Scary Diagnosis:’ Two Stories of Vaping Illness

Sept. 20, 2019 — Lincoln Rennie says he is known as a dedicated employee, not the type who would call in sick to play hooky. So in late August, when he woke up feeling ill, the 23-year-old welder from Orange, CA, went to work anyway. But once he got there, his stomachache worsened and his fever climbed.

He headed home, and his fiancé, Viri Alvarado, became concerned when his body temperature kept rising. When it got over 103 F, Alvarado talked him into seeing a doctor. He went two different times, but each time, he was told it was ”probably just a fever.”

Still, it didn’t break. Then it rose to more than 104, and he was beginning to ”talk crazy,” says Alvarado, 20. Rennie admits: “I was definitely losing some cognitive function. I woke up saying everything was a scam and the pillow was my internet.”

That was it for Alvarado, who insisted he go to the emergency room that day — August 31.

Rennie was admitted to the hospital from the ER. While doctors first thought he had a urinary tract infection, the final diagnosis was acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

“The diagnosis about vaping-related illness came about the third day,” Rennie recalls.

He stayed in the hospital 11 days, losing 22 pounds.

“I was on oxygen for 8 days,” he says. He was prescribed corticosteroids, and he is still taking them.

Rennie is among more than 500 cases of vaping-related illnesses in the U.S. Like many of the vapers stricken, he is young and male. Nearly three-quarters of patients are men; more than half are under age 25.

And while public health officials have yet to pinpoint one substance or product as the cause, Rennie was vaping THC — an ingredient linked to many of the cases — before he got sick.

Rennie says he’s used medical cannabis for years to help him sleep. He began vaping nicotine about 10 years ago and then tuned to vaping THC about 5 years ago. He would do them as separate vapes, he says.

In June, he gave up the nicotine vape and vaped THC only. Costs were becoming an issue, as he would typically spend $ 50 for about a gram — about a week’s supply for him, he says.

About a month before he got sick, Rennie started buying off-market vaping cartridges, which he says cut his costs in half. These are cartridges (which are also called “carts”) not sold in legitimate retail stores, but often bought from friends or associates. He noticed the taste and effect differed between the brand-name carts and the bootleg products.

‘They Couldn’t Believe I Was Still Breathing’

Nathan Fagundez, 28, says he also bought bootleg cartridges before he got sick. After a few weeks of using them, “I couldn’t breathe,” says Fagundez, an agricultural pest control technician in Hanford, CA. In mid-August, he saw a report about vaping on TV, and right away, he knew what he had.

He headed to the hospital on August 13, and they found his oxygen levels so low, ”they couldn’t believe I was still breathing.”

His doctor told him it was acute lung injury due to vaping. “I was on the verge of being ventilated,” or put on a machine to help him breathe, he says. But he improved enough to avoid that.

After 16 days in the hospital, on steroids and oxygen, he was released. He continues to take the steroids and use the oxygen.

“I have a plug-in oxygen” for use at home, he says. “And I have a portable tank to wheel around. I bring it for emergencies, if I exert too much.”

Fagundez, a regular marijuana user, says he started vaping it about a year ago because when he used regular marijuana, the odor annoyed people he worked with.

He’d buy about 2 grams a week. “It was always off market,” he says. That would knock the usual $ 100 price down to about $ 40, he says.

He relies on the vaping for his anxiety.

In the weeks before he got sick, he says, “I went with a buddy to pick up carts from LA.” The seller, he says, ”had a whole lab in his garage.”

Fagundez says he later tried to confront the seller, who denied doing anything wrong.

‘I Was Too Trusting’

Rennie says that looking back, there were signs of problems with the off-market carts. The difference, in taste and effects, was obvious.

Although none in his circle of friends got sick, he says his immediate friends weren’t buying from the same source.

”I was too trusting. I believe there are safe options,” Rennie says, and regulating the industry more would make it safer. “The scariest part of the bootleg [market] is, they look the same. They will take a brand-name cart, refill it, and say it’s the same brand.”

His doctors told him firmly: No more vaping. He agrees. “It was enough of a wake-up call, I wouldn’t chance it again,” he says. Alvarado says she, too, is giving up vaping.

But Rennie doesn’t want to give up marijuana entirely. “It’s always been a positive medicine in my life.” He hopes to go back to ”regular cannabis,” as he calls it, as does Alvarado. And perhaps they will keep testing edibles to see if they could help.

Fagundez says he, too, has stopped vaping. His experience has also inspired friends to drop the habit, he says. “As soon as I hit the hospital, and they found out it was due to vaping, about 10 people stopped.”

After his release, his doctor prescribed an anti-anxiety medication, he says. “It zonked me out.” He fell asleep for hours. So he’s decided edibles are better to help calm him. His current favorite are chocolate and THC gummies.

“Edibles take longer to metabolize. I’d say it’s a little more intense than vaping. [But] it gets the job done, and it helps with anxieties.”

Back to Work: Uncertain Timetable

Rennie and Fagundez hope to return to work soon, but they’re not strong enough yet. Rennie isn’t sure when his return date will be. “I still get really tired.”

Fagundez tried to go back, but the hot weather worked against him. “Even when I walk the dogs, I become short of breath,” he says. And that’s only going about five blocks. He says it will probably take 3 more months to be able to return to work.

Both men are still being monitored closely. And they both wonder what’s in store for their health. As Rennie says: “It’s a scary diagnosis. It was definitely not something I expected to go through at 23.”


Nathan Fagundez, 28, Hanford, CA.

Lincoln Rennie, 23, Orange, CA.

Briefing, CDC, Sept. 19, 2019.

CDC: “Outbreak of Lung Injury Associated with E-Cigarette Use, or Vaping. For Healthcare Providers; Recommendations for Clinicians,” Sept. 19, 2019.

