DreamWorks Animation

From the Audiovisual Identity Database, the motion graphics museum



Background

DreamWorks Animation is an American animation studio, considered by many as a successor to Amblin Entertainment's feature animation division, Amblimation. DreamWorks Animation has produced a series of computer-animated films, including Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda, How to Train Your Dragon, Puss in Boots, The Croods, Trolls, and The Boss Baby, among others. It was formed by the merger of the feature animation division of DreamWorks Pictures and Pacific Data Images (PDI). Originally under the banner of DreamWorks Pictures, it was spun-off into a separate public company on October 27, 2004. Starting with Over the Hedge, their movies were distributed through Paramount Pictures, who acquired the rest of DreamWorks SKG in February 2006.

In August 2012, DreamWorks Animation signed a five-year distribution deal with 20th Century Fox (now 20th Century Studios, currently owned by The Walt Disney Company), then a subsidiary of News Corporation (later 21st Century Fox), which began after the release of Rise of the Guardians; and whilst in China, the company formed Oriental DreamWorks (renamed Pearl Studio in 2018) and in Korea, the company kept its distribution agreement with CJ Entertainment.

On April 28, 2016, Comcast officially announced that it intended on acquiring DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 billion, valuing the company at $41 per share. The acquisition was completed on August 22 of that year, and became a unit of NBCUniversal. Universal Pictures took over distribution rights of DreamWorks Animation's films shortly after the 20th Century Fox deal ended; and they would release their first theatrical DWA film, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, on February 22, 2019. As of today however, Paramount Global still retains the TV (and select streaming) rights to most of the Paramount-distributed DreamWorks Animation films under license from Universal Pictures via Paramount Worldwide Television Licensing & Distribution, which are also licensed by Trifecta Entertainment & Media for syndication. In Japan, several DreamWorks titles are currently distributed by GAGA in partnership with Universal's Japanese distributor, Toho-Towa.

Notes:

  • Before 2004, films released by the company had the DreamWorks Pictures logo.
  • The general theme used for the logo is a variation of Fairytale, from Shrek.



1st Logo (May 15, 2004-October 25, 2011)


Visuals: The camera pans up through a cloudy light blue sky at daytime as the familiar DreamWorks crescent moon is seen. A boy (similar to that of the 1997 DreamWorks Pictures logo) flies up onto the moon holding a bunch of balloons (all with a letter on each balloon), and as he takes his place, he takes out his fishing rod and casts it, while letting go of the balloons. The camera pans further up into a cloud formation similar to the DreamWorks Pictures logo, as the balloons fly up and then pop into the word "DREAMWORKS", in its corporate font. The text slightly eases in as "ANIMATION SKG", underneath a dark blue line, fades in underneath.

Trivia:

  • This logo would later be used as one of the sky backgrounds used for the DVD and Blu-ray menus to Shrek Forever After, albeit zoomed in.
  • It was yU+co's decision to make the logo take place during the day in contrast to how its main studio counterpart takes place at night, as it made the logo comparatively more lighthearted.[1]

Variants:

  • On Shrek 2 and DVD releases until Over the Hedge, there's an early version of the logo where it just says "ANIMATION" underneath.
  • On The Madagascar Penguins in A Christmas Caper, the "ANIMATION SKG" variant of the logo has the boy and the moon above.
  • On Over the Hedge, only the line appears below the name. A rare version of this exists where it has the boy and the moon above; however, unlike the former, this actually wasn't used on any films, it's only known to have appeared on the trailer for Flushed Away and a teaser for Bee Movie.
  • Starting in 2006, the kid and the moon appear above the text, with "SKG" underneath with lines on the left and right of it respectively, much like the regular DreamWorks Pictures logo, although the text later reverted back to the previous name.
  • On Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa and Monsters vs. Aliens, there are more clouds than usual and it stays on the moon when the kid releases the balloons, as the name fades in below.
  • On a teaser for Over the Hedge, an odd variant appeared where the moon and kid are whiter than usual (similar than the 2009 logo) and the logo is slightly stretched from top to bottom, having the effect of cutting the moon off slightly at the top of the frame. This was also a placeholder logo for their DVDs.
  • On their handheld video games, there is a print version of the logo on a white background.
  • A still version of the logo exists at the end of their films.

