Disney

Auto Added by WPeMatico

Disney’s ‘Zenimation’ is the most soothing way to beat lockdown fatigue

Disney's 'Zenimation' is the most soothing way to beat lockdown fatigue

Like a lot of us right now, I was frazzled and bored and fed up with TV the night I clicked on Zenimation, a series of shorts that launched on Disney+ over the long Memorial Day weekend. My mind was open; it was also skeptical. There was no original animation to be found in the series; this was simply snack-sized chunks of Disney animation from across the years, arranged thematically into 10 episodes of around five minutes each. How could that not come across like a greatest hits compilation at best, and a 50-minute trailer at worst?

Yet once I’d blasted through the first three episodes, simply titled “Water,” “Cityscapes,” and “Discovery,” I found a level of peace and calm I haven’t felt since the coronavirus pandemic began. And that’s coming from someone who has been meditating more than normal since quarantine began, even running a global meditation contest over Zoom.  Read more…

More about Disney, Asmr, Disney, Entertainment, and Movies Tv Shows

New ‘Artemis Fowl’ trailer teases major magical action, and a Disney+ release date

New 'Artemis Fowl' trailer teases major magical action, and a Disney+ release date

We got the first trailer for the long-awaited Artemis Fowl movie adaptation way back in November 2018, and the last teaser released on St Patrick’s Day still sported that May 29 “in theaters” date. Now, due to social distancing making cinema-going Not A Thing Right Now, Disney’s Irish-set supernatural family adventure will premiere directly in your living room via Disney+ instead.

Starring Ferdia Shaw as the pre-teen criminal mastermind, with Colin Farrell, Josh Gad, and Judi Dench along for the ride as Fowl’s father, a dwarf, and a fairy commander respectively, Artemis Fowl will arrive on the streaming service June 12. Read more…

More about Disney, Disney Plus, Artemis Fowl, Entertainment, and Books

Week in Review: Forget cord cutting, here comes the stream slashing

Hey everyone, welcome back to Week in Review where I dive deep into a bit of news from the week or just share some thoughts and go over some of the more interesting stories of the week.

If you’re reading this on the TechCrunch site, you can get this in your inbox here, and follow my tweets here.


The big story

“Cord cutting” might still be a major trend for those walking away from cable subscriptions in favor of online streaming services, but the world of online subscription TV is nearly saturated and as 2020 prepares to inundate us with more services, it’s likely growing time for consumers to stop adding services and start prioritizing.

NBCUniversal delivered some more details this week on its Peacock network and earlier this month we heard more about the mobile-only streaming network Quibi . These launches will come along in the spring, arriving just months after the high-profile launches on Apple TV+ and Disney+. Adding four high-spend streaming platforms in a short time frame could rattle the cages of consumers that have been bumbling along with only a couple streaming service subscriptions.

NBCUniversal’s Peacock seems to walk the line between both worlds, leveraging Comcast subscribers without seeming to invest heavily in original content for the service. Their strategy is pinned on the attractiveness of their existing content library which they’re promoting heavily on both free and paid plans. There could be something here, it feels like a marked return to the early Hulu playbook, which could very well be played out.

I still don’t know what to think of Quibi. They are dropping plenty of cash but spending your way into building a Gen Z network seems like a tall order. They’ve already nabbed a big partnership with T Mobile which seems promising when considering their broader industry adoption and yet it still seems like Snapchat Discover Prime. I’ll withhold judgment until launch but other mobile-first video networks have had less than stellar receptions.

Side note: At this point in the streaming video product life cycle, I would imagine cracking down on password-sharing is going to start being a more attractive option for streaming service operators.

We’ll see how this all shakes out, but it’s getting crowded.

Trends of the week

Here are a few big news items from big companies, with green links to all the sweet, sweet added context:

  • Visa buys Plaid for $5.2 billion
    The biggest acquisition of the week was the very bold purchase of Plaid by Visa. Visa paid up double the banking API startup’s last private valuation. Read more here.
  • Google acquires Pointy
    Google has announced a couple deals in the past few weeks. This week, we heard that they had acquired the Dublin startup Pointy, which builds hardware and software to help physical retailers track product inventory levels. Read more about it in our coverage.
  • Alphabet is a $1 trillion company
    In the current age of big tech, there’s an elite club for public companies worth more than $1 trillion in market cap. This week, Alphabet joined its ranks. Read more here.