© 2019 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

‘); } else { // If we match both our test Topic Ids and Buisness Ref we want to place the ad in the middle of page 1 if($ .inArray(window.s_topic, moveAdTopicIds) > -1 && $ .inArray(window.s_business_reference, moveAdBuisRef) > -1){ // The logic below reads count all nodes in page 1. Exclude the footer,ol,ul and table elements. Use the varible // moveAdAfter to know which node to place the Ad container after. window.placeAd = function(pn) { var nodeTags = [‘p’, ‘h3′,’aside’, ‘ul’], nodes, target; nodes = $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(‘ + pn + ‘)’).find(nodeTags.join()).not(‘p:empty’).not(‘footer *’).not(‘ol *, ul *, table *’); //target = nodes.eq(Math.floor(nodes.length / 2)); target = nodes.eq(moveAdAfter); $ (”).insertAfter(target); } // Currently passing in 1 to move the Ad in to page 1 window.placeAd(1); } else { // This is the default location on the bottom of page 1 $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(1)’).append(”); } } })(); $ (function(){ // Create a new conatiner where we will make our lazy load Ad call if the reach the footer section of the article $ (‘.main-container-3’).prepend(”); });
WebMD Health

Travelers Campaign ‘Unfinished Stories’ Animates a Distracted Driving Message

Travelers Insurance has launched a powerful new campaign with an important message about road safety with “Unfinished Stories” — a three part series which honors real victims of distracted driving by imagining what their lives might have been through the magic of animation.

“Unfinished Stories” seeks to draw attention to the growing problem of distracted driving, which kills at least nine people and injures more than 1,000 each day in the U.S. alone, according to the CDC.

Two films have launched recently, detailing the tragic deaths and unfinished stories of 19-year-old Shreya Dixit and 61-year-old Howard Stein.

Shreya Dixit was a gifted student and talented singer-songwriter, who was on her way home from school one afternoon when the driver of her vehicle became distracted and hit a concrete pylon. “The Stage,” animated by Psyop and directed by Jack Anderson, imagines her story not ending there, showing Shreya as a successful graduate student who returns to her love of music when she comes across an old song she had written herself but never had the chance to sing out loud. Shreya takes to the stage of an open-mic night and ends up headlining a sold-out show.

Howard Stein was a self-taught master craftsman, who delighted in making furniture and goods for friends and loved ones. He was struck by a distracted driver while securing a tarp on his truck on the side of the road. In “The Tree House,” created in partnership with LOBO animation studio and directed by Guilherme Marcondes, reveals a special relationship between Howard and his granddaughter, Evie, whom he never had a chance to meet. The film imagines a growing bond between the two of them as they craft a backyard tree house from start to finish, and become best friends along the way.

In “The Route,” which debuted late last year, the unfinished story of budding track star Philip LaVallee imagines him rising to the top of his sport and competing at the 2018 Olympic Games in Rio.

The Travelers Institute Every Second Matters distracted driving initiative is a national educational campaign launched in 2017, dedicated to reducing distracted driving and empowering drivers to set positive examples for roadway safety. Learn more at

Shreya's Unfinished Story - The Stage

Shreya’s Unfinished Story – The Stage

Shreya's Unfinished Story - The Stage

Shreya’s Unfinished Story – The Stage

Phillip's Unfinished Story - The Route

Phillip’s Unfinished Story – The Route

Phillip's Unfinished Story - The Route

Phillip’s Unfinished Story – The Route

Howard's Unfinished Story - The Tree House

Howard’s Unfinished Story – The Tree House

Howard's Unfinished Story - The Tree House

Howard’s Unfinished Story – The Tree House

Animation Magazine

Animation Spotlights Survivors’ Stories in Me Too PSAs

Content warning: This article and the videos embedded relate to sexual violence and survivors’ personal stories.

A new four-piece PSA collection for Me Too — the movement started by Tarana Burke to call attention to the scope of sexual violence, and to build solidarity for and among survivors — is proving once again the powerful artistic potential of animation.

Co-headed by creative agency Deutsch, the spots were created by top studios including Hornet, Psyop and Elastic to share personal stories from actor Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine Nine), Telemundo news anchor Daniela Contreras and anonymous survivors. Deutsch advised on strategy, design and execution for the PSAs as part of its ongoing partnerships with Me Too.

Tarana Burke commented: “These shorts place the focus back where it belongs, [back on] the dignity, humanity, and healing of all survivors. These courageous individuals are not alone, and we hope that people around the world see their journeys reflected in the words of these brave individuals.”

“Terry” (Terry Crews; animation by We Are Royale)

“Anonymous” (We Are Royale)

“Emily” (activist Emily Waters; animation by Elastic)

“Daniela” (Daniela Contreras; animation by Hornet)

[Source: Digital Arts Online UK]

Animation Magazine

Bees, brothels and monkey selfies: oh my; 2018 abuzz with odd U.S. stories

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A hive of honeybees in the heart of New York City, a monkey with a photographer’s eye, a brothel full featuring robotic sex dolls and a political candidate who carried the day from his grave were among the characters featured in the strangest stories of 2018.

FILE PHOTO: A woman reacts to a swarm of bees in Times Square in New York City, U.S., August 28, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

One of the most inexplicable animal stories of the year unfolded on a hot August afternoon, when a menacing horde of honeybees descended on a hot dog vendor’s umbrella, bringing Times Square to a standstill and drawing swarms of gawking tourists.

After a brief flurry of excitement, the buzzing interlopers were apprehended by a police officer armed with a vacuum cleaner-like device that sucked them up. The bees were then whisked away to safety.

Clearly, bees do not enjoy the right of free assembly in New York City.

In April, a California court ruled that the animal kingdom does not have much in the way of property rights, either, in a case involving a Celebes crested macaque who took a selfie using a nature photographer’s camera.

The court rejected a lawsuit filed on the monkey’s behalf by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which argued the primate was the legal owner of all photos he took. In a decision that likely left the plaintiffs crestfallen, the court ruled that monkeys cannot sue for copyright protection.

