Laika Wants To Bring 2D Hand-Drawn Animation Back


Laika has made a name for themselves with their hand-crafted stop-motion animated feature films like Coraline, ParaNorman and the upcoming movie Boxtrolls. But the Portland-based animation studio wants to help hand-drawn animation make a comeback. During the Boxtrolls Hall H presentation at 2014 San Diego Comic Con International, Laika head Travis Knight would like to do a 2D hand-drawn animated feature film. Find out more about a possible Laika hand-drawn animation feature film, after the jump.

Travis Knight

He says that every one of the Laika stop-motion movies feature small bits of hand-drawn animation composits, but he would like to one day do a whole movie in the medium. It seems like they don’t have any definite plans but you could tell from his tone that it’s something he’s been considering for a while now.

Since Walt Disney Animation Studios has abandoned hand-drawn animation feature films since the unsuccessful release of The Princess and the Frog, I’d be glad to see another animation studio get their hands back in the game. And Laika’s brand of hand crafted storytelling would be the perfect place to make it happen.

Laika is owned by Nike co-founder and Chairman Phil Knight, and run by Knight’s son Travis (who acts as its President and CEO). Laika Entertainment’s feature films are distributed by Focus Features, a division of NBC Universal.

For the full article, click here.

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DreamWorks Animation has announced their Fall 2014 internships

DreamWorks Animation has announced their Fall 2014 internships. These are part-time for credit opportunities for Junior and Senior BFA students.

Internship will begin around Sept. 8th, 2014:

These positions are based in Redwood City, CA.
1.       Videography
2.       Digital Training
3.       Production
4.       Artistic Development

These positions are based in Glendale, CA.

1.       Production
2.       Post Production
3.       Creative
4.       Artistic Development
5.       TV Development
6.       TV Production
7.       Videography

Interested students should send a cover letter and resume to with the appropriate subject line (see posting for full details)

Full details here:

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Big Hero 6 Trailers

If you haven’t seen them yet, below are the recent trailers for Disney’s Big Hero 6. Enjoy!

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Behind the Scenes with ‘Boxtrolls’

From Animation Magazine.

The Boxtrolls

Back in Spring, the Animag editorial team was invited on a delightful, mind-boggling tour of LAIKA studio in Portland, Oregon, where teams of craftsmen, artists and animators were hard at work on the upcoming Focus Features release The Boxtrolls (September 26). According to producer David Ichioka, “Stop motion is not the stupidest, but it is the wackiest possible way to make a film.” Here are some of the wacky things we learned about this neo-Victorian family adventure.

By the Numbers

  • 1 week; the average amount of time for an animator to complete 3.7 seconds of footage
  • 3.5 inches, the cuff-to-cuff measurement of baby Eggs’ sweater (created on an embroidery machine to produce irregular lines, like a hand-knitted garment). His little socks are only ⅝” long
  • 4 scenes per week was the goal for each animator
  • 14 different fabrics were used in Lord Portley-Rind’s white hat
  • 24 kinds of weeds were created for backgrounds by the greens department
  • 55 different sculpts of prop cheeses were made; different scale sizes were needed for wide, medium and close shots
  • 56 ½”; the size of the terrifying Mecha Drill vehicle; every joint is articulated for jostling and the prop required its own stage rig
  • 30 to 300; the range of crew at work between the beginning of shooting and the height of production
  • 1,300 shots required vfx touches, which were accomplished by 50 artists
  • 20,000+ props were handmade for the film; the smallest prop is a tiny sewing needle with thread
  • 55,000 facial expression pieces were 3-D printed, with the potential for approximately 1 million combinations
  • 125,280 individual character poses are needed to create the 87-minute film

The Puppet Department

With different artists creating delicate armature (both for characters and their costumes), hemp hair wigs and intricate costumes, there was a lot to take in.

  • This is the first LAIKA film that started with a silhouette lineup of characters (by artist Mike Smith).
  • Key influence words were: Fantasy Dickensian world, nervous lines, Ballet Russe, Impressionism.
  • Costumes were really pushed for this third film thanks to Deborah Cook’s period-inspired designs including lace created on an embroidery machine and cut-outs, panels and patterns made with a laser cutter.
  • European expressionism even factored into the “skin” painting — faces and hands were stylized with blocky colored lines and contrasting areas.
  • Mechanical challenges included the villain Snatcher’s belly, which has its own gear for jiggling, the Boxtrolls’ bendy midjoint and the big ballroom scene which required jointed rigs in the ladies’ skirts to create a Gone with the Wind effect.