Extra Crunch

Our premium subscription business had another great week of content. My colleague Darrell Etherington talked a bit about the next frontier of early-stage space investments.

Space Angels’ Chad Anderson on entering a new decade in the ‘entrepreneurial space age’

“Space as an investment target is trending upwards in the VC community, but specialist firm Space Angels has been focused on the sector longer than most. The network of angel investors just published its most recent quarterly overview of activity in the space startup industry, revealing that investors put nearly $6 billion in capital into space companies across 2019.…”

Sign up for more newsletters, including my colleague Darrell Etherington’s new space-focused newsletter Max Q, here.

Max Q: SpaceX and Rocket Lab launch rockets and X-Wings take flight

Sign up here to receive Max Q weekly in your inbox, starting December 15.

This week saw a ton of activity in the space industry, with multiple launches, key preparations for commercial crew missions, robots and much more.

Besides all the real space news, there’s also some extreme fan service for Star Wars lovers, courtesy of Disney and Boeing. Now I’m one day closer to my lifelong dream of becoming a real X-Wing starfighter pilot.

Rocket Lab completes key step towards reusable rockets

Launch startup Rocket Lab has been successfully delivering payloads to orbit for a while now, but earlier this year they announced they’d be moving to a launch system in which the booster they use to propel their spacecraft to orbit is reusable.

An Electron rocket launching during a previous test.

During their 10th mission with their Electron rocket, they took a crucial first step – testing the re-entry systems to bring the booster back to Earth’s atmosphere. Rocket Lab says the test went better than expected, which bodes well from moving to an actual test of properly recovering and refurbishing the thing.

SpaceX launches 19th Space Station resupply mission

The other big launch this week was SpaceX’s CRS-19 launch, which delivered 5,200 lbs of experiments and supplies to the ISS. This launch used a brand new Falcon 9, which SpaceX recovered with a landing at sea, and it also employed a Dragon cargo capsule that the company has flown twice before. On board, there’s a load of amazing new equipment for the ISS, like a ‘robot hotel.’

Emotionally intelligent IBM-powered assistant robot is heading to space

You may not have heard, but there’s an advanced Alexa for astronauts called CIMON, and after a successful first test, it’s headed back to the ISS aboard the above SpaceX launch with improvements. One of its key improvements is a new ability to detect and respond to human emotions, which is, you know, HAL territory.

SpaceX completes 7th parachute test

SpaceX is getting closer to a key piece of the puzzle when it comes to its ability to launch astronauts on its commercial crew spacecraft. The company needs to do at least 10 parachute tests in a row to get ship-shape for its crew launch, and it’s now pretty close to getting that done before year’s end.

Boeing completes dress rehearsal of crew launch

Boeing is also getting closer to its own commercial crew launch, and in fact completed an entire rehearsal of how the mission will go on on launch day when it does its uncrewed launch. This rehearsal including fully feeling the rocket, and next time that happens, it’ll be taking off.

Real X-Wings fly for real (really)

X-Wing starfighters ascended through the night sky over Orlando, Florida this week as Disney celebrated the opening of its new ‘Rise of the Resistance’ attraction at Disney World. The X-Wings (2 of them!) were modified versions of a large cargo drone that Boeing has been developing, but both companies are keeping mum on any further details right now.

Here’s what’s up in the world of space startups and investing

What’s going on with space tech, and why is it having a moment? What’s coming next, and where is the smart money going? The answers to those questions and more lie in Starburst founder and aerospace investor François Chopard’s informative deck about space and defense, available exclusively to Extra Crunch subscribers.

Disney+ to launch in India, Southeast Asian markets next year

Disney plans to bring its on-demand video streaming service to India and some Southeast Asian markets as soon as the second half of next year, two sources familiar with the company’s plans told TechCrunch.

In India, the company plans to bring Disney+’s catalog to Hotstar, a popular video streaming service it owns, after the end of next year’s IPL cricket tournament in May, the people said.

Soon afterwards, the company plans to expand Hotstar with Disney+ catalog to Indonesia and Malaysia among other Southeast Asian nations, said those people on the condition of anonymity.

A spokesperson for Hotstar declined to comment.

Hotstar leads the Indian video streaming market. The service said it had more than 300 million monthly subscribers during the IPL cricket tournament and ICC World Cup earlier this year. More than 25 million users simultaneously streamed one of the matches, setting a new global record.

