13 mayo 2016

CRAFT, a new website for animation lovers


Earlier this week I read a post on Cartoon Brew website about an exciting new project called Craft. Here is the article: 

Printed art-of books can be beautiful objects to own, but they are an inefficient format for collecting the massive amounts of artwork generated for most animation projects. A new Danish company, Craft, aims to solve that problem by making all the artwork from animated projects available on the subscription site ItsOnCraft.com, an “ever-evolving interactive art-of book” as the company puts it.

Craft, which launched on May 1, gives users unprecedented access to art and conceptual materials from animated features, series, and games. Among the items included (or to be included) is concept art, storyboards, scripts, character designs, animatics, animation pencil tests, background paintings, and more. The initial content on the platform includes material from Cartoon Saloon’s Song of the Sea and The Secret of Kells, as well as the TV series Ernest & Celestine: The Collection and the online series The Reward: Tales of Alethrion.

The digital archive seems best suited to professional artists and animation students who can use it to study and compare different versions of scenes, look at source files to deconstruct scenes, and find reference for their own projects.

“We know how long it takes to get an idea from script to screen—think of all of the amazing and inspiring work that goes into the making of a film that never makes it into the final product,” says Craft CEO and co-founder Frederik Villumsen. “It’s all part of the process, but why should that material sit on a shelf or languish on a hard drive somewhere?” (Villumsen is also the CEO of the Danish animation studio Nørlum, which co-produced Song of the Sea and Long Way North.)

Craft also aims to build a community around creating animation, and encourages users to ask questions and engage directly with the creators. The companies that use the service can add notes to the artwork and answer users’ questions about the material they’ve made available. An accompanying Craft Store will allow people to purchase merchandise, prints, and other items, like 3D printed character figures.

While the offerings available on Craft are relatively thin at the moment, the idea has real potential to evolve into something great. What’s nice about Craft is that provides a benefit to everyone in our community: students and pros can use it as an education and professional development tool, fans have a new way to support and enjoy access to projects they like, and content creators gain a new revenue stream since 50% of Craft’s revenue is redistributed among filmmakers who provide content for the service.

“Early-bird” subscribers can join Craft for $6 per month, while group discounts are available to schools and organizations.

I subscribed some minutes ago and I didn't have time to go around so much, but it's really promising. Here are some screenshoots.

 Character design from 'The Reward'.

 Storyboard from 'The Reward'.

 Backgrounds from 'Ernest and Celestine.

Concept Art from 'Spirit Seeker'.

The 'early bird' phase is still open, for only 6$ per month, an almost ridiculous price for what you will find inside the website. The basic subscription is going to be 9,99$ per month.

Enjoy!

03 abril 2016

OpenToonz


Since last week you can download the Open Source version of Toonz, called OpenToonz. It's advertised  as the software used to create Studio Ghibli films like Spirited Away and TV shows like Steven Universe and Futurama. On the website of Digital Video, creators of the software, we find the following information:
 

Digital Video, the makers of TOONZ, and DWANGO, a Japanese publisher, announced today they have signed an agreement for  the acquisition by Dwango of Toonz, an animation software which was independently developed by Digital Video (Rome, Italy).   

Digital Video and Dwango agreed to close the deal under the condition Dwango will publish and develop an Open Source platform based on Toonz (OpenToonz).  Effective Saturday March 26, the TOONZ Studio Ghibli Version will be made available to the animation community as a free download.


OpenToonz will include features developed by Studio Ghibli (*Toonz Ghibli Edition) which has been a long time Toonz user. Through OpenToonz, Dwango will create a platform that will aim to have  research labs and the animated film industry actively cooperating with each other.

With this agreement in place, Digital Video will move to the open source business model, offering to the industry commissioning, installation & configuration, training, support and customization services while allowing the animators’ community to use a state of the art technology at no cost.

Digital Video will also continue to develop and market a Toonz Premium version at a very competitive price for those companies willing to invest in the customization of Toonz for their projects.
I can not say too much about my experience. I've just installed the program and I customized the interface windows and some shortcuts.
 

The software is not 100% stable for now, but users have already begun to share knowledge and tutorials through the social media.
 

OpenToonz website (download)
 

OpenToonz Facebook Group

OpenToonz users forum (english)

02 abril 2016

Animated website header

I'm working on my new website. I made this animated website header but I'm not going to use it. Export to Swf does not give problems but as Flash has already passed awy I have rendered to Html5. The result has not been satisfactory.

Traditional animation made in Toon Boom Harmony.