Category Archives: Cartoons

News and information related to animation.

“Batman VS TMNT” Gets A Trailer

Awhile back, we learned of a cartooncrossover between The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and (who knew) Batman. Today, we have our first look at the movie, and all we can say is WOW.

Entertainment Weekly got the scoop on this one, giving us a video that gives us goosebumps every time we watch it.

And here is a bootleg trailer from Youtube that is easier to watch (until the official one is uploaded to that site):

Not only are we getting the ninja turtles and batman together, but we are also getting Batgirl and Damian, plus their rogues gallery of – to name a few – Ras Al Ghul, Harley Quinn, Bane, Me Freeze, Penguin, and The Joker. On top of that, OH HAI SHREDDER!

By the way, the cast for this movie is just as INSANE as this crossover!

Emmy winner Darren Criss (The Assassination of Gianni Versace) leads the voice cast behind the Turtles as Raphael, accompanied by Saturday Night Live‘s Kyle Mooney as Michelangelo, Grace & Frankie‘s Baron Vaughn as Donatello, and The Woody Woodpecker Show‘s Eric Bauza as Leonardo.

John DiMaggio (Adventure Time) voices Mr. Freeze, Tara Strong (Teen Titans Go!) voices both Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, Tom Kenny (SpongeBob SquarePants) voices Penguin, Carlos Alazraqui (Reno 911!) voices Bane, Cas Anvar (The Expanse) voices Ra’s al Ghul, Keith Ferguson (Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends) voices Baxter Stockman and Two-Face, Andrew Kishino (The Lion Guard) voices Shredder, and Meskimen voices another character with Scarecrow.

“Batman VS Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” will be released through Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on Digital and on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack and Blu-ray Combo Pack this spring.

The film will have its world premiere at WonderCon Anaheim 2019 on March 31, 2019.

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“DC Super Hero Girls” Cartoon Is Back With An All New Look

It’s been awhile, and it left many fans scratching their heads about its disappearance, but “DC Super Hero Girls” is finally back – and with an all new look.

Cartoon Network just dropped a new trailer today for the return of this animated series, and it looks like a vast improvement over the previous incarnation.

Check out the new trailer below:

Joining the team is Batgirl, Supergirl, Bumblebee, Jessica Cruz AKA Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and Zatanna.

The new incarnation of the series features a new animation style and is developed for television by My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic creator Lauren Faust.

The all-star voice cast includes Grey Griffin as Wonder Woman, Tara Strong as Batgirl, Nicole Sullivan as Supergirl, Kari Wahlgren as Zatanna, Myrna Velasco as Green Lantern and Kimberly Brooks as Bumblebee.

The series was officially announced by Cartoon Network this past May.

Watch the all-new series on Cartoon Network starting March 8.

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New “Star Trek” Animated Series Headed To Nickelodeon

It’s been over 40 years since there has been an animated Star Trek series on TV, but it looks like that’s about to change. Alex Kurtzman is now on board with CBS to create a new cartoon, but it’s home will not be a CBS network like the other Trek show. Instead, it’s potentially headed for Nickelodeon.

While there are no other details besides the fact that, yes, this is a real thing, this will be a Star Trek show aimed at children more than adults.

The show was first teased by Kurtzman earlier this year when he told the Hollywood Reporter that “there’s other animated things that we’re building that are an entirely different perspective and an entirely different tone [from Lower Decks]. What’s exciting about it is not only looking at each animated series as what’s the different tone, but what’s the different technology we can apply to these things so that visually they’re entirely different?”

Deadline first reported this news, which is very exciting for Trek fans of all ages. The series will be written by Kevin and Dan Hageman, who also wrote for the Lego Movie and the Lego Ninjago movie and cartoon series on Cartoon Network, and Hotel Transylvania. Most recently, they wrote the screenplay for Croods 2 (which will be out in September 2020), and Guillermo del Toro’s upcoming “Scary Stories” movie.

