Toon Boom Launches Harmony 17, Offers Special Sale

Top animation and storyboarding software company Toom Boom has launched Harmony 17, the latest version of its popular tool for traditional digital animators and production artists. The two-time Emmy-winning company is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, and is offering a special 25 percent sale on annual licenses for Harmony and Storyboard Pro, from June 11 to August 31st.

“Traditional digital animators will not want to miss Harmony 17,” says Marc-Andre Bouvier, product manager at Toon Boom Animation. “With an improved drawing engine and new features focused on hand-drawn animation —including drawing stabilizers, adjustable pen sensitivity settings and curvilinear perspective guides for large panning backgrounds— artists have more precision and control available to them than ever before.”

Harmony gives students, freelancers and independent artists access to the same production pipeline that major production houses rely on for demanding television productions. Packed with 40 new-and-improved features, including upgrades to the software’s core drawing engine, Harmony 17 can help animators bring their next project to life like never before.

You can try the free 21-day trial at www.toonboom.com/products/harmony/try

Customers who chose Toon Boom animation software for the development and creation of their productions include Disney Television Animation, Amazon, Fox Television Animation, Nelvana, Ubisoft, Toei Animation, The SPA Studios, Xilam and Boulder Media. The technology is currently available in Simplified Chinese, Japanese and Spanish. For more information, visit toonboom.com.

Toom Boom

Toom Boom

Animation Magazine

Slightly Less Lame Kansas Now Allows Sale of New Belgium Hemp Beer

It took long enough, but the country is finally starting to come around to hemp. Kansas is just taking a little longer than the rest of us.

The non-psycoactive cannabis plant and the oils, fibers and cannabinoids derived from it have seen a huge boom in consumer interest over the past few years and grew 16 percent in sales from 2016 to 2017, according to a recent analysis from Hemp Industry Daily. Hemp has even become an ingredient in beer, with Fort Collins-based New Belgium Brewing Company (the fourth-largest craft brewery in the country) releasing a pale ale in March that is brewed with hemp seeds to extract cannabis-like flavor and aromas.

Mixing beer and cannabis — even a harmless hemp seed with no THC or CBD — was sure to raise some uneducated eyebrows, but most of the country was pretty cool with Hemperor HPA (hemp pale ale), despite initial apprehension from a few states, according to New Belgium CEO Steve Fechheimer. In fact, 49 states allowed it to be sold within their borders shortly after the beer’s release. The only state that didn’t? Kansas.

According to New Belgium, the beer was rejected earlier this year by the Kansas Alcoholic Beverage Control agency, which cited hemp as a banned ingredient in any alcoholic beverages. The state agency changed its mind in September, however, after New Belgium requested a review of the decision and Kansas state laws regarding industrial hemp. (The Kansas ABC didn’t respond to requests for comment.)

Although not quite as square as the attorneys general of Oklahoma and Nebraska, both of whom sued the State of Colorado in federal court in 2014 for legalizing cannabis, Kansas AG Derek Schmidt still isn’t as woke as pot advocates would like. Before reversing himself in June, he’d deemed all hemp-derived CBD products illegal within the state, and once said this about Colorado to the Kansas City Star: “But doggone it, they have done something that federal law says they may not do, and it’s Kansans who are paying a price for that.”

I’ve met many fine people from Kansas, and I’m sure there’s more to the state than endless flatlands and dozens of billboards praising Donald Trump, Jesus and University of Kansas basketball. But the people running that state need to get real. You can buy hemp seeds at King Soopers for your morning yogurt, and my girlfriend’s mom uses hemp-seed oil for her poodle’s skin condition. This was an easy 2+2 equation, yet somehow state regulators turned it into algebra.

New Belgium appears to be happy and lighthearted about the news. “We’d like to think Kansans could no longer bear living life without experiencing the Hemperor’s game-changing union of hops and hemp,” spokesman Jesse Claeys says. “It could also be that Kansas, like many other states in our glorious union, finally got a whiff of how versatile and sustainable of a crop industrial hemp can be, and how it could play a much bigger role in our economy.”

Cheers to hemp and cannabis, Kansans — even if you still can’t smoke it.


Toke of the Town

The artist as an algorithm: robot-made Rembrandt for sale

PARIS (Reuters) – Robots can do many of the jobs previously performed by humans, but could they ever replace artists?