Animal antics and weird human behavior met up in New Hampshire in January, when a man bit a police dog whose team was investigating a reported shooting. Authorities were attempting to arrest the man on an outstanding warrant when he bit a state police dog, who bit back and then watched while the man was Tasered.

In July, in a tourist section of Miami Beach, Florida, a homeless man with no arms was charged with stabbing a Chicago man with a pair of scissors, using his feet. The assailant claimed self-defense, but the victim said he was only asking for directions when he was attacked.

A list of annual oddities would not be complete without a Texas entry, and Houston obliged as its City Council moved quickly in October to derail the prospect of becoming the first U.S. city to host a brothel featuring robotic sex dolls. Upon learning of the plan by Toronto-based KinkySdollS to open in the city, local laws were altered accordingly. Henceforth, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said, “you cannot engage in sexual activities with any inanimate objects at the business.”

Low-tech brothels also made the news a month later, when a Nevada Republican who owned multiple houses of prostitution and strip clubs won election to the state legislature thanks to support from evangelical Christian voters, who overlooked both his sex business and the fact that he had died a month earlier.

In December, four months after a swarm of bees descended on Times Square, a British couple visited the famed Manhattan crossroads where the man had asked his beloved for her hand in marriage. The woman, who had promptly answered “Yes!” to the marriage proposal, gasped “No!” as her engagement ring tumbled down a subway grate.

After contacting New York police, who searched unsuccessfully for the ring, the devastated couple returned to Britain without leaving their names with the officers. Days later, police managed to locate the ring in the bowels of Manhattan and then – putting Twitter to the test – were able to track the unnamed lovebirds across an ocean and reunite them with the ring.

Reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York; Editing by Scott Malone, Frank McGurty and Bill Berkrot

Reuters: Oddly Enough

Tencent Video Seals Deal for ‘Om Nom Stories’

China’s Tencent Video has made a three-year exclusive deal with ZeptoLab to distribute seasons 6 through 10 of its animated series Om Nom Stories. The first five seasons of the show were launched on the top three Chinese new media platforms in July 2017 and garnered over a billion views during its first month.

Om Nom Stories is a popular children’s comedy toon, featuring a cute little monster named Om Nom, who can never sit still and always finds himself in the middle of incredible and fun adventures. The 80 x 3.5’ series has more than 10 billion viewers worldwide. New episodes currently are in production. The show was launched in 2012 by ZeptoLab, a U.K.-based company best known for the mobile game series Cut the Rope.

Here is a sampler of the popular toon:

Om Nom Stories

Om Nom Stories

Animation Magazine

The Biggest International Marijuana Stories of 2017

This was an incredible year for international cannabis reform, with many governments realizing the futility of prohibition and actually doing something about it. Countries big and small on almost every continent made strides with decriminalization and legalization for both medical and recreational marijuana. was there to cover it all in 2017. So without further […]

Colorado’s Most-Read Marijuana Stories in 2017

Approved by Colorado voters in November 2012, legal marijuana is now becoming mainstream in Colorado – but not without its fair share of controversy. New laws and regulations surrounding medical and recreational pot, a recent rise in legalization opponents thanks to United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s fear-mongering actions, and consolidation in Denver’s dispensary scene have all generated plenty of buzz. For a rundown of what cannabis issues people have been talking about most this year, check out our ten most-read pot stories of 2017:

A slab of shatter, a popular cannabis concentrate.

A slab of shatter, a popular cannabis concentrate.

Lindsey Bartlett

1. “Concentrate! Here’s the Difference Between Shatter, Budder, Crumble and More”

There used to be just a few varieties of concentrates, and now there are many, many more. Read more here.

2. “Dear USA Today: Marijuana Hasn’t Devastated Colorado”

In August, USA Today published an op-ed titled “Marijuana Devastated Colorado, Don’t Legalize It Nationally,” written by Jeff Hunt, the vice president of public policy at Colorado Christian University, who continues to advocate against pot. Read more here.

3. “Eleven States Considering Pot Laws In 2017”

Four states legalized recreational marijuana during 2016, leading at least eleven to consider changing their laws this year. Read more here.

4. “Legal Cannabis Opponents Unite at Colorado Christian to Fight Pot Industry”

Coloradans against the legalization of cannabis found their collective voice at a symposium of the Centennial Institute and Colorado Christian University on October 6, 2017. Read more here.

Buddies Wellness had plants riddled with mites and mold in July 2017, according to the Denver Department of Environmental Health.

Buddies Wellness had plants riddled with mites and mold in July 2017, according to the Denver Department of Environmental Health.

Denver Department of Environmental Health

5. “Six Places to Buy Marijuana Late at Night in the Denver Metro Area”

Before May 1, 2017, Denver dispensaries were only allowed to be open until 7 p.m. In spring, 10 p.m. became the new deadline. Read more here.

6. “Op Ed: Keep Your Hands Off Marijuana, Jeff Sessions”

A Colorado mother tells her story of how cannabis helped her daughter in a letter directed to Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Read more here.

7. “The Six Largest Dispensary Chains in Colorado”

There are about 500 retail dispensary licenses in the state, with more than a third of those having addresses in Denver. Read more here.

8. “Jeff Sessions Finally Replies to John Hickenlooper’s Marijuana Letter”

On April 3, 2017, the governors of four states with recreational cannabis businesses up and running at the time sent a letter to Jeff Sessions. In August, he replied. Read more here.

9. “Denver Issues First Recall for Mite-Infested, Moldy Marijuana”

Buddies Wellness LLC had two recalls within a week in July. Read more here.

10. “Two of Colorado’s Largest Dispensary Chains Continue to Grow”

Native Roots and the Green Solution continued to grow by opening new stores before the holiday season. Read more here.

Toke of the Town

Google Spotlight Stories Launches ‘Sonaria’ VR


The latest Google Spotlight Stories virtual reality experience, Sonaria launched Friday across multiple platforms, including Steam, Viveport and mobile for Android, iOS and Daydream via the Google Spotlight Stories app.

