Category Archives: Illustration

Adobe Character Animator wins an Emmy

Early in 2012, I was lucky enough to tag along with After Effects creators David Simons & Dan Wilk as they dropped in on Pixar, Stu Maschwitz, and other smart, thoughtful animators. After 20 years of building the industry-standard motion graphics tool, they didn’t yet know quite what they wanted to build next, so it was fun to bounce ideas back and forth with forward-thinking creators.

Fast forward to 2020, and the product that resulted from those investigations—Character Animator—has just won an Emmy:

Today, the Academy announced that it will honor Adobe Character Animator as a Pioneering System for Live Performance-Based Animation Using Facial Recognition, showing excellence in engineering creativity. In the biz, this is an Emmy! We might be on a bit of a roll here, for industry bling, since this latest award follows on from our two technical Academy Awards in 2019 for Photoshop and After Effects.

The tool has powered the first-ever live episode of The Simpsons, live interviews with Stephen Colbert that morphed into Our Cartoon President, and more (see recent roundup below).

Congrats to the team (who are now “EgOts,” I think—winners of Emmys & Oscars!); we can’t wait to see where you go next!

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[YouTube]

Google invites kids to illustrate kindness in a new Doodle

Today the 12th annual Doodle for Google contest kicks off:

We’re excited to announce that this year’s theme is “I show kindness by…” Acts of kindness bring more joy, light and warmth to the world. They cost nothing, but mean everything. . 

As submissions open, we’re inviting young artists in grades K-12 to open up their creative hearts and show us how they find ways to be kind. […]

This year’s national winner will have their artwork featured on the Google homepage for a day and receive a $30,000 college scholarship. The winner’s school will also receive a $50,000 technology package.

Can’t wait to see what kids create.

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Roundup: Who’s using Character Animator these days?

So good of you to ask, let’s say!

I’m delighted to see the team’s work bringing new creators into the animation fold.

In this episode we take a look at a wide variety of interesting Character Animator projects, including an Emmy award winning series on ESPN, narration by a T-Rex, a successful Kickstarter campaign around trolley murder, and live events with robots and bunnies!

[YouTube]

A delightfully analog remake of the latest Star Wars trailer

Fantastic:

PetaPixel explains,

Sweded films” are amateur shot-for-shot recreations of famous movies (or in this case, trailers). The term was coined in the 2008 film Be Kind Rewind, in which two video store employees try to replace their entire ruined VHS collection by re-shooting each movie with neither budget nor skill.

The group doesn’t just create these re-makes for their YouTube channel, they also host an annual “Swede Fest” that’s all about screening Hollywood remakes that were created with “backyard budgets.”

Side-by-side with the original:

[YouTube 1 & 2]

“Project Glowstick” brings light sources to Illustrator

Anything that finally lets regular people tap into the vast (and vastly untapped) power of Illustrator’s venerable gradient mesh is a win, and this tech promises to let vector shapes function as light emitters that help cast shadows:

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Requisite (?) Old Man Nack moment: though I have no idea if/how the underlying tech relates, I’m reminded of the Realtime Gradient-Domain Painting work that onetime Adobe researcher Jim McCann published back in 2008.

[YouTube 1 & 2