However, Hotstar’s monthly userbase plummets below 60 million in weeks following IPL tournament, according to people who have seen the internal analytics. The arrival of more originals from Disney on Hotstar, which already offers a number of Disney-owned titles in India, could help the service sustain users after cricket seasons.

The international expansion of Hotstar isn’t a surprise as it has entered the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. in recent years. In an interview with TechCrunch earlier this year, Ipsita Dasgupta, president of Hotstar’s international operations, said so far the platform’s international strategy has been to enter markets with “high density of Indians.”

In an earnings call for the quarter that ended in June this year, Disney CEO Robert Iger hinted that the company, which snagged Indian entertainment conglomerate Star India as part of its $71.3 billion deal with 21st Century Fox, would bring Star India-operated Hotstar to Southeast Asian markets, though he did not offer a timeline.

Disney+, currently available in the U.S, Canada and the Netherlands, will expand to Australia and New Zealand next week, and the U.K., Germany, Italy, France and Spain on March 31, the company announced last week.

Price hike

Disney, which debut its video streaming service in the U.S. this week and has already amassed over 10 million subscribers, plans to raise the monthly subscription fee of Hotstar in India, where the service currently costs $14 a year, one of the two aforementioned people said.

A screenshot of Hotstar’s homepage

The price hike will happen towards the end of the first quarter next year, just ahead of commencement of next IPL cricket tournament season, they said. The company has not decided exactly how much it intends to charge, but one of the people said that it could go as high as $30 a year.

In other Southeast Asian markets, the service is likely to cost above $30 a year as well, both of the sources said. The prices have yet to be finalized, however, they said.

Even at those suggested price points, Disney would be able to undercut rivals on price. Until recently, Netflix charged at least $7 a month in India and other Southeast Asian markets. But this year, the on-demand streaming pioneer introduced a $2.8 monthly tier in India and $4 in Malaysia.

Hotstar offers a large library of local movies and titles syndicated from international cable networks and studios Showtime, HBO, and ABC (also owned by Disney). In its current international markets, Hotstar’s catalog is limited to some local content and large library of Indian titles.

In recent quarters, Hotstar has also set up an office in Tsinghua Science Park in Beijing, China and hired over 60 engineers and researchers as it looks to expand its tech infrastructure to service more future users, according to job recruitment posts and other data sourced from LinkedIn.

Kristen Bell sings 17 different Disney songs in 5 minutes —including ‘Let It Go’

Holy clearance, Mickey! Who needs Disney+ when you have Frozen 2 star Kristen Bell (and also Jimmy Fallon) singing the best 17 seconds from 17 classic Disney songs?

Their takes on the overwrought duets of the 90s (and Fallon’s Elton John impression) rivals the ones you do alone in your car; and Bell’s “What do you call ’em? Oh, feet, duh” has me wishing they’d remake a bunch of Disney movies with dorky thirtysomething comediennes playing all the princesses. 

I don’t care whether you’re ‘Part Of Your World’ years old or ‘Let It Go’ years old — we were all kids once, and there’s a goosebumps moment in here for you.  Read more…

More about Disney, Kristen Bell, Frozen 2, Entertainment, and Celebrities

Queen Latifah absolutely destroyed as Ursula in ‘The Little Mermaid Live’

ABC’s musical special The Little Mermaid Live! aired on Tuesday night, balancing out the joy of seeing a beloved Disney classic brought to life with the horror of seeing what they did to FlounderMoana‘s Auli’i Cravalho played the titular mermaid Ariel, alongside Graham Phillips as Prince Eric and Shaggy as a disappointingly under-costumed Sebastian the crab.

But it was Queen Latifah’s Ursula who stole the show, Her Royal Highness descending from the sky wreathed in writhing tentacles as she launched into the character’s signature song ‘Poor Unfortunate Souls.’

Though the Queen’s stage presence and voice are already magnetic enough to portray the bombastic sea witch, her performance was further enhanced by clever use of pyrotechnics, smoke machines, and several vials of glitter. Queen Latifah’s rendition of the song was also slightly different to the one most are familiar with, adding a few extra verses in which Ursula laid out the particulars of Ariel’s contract.  Read more…

More about Disney, Musicals, The Little Mermaid, Queen Latifah, and The Little Mermaid Live

Queen Latifah absolutely destroyed as Ursula in ‘The Little Mermaid Live’

ABC’s musical special The Little Mermaid Live! aired on Tuesday night, balancing out the joy of seeing a beloved Disney classic brought to life with the horror of seeing what they did to FlounderMoana‘s Auli’i Cravalho played the titular mermaid Ariel, alongside Graham Phillips as Prince Eric and Shaggy as a disappointingly under-costumed Sebastian the crab.