Directed by Scot Stafford and Chromosphere and produced by Camille Cellucci, Sonaria follows two constantly changing creatures flowing from one life-form to another in an immersive world crafted out of abstract visuals and a layered, detailed sonic landscape. The project employs the latest audio technology, utilizing object-based emitters and motion simulation, immersive acoustics and binaural playback, allowing the viewer to locate a sound in space precisely and the sound to dynamically adapt to the viewer’s movement, in high fidelity and in real time.

GSS also announced that the recently released VR short Son of Jaguar from Book of Life director Jorge Gutiérrez has expanded its release to Viveport, iOS/Android and YouTube 360, following its initial launch on Pixel 2 and Steam.

The teams from Sonaria and Son of Jaguar are both participating in demos and panel discussions at this weekend’s CTN Animation Expo in Burbank.

Read more about Sonaria and Son of Jaguar here.



Animation Magazine

Vision Quests: Google Spotlight Stories ‘Son of Jaguar’ & ‘Sonaria’

Jorge Gutiérrez

Jorge Gutiérrez

In 2016, when Google Spotlight Stories’ Pearl became the first VR piece to land an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Short, many animators took notice. “After watching Patrick Osborne’s Pearl I did two things,” says Jorge Gutiérrez, director of the Golden Globe-nominated feature The Book of Life and the co-creator of Nickelodeon’s Emmy-winning series El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera. “First I cried, and then I said, ‘Can I watch it again, please?’ I’d connected on an emotional level that I’d never felt before. If we can make people feel things, that is the best special effect. I knew I wanted to do one of these.”

Gutiérrez got his wish, completing his first VR piece for Google Spotlight Stories, Son of Jaguar, which puts viewers inside the POV of a Mexican wrestler. “When wrestlers put on a mask they become someone else. That’s what we do in VR. When you put the headset on, you become someone else. It also made me feel like a ghost, because I’m watching things that can’t interact. That led to the idea of a Mexican wrestler ghost who on the Day of the Dead comes down to visit his family. That’s where the inspiration came from.”

Gutiérrez tackled the project alongside Reel FX in North Hollywood, Calif., his collaborators on The Book of Life. Gutiérrez admits, “VR was a lot harder and crazier than I ever imagined. I was very skeptical of the medium, but I can say that we jumped out of the plane and made the parachute as we were falling!”

The talented Mexican-born director recalls that the real-time rendering in VR was hard. “But the audience still wants it to look beautifully textured. In animation, we’re used to controlling everything—especially cutting and framing. In VR, you lose both of those things. I said I wanted to be able to do those things. So we figured out how to cut and figured out a way to… not ‘frame’ things, but to make you look at certain things.”

“The big ‘aha’ moment for me was thinking about it like theater,” Gutiérrez notes. “A theater director directs the audience with light and sound and by telling the actors to walk to a certain place. And wherever you’re sitting in the theater, you’re going to get your own version of the story. So instead of looking to the future, I looked to the past.”

Working in Abstract Environments

Notably, a similar aesthetic was followed by Scot Stafford, who co-directed the dreamlike VR short Sonaria with Kevin Dart of Chromosphere. “We’re transporting you through 10 totally different environments, which is hard to do in VR,” explains Stafford. “We thought, ‘What if we approached it like theatrical lighting and scene changes?’ Chromosphere took that idea and ran with it.”

Stafford, through his company Pollen Music Group in San Francisco, has worked on the sound for several Google Spotlight Stories, including Pearl and the Aardman Animations mobile piece Special Delivery. Sonaria was Stafford’s first co-directing effort, but he’s been involved in VR since 2012. He likens that to “dog years,” saying it’s felt like 35 years.

Sonaria was new territory, however, for the animators at Chromosphere, notes Kevin Dart. His L.A.-based studio, which has done animation for clients including Disney and the television series Cosmos, hadn’t tackled a complex VR challenge before. “Getting a project from Google that was meant to be an experimental art piece was a dream,” says Dart. “That’s something we usually do on our own time.”

The collaboration between Stafford and Dart actually was facilitated by Google Spotlight’s tech lead, Rachid El Guerrab. “Rachid showed me Kevin’s film Forms in Nature,” recalls Stafford. “I was thunderstruck. It was a really interesting exploration of forms and shapes.”

When the directors began communicating, Sonaria evolved into an abstract exploration of diverse environments, from deep-sea dives with phosphorescent creatures to high forest canopies and bat caves. Stafford says this required extensive audio tool development. “We needed to have full spheres of sound both above and below.”

Audible Delights

To achieve this, Pollen Music worked not only with Google engineers but also UC San Diego’s Sonic Arts Department. “Sound plays a huge role in VR. Sound can tell you where you are and what you’re looking at. You can only see a small minority of the world at any given time, but you can hear all of it,” notes Stafford. As Google’s El Guerrab explains, “We pushed the idea of real-time filtering, and blending between different 360 audio fields.”

Watching Sonaria on an HTC Vive headset allows the viewer six Degrees of Freedom. Stafford remarks, “You can stand up or sit down or step to the right and have a much more immersive experience.” But a naive viewer can also end up feeling dizzy. And for animators coming from a traditional background, 6DOF means they can’t animate to camera. Stafford observes, “There are new challenges that you would never see in film.”

Even the traditional way of storyboarding a linear piece is not applicable in VR. So Chromosphere had to develop a new way of doing a 360 storyboard. Dart also notes, “We had to figure out how to preview animation from an animator. They haven’t quite invented a pipeline yet to do effective VR animation review.”

That’s one of several reasons why El Guerrab calls these projects experiments: “Every show allows us to explore our tech a little bit more.” Which is why Google Spotlight Stories has worked on as many projects that don’t ship as those that do. Both Sonaria and Son of Jaguar have been seen at festivals like SIGGRAPH, Annecy, Pixelatl’s El Festival, and the Future of Storytelling conference.