Pierre Fautrel, of the team of French entrepreneurs called Obvious, poses in front of the artwork “La Comtesse de Belamy” (2018), created by the Generative Adversarial Network (GAN), an algorithm that learns to generate new images by being fed a database of existing paintings, during an interview with Reuters in Paris, France, September 21, 2018. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

A team of French entrepreneurs who believe so have written a computer algorithm that can create original paintings with some resemblance to works by Old Masters such as Rembrandt.

The pictures of an imagined “Baron of Belamy” and his aristocratic relations have a smudgy, blurred finish that would not have impressed Rembrandt’s clients, but are good enough for the auction house Christie’s to put one of them on sale in New York in October with a price estimate of $ 7,000 to $ 10,000.

“We are artists with a different type of paintbrush. Our paintbrush is an algorithm developed on a computer,” said Hugo Caselles-Dupre, a computer engineer who founded the group with childhood friends Gauthier Vernier and Pierre Fautrel, who both have a business background.

The signature of the team of French entrepreneurs called Obvious is seen on the artwork “La Comtesse de Belamy” (2018), created by the Generative Adversarial Network (GAN), an algorithm that learns to generate new images by being fed a database of existing paintings, during an interview with Reuters in Paris, France, September 21, 2018. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

The artworks are created by the Generative Adversarial Network (GAN), an algorithm that learns to generate new images by being fed a database of existing paintings – 15,000 portraits in the case of the “Belamy” pictures.

“The visual is not the only thing that comprises the final portrait,” said Fautrel.

“All of the message, and the artistic process to get to the visual, are also important, even more than the final product,” he said, admitting that GAN’s pictures — printed onto canvas and then framed — are fuzzy.

“The fact that it’s not yet perfect, I think is logical because it’s a technology that is still very new, and to have very good results, we need significant calculating power, that for now we don’t have in this small apartment.”

The trio sold “The Count of Belamy” for around $ 10,000 to Paris-based collector Nicolas Laugero-Lasserre.

Slideshow (2 Images)

“What was astonishing was that they knew nothing about art, nothing at all,” Laugero-Lasserre said.

“In the beginning, I took them for crazy people. And finally, are they crazy, are they genius? We’ll see,”

Some artists are unconvinced that a machine can make real art.

“If there was no anger from Picasso, ‘Guernica’ would never have existed. If Modigliani were not in love with his models, his nudes would be dull and uninteresting,” said painter Robert Prestigiacomo.

“There’s always a feeling behind a painting, always – whether it’s anger, yearning, desire. And artificial intelligence is – well, you have the word ‘artificial’ in it – there you have it!”

Editing by Robin Pomeroy

Reuters: Oddly Enough

NCIA Moving Seed to Sale Show From Denver to Boston in 2019

The National Cannabis Industry Association is taking one of its marquee events from Denver to the East Coast. The NCIA Seed to Sale Show, which has been held in the Mile High City for the past two years (the 2018 show ran February 7-8 at the Colorado Convention Center), will move to Boston in 2019, according to an announcement from the NCIA.

Massachusetts voters approved retail cannabis in 2016, and retail dispensaries are expected to open in several areas of the state by July 2018, including Boston. At nearly 1,600 members, the NCIA is one of the largest trade groups in the legal cannabis industry, and its annual Seed to Sale show is a national conference and expo for businesses and entrpreneurs involved in direct operations with the plant.

The NCIA holds cannabis caucuses for members in Denver many times a year, and executive director Aaron Smith told Westword that the group will continue to have a presence in Colorado during an interview at the 2018 Seed to Sale Show on February 8.

“Colorado is continued to be looked at as, really, the example to what a successful regulated cannabis industry can look like in all fifty states and places like Canada,” Smith said. “We will continue to host major events in Colorado; a large member base is here. We just made a decision to move this conference east to so we can impart some of the knowledge from Colorado and other states to these new, emerging markets.”

The NCIA Cannabis Business Summit, the organization’s annual headlining event, was held in Denver in 2014 but has been held in a different city every year since; the 2018 edition will be in San Jose in May.
The 2017 and 2018 Seed to Sale Shows in Denver drew nearly 5,000 attendees and 275 vendors combined, according to the NCIA.

Watch our full interview with Smith below as we chat about the future of Colorado’s cannabis industry and the NCIA’s presence in the state going forward, as more states legalize the plant for recreational use.

Toke of the Town

Daily News Bytes: ‘Breadwinner’ Tix on Sale, Mary Hidalgo’s VO Advice, Vanessa Morrison Makes EBONY Power 100 & More!

