Monday, August 25, 2014

VIEW Conference 2014

August 25, 2014



Dr. Alvy Ray Smith, Glen Keane, and Tom McGrath highlight the 15th annual conference, Italy’s largest computer graphics conference, October 14-17.

[TURIN, Italy] “It is with extreme pride and great pleasure that I announce our 2014 VIEW Conference keynote speakers,” says conference director Dr. Maria Elena Gutierrez. “Alvy Ray Smith, Glen Keane, and Tom McGrath are highly respected gurus in the computer graphics and digital entertainment industry and we are immensely honored to host them in our beautiful city.”

Alvy Ray Smith invented core computer graphics technology and co-founded Pixar, the first studio to make a CG feature film, the famous Toy Story,” Gutierrez continues. Glen Keane created and animated some of our most renowned and most-loved Disney characters: Tarzan, the Beast in Beauty and the Beast, Ariel in The Little Mermaid, Pocahontas, and Aladdin. Now, he’s working with Google to create a state of the art interactive, animated story for mobile devices. Tom McGrath wrote and directed one of the most successful CG animated feature film franchises, the three-film Madagascar series, which were the first to give CG animated characters a wacky cartoon style. In November, DreamWorks will release the fourth film in the series, The Penguins of Madagascar, for which Tom McGrath was a writer and executive producer and also the lead as the voice of Skipper the Penguin. You can see why I’m so excited.”

The 2014 VIEW conference will take place October 14 to 17 in Turin (Torino), Italy, a baroque city in the foothills of the Alps known for cars, chocolate, and cinema. The largest computer graphics conference in Italy, VIEW is celebrating its 15th year of bringing top talent and remarkable visionaries to Turin. The VIEW conference follows the annual VIEWFest digital film festival. Most talks are in English, with translation available to and from Italian and English.

 “We will roll out announcements to introduce more speakers and our workshop series over the next few weeks, so please stay tuned,” Gutierrez says. “I am so enthusiastic about our 2014 program. It matches the amazing conferences we’ve had before and takes us beyond.”

For more information, please visit the website:

For Immediate Release


TURIN, ITALY – Attendees at Italy’s largest computer graphics conference to be held October 14-18 in beautiful Turin, Italy, can now register online at  for the full conference, for inspiring and creative workshops led by award-winning professionals, and for practical master classes taught by expert users.

“I know from experience that the workshops and classes will fill up fast, so people should register as early as they can,” says Dr. Maria Elena Gutierrez, conference director. “We are fortunate to welcome back, by popular demand, the incredibly creative and two-time Annie nominee, Kris Pearn, co-director of the animated feature Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. Also, the brilliant Lucia Modesto, supervising character technical director at PDI/DreamWorks for Mr. Peabody and Sherman; the amazing David Schaub, animation supervisor at Sony Pictures Imageworks for The Amazing Spider-Man who has received Oscar and BAFTA nominations, seven VES nominations, and a VES award; and the remarkable Brenda Bakker Harger, theater director, improviser, and professor at the entertainment technology center at Carnegie Mellon University.”

“Also this year, for the first time,” she adds, “we are welcoming Rob Coleman, animation supervisor at Animal Logic for The Lego Movie, former animation director at Industrial Light & Magic for the Star WarsEpisodes I, II, and III, two-time Oscar and BAFTA nominee, and three-time VES award nominee. And, we have instructors who will give practical workshops on products from Autodesk, Wacom, Maxon, and Pixologic. So, you can see why I suggest that people register as soon as possible.”

In addition to the workshops, Coleman, Schaub, Modesto, and Bakker Harger join other award-winning speakers throughout the week who will share information about their studios’ work on the major visual effects and animated feature films of 2014, videogames, virtual reality, and other exciting areas of computer graphics.

Keynoting the VIEW conference are award-winning director, writer, producer and actor Tom McGrath from DreamWorks Animation, artist, inventor, author, entrepreneur and Pixar-co-founder Alvy Ray Smith, and award-winning legendary animator Glen Keane.

From the world of animated films:
-  Lighting supervisor and VES award winner Alessandro Jacomini from Disney Animation Studios will give a world premiere talk on Big Hero 6, which releases November 7 in the US and December 25 in Italy.
-  Director and VES award nominee Patrick Osborne will speak about and present the Italian premiere of Disney Animation’s  short film “Feast.”
-  Providing an early look at the 2016 Smurfs film are production designer Noëlle Triaureau and two-time Annie award nominee art director Marcelo Vignali from Sony Pictures Animation.
-  Co-head of story at DreamWorks Animation and two-time Annie award nominee Alessandro Carloni will present How to Train Your Dragon 2.
-  Supervising production designer, Emmy award winner and two-time Annie award nominee Nelson Lowry from Laika will introduce the stop frame world of The Boxtrolls.
-  Jerome Solomon, academic dean at Cogswell College and a SIGGRAPH national committee member, will show this year’s selections of the best in computer graphics from SIGGRAPH’s Electronic Theater.