And, Son of Jaguar has just arrived exclusively for Google’s Pixel 2 smartphone via the Spotlight Stories app. Soon to be available for Google’s VR system Daydream, the experience was designed to push the boundaries of the Pixel 2?s visual and audio capabilities.

Field of Vision

The growing network of VR animation artists might arguably be as crucial to the development of this medium as the technology is. Google has already worked with legendary 2D Disney animator Glen Keane (The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Tangled) to produce the mobile 360 short Duet, and Disney Animated Short Oscar winner John Kahrs (Paperman) is currently working on his Spotlight Stories VR project. Add to this that Spotlight’s creative leadership includes Jan Pinkava (Animated Short Oscar winner for Pixar’s Geri’s Game) and you can see the seriousness of Google’s efforts.

El Guerrab adds, “We hope to showcase to creators the many kinds of things that are now possible in VR, and why they should create content for this medium. They can do things that aren’t possible in a theater with surround sound.”

“It’s great to have a patron like Google without any expectations other than driving the technology forward,” says Stafford. It is surely in the self-interest of deep-pocketed Google to jump-start the VR movement. As El Guerrab puts it, “This is an age when a lot of digital companies are becoming content companies. We can’t afford not to do it. I think companies that have the ability to invest in this are the ones who should.”

It’s interesting to observe that 2D animators are welcomed in Google’s VR fold, a reflection of agnosticism about traditional forms. While Sonaria is primarily 2D animation, Dart asserts, “We’re not trying to rescue 2D styles.”

Gutiérrez also reminds us, “I come from 2D. I had El Tigre on Nickelodeon. I think 2D people will love working in VR. I’m now waiting for stop-motion people to join the movement.”

For more info, visit

Animation Magazine

CBD Success Stories: How Cannabidiol Improves Lives

Colorado is known for majestic mountains, craft breweries and, of course, its wonderful world of weed. However, not everyone knows to take advantage of the state’s most progressive medicinal plant-based resource: cannabidiol, or CBD.

A compound known to produce medical benefits in both humans and animals, CBD is available in many formats for consumption. Hemp-based CBD products derived from plants with less than 0.3 percent THC are currently legal to produce in Colorado without a license from the Marijuana Enforcement Division and to sell in all fifty states. But cannabis-based CBD products in marijuana dispensaries are extracted from plants with much higher THC contents, and are highly regulated at a state level. Both are becoming increasingly popular among patients and retail consumers alike – so what’s all the fuss about?

Humans are all born with endocannabinoid systems, a network of cannabinoid receptors in our brains and bodies that receive CBD. Our bodies generate CBD by themselves, but can benefit from externally introduced CBD through ingestion or inhalation. So while you might think all of your pot-loving friends are only taking dabs and smoking bowls, they might also be downing droppers of CBD hemp oil for pain management in the morning and consuming CBD isolate powder as a sleep aid at night.

As lucky as we are to live in Colorado’s cannabis haven, it’s important to arm ourselves with knowledge about CBD and its healing effects – but that can create a lot of questions: What kind of CBD is best for me? Should I use THC at all? Where can I find what I need? Don’t worry: We’ve done the legwork for you. Here are six instances in which CBD helps Mile High residents, from treating Multiple Sclerosis to enhancing love lives.

Pain Relief

Patients often seek pain relief from big pharmaceutical companies, because it’s what they’ve been conditioned to do. After a work-related accident left Noah Novello with four herniated disks in his back, he was no different. “I was barely able to move,” he says. Over the course of two years, he was on a cocktail of twenty different pills per day, including OxyContin, morphine and Dilaudid. On a friend’s recommendation, Novello tried hash oil with a 1:1 THC-to-CBD ratio.

“My tolerance continued to increase, my mood was unstable, I felt like a zombie, I couldn’t think straight, and I was still in pain,” Novello says of his experiences with pills. “After the first dab I did, I felt my lower back pain instantly melt away.”

Other patients couldn’t afford to lose time at work, like 29-year-old Kendra Cochran, a bartender at Squire Lounge who sought fast-acting relief related to nerve pain. “A glass bottle sliced open my hand, severing my right medial nerve. I have been using pain-relieving CBD salve, 100-milligram CBD oil cartridges and a CBD vape pen, which all help a lot with the pain,” she says. Cochran calls CBD “a godsend” throughout her healing process, due to the discomfort and nausea that prescription painkillers produce.

In addition to post-injury pain, CBD can treat migraines and other headaches, and even menstrual cramps. Boulder’s Nabeela Merali, who manages an acupuncture clinic, says she has suffered migraines for twenty years and has experienced an increasingly painful menstrual cycle over the past couple of years.

“In the past, I’ve taken Excedrin and Advil to help with the pain, but taking six Excedrin a day would often leave me jittery and still with a headache,” says Merali, whose friends suggested trying a high-CBD, low-THC strain of cannabis. She now smokes Rubicon from The Green Solution, a high-CBD, indica-dominant strain known for helping with pain, nausea and inflammation. “I don’t feel stoned, but definitely relaxed,” Merali reports. “My experience with it has been way more effective than over-the-counter pain relievers.”

With the pain spectrum so wide and diverse, though, how can new patients determine the right products for their medical issues? “For pain, an ingestable is ideal, because it creates a longer-lasting effect than inhalation,” says Bradley Orr, CEO of Stratos, an infused-products company that manufactures CBD tablets. “Tablet form is also great for pain relief, because it is reproducible, discreet, has a long shelf life, and it won’t melt, mold or spoil like many other ingestible options.”

As for the recommended dose, Dr. Joseph Cohen at Holos Health, a medical marijuana evaluation clinic, suggests beginning with a 1:1 THC-to-CBD ratio, which is a low-psychoactive option. Orr notes that those who take blood thinners should consult with their physicians prior to ingesting CBD, because CBD competes for the enzyme that breaks these drugs down and can therefore impact the efficacy.