The Breadwinner

The Breadwinner

’LEGO Ninjago Movie’ Casting Director Mary Hidalgo Talks Casting for TV and Film
The Emmy-winning maven of voiceover casting shares her career experience, observations and words of advice with Mandy.com.

Fox Family Prez Vanessa Morrison Named to EBONY Power 100
The recently appointed family films head and long-time overseer of Fox Animation joins the magazine’s star-studded list of heroes and leaders of the African-American community, which also includes actors Viola Davis and Dwayne Johnson. Full list here.

LA Times Issues Note to Readers on Disney Dis
In a time when billionaire buyers are shutting down unionized news sites, the paper has made it known that the Mouse House has declined to offer it advance screenings for its Holiday Movie Guide in retaliaton to reporting on its business ties with the city of Anaheim. … Not quite as entertaining as the Papa Johns/DiGiorno Twitter war, but important to flag.

Call for Entries: NYICFF Introduces Stop-Motion Award Category
The Oscar-qualifying New York Int’l Children’s Film Festival is introducing a special stop-mo award for the 21st edition with a $ 2,500 prize! Submissions are open through Nov. 20 for short films (fee discount for stop-motion films with code StoMoNYICFF) and Dec. 1 for feature films. NYICFF will be held Feb. 23 to March 18, 2018.

Tickets on Sale: ‘The Breadwinner’ in Theaters Nov. 17
Nora Twomey’s highly anticipated animated adaptation opens in two weeks at the Landmark Nuart in LA and IFC Center and Landmark at 57 West in NYC, followed by a nationwide rollout to select cities. The IFC Center will host a Q&A with Twomey on Friday at 7:20 p.m., and exclusive giveaway at the Saturday matinee screening. Read more about the film in our story from the December issue!

The Breadwinner

The Breadwinner

Animation Magazine

DHX Media Puts Itself Up for Sale

DHX-Media-150

Canadian production and broadcasting corporation DHX Media has listed itself for sale following disappointing financial results this year. The news follows a major purchase this year of the Peanuts and Strawberry Shortcake properties for $ 345 million dollars from Iconix Brand Group, which gave the Hallifax, Novia Scotia-based company an 80 percent stake in the Peanuts intellectual property (with the Charles Schulz estate holding on to 20 percent).

DHX Media stressed that despite the announcement, they are continuing to seek alternatives such as mergers, and may not wind up making a transaction after all if they choose. They’ve assembled a special internal committee to evaluate their possible options.

In recent years, DHX has focused on acquiring properties and furthering Video-on-Demand access worldwide. In addition to Peanuts and Strawberry Shortcake, they own the rights to the shows Bob the Builder, Inspector Gadget, and Degrassi. They’ve further bolstered their library by acquiring Canadian rival Cookie Jar Entertainment, along with the Arthur, Caillou, and Care Bears properties. They also own Teletubbies creators Ragdoll Worldwide.

[Sources: CBC, Hollywood Reporter]

Peanuts

Peanuts

Animation Magazine

Daily News Bytes: ‘A Silent Voice’ Tix on Sale, ‘Breadwinner’ Wins Strong Reviews, & More

daily-news-bytes-150

TICKETS: ‘A Silent Voice’ in US Theaters Oct. 20
ELEVEN ARTS Anime Studio’s presentation of the moving anime feature from Naoko Yamada is confirmed for 51 cinemas across the country — from San Diego to New York City and a goodly variety of cities in between.

‘The Breadwinner’ Toronto Review: Vibrant Animated Movie May Force Oscar Attention
Debuting at TIFF, the Cartoon Saloon feature set in war-torn Afghanistan is getting rave reviews that could bring helmer Nora Twomey (who co-directed The Secret of Kells) into the Best Animated Feature race again, despite the questionable shift in Academy voting rules.

Facebook to Spend $ 1 Billion on Original Content for “Watch” Through 2018
Tubefilter sifts the news and rumors about Facebook’s aggressive push into original video content production and promulgation. Watch launched across the US last week.

Where YouTube Meets Japanese Animation
Video sharing sites which blend role-play, film and gaming elements are giving Chinese millennials a customizable online escape from the tedium of everyday life.

In the Golden Age of TV, the Existential-Animation Is King
Sam Thielman dissects the importance of Netflix’s BoJack Horseman (season four available now) and Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty season 3 in today’s television landscape.