Closing Variant: Just the last few seconds of the logo's sequence.

Technique: CGI by Pacific Data Images utilizing designs from yU+co, using an HP workstation with custom 3D software.

Audio: A majestic and peaceful orchestrated piece, which is adapted from the track "Fairytale" from Shrek. Composed by Harry Gregson-Williams, who co-scored the aforementioned film with John Powell.

Audio Variants:

  • Sometimes, the opening theme is heard instead, or the logo is silent.
  • On an MBC Persia airing of Shrek 2, the 2012 Universal Pictures logo's music is heard, due to a reverse plastering error.
  • None or the film's ending theme for the still version.

Availability: Seen on all DreamWorks Animation films from the era beginning with Shrek 2 and ending with Monsters vs. Aliens.

  • It was also used as a placeholder home video logo until Over the Hedge.
  • It was seen on home video and streaming prints of Shrek 4-D, retitled The Ghost of Lord Farquaad on a Shrek DVD sampler on General Mills cereal boxes.
  • It also appears on some video games based on DreamWorks Animation films, except for Shrek 2 and Shark Tale, which use the 1997 DreamWorks Pictures logo instead.
  • It was last seen on the special Merry Madagascar.
    • It oddly still appeared on video games until Puss in Boots, after the next logo was came out.
  • On the Nickelodeon network premiere airing of Trolls World Tour, it was seen at the end of the bottom text credits, despite that film releasing two decades later after that logo. More recent airings have the DreamWorks Television logo instead.

Legacy: A memorable logo for those that grew-up with their films from the era.

2nd Logo (March 26, 2010-June 2, 2017)


Visuals: In a starry nighttime sky, there is a full light gray moon. A shadow appears on it as it turns into a crescent moon, revealing the boy (now in light gray) from the last logo sitting on it. He takes out his fishing rod and casts it, swinging it around the clouds as the camera pans out. Then, the words "DREAMWORKS" zoom out and spread one-by-one below the moon, ending with "ANIMATION SKG" appearing between two lines in light gray.

Variants:

  • On the Super Bowl trailer for Monsters vs. Aliens, the name underneath reads "SKG", much like the normal DreamWorks Pictures logo.
  • There is a 20th anniversary variant of this logo created in 2014. The moon is pushed to the right more to accommodate room for the "2" on the left (with the moon taking the place of the "0" to form the "20") as the word "YEARS" appears underneath. Also, the logo is still. This can be seen on How to Train Your Dragon 2 and Penguins of Madagascar.
    • On the aforementioned anniversary brand campaign, it starts as normal, but when the boy's fishing hook swings by the screen, it sweeps up letters that form the word "YEARS" which then settle underneath the moon. From there, the number "2" appears to the left of the moon (with the moon taking the place of the "0" to form the "20") and the words "OF DREAMS" and "AND LAUGHTER" fade in below "YEARS" in columns. The DreamWorks text (without the line and "ANIMATION SKG") then fades in above the "20", as copyright information appears underneath the logo.
  • On the season 2 trailer for Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous, the line and "ANIMATION SKG" are replaced with the Comcast byline.
  • A still version exists at the end of their films and most of their shorts.

Technique: CGI done by DreamWorks Animation's Glendale campus.

Audio: A dreamy flute/piano/string piece that leads into the previous logo's theme, accompanied by a choir and several different instruments. However, most films used an opening theme instead, sometimes interpolating the fanfare. This was again composed by Harry Gregson-Williams. The still version is silent or uses the film's ending theme.

Audio Variants:

  • On Shrek 3-D re-releases under the name of The Ghost of Lord Farquaad, it has the end of the theme from the previous logo, except for the Brazilian Portuguese track, which uses the opening track from previous prints of the short syncing up with the opening credits, since the audio track was left unaltered except for a narrated translation of the new title.
  • On Puss in Boots, a flamenco theme is heard along with sounds of whipping and a whoosh.
    • On the short Puss in Boots: The Three Diablos, it is the same as the movie but with no sound effects.
  • Trolls and both The Boss Baby movies use different versions of the theme with their custom variants.