In addition to consumption via pill form, those looking to manage or diminish pain have the option of ingesting hemp oil. Prime My Body offers hemp extract that utilizes a liposomal delivery system, which makes the bioavailability (the rate at which your body absorbs the cannabinoids) of the oil more accessible. This non-THC CBD oil is produced in Boulder and is overseen by renowned scientist Dr. Christopher Shade, who founded Lafayette-based Quicksilver Scientific labs in 2005 to study superior liposomal delivery systems, mercury testing and blood metal testing.

Salve can be made at home and can remedy skin issues.

Skin Remedy

Beyond everyday burns and bruises, salves infused with CBD work to remedy skin diseases. Steven Daniels (who asked that his real name not be used) was born with an incurable genetic skin disorder, Hailey-Hailey, which causes blisters, rashes and inflammation due to an enzyme mutation that causes weakened skin-cell development.

“It starts around puberty and gets worse. As the skin gets older, it gets weaker,” he says. “My skin lacks certain parts of the cell and the collagen that makes skin elastic, gives it strength and keeps it from cracking.” In 2016, Daniels reached out to Spirit of the Herbs Apothecary‘s Holly Hill to try her CBD-only salve, which is infused with hemp, beeswax and a variety of beneficial oils and herbs.

“The CBD salve helps fight the bacteria,” Daniels explains. “When I have an issue with my skin and I apply the salve, it heals it up as an alternative to other prescription topical medication.” According to Daniels, steroids, which are commonly used to treat the inflammation of his skin disease, actually weaken his already-brittle skin. However, the CBD salve offers a remedy during steroid flare-ups.

A CBD tincture.

Neurological Treatment

Tinctures, which use a liquid extraction process to create fast-acting CBD drops, are another popular way to consume CBD, especially for patients who have seizures. Breckenridge resident Matty Ciao was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis ten years ago, and started having six to eight seizures a year in 2012 as a result of the chronic disease. “I tried over nine seizure medications, and none of them worked,” the 27-year-old says. “I decided to try using CBD while also staying on my seizure medication in March 2016. Since then, I have had only one seizure.”

Ciao’s CBD regimen starts with The Remedy-Elite CBD Tincture from Mary’s Medicinals. He consumes two to three 500-milligram drops of the CBD extract three times a day. He also ingests a 70-percent CBD liquid that he adds to his food two to three times a day. “My goal is to keep CBD in my system 24/7,” he adds.

Gummies are easier than you think to make at home.

Gummies are easier than you think to make at home.

Danielle Lirette

Sound Sleep

CBD has aided in facilitating deep sleep without the psychoactive effects and “hangover” THC can leave. Jason Burruss, 35-year-old jeweler, musician and owner of Denver-based Purple Couch Events, consumes CBD isolate to control his physical state both daily and nightly. In the daylight hours, Burruss takes between 30 and 50 milligrams of CBD to increase productivity, control his moods and relieve muscular pains that distract him from work. He then takes 50 to 80 milligrams at night to help him sleep.

“Before I started taking CBD at night, I was waking up frequently and sleeping long hours due to lack of deep sleep,” he says. Burruss now averages seven hours of sound sleep per night. “It is completely different than waking up after ten hours of sleep feeling groggy and needing an hour or two to truly feel awake,” he explains. Burruss now creates his own CBD gummies, incorporating the isolate to increase the effectiveness of his medicine.

Colorado-based The CBDistillery makes hemp-derived CBD isolate available in two forms: slab and powder. While both are great for dabbing, the powder form can be added to foods, liquids, topicals and other do-it-yourself remedies. The CBDistillery recommends beginning with a small dose of about 2.5 milligrams of isolate, then adjusting the amount as needed. However, a physician consultation on dosage is highly encouraged by the company.

Bath bombs can be even more relaxing with CBD.

Bath bombs can be even more relaxing with CBD.

Meditative Medicinals Facebook

Emotional Balance and Relaxation

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 40 million adults over the age of eighteen suffer from anxiety disorders, and approximately half of those adults also battle depression. Shannon Donnelly was one of them, suffering from suicidal depression and feeling anxious every time she left the house, even suffering panic attacks. In 2013, Donnelly began a regimen of CBD pills, and she says her panic attacks are gone.

“[I] feel like CBD has changed the way my brain works. I no longer catastrophize day-to-day,” she says. “I now use CBD for confidence. It helps me feel better about all the situations I am in, whether at work, or personally. It is my plant ally.” Following her progress, Donnelly went on to found Healthy Honeys, a cannabis-education company for women.

For those looking to quiet their minds from daily stresses and anxiety, a CBD-infused bath ritual could be just the cure. Samantha Savoca of Meditative Medicinals developed CBD bath bombs with 99.9 percent CBD isolate to create a therapeutic soak, using Dead Sea salts for achy muscles and vibrant skin, cherry kernel oil for skin nourishment, organic essential oils for aromatherapy effects, and dried herbs and flowers – all so users can soak in organic materials.

“Who doesn’t love a nourishing bath?” Savoca says. “I know that CBD is making a difference, because when soaking in CBD, you are activating those cannabinoid receptors for sleep, calming the nervous system, boosting your immune system and alleviating joint pain and injuries on a much deeper level. You can truly feel it!” Savoca’s clientele consists of patients with scoliosis, chronic back pain, fibromyalgia, dark skin spots and even the flu.

Savoca and her fiancé, Noah Wells, are Colorado hemp farmers. Her bath bombs are currently available for free (along with shipping costs) through Medicinal Dreams, which Wells owns and oversees. “We do well enough on our farming that I decided I wanted to set up some sort of system that could be geared toward a nonprofit scenario,” Wells says.

Enhance the Romance

Donnelly’s Healthy Honeys currently hosts its own line of CBD-infused products. Through two signature parties — “Women, Weed and Wine” and “Women, Weed and Wellness” — the group introduces their female-friendly offerings. “We infuse age-old recipes with CBD and different herbs to enhance women’s daily lives, and to help them with the stress of being women in modern society,” Donnelly says. Some of these stress factors are related to romance, which Healthy Honeys aims to ease with CBD.