But it was Queen Latifah’s Ursula who stole the show, Her Royal Highness descending from the sky wreathed in writhing tentacles as she launched into the character’s signature song ‘Poor Unfortunate Souls.’

Though the Queen’s stage presence and voice are already magnetic enough to portray the bombastic sea witch, her performance was further enhanced by clever use of pyrotechnics, smoke machines, and several vials of glitter. Queen Latifah’s rendition of the song was also slightly different to the one most are familiar with, adding a few extra verses in which Ursula laid out the particulars of Ariel’s contract.  Read more…

More about Disney, Musicals, The Little Mermaid, Queen Latifah, and The Little Mermaid Live

Queen Latifah absolutely destroyed as Ursula in ‘The Little Mermaid Live’

ABC’s musical special The Little Mermaid Live! aired on Tuesday night, balancing out the joy of seeing a beloved Disney classic brought to life with the horror of seeing what they did to FlounderMoana‘s Auli’i Cravalho played the titular mermaid Ariel, alongside Graham Phillips as Prince Eric and Shaggy as a disappointingly under-costumed Sebastian the crab.

But it was Queen Latifah’s Ursula who stole the show, Her Royal Highness descending from the sky wreathed in writhing tentacles as she launched into the character’s signature song ‘Poor Unfortunate Souls.’

Though the Queen’s stage presence and voice are already magnetic enough to portray the bombastic sea witch, her performance was further enhanced by clever use of pyrotechnics, smoke machines, and several vials of glitter. Queen Latifah’s rendition of the song was also slightly different to the one most are familiar with, adding a few extra verses in which Ursula laid out the particulars of Ariel’s contract.  Read more…

More about Disney, Musicals, The Little Mermaid, Queen Latifah, and The Little Mermaid Live

Queen Latifah absolutely destroyed as Ursula in ‘The Little Mermaid Live’

ABC’s musical special The Little Mermaid Live! aired on Tuesday night, balancing out the joy of seeing a beloved Disney classic brought to life with the horror of seeing what they did to FlounderMoana‘s Auli’i Cravalho played the titular mermaid Ariel, alongside Graham Phillips as Prince Eric and Shaggy as a disappointingly under-costumed Sebastian the crab.

But it was Queen Latifah’s Ursula who stole the show, Her Royal Highness descending from the sky wreathed in writhing tentacles as she launched into the character’s signature song ‘Poor Unfortunate Souls.’

Though the Queen’s stage presence and voice are already magnetic enough to portray the bombastic sea witch, her performance was further enhanced by clever use of pyrotechnics, smoke machines, and several vials of glitter. Queen Latifah’s rendition of the song was also slightly different to the one most are familiar with, adding a few extra verses in which Ursula laid out the particulars of Ariel’s contract.  Read more…

More about Disney, Musicals, The Little Mermaid, Queen Latifah, and The Little Mermaid Live

Queen Latifah absolutely destroyed as Ursula in ‘The Little Mermaid Live’

ABC’s musical special The Little Mermaid Live! aired on Tuesday night, balancing out the joy of seeing a beloved Disney classic brought to life with the horror of seeing what they did to FlounderMoana‘s Auli’i Cravalho played the titular mermaid Ariel, alongside Graham Phillips as Prince Eric and Shaggy as a disappointingly under-costumed Sebastian the crab.

But it was Queen Latifah’s Ursula who stole the show, Her Royal Highness descending from the sky wreathed in writhing tentacles as she launched into the character’s signature song ‘Poor Unfortunate Souls.’

Though the Queen’s stage presence and voice are already magnetic enough to portray the bombastic sea witch, her performance was further enhanced by clever use of pyrotechnics, smoke machines, and several vials of glitter. Queen Latifah’s rendition of the song was also slightly different to the one most are familiar with, adding a few extra verses in which Ursula laid out the particulars of Ariel’s contract.  Read more…

More about Disney, Musicals, The Little Mermaid, Queen Latifah, and The Little Mermaid Live

Queen Latifah absolutely destroyed as Ursula in ‘The Little Mermaid Live’

ABC’s musical special The Little Mermaid Live! aired on Tuesday night, balancing out the joy of seeing a beloved Disney classic brought to life with the horror of seeing what they did to FlounderMoana‘s Auli’i Cravalho played the titular mermaid Ariel, alongside Graham Phillips as Prince Eric and Shaggy as a disappointingly under-costumed Sebastian the crab.