Availability:

  • It was first seen on the Super Bowl trailer of Monsters vs. Aliens (the actual film has the previous logo), and later debuted officially on How to Train Your Dragon, and appeared on all DreamWorks Animation films from 2010 to 2017, with the final film to use this logo being Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie.
  • Also seen on some licensed games from the company during this era.
  • Despite the logo's retirement in 2017, this has been used sporadically on later productions, such as the trailer for the second season of Jurassic Park: Camp Cretaceous as well as The Boss Baby: Family Business, which uses the original Boss Baby variant.
  • The standard version of the logo with its fanfare was only seen on Shrek Forever After and the 2013 DVD and Blu-ray release of Shrek the Musical.

Legacy: Another memorable logo from the company.

3rd Logo (November 24, 2017-June 21, 2022)


Visuals: On a black background, some light blue paint streaks fill onto the screen, as some painted clouds start appearing, creating a daytime scene. The scene then fizzles with a sunset setting, growing in size from the top-right, as more and more clouds appear, slowly becoming 3D. As the screen zooms through the clouds, they take on a dark blue tint as the scenery turns to nighttime. A navy blue energy forms a white moon in the center, and the redesigned boy on a crescent carves onto the moon, forming the inverted print logo. Clouds blow in from the left and from the right, as the word "DREAMWORKS" forms from light streaks under the logo, followed by the Comcast byline wiping in, as some clouds disappear from the background while some remaining ones slowly move upwards.

Trivia: On October 12, 2022, DreamWorks Animation posted a 60-second compilation of the logos and its variants (mostly those from DreamWorks Animation Television) (including the DreamWorks Pictures logo, as well as the tail end of Universal Pictures logo from the Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous variant of the DreamWorks Animation Television logo), backed by the music from the 1st logo and "Fairytale" from Shrek, the song that was a part of the fanfare, on the studio's Facebook and X (Twitter) pages here.

Variants:

  • On trailers, the byline is already there when the name forms.
  • An early version exists where it has the print logo on a dark blue background, which was seen on Bird Karma and Bilby. However, the logo is wobbling a bit on the former.
    • An inverted version of this appeared on Trolls Holiday (where this logo debuted).
  • A still version exists.
  • On some current prints of Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (plastering the 2004-2009 logo), the logo is sped up, bylineless and fades out early.

Technique: CGI, mixing 2D and 3D animation, Youxi Wu did the clouds paintings for this logo.

Audio: It opens with a string/flute melody, sounding similar to the previous two logos' music, which then builds into a different triumphant fanfare, adapting some cues from Shrek 2 and tones from the DreamWorks Pictures fanfare by John Williams, ending with a choir, similar to the choir from the 2nd Jim Henson Pictures logo. Composed by John Powell.

Audio Variants:

  • None or the ending theme for the print and inverted print versions.
  • Sometimes, the opening theme of the movie is heard instead, or the logo is silent.
  • On Dragons: Dawn of New Riders, the last part of the 2009 fanfare is used on the still version.

Availability:

  • First seen on Trolls Holiday, albeit in a print version; the dark blue background version of this was seen on the shorts Bird Karma and Bilby (though online prints of the latter onward replaced it with a still version of the standard logo).
  • The standard version was first revealed on the trailer for How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, with the fully animated version debuting on the film itself, and also appeared on Abominable, Spirit Untamed, and as variants on Trolls World Tour, The Croods: A New Age, The Bad Guys, and The Bad Guys in Maraschino Ruby, with the former being shown after the 25th Anniversary logo and the latter was also the last film to use this logo (albeit as a custom variant, while the standard version appeared at the end).
  • This logo is also found at the end of The Boss Baby: Family Business, due to that film having the previous logo (albeit using a custom variant) at the beginning.
  • It was last officially seen on trailers for Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, with the film itself using the 5th logo.

Legacy:

  • This logo pays homage to the evolution of animation, evolving from hand-drawn 2D animation into the 3D animation of today.
  • The "Everything Wrong With" video humor link, during their review of the DreamWorks film The Bad Guys, spoke on how the logo was physically impossible.

