Category Archives: Topical

The story of ‘Brigitte, Bruno and Ben’ animated by Lucy Izzard for Aardman

A 70 second film entitled “Brigitte, Bruno and Ben” tells the story of Ben who helps entrepreneur Brigitte in the ‘developing world’ by directly lending her just £10 through the website Deki.org.uk. Previously Brigitte struggled to feed her family on less than 80p a day.

The film was written and animated by Lucy Izzard for Aardman and Deki. This story emotionally engages the viewer by focusing on particular people and showing the positive effect a loan can have.

Deki loan 3 Deki loan 1 Deki loan 2

Animator Lucy Izzard was born in Sydney, Australia, and moved to the UK at the age of four. Creative from an early age, she spent most of her childhood in Kent, fashioning cuts and bruises out of her mother’s makeup for murder-mystery home videos. After graduating with a First class degree in Illustration and Animation, Lucy won the BBC Three New Talent Animator Award in 2005, and began working on short films and commercials for companies such as Slinky Pictures, 12foot6 and the BBC. She currently resides in Bristol with her family, where she continues her passion for animating in her work for ArthurCox and Aardman.

Lucy Izzard’s website: www.lucyizzard.co.uk

Watch the Deki film: youtu.be/iBrYjSeTpkU

NFTS applications now open for 2014 course

Aardman Animations has hired three graduates from the 2013 NFTS Certificate in Character Animation.

The National Film and Television School (NFTS) has confirmed that it is to run its Certificate in Character Animation course in partnership with Aardman Animations following the successful of the inaugural course last year.

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The intensive 12- week course offering training for 12 CG and stop frame animators was launched last June to meet the growing demand for animation talent in the UK. The 2014 course will run from 15th Sept to 5th Dec 2014.

Taught at Aardman’s Bristol studios by industry professionals, tutors included Loyd Price, Head of Animation at Aardman (Nightmare before Christmas, Chicken Run, The Curse of the WereRabbit, Flushed Away and Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists) with one-to one feedback sessions with Wallace & Gromit creator Nick Park (an NFTS graduate), Peter Lord and Shelley Page (Dreamworks talent outreach).

The course also attracted top masterclass speakers such as and Richard Williams (Who Framed Roger Rabbit) and six major animation companies including Sarah Fell (Series Producer, Turner, The Amazing Adventures of Gumball), Darren Walsh (Director Passion Pictures), Oli Hyatt (Co-owner Blue Zoo), Sarah Cox (Director at Arthur Cox) and Andy McEvoy (Supervising Animator, DNEG).

David Sproxton, Aardman co-founder and producer said: “This first Aardman/ NFTS animation course proved beyond doubt the effectiveness of linking a strong training institution with a first class industry player when it comes to high-level skills training. From the selection of the students to the finer points of the curriculum this was a very strong partnership. Having the students training alongside working professionals at our studio in Bristol was a great experience for everyone. The results speak for themselves, with excellent work being screened in the final showcase event, demonstrating imagination, verve and strength in character animation. We look forward greatly to running another course.”

The training gives 12 selected students the core practical skills needed to become professional animators. The majority of the course is practical with participants working on animation exercises to improve their skills, knowledge and experience. This is also supported by animation theory. It culminates in a short character animation sequence – pre-planned and boarded – to showcase the skills learnt during the course. You can view the 2013 student showreels here http://vimeo.com/81089765

Loyd Price, Aardman Head of Animation, added: “Without exception all of the students’ animation, acting and understanding of performance greatly improved over the 12 weeks and they produced a final sequence far in advance of what many of them believed they would ever have been capable of.”

Asked what were the highlights of the course, the students said:

“Having one-on-one time with legends like Nick Park and Peter Lord, the chance to pitch a feature film to them and be in a studio like Aardman every day.” (Adam Watts)

“I genuinely felt like I came away a better animator. ” (William O’Neill)

“Getting our work looked at and critiqued by Nick Park and Peter Lord was not only a rare opportunity but was a great experience.” (Hannah Wright)

“There’s just nothing to beat actually being at Aardman and standing in the lunch queue next to Nick Park.” (Alexandra Kogl)

This is one of six new courses launched by the NFTS last year with partners from the film and television industry. Many of these courses include employment opportunities and work placements for graduates.

NFTS Director Nik Powell said: “When students invest in education, they want to know there is a chance of a job when they graduate. The success of this NFTS course and the contracts offered by Aardman goes to show how valuable it is for film schools to partner with leading companies to train talented people for the UK’s growing film, television and games industries.”

Apply before JUNE 5th deadline for the NFTS Certificate in Character Animation in partnership with Aardman Animations. http://nfts.co.uk/our-courses/certificate/character-animation

National Accident Helpline / Aardman animation competition

Aardman animation competitionNational Accident Helpline has teamed up with Aardman to run an animation competition. Aspiring animators are being invited to create a short animation on the theme ‘Success against the odds’ for a chance to win an animation lover’s experience including a tour of the Aardman studios, ‘Make a morph’ workshop, original Morph artwork signed by Peter Lord, travel and accommodation. The winner and shortlisted entrants also get personalised feedback on their animation from Aardman.