But it was Queen Latifah’s Ursula who stole the show, Her Royal Highness descending from the sky wreathed in writhing tentacles as she launched into the character’s signature song ‘Poor Unfortunate Souls.’

Though the Queen’s stage presence and voice are already magnetic enough to portray the bombastic sea witch, her performance was further enhanced by clever use of pyrotechnics, smoke machines, and several vials of glitter. Queen Latifah’s rendition of the song was also slightly different to the one most are familiar with, adding a few extra verses in which Ursula laid out the particulars of Ariel’s contract.  Read more…

More about Disney, Musicals, The Little Mermaid, Queen Latifah, and The Little Mermaid Live

India’s largest video streaming service, owned by Disney, breaks Safari compatibility to fix security flaw

Hotstar, India’s largest video streaming service with more than 300 million users, disabled support for Apple’s Safari web browser on Friday to mitigate a security flaw that allowed unauthorized usage of its platform, two sources familiar with the matter told TechCrunch.

The incident comes at a time when the streaming service — operated by Star India, part of 20th Century Fox that Disney acquired — enjoys peak attention as millions of people watch the ongoing ICC World Cup cricket tournament on its platform.

As users began to complain about not being able to use Hotstar on Safari, the company’s official support account asserted that “technical limitations” on Apple’s part were the bottleneck. “These limitations have been from Safari; there is very little we can do on this,” the account tweeted Friday evening.

Sources at Hotstar told TechCrunch that this was not an accurate description of the event. Instead, company’s engineers had identified a security hole that was being exploited by unauthorized users to access Hotstar’s content, they said.

Hotstar intends to work on patching the flaw soon and then reinstate support for Safari, the sources said.

The security flaw can only be exploited through Safari’s desktop and mobile browsers. On its website, the company recommends users to try Chrome and Firefox, or its mobile apps, to access the service. Hotstar did not respond to requests for comment.

Hotstar, which rivals Netflix and Amazon Prime Video in India, maintains a strong lead in the local video streaming market (based on number of users and engagement). Last month, it claimed to set a new global record by drawing more than 18 million viewers to a live cricket match.

India’s largest video streaming service, owned by Disney, breaks Safari compatibility to fix security flaw

Hotstar, India’s largest video streaming service with more than 300 million users, disabled support for Apple’s Safari web browser on Friday to mitigate a security flaw that allowed unauthorized usage of its platform, two sources familiar with the matter told TechCrunch.

The incident comes at a time when the streaming service — operated by Star India, part of 20th Century Fox that Disney acquired — enjoys peak attention as millions of people watch the ongoing ICC World Cup cricket tournament on its platform.

As users began to complain about not being able to use Hotstar on Safari, the company’s official support account asserted that “technical limitations” on Apple’s part were the bottleneck. “These limitations have been from Safari; there is very little we can do on this,” the account tweeted Friday evening.

Sources at Hotstar told TechCrunch that this was not an accurate description of the event. Instead, company’s engineers had identified a security hole that was being exploited by unauthorized users to access Hotstar’s content, they said.

Hotstar intends to work on patching the flaw soon and then reinstate support for Safari, the sources said.

The security flaw can only be exploited through Safari’s desktop and mobile browsers. On its website, the company recommends users to try Chrome and Firefox, or its mobile apps, to access the service. Hotstar did not respond to requests for comment.

Hotstar, which rivals Netflix and Amazon Prime Video in India, maintains a strong lead in the local video streaming market (based on number of users and engagement). Last month, it claimed to set a new global record by drawing more than 18 million viewers to a live cricket match.

‘The Simpsons’ and Deadpool celebrate the completion of the Disney-Fox merger

TwitterFacebook

All your Fox are belong to us.

At the strike of 12:02 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Disney officially completed its takeover of 21st Century Fox.

The mammoth $71 billion acquisition includes Fox’s film and television units, plus its 60 percent stake in streaming giant Hulu, among interests in other businesses. 

As the acquisition kicked in, Marvel star Ryan Reynolds celebrated the Disney-Fox merger on Twitter.

