Lauren Payne Calls A Spade A Spade

Via: Technique

Lauren Payne at the Gergia Tech student newspaper “Techniquesums up the 3-D release of Beauty and the Beast and doesn’t pull a lot of punches with this quote:

The marriage of hand-drawn animation and computer-generated imagery seen in the iconic ballroom sequence undoubtedly stirs a pleasant sense of nostalgia, but it also serves as a reminder of the artistic experimentation that has more or less taken leave of Disney’s recent animated features—the fact that the Walt Disney Company has resurrected this piece of work for an additional run conjures an image of a has-been high school football star sipping whisky before a case of old trophies.

I can’t help but agree with her insofar that there is re-releasing a film on the big screen, and re-releasing a film and promoting it as a new release. Disney appears to be doing the latter with this film and the Lion King.

Why they couldn’t simply re-release them as 2-D and avoid the cost of “conversion” is beyond me.

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A Few Interesting Mickey Mouse Plates

Normally I don’t give Disney merchandise a second glance, mainly because they’re a dime a dozen in addition to being just about everywhere. However, these plates caught my eye recently as I was perusing the local Target.

What did it was that they’re a break from the norm with all their construction lines that are reminiscent of the centerline technique that was popular back in the 1930s. It’s something a wee bit different from the usual, sterile stuff. Anyways, enjoy!

Mickey Mouse
Minnie Mouse


Minnie Mouse (again)
And a tray with them both!

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A Few Awesome Kim Possible Expression Sheets

Coming once again from the Art of Animation tumblelog, here’s a few more lovely looking Kim Possible expression sheets. It’s these kind of sheets that always intrigue me. Animators excel at displaying emotions purely through visuals. Oh sure the voice actor has a large part to play as well, but sheets like these only confirm that animators are essentially actors, no different from their live-action brethren; portraying emotions and actions in ways that evoke feelings within the audience.

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Grading The Disney Princesses on Magazine Covers: Part 1

You may have already seen these floating about the internet recently. Created by (I presume) whoever runs the Petite Tiaras tumblelog, they’re quite an interesting collection.

Are the magazine a good fit for the characters though? This 3-part weekly series of posts aims to find out.

Snow White in Vogue

Vogue is described on the official Conde Naste site as:

America’s cultural barometer, putting fashion in the context of the larger world we live in- how we dress, live, socialize; what we eat, listen to, watch; who leads and inspires us.

From its beginnings to today, three central principles have set Vogue apart: a commitment to visual genius, investment in storytelling that puts women at the center of the culture, and a selective, optimistic editorial eye.

Vogue’s story is the story of women, of culture, of what is worth knowing and seeing, of individuality and grace, and of the steady power of earned influence. For millions of women each month, Vogue is the eye of the culture, inspiring and challenging them to see things differently, in both themselves and the world.

So does Snow White fit into that kind of magazine? Perhaps not. She is not really a cultural figure per se and her story is far from the usual high-society gossip that one would expect from the pages of Vogue. The cover itself is good, but it does completely neglect any aspect of the fashion scene for which Vogue is [in]famous for.

Overall: B-

Cinderella in ELLE

Surprising enough because she’s facing away from the reader, Cinderella is the cover girl for ELLE magazine, whose mission is:

…to influence women’s whole lives, helping them to be chic, smart, and modern. With intelligent, in-depth writing and a razor-sharp curation of fashion that is at once aspirational and accessible, ELLE’s readers and users are building not just personal style, but personal power.

Cinderella does fit this, for the most part. The stories touch on aspects of fashion with a strong emphasis on the women behind them. Cinderella herself is an aspirational story, as she overcomes the difficulties of being imprisoned in her own house to marrying the prince.

Overall: A-

Tinkerbell in InStyle

Tinkerbell is one of the most well-known Disney characters and has endured and progressed far beyond the original Peter Pan movie.  Featuring on InStyle magazine, which according to the official description has:

…emerged as the world’s premier media brand in celebrity, style, fashion, beauty and beyond. InStyle takes a uniquely fun and inviting attitude towards celebrity style in all its forms including its flagship magazine which reaches an audience of 9.6 million readers each month.

Tinkerbell is most certainly a celebrity in this day and age; being a merchandising powerhouse for Disney and a star in her own movies. InStyle is a good fit for her. She’s a fun character with a positive attitude and it is fair to say that she’s more than just a little bit sassy. This magazine cover is fairly accurate, with a “53 Great Outfit Ideas” article, a few personal articles and even a recipe guide to round it out.