Quote of the Day

During an informative lunch with directors Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi, Anthony gave the best summary of the film’s dichotomy of the above-ground, cheese-filled world of oppulence and color and the dreary night world of the trolls and their antagonist: The Boxtrolls is like if Terry Gilliam did Oliver Twist.”

For the full article, click here.

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Alliance Francaise is showing 5 animated features in July!

The Alliance Française of San Francisco offers a weekly Movie Night to any and all who love French cinema.

Join us every Tuesday at 6:30pm in the lower AFSF Theater for a presentation before the film, which begins at 6:30pm.

A $5.00 donation is suggested for the refreshments that are offered.

July 2014: Get Animated! (Animated Film Series)
July 1 – Prince & Princess
July 8 – The Painting
July 15 – A Monster in Paris
July 22  – Tales of the Night
July 29  – Ernest & Celestine

Alliance Francaise

For more information, click here.

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Call for Entries!!!


Submit your film to SUNDANCE: HERE


Early Submission Deadline:
Monday, July 28, 2014 – $40 entry fee

Official Submission Deadline:
Monday, August 25, 2014 – $60 ENTRY FEE

Late Submission Deadline:
Monday, September 15, 2014 – $80 ENTRY FEE


Submit your film to SLAMDANCE: HERE

1. Early Deadline by Friday, July 25, 2014.
$40 entry fee for a short entry up to 40 minutes and $50 for a feature entry.

2. Regular Deadline by Friday, September 5, 2014.
$50 entry fee for short and $80 for feature length.

3. Late Deadline by Thursday, October 9, 2014.
$60 entry fee for short and $100 for feature length.

4. Final Deadline by Thursday, October 16, 2014.
(Accepting submissions through Withoutabox ONLY)
$70 entry fee for short and $110 for feature length.

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Pixar in Concert at the San Francisco Symphony

From the San Francisco Symphony:

SF Symphony:Pixar Night

From the Toy Story trilogy to The Incredibles and Up, Pixar Animation Studios has forever impacted filmmaking and given audiences of all ages some of the most beloved characters in cinematic history. This summer, the San Francisco Symphony presents Pixar in Concert, with visually stunning clips and memorable scores from each of Pixar’s movies, including their latest release, Monsters University, performed live by the San Francisco Symphony.

Lee Unkrich, director of Toy Story 3 and co-director of Finding Nemo will host July 17.
John Lasseter, Chief Creative Officer of Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Animation Studioswill host Pixar in Concert on July 18.

Tea Time is planning a group to go July 18th (Lee Unkrich will be hosting).

Fees are waived if you use these links.

July 18

July 19


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Thoughts About “How to Train Your Dragon 2″ with SPOILERS

It is hard not to write a movie review without revealing spoiler alerts, especially before the film is officially released in the U.S. theaters. Perhaps the only people who should be reading this right now should be the folks who have luckily seen it? Well, you have been warn…


Someone asked me if I thought it was better than Frozen. My response was “Well, I do like dragons, so…yeah” If I can’t get my dragon fix from this season’s Game of Thrones, well, How to Train Your Dragon 2 has a dragon in almost every scene, so take that Khaleesi! Perhaps Valka should take your place as the “Mother of Dragons.”

With sequels, it is very easy to compare it to the original film and say “it wasn’t as good.” Instead of comparing it to the original, I rather compare it to Game of Thrones, Kung Fu Panda, with dashes of The Lion King.

If you are a fan of Game of Thrones and have been keeping up with the current season, you maybe thinking, “Where are the dragons? I want more dragons.” Perhaps the dragons are too expensive to come out, play and show up on people’s TVs and computer screens this season. Besides the fact that there were a variety of dragons everywhere in How To Train Your Dragon 2, the creature that reminded me of Games of Thrones the most was the Alpha. The Alpha is a Bewilderbeast dragon that can control and command all the dragons around. The Alpha is not your typical looking dragon. I would describe it as a colossal mammoth-like creature with hints of triceratops. The Alpha reminded me of the mammoths that came with the Wildings when they went to attack Castle Black at the Wall this season. It is probably a coincidence or a strange comparison, but who knows? Maybe mammoths might be the new “in” creatures?