The Star Trek TV universe is growing by leaps and bounds. The new animated series will join Star Trek: Discovery, now in its second season, along with the unnamed Patrick Stewart-centric Picard series; animated series Lower Decks from Mike McMahan (Rick & Morty’s) targeted at mature audiences; and Section 31, which is in development with Michelle Yeoh attached to star as a spinoff from Discovery.

The Hageman-helmed animated Trek series will be the only one not a part of CBS All Access. There are signs pointing to Viacom and CBS merging, so this will certainly help push those plans forward.

No date has been announced yet for this, but perhaps we will hear something in a few months at Star Trek Mission in Vegas.

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TMNT and Batman Team Up For New Animated Movie Crossover

Cowabunga! Looks like The Caped Crusader and four heroes in half-shells will be joining forces for a brand new animated movie coming out this Spring.

Syfy broke the news earlier today, and gave us this description of the plot for this epic meet-up between Batman and The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:

Based on the Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics miniseries by James Tynion IV and Freddie Williams II, the film will see the turtles meeting Batman via a transdimensional encounter, and feature our heroes teaming up to face Batman’s deadly rogues gallery. 

This is the first time these worlds have collided in animation, but the two have met before in that aforementioned crossover comic between IDW and DC Comics from 2015.

The film’s voice cast features Troy Baker (The Last of UsBatman: Arkham Origins) as both Batman and The Joker (making him the first actor to ever take on both roles in one project), Darren Criss (the Emmy winning star of The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story) as Raphael, Kyle Mooney (Saturday Night Live) as Michelangelo, Baron Vaughn (Grace and Frankie) as Donatello, Eric Bauza (The Woody Woodpecker Show) as Leonardo, Rachel Bloom (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) as Batgirl, Tom Kenny (Spongebob Squarepants) as The Penguin, John DiMaggio (Adventure Time) as Mr. Freeze, Tara Strong (The Powerpuff Girls) as both Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, Carlos Alazraqui (Reno 911!) as Bane, and Cas Anvar (The Expanse) as Ra’s al Ghul. 

Knowing the cast does give us a bit more info about plot details, especially since we have five villains for the heroic group to deal with. How they all tie together remains to be seen.

Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will arrive on 4K, Blu-ray, and Digital late this spring.

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Here’s Everything We Learned From The New “Frozen 2” Teaser Trailer

No need to let it go anymore, because the cold doesn’t bother Elsa anymore… or anyone it seems, according to the new teaser trailer for Disney’s “Frozen 2”. Looks like our characters have left the safety of the castle, and are on a quest somewhere very different, and very dark. We took a look at the new video and broke it down to see what we can figure out from it.

Check out the teaser trailer below:

The biggest thing to note right away is the seriousness of this trailer. There are no jokes, and more importantly, zero dialogue. Something big is happening here, and we are thrust into the drama of it immediately.

As we can see at the start of the video, Elsa is testing her powers, and she’s learned a lot since the first movie. Now, she can use her powers to essentially walk on water by freezing the ground under her when she steps, and she is exhibiting some Todoroki powers a la My Hero Academia when it comes to ice blasts.

It may just be my own theory, but her dress does not seem to be fabric, or at least made entirely of cloth. The way it seamlessly blends with her skin by her chest and shoulders makes me think she made that out of ice and snow, which is pretty nuts. Has Elsa’s power become that strong since the last time we saw her?

After Elsa battles the sea, Anna is observing a collection of pastel-colored crystals outside her windows – whose are they? They don’t seem to match the color palette of Elsa’s abilities, so it must be someone, or something else. Next, we see Anna and Kristoff journeying around. But where are they?

Director Jennifer Lee previously hinted to Variety that the upcoming animated adventure will still focus on Arendelle royalty Elsa and Anna, but it will be “bigger” and “more epic” in scale. “They’re going to go far out of Arendelle,” she said. This appears to be that far away.

We follow this with Kristoff and Sven riding with a herd of moose in a very autumnal setting, followed by a very gloomy Anna (with a new hair style) sulking in the woods.

Next, it looks like Olaf has returned, at least for a little bit since this is the only time we see him in the entire trailer. Elsa is using some crazy ice blasts to keep some purple flames away from her buddy, but it looks like it will be for naught.