4th Logo (25th Anniversary) (April 10, 2020)


Visuals: There are clips from past DreamWorks Animation films, such as Home, Turbo, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie, Kung Fu Panda, Shrek 2, Abominable, among many others, with a clip from the previous film being shown first, before Guy Diamond (from the Trolls franchise, voiced by Kunal Nayyar) appears, hanging from the top of the screen by his hair. The clips disappear, and Guy sneezes and covers it in silver glitter to reveal the company's 25 Years logo.

Technique: CGI by Shine Studios.

Audio: A shortened version of the previous logo's fanfare, accompanied by Guy sneezing.

Availability: Only seen on Trolls World Tour.

5th Logo (December 21, 2022-)


Visuals: The original logo begins as such: over a clear night sky, the Moon Child from the 3rd logo stands up from their crescent, grabs it, and starts flying while the moon vanishes into light. As the camera then pans throughout the sky, they pass by various DreamWorks characters from various franchises and films; in order, the Bad Guys (from their self-titled film, all inside a car, with Mr. Wolf pointing a finger gun at the Moon Child, which they do back), Toothless (from How to Train Your Dragon, who flies out of a constellation and towards the camera), Po (from Kung Fu Panda, on an island with a temple, performing a gesture), Ted Templeton Jr. (from The Boss Baby, on the other side of the island, surrounded by toy blocks and a baby bottle), and Poppy (from Trolls, inside a bubble). The Moon Child high-fives her, causing the bubble to burst and the scene to transition into a sunny atmosphere, with some hills and a riverbank. The Moon Child then passes by Shrek, Princess Fiona, and Donkey (all from Shrek), the former two of whom they wave goodbye to. The Moon Child then flies above the clouds into the cloud background from the 3rd logo (with more defined clouds this time). As they stop in front of the moon, the Moon Child casts their rod, forming the print logo design. As this happens, the text from the 3rd logo fades in under the moon.

Trivia:

  • The boy on the moon was re-dubbed as the Moon Child to relate to anyone.[2] As a result, the child's silhouette is now gender-neutral.
  • The sequence lasts 32 seconds and took eight months to create.
  • The 2D art background represents the matter that connects all life and makes up dreams.
  • The roster of DreamWorks characters shown is planned to differ throughout every upcoming film. For example, if a character represented in the logo also appears in the following film, it will be replaced with another one from an unrelated franchise.
  • The characters are redesigned (Po having less of a fur texture, Shrek's face having simpler features, etc.) for a sense of co-existence within the same universe.
  • The logo first appeared on DreamWorks' YouTube channel as an unlisted video on November 22, 2022.

Variants:

  • At the end of their films, the logo is still.
  • Starting with Trolls Band Together released in 2023, Po, Ted Templeton Jr. and Poppy are replaced with Alex and Marty from Madagascar (Marty rides Alex like a horse), Eep Crood from The Croods (swinging on a tree) and the titular character of Puss in Boots (who was also a character from Shrek 2; ripping open the screen with his sword, revealing the Moon Child and the scene with Shrek).

Technique: CGI, which incorporates elements from the previous logos.

Audio: A re-orchestrated and more majestic rendition of the 2nd logo's theme, taking elements from the previous fanfare and having the brass instruments be more prominent. This was once again composed by Harry Gregson-Williams.

Audio Variants:

  • None for the still variant.
  • On Trolls Band Together, the theme is slightly lower-pitched.

Availability:

  • Seen on all DreamWorks films since Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (trailers and TV spots uses the previous logo).
  • It also appeared at the end of Orion and the Dark (at the beginning, the custom variant is shown).
  • The wrapped characters' version officially debuted on Trolls Band Together.

Legacy: The logo serves as an homage to the company's entire library, and their history with very successful films, though the logo has received a mixed reaction, with many praising the return of Harry Gregson-Williams' fanfare, but some criticizing the apparent lack of other DreamWorks franchises and films (though this criticism subsided due to DreamWorks confirming that the characters could change for each film), along with relying too heavily on their legacy characters for some.

References

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