LAIKA picks The Foundry’s FLIX for Kubo and The Two Strings and Future Animated Features

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Last Updated: March 17, 2015 8:07 pm GMT
(Cites Tight Integration, More Streamlined Workflow and Easier Collaboration, London--March 17, 2015) LAIKA, the award-winning animation studio behind The Boxtrolls, ParaNorman and Coraline, has chosen The Foundry’s web-based FLIX software solution to enhance its pre-production and storyboarding process for animated features. LAIKA is using FLIX for its latest animated film project, Kubo and the Two Strings, which uses a 3D stop-motion and CG hybrid technique to tell the story of a sweeping, swashbuckling adventure set in a mythical ancient Japan and is set for release on August 19, 2016.

LAIKA cited FLIX’s tight integration with other popular 2D and 3D creative applications and web-based infrastructure as driving factors in adopting the solution. “The workflow and steps necessary for managing versions and publishing to editorial was more streamlined than in-house tools, and we thought working with The Foundry would ultimately lead to a more feature-rich toolset for story development than we could develop internally," says Jeff Stringer, director of Production Technology at LAIKA.

Storyboarding for large animated feature films can get complicated in a hurry, which is why directors, artists, and producers find tremendous value in tools that streamline production while boosting the creative process. Prior to adopting FLIX, the team's storyboarding process relied primarily on in-house tools paired with commercial products to assemble and review panels in editorial. Unpublished panels were stored locally and individual artists each had their own methods for managing their work-in-progress panels. The system worked, says Stringer, but it required more formal steps for publishing and access to editorial in order to get revisions turned around.

Switching to FLIX sped the studio's workflow along, streamlining the process and allowing for easier collaboration among the story team, says Stringer. “The work across sequences is more visible to the team, and collaboration on a sequence is easier to manage -- as are reassignments,” he says. “The head of story has better access to everyone’s work and a good toolset for making updates and managing the flow of boards to editorial.

The director and producers have easier access to the latest work, and iterations are moving faster. Version management and publishes are also streamlined, and there is no need for coordinators or PAs to assist in the management of boards.”

FLIX, winner of a 2013 HPA Engineering Excellence Award, was developed as an in-house solution at Sony Pictures Imageworks before The Foundry acquired it. It has been battle-tested

in production at SPI since 2008 and has been used on more than 15 projects including

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, The Smurfs and Hotel Transylvania.


About The Foundry

The Foundry develops award-winning creative software used globally by leading artists, designers and creative professionals. The portfolio lets users create inspiring and technical high-end visuals in the areas of Media Production (film, commercial, episodic, gaming and VR/AR), and Design (enterprise and creative), as well as participate in emerging high-growth markets such as 3D printing. The Foundry’s wholly owned subsidiary, Made With Mischief, develops simple, creative and accessible tools and applications that empower people to explore ideas and create. Clients include Pixar, ILM, Double Negative, The Moving Picture Company, Walt Disney Animation, Weta Digital, Framestore and Sony Pictures Imageworks.

In 2013, The Foundry’s CEO Bill Collis was recognized as the UK Technology winner for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, and the company made the Sunday Times Tech Track 100 for the fourth consecutive year.

In 2015, the London Stock Exchange named The Foundry one of its “1000 Companies to Inspire Britain.”

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About LAIKA

Fueled by the vision of its owner, Nike co-founder and Chairman Philip H. Knight, and its President & CEO Travis Knight, LAIKA (www.laika.com)

is an animation company specializing in feature films. Located in Portland, Oregon, LAIKA celebrates its 10th Anniversary in 2015. LAIKA’s third feature film, The Boxtrolls, scored the highest opening weekend box office of any LAIKA film when it was released domestically by Focus on September 26, 2014. It was honored with OSCAR®, Golden Globe, Critics Choice and PGA nominations. The company’s first feature, Coraline (2009), earned Golden Globe, BAFTA, Critics’ Choice, PGA, and ACADEMY AWARD®nominations for Best Animated Feature Film; and was named one of the year’s 10 Best Films by the American Film Institute (AFI). ParaNorman (2012) garnered BAFTA, Critics’ Choice, GLAAD Media Award, PGA, and ACADEMY AWARD® nominations, won two Annie Awards (the animation community’s OSCAR® equivalent) and was cited as the year’s best animated film by 14 critics’ groups.

LAIKA’s next production, Kubo and the Two Strings, boasts an all-star voice cast includes Academy Award winners Matthew McConaughey and Charlize Theron; Academy Award nominees Rooney Mara, Ralph Fiennes, and Brenda Vaccaro; and Art Parkinson, who plays Rickon Stark on Game of Thrones and who is providing the voice for the title character of Kubo. In the epic fantasy, scruffy, kindhearted Kubo ekes out a humble living while devotedly caring for his mother in their sleepy shoreside village. It is a quiet existence – until a spirit from the past catches up with him to enforce an age-old vendetta. Suddenly on the run from gods and monsters, Kubo’s chance for survival rests on finding the magical suit of armor once worn by his fallen father, the greatest samurai the world has ever known. Summoning courage, Kubo embarks on a thrilling odyssey as he faces his family’s history, navigates the elements, and bravely fights for the earth and the stars.

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