Perhaps this means that Arendelle has become under attack by some other elemental power user, and chances are this means Olaf may be melted before the end of the first act… at least until he is revived by the end of the movie (parents, get ready for some tears).

After that… who’s that? There appears to be a never-before-seen red-haired character hanging out in this crimson forest, and she may have those aforementioned elemental powers. She wind-blasts somebody out of a pile of leaves, but who is that dude? It’s hard to say, but it’s either an entirely new character, or it could be the return of Hans, the bad guy from the first movie.

Finally, the bulk of the teaser ends with our heroes overlooking this vast landscape, unfamiliar to them and a huge change from what we remembered in the first movie. Where are they, and what’s going to happen next? This is likely the start of their journey to figure out what’s up with the elements, but who really knows?

After that title sequence ends, we land on an over the shoulder shot of the trio in the woods (no Sven or Olaf, so this may be earlier in the film after Olaf is downed, which also means Sven may get separated and meets his moose brethren, rejoining them later for that big shot earlier in the trailer with the herd), but whose view point is that? Possibly the redhead and her friend from earlier, but whoever it is just got the bad end of Anna’s sword!

Also of note, Elsa no longer has her strapless ice dress, so maybe she loses her powers at some point in the movie and must resume wearing fabric clothes.

We will have to wait a few months to learn the answers to these mysteries, but it seems like it will be well worth the wait. So far, “Frozen 2” looks like a very different movie tonally. It almost feels like the movie franchise is maturing with its original audience, giving the kids who grew up with the original 2013 movie something they can still be interested in six years later.

With the same song-writing duo from the original once again doing music (Kristen and Robert Lopez), this means we are still getting a traditional Disney musical, but this Broadway power couple may flex their dramatic muscles with new songs to better fit the drama unfolding on-screen. I theorize there will be some direct Sondheim references in this, since it seems the characters are going “Into The Woods” after all.

“Frozen 2” stars Elsa (Idina Menzel), Anna (Kristen Bell), Olaf (Josh Gad), Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), and some other surprises that will be revealed as we get closer to the release date. The movie opens in U.S. theaters on Nov. 22, 2019.

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“Masters Of The Universe” Movie Has A Shoot Date and Location

By the power of Greyskull, we finally have a date for the new “Masters of the Universe” movie from Sony to start shooting!

Production Weekly tweeted the news, announcing that pre-production was nearing completion, and the actual production of the movie would begin this summer.

The tweet was: “Updated production schedule and location for Sony’s MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE, from the directing duo of Aaron and Adam Nee. Principal photography is due to get underway mid-July in Prague.”

The Nee Brothers previously co-directed “Band of Robbers,” “Clark Kent has a Dream”, “The Geniuses”, and a short titled “You Can Never Really Know Someone”, just to name a few of their works.

David Goyer is penned to write the script. No casting news has been announced yet, although I would not be surprised to see something like that revealed closer to SDCC 2019.

Sony originally scheduled this movie for release on December 18th, but the likelihood of that happening is up for debate.

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How Adult Swim cartoon “TIGTONE” gets animated

Animation is not just drawing the same thing again and again to make a flat picture look like it’s moving. What it really comes down to is problem solving. Sure, you could repetitively doodle the same person jumping up and down, but how do you do it efficiently and convincingly?

One of my favorite new Adult Swim cartoon shows is “Tigtone”, originally created by  Andrew Koehler, Benjamin Martian, and Zack Wallenfang (the latter of whom is not involved in the current series but was part of the pilot). It combines “Dungeons & Dragons” fantasy settings with the insanity of your typical inane Adult Swim humor. It’s everything I love and more.

