Computer Graphics World

March/April 2014

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ANIMATION 10 ■ CGW M a r ch / A p r i l 2 014 ©2013 DREAMWORKS ANIMATION LLC. one time, using 3D computer graphics to create a cartoon with a 2D attitude was like using a saucepan to cook an omelet. The simple graphic shapes and exaggerated motion of 2D characters are easy to draw with ink and paper. But, a flat cartoon style doesn't slide easily into the physics-bound, three-dimen- sional word of computer graphics. PDI/DreamWorks has faced that challenge before – the studio's Mada- gascar series starred animals designed in a simple graphic style that moved with cartoony gusto, as did the characters in Megamind. Now, Mr. Peabody & Sherman, the studio's latest film, has challenged them to take one 2D motion-blurred step further into cartoon land. The film has an improbable premise: A wealthy dog named Mr. Peabody (Ty Burrell) adopts Sherman (Max Charles), a human boy. Mr. Peabody is a Renaissance man, er dog. He's an inventor, master chef, scientist, math- ematical genius, and punster. Sherman is a mischievous child who, in an attempt to impress a classmate, turns on Mr. Peabody's WABAC (way back) machine and starts the time-traveling adventure story. "I knew that as long as we made the film feel authentic and the relationship between Sherman and Mr. Peabody real, the way a father feels about his son and the son about his father, I had no doubt in my mind that people would go along for the ride," says Jason Schleifer, head of character animation. People do. Those who remember the 2D cartoon "Peabody's Improbable History" produced by Jay Ward and broadcast 50 years ago between seg- ments of the television cartoon series "Rocky and Bullwinkle." And others who meet the Peabody family for the first time. Released in the UK a month early to catch a school holiday, the animated feature rolled into US theaters with an average 94 percent approval rating from British critics and early reviewers on the aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes.

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