Overall: A

More to come next week in part 2, including Aerial, Princess Aurora and Belle

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A Look At The Disney Channel

Via: TV With Thinus

This week, I’m sequestered in lovely Western New York; a quiet part of the country where not a lot happens in the winter because of the snow. So that’s a pefect excuse to stay warm indoors with some TV, and while there is a lot a Top Gear on BBC America, there is also the four kid’s cable channels: The Disney Channel, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and newcomer, The Hub.

So using this extended time off, I figured I would write an overview of the four channels. Today, it’s the turn of the Disney Channel.

Started by Ron Miller back in the 80s the channel is unique in that it carries no  commercial advertising whatsoever. Although you should not construe this a as no advertising whatsoever, as the channel still has breaks where shows from other Disney channels, Disney films and misc. things are presented to the viewer.

The range of animation is a bit more limited than it used to be. As of right now, besides the pre-school shows, Phineas and Ferb and Fish Hooks take up the majority of the animation aimed at older kids. However, where the Disney Channel excels is that it can draw upon the vast, vast, vast library of the Disney Company and it regularly broadcasts movies that are rarely seen anywhere else, such as Snow White, Aladdin and pretty much all the Pixar films.

A direct comparison with its competitors is a bit unfair though, as Disney recently nixed Toon Disney in favour of starting a new channel aimed at boys, hence Disney XD and its own share of animated programming (namely Kick Buttowski).

Overall, the Disney Channel isn’t perfect, but it isn’t completely horrible either. It would just be nice to see more time for animation and less for mind-numbing kidcoms that burn through their child stars at a faster rate than I go through delicious Tim Hortons coffee.

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Some Kim Possible Character Details Which You Know Are Awesome

For the record Kim Possible is one of the best characters ever to grace a TV screen. So it should come as no surprise that her character constructions sheets, which came by way of Art of Animation and Inappropriate Banjo (both on Tumblr), are no less interesting.

Kim’s a fascinating collection of sharp points and swirling curves that oh so cleverly allude to her double-sided life as an ordinary student and ass-kicking heroine.

Here, we see some of the finer points of her character design in her hair, which undoubtedly adds much grace to her movement in the action scenes.

It’s always great to see these kind of things, especially as they essentially offer us a peek into a character’s soul (per se).

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DreamWorks Really Is Pushing The Envelope

Yes, DreamWorks really is pushing the envelope, the release envelope that is. Here’s what I read this morning over on the Animation Guild Blog that really made me take a minute just to think about it (emphasis mine):

There is a squadron of other features are lined up on the tarmac, but I won’t bother rattling them off, since you can see most of them listed here. (It dawns on me that by 2014, DWA will have thirty animated movies out in the wider world. By contrast, Disney’s fifty-first feature — after 73 years, came out last Spring.)

You could easily argue that DreamWorks isn’t as diversified as Disney, nor has it ever put out even close to the same volume of shorts. However, the fact remains that as far as animated features go, DreamWorks is certainly cranking them out.

Now you can read this any number of ways you like. Be it that the fact that Disney is diversified means they do not need to rely on aniamted films to bring home the bacon, that things were different back in the old days or even that Disney has such a strong brand that they can afford to coast on films for years after release in contrast to DW which must continue the releases to bring in the dough.

I tend to believe that DW does need to continually release films, hence it’s faster production rate. However, the time will come when DreamWorks will have earned a legacy that is strong enough for it to slow down a bit. That day is still a bit far away, but it is drawing ever closer.

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Does it Really Make Sense to Rent Animated Content Via YouTube?

As The Hollywood Reporter mentioned last week, the Disney Studios is following hot on the heels of the interactive unit in partnering with YouTube to deliver content. Not original content mind you, but content nonetheless.

So the question is, why “rent” films via streaming? That makes little sense. Just let me buy the thing. It’s essentially the same cost to the studio either way, right? I mean I have to download a copy of the film regardless, and the bandwidth has to be paid either way, so why not just let me store it and re-watch it again and again?

Heck, why would I pay to watch it just once when I can hit up the bittorrents and download it for free and without restriction? What’s the difference then? If you’re charging a minimal amount to “rent” it, the marginal difference between making me pay for it and giving it away for free is minimized. The result is that, I, as a consumer, am likely to pick the method that delivers the best value; i.e. downloading the version that I can watch again and again.

I’m decidedly curious to see how this turns out. The last time major studios attempted a streaming “rental” business model, they charged people $30 a movie, and the whole thing fell flat on its face.

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