The element that absolutely drew me in the most was the animation style. It looked like nothing I had ever seen before, and if you don’t know what I am talking about – take a look at the pilot episode in the video below:

It’s clear to see why this got picked up by Adult Swim. It looks like someone took an illustration from a fantasy book or a Magic the Gathering card and somehow enchanted it so that it would become an 11 minute cartoon. Much like how Tigtone needs a quest, I too need one, and today that quest has been discovering how the heck they animate this show! After I saw the first Adult Swim episode aired, I started digging around but was unable to find much. Eventually, I found a video not from the creative team behind it, but from RedLetter Media AKA the home of everyone’s favorite curmudgeonly review, Mr Plinkett. Check out this video below to see a little of the behind-the-scenes production process:

This video revealed that the VO actors often perform their lines with the producer present, and do a very unique motion-capture. Clearly, that is just the first step, but it’s certainly a very big clue to what they are doing.

More recently, Adult Swim released the video below, likely due to folks like myself and readers like you who have been endlessly googling “How do they animate TigTone”?

All that SEO analytical data paid off, and we got more of an official look at how the hometeam produces their mo-cap sessions, involving a piece of apparatus that resembles a medieval torture device that I honestly would not be surprised to see in an episode.

The next big question was how do they take these mo-cap sessions and add it to the artwork?

The clues we got from the video was that they seem to be using Adobe After Effects, a very powerful (and accessible) app that you can get fairly easily if you don’t mind paying a monthly subscription fee.

I started to dig deeper, and stumbled upon this Youtube tutorial by Creativid Studios who seems to be doing something very similar to what the animators behind “Tigtone” are doing.

This form of AE motion capture combines a recording of the actors face with a series of masks, combining an illustration of the cartoon characters face with some holes in it to let the actor’s eyes and mouth peek through.

Once you have those features removed, you then use a Face Tracker that is built into AE to recognize a face, and then creates key frames to track the mouth as it moves. It’s easier to watch the video then have me explain it all, so take a look and see what you think.

Of course, this begs the question – why animate this show in such a time consuming way? In an interview with Little Black Book Online, Benjamin Martian and Andrew Koehler addressed those thoughts, and had this to say:

Andrew: An enormous part of what makes the humour work is the fact that the presentation takes itself seriously. It NEEDS to look like epic, hand painted, exquisitely detailed art in order for the total farce of the writing to work. 

Benjamin: Also the style and process came out of necessity and resourcefulness. When we realised we couldn’t produce these fantasy scripts live-action, Andrew used what he had at his disposal to make something work. That something was this 2D motion capture technique. Also, damn all convention.

They went on to discuss how this process came to be, and the hardships that ultimately led them to the one of a kind aesthetic that “Tigtone” has:

Andrew: It was a lot of trial and error, research and development, hurry up and wait, and blood, sweat, and tears. But really it was all about figuring out the practicality of it all – how do I warp his face without distorting his hair, how do I keep the teeth from floating around, etc. The answer always involved a lot of math and a lot of rendering. 

Benjamin: Andrew was like MacGyver, digitally duct-taping this process together with different programs and plug-ins. When we started production at Titmouse, the animation studio that produces the series, we had to completely reinvent the production process to accommodate this bizarre technique.

The famed “Torture Chair” with a DSLR ominously hovering above it

That same article also gives us some of the most exact specifics we have seen on the internet so far about the steps taken to animate in this style:

Benjamin: After we have all the lines recorded and cut into the animatic (animated storyboards) we isolate every line for each character and categorise them by shot angle. We then glue pearl craft beads onto our faces at specific points to track the movement of the entire face. For example, we put three dots over each eyebrow to capture the way the eyebrows bend.

Then we strap ourselves into our motion-capture bench with a camera mounted overhead. We play back every single line on a loop and perform the line, trying to perform in sync with the line.

After that, the motion of each dot on our face is attached to the corresponding dot on the characters’ face to create the motion. Then the animators do a TON of work to hone in the performances – so it’s not just our faces doing all the work.

One of the most important things about doing this with their “torture chair” is making sure the people reading the lines and being filmed are perfectly still. The mo-cap data must precisely match the angles of the characters being animated in order to register with the tracker. If they don’t – back to the torture chair for them to reshoot the scene.

Either way, it seems the technology is in your grasp, and now you too can attain that unique look with your own cartoons! If you give it a try, let us know how it came out and feel free to post it in the comments!