Now comparing it to Kung Fu Panda, perhaps you are thinking “well, they are both films from DreamWorks and they both are franchises” I went to see the film with my director and she pointed out the father and son relationship that the film focuses on between Hiccup and Stoick. The film takes place 5 years after the first, and Stoick wants Hiccup to step into his shoes as the next chieftain of their village tribe (insert the dashes of The Lion King when Musfasa tells Simba the kingdom will be his one day and Musfasa/Stoick’s sad ending). Perhaps it is just me, but maybe the father and son complicated relationship storyline is a MO that Dreamworks likes. With Kung Fu Panda, it is obvious to see that the goose, Mr. Ping, could not have been Po’s biological father. Mr. Ping and Po had a loving, but complicated relationship where Po aspired to fight with the Furious Five, while his father wanted him to run the family noodle shop; similarly to how Stoick wanted Hiccup to take his place as chieftain in their village.


Both animated films end strongly with the idea of family (insert the “these are family friendly films” thought). Toothless, who is the dragon reflection of Hiccup, has also aged and matured these past few years. It is mentioned a few times how Toothless is probably the last Night Fury around. Perhaps the third film (set for release in 2016) will be about both Hiccup and Toothless trying to fill that family void. Sure, Hiccup is reunited with his long lost mother and sure, both Hiccup and Toothless are the new leaders of their viking and dragon clans; but is that enough? Maybe the next chapter will be about Hiccup and Toothless’ journey to try to find the other Night Furies (like how Kung Fu Panda 2 ended with the shot of the pandas). If they find other Night Furies, will they accept Toothless and Hiccup’s relationship?


I can go more in depth and come out with a 10 page analysis paper about this, but I rather bring up thoughts, opinions, and conspiracy theories and have you use that brain of yours to think, observe, and analyze. If all you wanted to know was if I would recommend this film? I say, sure…why not? There are dragons in it.

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First Trailer of “The Book of Life”

From The Film Stage:

While he’s currently off to work on the Jessica Chastain and Tom Hiddleston-led horror feature Crimson Peak, Guillermo del Toro is keeping busy with a variety of side projects. His FX show The Strain will bow in July and this fall brings another producing effort, the feature animation The Book of Life.

The first trailer has dropped today, which comes from director Jorge Gutierrez and shows off an inventive world, so hopefully there’s a worthwhile story to be had as well.

From producer Guillermo del Toro and director Jorge Gutierrez comes an animated comedy with a unique visual style. THE BOOK OF LIFE is the journey of Manolo, a young man who is torn between fulfilling the expectations of his family and following his heart. Before choosing which path to follow, he embarks on an incredible adventure that spans three fantastical worlds where he must face his greatest fears. Rich with a fresh take on pop music favorites, THE BOOK OF LIFE encourages us to celebrate the past while looking forward to the future.

The Book of Life opens on October 17th, 2014.

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Interview with traditional animator Aya Suzuki

Aya Suzuki

Aya Suzuki is a traditional animator who has worked in Europe and Japan for some of the world’s biggest animation directors, including Hayao Miyazaki, Satoshi Kon, Mamoru Hosada, and Sylvain Chomet.

In this podcast on the Peg Bar and Grill she talks about her career in the U.K. and also how the animation industry works in Japan.


Another interview with Aya Suzuki:


Aya Suzuki’s blog:

Suzuki attended the Arts University College ,Bournemouth. Her course director was Peter Parr, who’d trained generations of animators through the decades.

“The most important thing is that, whether you were a 3D animation student or a model maker or anything, Parr would just make you draw. A lot of animation courses don’t actually tell you to draw any more, because the industry is moving into Flash or Maya or whatever, and you’re not actually holding a pencil.   But for Peter, it didn’t matter – you just draw, because that’ll be useful. Most of my classmates are in the animation industry at the moment, and I think it proves it works.”


Posted in Animation, Drawing, hand-drawn animation, skill sets for animation, traditional animation, TVPaint | Tagged | Leave a comment