“Feels like the first day of ‘Pool,” he wrote, with an image of his onscreen counterpart Deadpool sitting in a Disney-labelled school bus. Read more…

More about Entertainment, Disney, Deadpool, Fox, and The Simpsons

Hear a brand new song from ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ in latest trailer

TwitterFacebook

There’s a dolphin in the bath and a brand new song in the latest trailer for Mary Poppins Returns.

As everyone’s favourite magical, singing nanny, Emily Blunt takes the lead in a new original track for the Disney sequel, called “Can You Imagine That?” and teased in a clip released Monday. 

Directed by Rob Marshall, the film features all new original songs by Broadway stalwarts Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, and a musical score by Shaiman.

The teaser also appears to feature a few aesthetic throwbacks to Poppins classics like “Jolly Holiday” and “Chim Chim Cher-ee,” but foregrounds the original track. And many, many dolphins. Read more…

More about Music, Disney, Emily Blunt, Mary Poppins Returns, and Entertainment

Dave Bautista might not return to ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’

TwitterFacebook

The ousting of James Gunn from the third Guardians of the Galaxy film has left Dave Bautista incensed.

In an interview on Saturday, the Hollywood star — who plays Drax — told The Jonathan Ross Show that his future in the third film of the franchise is in doubt.

“It’s a bittersweet conversation. No, it’s a bitter-bitter conversation, because I’m not really happy with what they’ve done with James Gunn,” he said. 

“They’re putting the movie off. It’s on hold indefinitely. And to be honest with you, I don’t know if I want to work for Disney.” Read more…

More about Entertainment, Movies, Disney, Marvel, and Guardians Of The Galaxy

Disney won’t change its mind on James Gunn and ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’: report

TwitterFacebook

James Gunn will not be coming back to Guardians of the Galaxy.

As first reported by Variety, Disney and Marvel will not reinstate Gunn as director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, despite significant pressure from stars of the film and the public.

The decision reportedly came following a meeting between Gunn and Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn. Sources told Variety the meeting was “civil and professional,” but Horn stood by his decision despite the push for Gunn to be given a second chance by him and his agency. Read more…

More about Entertainment, Movies, Disney, Marvel, and Guardians Of The Galaxy

Disney tech smooths out bad CG hair days

Disney is unequivocally the world’s leader in 3D simulations of hair — something of a niche talent in a way, but useful if you make movies like Tangled, where hair is basically the main character. A new bit of research from the company makes it easier for animators to have hair follow their artistic intent while also moving realistically.

The problem Disney Research aimed to solve was a compromise that animators have had to make when making the hair on characters do what the scene requires. While the hair will ultimately be rendered in glorious high-definition and with detailed physics, it’s too computationally expensive to do that while composing the scene.

Should a young warrior in her tent be wearing her hair up or down? Should it fly out when she turns her head quickly to draw attention to the movement, or stay weighed down so the audience isn’t distracted? Trying various combinations of these things can eat up hours of rendering time. So, like any smart artist, they rough it out first:

“Artists typically resort to lower-resolution simulations, where iterations are faster and manual edits possible,” reads the paper describing the new system. “But unfortunately, the parameter values determined in this way can only serve as an initial guess for the full-resolution simulation, which often behaves very different from its coarse counterpart when the same parameters are used.”

The solution proposed by the researchers is basically to use that “initial guess” to inform a high-resolution simulation of just a handful of hairs. These “guide” hairs act as feedback for the original simulation, bringing a much better idea of how the rest will act when fully rendered.

The guide hairs will cause hair to clump as in the upper right, while faded affinities or an outline-based guide (below, left and right) would allow for more natural motion if desired.

And because there are only a couple of them, their finer simulated characteristics can be tweaked and re-tweaked with minimal time. So an artist can fine-tune a flick of the ponytail or a puff of air on the bangs to create the desired effect, and not have to trust to chance that it’ll look like that in the final product.

This isn’t a trivial thing to engineer, of course, and much of the paper describes the schemes the team created to make sure that no weirdness occurs because of the interactions of the high-def and low-def hair systems.

It’s still very early: it isn’t meant to simulate more complex hair motions like twisting, and they want to add better ways of spreading out the affinity of the bulk hair with the special guide hairs (as seen at right). But no doubt there are animators out there who can’t wait to get their hands on this once it gets where it’s going.