More information and entry pack available here: http://www.national-accident-helpline.co.uk/success-against-the-odds

Entries must be submitted by 18 May 2014.

Aardman plan to bring back Morph

MorphFans of Aardman may remember Morph, the loveable clay character who could change into lots of different shapes.

After an amazing response from the public, Morph creator and Aardman co-founder Peter Lord is launching a campaign to bring Morph back for a new series of adventures!

Using Kickstarter, Peter is appealing to fans for backing in return for a host of exclusive rewards and the chance to be involved in the production process. Find out more on his Kickstarter page.

Shaun the Sheep returns

Shaun the Sheep makes his highly anticipated return to the UK small screen this month with twenty brand new episodes – proving that life is never dull on Mossybottom Farm. Shaun and the gang return at the end of February, Monday – Friday from 25th February at 3.15pm on CBBC.

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Shaun and his farm friends cause mayhem in the 20 x 7 minute episodes when they get involved in high jinks with hand gliders, dinosaurs, ducks, graffiti, crows, window cleaning, bulls, skate boards, old home movies and even a piano – in an iconic Laurel and Hardy moment!

To support the new series launch, CBBC have commissioned another five Championsheeps games to add to the existing suite of popular online games released during last year’s summer of sport. The games were produced as an experience with on-going appeal which is both engaging and entertaining for fans and encourages friendly, social competition and interaction with the show’s characters.

The new games, which are available on the CBBC website, were developed by Aardman’s in-house digital team who have made significant updates to the suite including new animations for the main hub and new ways of reporting high scores and achievements. A special unlock code feature has also been created and fans will be provided with codes at the end of each new episode giving players access to special features in each of the new games.

The team have been working closely with Aardman’s expert CG artists in order to progress the look of the characters in the game by developing 3D models, enhancing the game experience both aesthetically and mechanically as the 3D elements provided far greater flexibility than a 2D graphic with the movement of each character. In turn this allowed the Digital team more creative freedom to produce five visually appealing and addictive games for Shaun fans to enjoy across the world.

Aardman & WARL create a new look for Clipper Tea

Aardman Commercials have partnered with WARL and Clipper Tea, the UK’s only company to boast a completely Fairtrade and organic range of tea, coffee and drinking chocolate, to create a gorgeous new national TV ad campaign for their Everyday Teas.

The 20-second stop frame commercial, which was launched on 27 April and runs for a month, has been brought to life by Aardman director Daniel Cohen, who has created a never-ending ‘conga’ of mugs joyously dancing past a box of Clipper Everyday Tea while being filled with tea bags and hot water from a kettle. “The simple concept of mugs dancing ‘the conga’ worked tremendously and was great fun to direct!” says Cohen.
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The Lost Art of Rotoscoping

Rotoscope by Max Fleischer, patent drawing from 1914.

This is a guest post by Olivia Lennox.

Animation has come a long way since the days of the first cartoon motion pictures in the early 1900s. It’s come so far in fact that it’s difficult to believe it started as a few hand-drawn images on a page. Compare and flick book to the trailer for Pixar’s upcoming movie Brave and you’ll get the idea. But here we are, in a world where computer generated imaging has quite literally taken over the world of animated film: when was the last time Disney released a ‘2D’ movie in their original style? It’s been some time indeed.
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Top 10 Animated Christmas Movies for the Whole Family

This is a guest post by Sophia Anderson.

So much of what we love during Christmas-time is based in nostalgia and tradition; fond memories of decorating the tree, taking a nighttime drive to see Christmas lights, and, of course, cuddling around the TV with yummy treats and a warm fire to watch a Christmas movie. December is here, so tis’ the season to break out all of the holiday movies! Here are ten of our favorite animated Christmas movies and TV specials, old and new.

1. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

There is a reason why people wait every year in anticipation of the annual TV airing of A Charlie Brown Christmas. It’s hard to go wrong with the Peanuts gang, but the Christmas special might be the best of all their holiday offerings. Every scene is memorable, from the group decorating the tree that Charlie Brown brings home to Linus’s speech on the true meaning of Christmas. The soundtrack that goes along with the movie – featuring both original songs by the Vince Guaraldi Trio, as well as covers of older Christmas songs – stands apart from the movie as being one of the greatest Christmas albums of all time.
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Watch clips 84th Academy Awards shortlisted animated shorts

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have announced that 10 animated short films will advance in the voting process for the 84th Academy Awards® Oscars for outstanding film achievements of 2011. The winner will be announced on Sunday, February 26, 2012. Forty-four pictures had originally qualified in the category.

The 10 films are listed below in alphabetical order by title, with their production company. Click on the images to see clips or trailers from the films.

Dimanche/Sunday, Patrick Doyon, director (National Film Board of Canada)

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The new NFB Advent Calendar for the iPad

The National Film Board of Canada’s new holiday Advent Calendar for the iPad is now available on iTunes for $0.99.

The NFB, famous worldwide for animated film classics like The Sweater, The Cat Came Back and Noël Noël, now brings your family a collection of films that are perfect for the holiday season. Each day throughout December, you and your kids can unlock the next surprise movie, enjoying hours of family entertainment.

iPad Screenshot of NFB Advent Calendar

The NFB Advent Calendar App films are sure to remain your child’s favourites long after the holiday season ends.