The Breadwinner

The Breadwinner

Animation Magazine

French oysters go on sale in vending machines

ILE DE RE, France (Reuters) – In a change from chocolates and fizzy drinks, the French are starting to offer fresh oysters from vending machines in the hope of selling more of the delicacy outside business hours.

One pioneer is Tony Berthelot, an oyster farmer whose automatic dispenser of live oysters on the Ile de Re island off France’s western coast offers a range of quantities, types and sizes 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

French oyster farmers are following in the footsteps of other producers of fresh food who once manned stalls along roadsides for long hours but now uses machines.

“We can come at midnight if we want, if we have a craving for oysters. It’s excellent; they’re really fresh,” Christel Petinon, a 45-year-old client holidaying on the island, told Reuters.

The Ile de Re’s refrigerated dispenser, one of the first and with glass panels so customers can see what they are buying, is broadly similar to those that offer snacks and drinks at railway stations and office buildings worldwide.

A worker prepares oysters for the automatic oyster vending machine at l’huitriere de Re in Ars en Re on the Re Island, Southwestern France, August 2, 2017. Picture taken August 2, 2017.Regis Duvignau

Customers use their bank card for access, opening the door of their choice from a range of carton sizes and oyster types.

Berthelot, thirty years an oyster breeder, sees it as an extra source of revenue rather than an alternative to normal points of sale like food markets, fishmongers and supermarkets.

Slideshow (14 Images)

“We felt as though we were losing lots of sales when we are closed,” he said.

“There was a cost involved when buying this machine, of course, but we’re paying it back in installments … And today, in theory, we can say that the calculations are correct and it’s working.”

Selling oysters from a machine bets on more than just open-mindedness among consumers. Live molluscs not kept cool enough or stored too long out of seawater can cause food poisoning when opened.

The Berthelots say the machine has an appeal to a younger generation accustomed to buying on the internet and unperturbed by the absence of a shopkeeper.

Writing by Brian Love; Editing by Andrew Callus and Alister Doyle

Reuters: Oddly Enough

Tix and Series Passes for Studio Ghibli Fest on Sale Now

Spirited Away

Spirited Away

We know you’ve been counting down the days ever since GKIDS and Fathom Events announced their Studio Ghibli Fest 2017 theatrical engagement series, which kicks off across the US this June. Tickets are on sale now through FathomEvents.com, gkidstickets.com, and at participating theater box offices – more info here.

In addition to individual showings, select theaters are offering series pass options for true Ghibli fanatics. Cinemark is offering full series passes for $ 60. Plus, for a limited time, Cinemark Connections members can unlock an exclusive poster reward! (https://cinemark.com/Ghibli) Regal Entertainment Group is also offering series passes for $ 60. And the first 5,000 pass purchases will receive an exclusive, mounted decommissioned Spirited Away film cell. (http://www.regmovies.com/Studio-Ghibli-Fest-2017)

Studio Ghibli Fest 2017 runs through November, with six installments. Each screening event features one of the acclaimed Japanese toon house’s feature films from legendary director Hayao Miyazaki, as well as the ongoing short animation celebrations of GKIDS Minifest.

Schedule:

My Neighbor Totoro – Sunday, June 25 and Monday, June 26

Kiki’s Delivery Service – Sunday, July 23 and Monday, July 24

Castle In The Sky – Sunday, August 27 and Monday, August 28

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind – Sunday, September 24 and Monday, September 25

Spirited Away – Sunday, October 29 and Monday, October 30

Howl’s Moving Castle – Sunday, November 26 and Monday, November 27

All Sunday presentations will be dubbed and shown at 12:55 p.m. local time; Monday showings will be subtitled and shown at 7 p.m. local time.

Spirited Away

Spirited Away

Animation Magazine

Alaska Will Have Legal Marijuana for Sale by February 2017

It’s been nearly two years since Alaska legalized marijuana for recreational use, but residents still can’t buy the plant legally. In an Anchorage meeting between the House and Senate Judiciary committees, the state’s chief marijuana regulator expressed optimism that dispensaries would finally be open by next February. “I believe that by the time we arrive […]
Marijuana

New fragrance inspired by Putin goes on sale in Russia

MOSCOW – A perfume, whose creator says was inspired by Russian President Vladimir Putin, has gone on sale in Moscow.

The “Leaders Number One” scent, created by Belarussian-born perfumer Vladislav Rekunov, is sold in a black bottle featuring Putin’s profile at Moscow’s luxury GUM department store as well as online for 6,500 rubles, or $ 95.


Reuters: Oddly Enough