Donnelly and her team partnered with Colorado hemp producers to develop two specialty products, both containing 200 milligrams of CBD each: Healthy Honeys Massage Oil and Healthy Honeys Hold Me Now Personal Lubricant. Donnelly says both are for use all over the body, including private areas. Through use of both products, couples are able to target sexual discomfort and bodily aches and pains more intimately.

Lauren Maxwell finds that CBD-infused massage oils enhance the way that she and her partner express their love, bringing them closer together by relieving stress. “When my fiancé is in physical pain, which is often, due to his line of work, it can cause emotional stress on our relationship,” she explains. “A gentle and healing touch from me [with the oil] can make his aches, pains and anxiety melt away.”

Toke of the Town

Animation Magazine Massive 30th Anniversary Issue Calls for Stories


If you’re a regular reader of Animation Magazine in print, PDF or through our app, you know that we are planning a spectacular, bursting-at-the-seams 30th Anniversary special issue. With the incredible growth of the animation, visual effects, gaming and related industries worldwide over the last three decades, Animag is sending out a call to everyone that makes this biz so exciting to share their stories with our readers.

“In the early days of the magazine, with no internet and no other publications, Animation Magazine was the only place to brand and legitimize your show or company,” said Publisher Jean Thoren. “When thinking about what we should do for this milestone, I realized I wanted to go back to our roots and help companies, studios, schools, events and organizations brand and tell the world why they exist.”

The result will be an invaluable Who’s-Who guide to the world of animation, presented with a special section of two-page spreads that celebrate the histories, successes and forward-thinking visions of participating companies, groups and individuals. And, at an unprecedented per page rate.

The June 2017 issue (#271) will not only be the biggest-ever edition of Animation Magazine, but it will also have the highest distribution of any Animag. On top of our regular bonus distribution to the Annecy festival and market, the 30th Anniversary Issue will be available at SIGGRAPH, San Diego Comic-Con, CTN and every event you’ll find us a throughout the year. Not to mention our World Animation and VFX Summit this fall. And, of course, all our discerning subscribers.

“I have always been fascinated by the personal stories in our industry. It is the passion, perseverance, humor and tenacity of individuals that gets quality projects to the screen. This offer is a vehicle to tell that story to the world,” added Thoren. “We will be printing enough copies of this special issue to distribute throughout the year and, like our 20th Anniversary Book, I imagine it will be on coffee tables around the globe where people will be able to leisurely pick it up and discover the inspiration that we who produce the magazine delight in every day.”

The May 5 deadline for this mileston issue is fast approaching! If you are interested in being included in the 30th Anniversary Issue (and why wouldn’t you be?), get in touch with Sheri Shelton at 818-665-2050 or via email ([email protected]) right away for more information and to reserve your two-page spread.

Animation Magazine 30 Years

Animation Magazine 30 Years

Animation Magazine

AmebaTV Hungry for ‘Om Nom Stories’


Cut the Rope: Om Nom Stories, based on Zeptolab’s mobile game franchise, has joined the streaming lineup on Canada’s AmebaTV. Four seasons totalling 39 episodes will be presented on the platform, which is available on over 300 devices including smart TVs, OTT devices and phones/tablets.

Om Nom [is] the needy, candy-loving monster in developer Zeptolab’s breakout hit,” said Tony Havelka, CEO of AmebaTV. “Cut the Rope is a mobile game that has and continues to capitalize on the appeal of its main character in a variety of media. It’s a hit among kids and their families and is certain to be popular with our own young viewers.”

Zeptolab launched Cut the Rope in 2010, and the property has since expanded into a series of games downloaded more than 700 million times, a short-form animated web series garnering 800 million-plus views, and comic books. In the game, players must snip a string and use a series of contraptions to get sweets into the Om Nom monster’s maw.

Om Nom Stories

Om Nom Stories

Animation Magazine

UWE Students Bring Personal Stories to Life for BBC


BBC World Service has teamed up with the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) to animate select audio clips from the service. Students at UWE were presented with 10 one-minute narrations, and have delivered 10 unique shorts to illustrate these important personal stories. The series will launch on, BBC World News and across social media on July 5.

Among the shorts can be found everything from a corrosive Soviet town, to a wine-loving bear, to the harrowing tale of a child soldier in Sudan — mainly personal experiences told in the protagonists’ own words. In addition to audio from programs like Outlook, Witness and The Conversation, another notable series highlight is an incredible Chinese tongue-twister poem, in which every syllable sounds like “shi.” The UWE animations bring a new dimension to these rich and complex narratives.

“Working with the BBC World Service on this exciting project has been a real highlight for the postgraduate animation students. The opportunity to work on such a wide variety of topics was a chance to explore and expand their practice and, given the deadline, a genuine creative challenge,” says Chris Webster, program leader for BA and MA Animation at the Bristol School of Animation.

“The stories drawn from around the world, not dissimilar to the students that created the films, were charming, funny and at times even harrowing. They resulted in a range of highly original and creative responses – exciting, funny, very dynamic and never quite what one would expect. I hope that this will lead to many more such collaborations.”

You can listen to the audio clips ahead of the series debut here.

UWE Students Bring Personal Stories to Life for BBC

UWE Students Bring Personal Stories to Life for BBC. Image Credit: BBC

Animation Magazine

Dank Marijuana News Stories from 2015

It’s been another stellar year for the cannabis culture with more states across the nation reforming laws regarding marijuana for either recreational or medical consumption.

And it looks as if 2016 might have a few victories in store for our community as well.

But only time will tell.

So, before we get too far ahead of ourselves, we thought we would take a brief look back at some of our dankest news stories from 2015 that celebrate the culture’s successes.