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Nickelodeon gives us our first look at the “Rise of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” open

The official opening sequence to the brand new series “Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” is finally here, and you can check it out below!

Rise of the TMNT has become a very controversial thing for fans of the franchise. When the initial designs made the rounds, fans were outraged. Later, when a few snippets of animation appeared, many fans remained outraged.

Now, Nickelodeon has at long last given us a glimmer of hope with this glimpse of the show open. Does it give you any confidence in the series, or are you still among the fans who may riot when the show debuts in the fall?

Let us know what you think in the comments below!

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NICKELODEON RELEASES FIRST TRAILER FOR RISE OF THE TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES ANIMATED SERIES

Nickelodeon today released the first trailer for its all-new animated series, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which follows the band of brothers as they discover new powers and encounter a mystical world they never knew existed beneath the streets of New York City. The 2D-animated series, which blends action and comedy and features a dynamic fresh look, debuts later this year on Nickelodeon.

The series stars the voice talent of Omar Miller (Ballers) as Raphael, Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation) as Leonardo, Josh Brener (Silicon Valley) as Donatello, Brandon Mychal Smith (You’re The Worst) as Michelangelo, Kat Graham (The Vampire Diaries) as April O’Neil and Eric Bauza (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) as Splinter. WWE Superstar John Cena lends his voice as villain, Baron Draxum, an alchemist warrior mutant who seeks to turn all of humanity into mutants.

Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reimagines the iconic series and breathes new life into the classic characters, with jagged-shelled Raphael as a snapping turtle, wielding twin tonfas as his weapons; Leonardo as a red-eared slider, using an ōdachi sword; Donatello as a soft-shell turtle, sporting a tech-bo staff; and Michelangelo as a box turtle, arming himself with a kusari-fundo. Along for the adventure is the Turtles’ most trusted ally, April O’Neil, a street savvy native New Yorker, and Splinter, father figure and sensei to the Turtles.

The Turtles also hold distinct personality traits and skills: Raphael, as the oldest and biggest brother, is the leader full of enthusiasm and bravado; Leonardo, the self-professed coolest brother possesses irreverent charm and a rebel heart; Donatello is a mechanical genius and tech wizard whose ninja skills are second only to his coding; and Michelangelo, the youngest brother, is a skateboarder and artist who is wild and imaginative.

The new 26-episode series is co-executive produced by Andy Suriano (character designer, Samurai Jack) and Ant Ward (supervising producer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) at Nickelodeon in Burbank, Calif. Veteran animation industry voice actor Rob Paulsen is voice directing the series.

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John Cena’s Villainous Character Revealed in Nickelodeon’s “Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”

Nickelodeon today revealed a first look at the character art of original villain, Baron Draxum, voiced by WWE Superstar John Cena, in the all-new animated series Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Cena will portray the Turtles’ newest nemesis, alongside Omar Miller (Ballers) as Raphael, Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation) as Leonardo, Josh Brener (Silicon Valley) as Donatello, Brandon Mychal Smith (You’re The Worst) as Michelangelo, Kat Graham (The Vampire Diaries) as April O’Neil and Eric Bauza (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) as Splinter. Cena unveiled the artwork at Nickelodeon’s Upfront presentation, held today in New York City.

“I’ve always been a fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise, so getting the opportunity to voice a character, especially the villain Baron Draxum, is truly special,” said Cena.

An alchemist warrior mutant from the Hidden City, Baron Draxum is the self-proclaimed protector of all mutant-kind. Using ooze, he plans to mutate all of humanity with his insect-like creatures called Oozesquitoes. Cena’s recurring character will debut in the premiere episode of Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, bowing later this year on Nickelodeon.

Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles follows the band of brothers as they discover new powers and encounter a mystical world they never knew existed beneath the streets of New York City. The new 26-episode series is co-executive produced by Andy Suriano (character designer, Samurai Jack) and Ant Ward (supervising producer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) at Nickelodeon in Burbank, Calif. Veteran animation industry voice actor Rob Paulsen is voice directing the series.

Viewers can visit the Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles page on Nick.com for more information and follow @TMNT for Turtle Power updates.

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