ESPN’s new streaming service will launch in the spring and be called “ESPN Plus”

 Today on Disney’s Q3 earnings call CEO Bob Iger gave a preview of ESPN’s upcoming direct to consumer streaming service. The announcement comes after another disappointing quarter for ESPN, with decreased ad revenue and higher programing costs compared to the prior year. The service will be called ESPN Plus, and live inside a new app that will be launched by the sports… Read More

Powered by WPeMatico

Nemo and Friends SeaRider Opens at Tokyo DisneySea

Disney fans here have been much preoccupied with the retheming of “Tower of Terror” to “Guardians of the Galaxy—Mission Breakout” at Disney California Adventure, and the opening of Pandora at Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World. On the other side of the planet at Tokyo DisneySea (one of the best Disney parks in the world—ask anyone who’s been there, or just look at a photo below) the latest attraction to open is “Nemo and Friends SeaRider.” The new ride, which opened on May 12, replaces one of the park’s 2001 opening day attractions, “Stormrider.” That ride was kind of like a bigger version of “Star Tours,” but not nearly as good. You could see the seams all over the large screen, thus destroying the illusion that you were supposed to be looking out a large observation window at the front of a new type of plane. Said aircraft was designed to drop a “fuse” into the center of a hurricane which immediately dissipates it. The ride was not the best thing Walt Disney Imagineering has done, and it usually had the shortest line in Tokyo DisneySea, about 20 to 40 minutes in a park where two- and three-hour lines are the norm.

They just fixed it by redoing the entire thing with an overlay from the film Finding Dory. There are many Disney park enthusiasts who bemoan the conversion of a ride with an original storyline and characters to that of an Intellectual Property (“IP”) which Disney owns. Personally, I don’t care as long as the ride is good. And from all reports “Nemo and Friends SeaRider” is good. As in the film Fantastic Voyage (or Disney’s own ride “Body Wars” which had a propensity to make its riders barf), you enter a vehicle, in this case the SeaRider, which is then magically reduced in size. Thus you are able to participate in the frolics with Nemo, Dory, and the other anthropomorphized undersea critters.

What surprised everyone on opening day is that there are at least two, and likely more, different films and ride sequences, making subsequent visits a necessity (at least for the Disney-infected, such as myself),

So take a looksee! 

Via Disney and More.

Powered by WPeMatico

This dad makes the most amazing Disney princess costumes for his daughter

TwitterFacebook

This is one dad that’s definitely making his daughter’s fairytale dreams come true.

Nephi Garcia, a father of three, is snipping and sewing his way to Instagram stardom, with incredible Disney costumes he makes for his kids.

From Belle to Snow White, he’s pretty much got them all covered.

Image: designerdaddy/instagram

A post shared by Nephi Garcia (@designerdaddy_) on

His dresses don’t just look incredible, they actually transform. Check out his version of Belle’s village outfit, that with a rip, turns into the iconic yellow gown that she wears to dance with Beast. Read more…

More about Costume, Disney Princess, Disney, and Watercooler

Powered by WPeMatico

'Rogue One' retold with Lego is amazing, but skips all the grim parts

TwitterFacebook

The success of the Lego movies proves that we’re eager to see our favorite films retold in toy form. That’s why a new Lego short replaying the plot of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was a welcome surprise this weekend. 

But despite the video’s attention to detail, some hardcore fans noticed that this Lego version of the film left out all the grim (spoiler alert!) deaths that litter the human-populated version of the film. 

Instead, the short Lego version of Rogue One ends with our two heroes securing the Death Star plans — and everyone is happy (and alive). The. End. 

It’s an ending more in line with Disney’s approach to kids, a choice some parents might appreciate. However, the soft touch, deathless ending underscores some of the awkward fits between Disney and its darker franchises when it comes to staying true to a franchise’s fan base and not veering too far from the kid-friendly territory Disney is known for.  Read more…

More about Sci Fi, Science Fiction, Disney, Lego, and Rogue One

Powered by WPeMatico

Disney cuts ties with PewDiePie, YouTube’s top star, over anti-Semitic clips

PewDiePie Disney has cut ties with YouTube’s most popular star after he posted a series of videos featuring anti-Semitic clips and messages. PewDiePie has 53 million subscribers on YouTube, is part of original content network YouTube Red, and is affiliated with Disney’s MakerStudios brand, where he has his own network. But that latter relationship is now over after the Wall Street… Read More

Powered by WPeMatico