decided to make one of these stories a novel. And he started writing the first chronicle: the lion, the witch and the wardrobe. The book was published in 1950, and became only the beginning of a literature legend. The Chronicles of Narnia was completed to a 7-book set, and provided the readers a whole, new, mesmerizing world. Chronicles are based on the world of four youngsters, having adventures of all kind in the world of Narnia, which is ruled by the lion named Aslan.(by the way, if you have ever wondered where the name of lion comes from, it is the word for "lion" in Turkish;))

    C.S. Lewis

    Lewis was a member of Inklings, an unofficial writers gathering, formed of all male, British and Christian writers. The core members of Inklings were for sure C.S. Lewis, J.R.R.Tolkien and Charles Williams, who all spent their times in Oxford University in Lewis's or Tolkien's college room, sharing and criticizing their own work. They all presented literature of all kind, based on their huge imagination. As number of members increased and Inklings created more and more bestseller novels, they became a well known group. W.H. Lewis (brother of Jack and a member of Inklings) once wrote "Properly speaking, Inklings was neither a club nor a literary society, though it partook of the nature of both. There were no rules, officers, agendas, or formal elections."

    J.R.R. Tolkien


    C. Williams

    The Chronicles of Narnia, as well as The Lord of the Rings, have always been a steady name in the hall of fame of books. They have been read by numerous of readers and fans. As for the movie adaptations, we all have been enjoying Tolkien movie adaptations the last few years, now followed by The Chronicles adaptation of his best friend Lewis.

    If you want more details on the movie, check the official site. As most of the websites and writers are doing, the Inkling world creations are being compared to other similar novels. But it would be a huge mistake to directly evaluate the world of Tolkien, Lewis and Williams with the names Harry Potter, Matrix and etc. One thing is for sure, the movie will be a delight of animation.

    If you haven't read The Chronicles yet, and was impressed by Tolkien's Middle Earth, wait till you see more imagination in the upcoming movie, the first chronicle of Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy in Narnia.

     

      KaChing!!

    Forbes, probably the most prestigious and well known American business and financial magazine since 1917, has gathered a list of richest fiction characters. If you have ever wondered whether Richie Rich or Lara Croft will be able to do whatever he/she wants, you have your answer now. If you want to get more detail on this interesting list, with the profiles of characters, check the related Forbes Fictional 15 site. And the richest characters list is as follows:
    1. Santa Claus
    2. Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks
    3. Richie Rich
    4. Lex Luthor
    5. C. Montgomery Burns
    6. Scrooge McDuck
    7. Jed Clampett
    8. Bruce Wayne
    9. Thurston Howell III
    10. Willy Wonka
    11. Arthur Bach
    12. Ebenezer Scrooge
    13. Lara Croft
    14. Cruella De Vil
    15. Lucius Malfoy
     

      ...and neither Man, Demon, nor Angel will be left unscathed...


    A new game studio, Hyboreal Games, has just been founded by Eric Sexton, Michio Okamura and Steven Woo, who are all former developers for Blizzard North. As their contribution to the legendary Diablo series is quite noteworthy, they are willing to continue their success on bestseller games. The studio profile especially mentions their interest in a PC-user target profile, with the beloved Blizzard like atmosphere.

    You can reach the official site of Hyboreal Games Studio from here, and read the first press release of the company below:



    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

    Hyboreal Games Founded by Diablo® Developers and Former Blizzard Talents

    San Carlos, CA (11/28/2005) – Hyboreal Games (www.hyboreal.com) announced today its formation as a new development studio. The company is establishing a new best-selling game franchise by applying the proven formula of mass accessibility, addictive game play and longevity through re-playability. Hyboreal Games was founded by Eric Sexton, Michio Okamura and Steven Woo, all industry veterans and former developers for Blizzard North where their contributions were essential to the success of the highly acclaimed Diablo franchise which has sold well over 13 million copies worldwide.

    “We’re all excited to see such talented people starting up a new development company,” said Bill Roper, Chief Executive Officer of Flagship Studios. “It’s an excellent time for new companies with new ideas to make their mark in our industry. Based on their experience in developing the Diablo series, we’re looking forward to great things from Hyboreal Games.”

    Michio Okamura is a veteran developer and artist responsible for designing Diablo himself. With over a decade of experience contributing art and game design as developer, and leadership as Creative Lead for Blizzard Entertainment, he has extensive knowledge on the development of AAA titles and highly lucrative franchises.

    Eric Sexton is a Senior Game Designer with the vision to create innovative design and the ability to execute them into fun and meaningful game play. Over the past decade he has contributed to all aspects of game design and was responsible for key design elements ranging from quests, monsters and the numerous items that made the Diablo series of games so addictive.

    Steven Woo, a Lead Programmer with nearly a decade in the industry, was responsible for coordinating the worldwide localization that was crucial in the hugely successful international release of Diablo II. Diablo II was the first game to implement support for Far East language input and Steven put this into Diablo II, World of Warcraft, and other games for Blizzard Entertainment.

    About Hyboreal Games

    HYBOREAL GAMES, a California corporation, is creating an original game franchise from conception to completion. The company has been founded by some of the most experienced and talented members in the PC gaming industry. Their work has been essential in all stages of the development of record-breaking games, giving them first-hand experience in making AAA titles.

     
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