Recreational Marijuana:

Alaska Legalizes Pot Bars – 

Smoking weed at pot bars or lounges inside dispensaries will soon be legal in Alaska. The state’s Marijuana Control Board voted 3-2 recently to allow licensed cannabis sellers to allow smoking. The board changed the definition of smoking in public, which is prohibited, to carve out an exception for the shops.

Marijuana Consumers Prefer Legal Retailers –

The publication Marijuana Business Daily revealed some of the results of its fourth annual Marijuana Consumer Survey. It discovered that marijuana users in states where it’s legal prefer getting their medication from legit storefronts.

Will Florida Legalize Weed For Recreational Purposes in 2016? –

Voters in Florida could have the opportunity to decide whether marijuana is legalized for recreational dedications in 2016, but that’s if the pro-pot organization Regulate Florida collects enough signatures in order to land their initiative on the ballot.

Medical Marijuana:

Marijuana States Get Protected from DEA – 

As expected, language in the $ 1.8 trillion federal spending bill recently passed by Congress seeks to protect patients in medical marijuana states such as California.

Pot Is Safe Therapeutic Alternative for Pain Management, Study Shows –

As if those of us in-the-know weren’t already fully aware, newly published research shows that it is safe to use cannabis as a longterm curative alternative for pain management.

PTSD: Can Smoking Marijuana Reduce the Symptoms? –

Clinical research out of New Mexico suggests that smoking cannabis could play a vital role in reducing key symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The Boundless Benefits of Cannabidiol (CBD) –

The component of the marijuana plant that has taken the proverbial spotlight as of late is Cannabidiol (CBD), which is believed to hold more medicinal benefits than any single pharmaceutical drug available on today’s market.

Judge Says Weed Can Be Sold in Montana –

A judge just upended Montana’s limited medical marijuana law.

District Judge James Reynolds of Helena struck down provisions of the law that really made it legalization in name only. Namely, he said, sure, you can sell cannabis for profit. And he said you can advertise your pot business too.

California’s Governor Signs Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act –

The signing of said Act will institute a comprehensive regulatory structure for the state’s medical marijuana program, which is an issue that was left unaddressed when Proposition 215 was initially established back in 1996.

Patient Sues Border Patrol Over Right to Possess Medical Marijuana –

What’s a guy to do about the fear of imprisonment for merely being in possession of something he’s licensed with his home state to possess and consume?

Well, you get yourself a lawyer and file an injunction against the U.S. Border Patrol in connection with how folks are questioned by the agency at checkpoints.

The War on Drugs:

Obama Will Free Many Nonviolent Drug Offenders from Prison –

President Obama is set to use his pen-wielding hand to release dozens of federal prisoners currently behind bars for nonviolent drug offenses.

Obama Freed More Nonviolent Drug Offenders from Prison –

Just days before Santa Claus is slated to make his rounds, President Obama commuted sentences for an additional 95 nonviolent drug offenders.

United Nation Leans Toward Decriminalization –

The United Nations’ Office on Drugs and Crime reportedly prepared a briefing paper calling for nations to end the international War on Drugs and decriminalize self medication.

Celebrities and Marijuana:

Willie Nelson Talks About His New Brand of Weed –

As we recently reported, Willie Nelson, the man that may be best known for singing about a river flowing with a barrel-aged distilled spirit, has announced that he’ll be lending his name to a brand of the sticky stuff aptly named “Willie’s Reserve”.

Family of Bob Marley and Privateer Holdings Unveils World’s First Global Cannabis Brand –

Members of Bob Marley’s family have joined forces with the Seattle-based company Privateer Holdings in order to launch what will be known as the world’s first international brand of cannabis under the trade name Marley Natural.

On the Lighter Side:

Woman Unknowingly Drives Pounds of Pot Around in Van for Several Years –

They weren’t rolling doobies down by the river, but Melodie Peil and her family were using their gently used 1990 Chevy van to roll around town when they discovered a stowaway that had been bumming a ride with them for about the last 15 years, 13 and a half pounds of marijuana packaged for transport.

We can only hope 2016 delivers as much dank marijuana news as we’ve experienced these past 365 daze. 

Thank you for your ongoing dedication to our website and magazine.

Hashy New Year to all and keep on tokin’ along with The 420 Times in 2016!

The 420 Times

Google Sets More Animated Spotlight Stories


Google’s Spotlight Stories project has announced the next wave of mobile-based moviemaking projects, including the next animated short from Patrick Osborne, Oscar-winner for the Disney toon short Feast.

Osborne will develop and produce a Google Spotlight Story currently titled Pearl. The film is told in a musical format, and is about the gifts we inherit from our parents, both tangible and intangible.

Also announced:

  • Emmy Award-winning artist Shannon Tindle is directing On Ice with Evil Eye Studios in San Francisco and is due for release this year. It tells the story of an over-the-top, sci-fi themed ice show and its star, who suddenly finds he has competition for the spotlight from an unlikely rival.
  • Aardman co-founder and Oscar-nominated director Peter Lord will oversee Special Delivery, which is directed by Tim Ruffle and tied to the holiday season.
  • Acclaimed London-based studio Nexus Productions is working on an upcoming Google Spotlight Story, with Chris O’Reilly as creative director on the project.
  • And filmmaker Justin Lin (Fast & Furious films, True Detective, the upcoming Star Trek 3) has a live-action film called Help.

Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects has released a new Google Spotlight Stories app, now available on Android via the Play Store and will be available soon on iOS.

In addition to the app, Google Spotlight Stories also unveiled their Story Development Kit, which will enable studios all over the world to be able to create customized, curated stories for the Google Spotlight Stories app.

Google Spotlight Stories launched in October 2013 to tell timeless stories with mobile technology. The first three stories, Windy Day (directed by Jan Pinkava), Buggy Night (directed by Mark Oftedal), and Duet (directed by Glen Keane), which were previously available only for Moto X and Moto G users, are also now available on the Google Spotlight Stories app.



Animation Magazine