From the world of visual effects:
- Industrial Light & Magic’s Scott Farrar, who has received an Oscar, six Oscar nominations, four BAFTA nominations, four VES nominations, and two VES awards, will speak on Transformers 4, for which he was visual effects supervisor and second unit director.
-  VFX supervisor Keith Miller from Weta Digital, a BAFTA nominee and three-time VES nominee, will present work from Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
-  VFX supervisor Kyle McCulloch, a two-time VES award nominee and VES award winner, will talk about Framestore’s work on Guardians of the Galaxy.
-  Animation supervisor Tim Harrington will talk about Industrial Light & Magic’s work on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
- Visual effects supervisor Stefen Fangmeier, who has three Oscar nominations, four BAFTA nominations, three BAFTA awards, and a VES nomination,  and Merzin Tavaria, chief creative director at Prime Focus World, will present the visual effects in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.

In addition, speakers from the worlds of game development,  virtual reality, motion capture, and medicine include: Parag Havaldar, R & D Lead at Blizzard Entertainment. David Putrino from Not Impossible Labs at Weill-Cornell Medical College. Flávio Andaló and Milton Luiz Horn Vieira from the DesignLab at UFSC. Elisa Di Lorenzo from Untold Games. Pierre-Alain Gagne from DOWiNO. Philip Stevju Løken from Placebo Effects.  Kim Baumann Larsen from Digital Storytelling.

“This is such a special conference,” Gutierrez says. “People come to communicate, tocollaborate, and to learn. It is unlike any other conference I know.We are so honored that these incredible artists will join us in Turin for the conference and share their knowledge in workshops for groups of our attendees.  I am thrilled with this year’s program, and I can’t wait to share it with everyone.”

VIEW Conference, October 14 – 18, 2014, Turin Italy
For more information and online registration, visit

Monday, August 18, 2014

Home Movie Standee + Trailer

And a new one (posted February 27, 2015):

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

RIP Robin Williams

We may all still be processing the tragic death of Robin Williams, a stellar talent who simply could not be boxed in. If ever there was somebody who played by their own rule book it was him (Andy Kaufman and Bill Murray would count as well). My first exposure to him was through Mork and Mindy, where even then he was practically an animated character. But amongst all his TV and film credits I think maybe his standout role, and not just because I'm an animation enthusiast, was as Genie in Disney's Aladdin, where he could be many different characters in one without ever confusing or losing the audience, literally freeing him to be just about anything he could imagine, which quite possibly makes it the most quintessentially Robin Williams-ish role of all. Thankfully the animators were able to match Robin's tour de force vocal performance with equally stunning visuals.

Sadly, though, some of the filmographies I have seen of him since news of his death broke have completely left out mention of that role. Cartoon Brew has posted statements from Eric Goldberg and Ron and John, and I was pleasantly surprised to learn just now that Entertainment Weekly specifically interviewed Eric about the time he spent with Robin while working on Aladdin as supervising animator for Genie.

I've always wondered what it would be like to meet Robin Williams in person. Now that that's an impossibility, at least in these mortal realms, what I do have to fall back on is a small memento from Eric Goldberg who sketched me in the place of Aladdin encountering that larger-than-life persona of Genie, and thereby, by extension, Robin Williams. (The sketch riffs on the scene from the film where Genie says to Aladdin as they meet, "Should I call you 'Al' or maybe just 'Din'?") So, in my indirect encounter, I found him to be as many others have described him, warm and humorous:

Robin, we'll miss you.

(UPDATE: Just found out that Slate concurs with my assessment of the Genie in Aladdin being Williams' greatest performance. And Bustle does as well.)

The hard-to-read text from the first image above is:

We're deeply saddened by the loss of Robin Williams, a wonderfully gifted man who touched our hearts and never failed to make us laugh. An incredible actor and a comedic genius, Robin will always be remembered for bringing some of the world's favorite characters to life, from his zany alien on ABC's Mork & Mindy to the irasicble Genie in Disney's Aladdin. He was a true Disney Legend, a beloved member of our family, and he will be sorely missed. We join Robin's friends and fans everywhere in mourning, and offer our thoughts and condolences to his family during this difficult time.

Robert A. Iger, The Walt Disney Company