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NYTimes launches animated viral video technology

The New York Times has partnered with Xtranormal provide animated satirical cartoons for their website. Xtranormal uses a technology that provides a cast of characters that can voice and act scripts uploaded by the public to produce a video that can be shared virally. The same technology was used in Renton, Washington police officer to create mocking animations of the police department. The videos launched an investigation and a first amendment reaction.

From the Times announcement:

Covering topical subject matters related to the world of finance and economic policy, The New York Times plans to release one new Xtranormally produced satirical short per week. Notably, these cartoons will introduce an interactive component, enabling readers to join in on the fun by posting feedback and comments.

You can see the first animation featuring Warren Buffet and Mark Zuckerberg.

Community Comments

#1 Howard Tayler
September/27/2011
@ 10:29 am

Wow, that’s awful.

Nice character design, a couple of clever points in the writing, but mostly it’s just boring and awful.

#2 Gerry Mooney
September/27/2011
@ 10:54 am

Um, I don’t think you start out to create something viral. It pretty much just happens by itself. Someone should tell the Times.

#3 Gerry Mooney
September/27/2011
@ 11:08 am

I watched it and I’d like to revise my comment. If “going viral” is the same as “feeling queasy”, then well done, New York Times!

#4 Derrick Wood
September/27/2011
@ 11:24 am

Yeah, saying you’re going to make something ‘viral’ is sort of like when Happy Gilmore said he’s just going to make hole in ones all the time to avoid the putting.

#5 Milt Priggee
September/27/2011
@ 11:44 am

One…..boring….voice….reading….to another…..boring…..voice……how….exciting…..I ….can’t ….wait….to see….the…..next…..one.

#6 David Jones
September/27/2011
@ 11:55 am

Yep, it must be viral. After watching it I have been very ill. I made the mistake of getting too close to the screen. Damn these sore eyes! I gotta stop drawing my strip until the wee hours of the night… or morning…. whatever…. Gotta make another run…..

#7 Jeff Pert
September/27/2011
@ 1:18 pm

So, I take it this is supposed to be a spin-off of the intentionally bad videos w/ generic 3D characters talking about stuff in similar digitized computer voices. The first one of those I saw was funny, then they got old real quick. Now they’re REALLY old, and the NYT thinks it’s cutting edge? I try to stay positive about new developments in cartooning, but the NYT trying to look hip after the fact is far funnier than this ‘animation’.

#8 Chuck G
September/27/2011
@ 5:37 pm

WOW! Now ANYONE can be a cartoonist or animator! And you don’t need the training for the software or the imagination for the writing! Just spew out what you want!

Thank you New York Times! Nice to know you’re still looking out for the quality of pieces you publish!

By the way . . . do these submissions get PAID for what’s published?

#9 Shawn Luke
September/27/2011
@ 8:52 pm

Same here. the first one I saw “So you want to work in Video Games” was hilarious (Mainly because I know people like they are making fun of.) But other than that one, I haven’t come across a funny one. I think there is potential if you are a really good writer and can work within the limitations of the program. I’d like to try it for fun.

#10 Mike Peterson
September/28/2011
@ 4:03 am

I think Zuckerberg should have insisted on taking off his shirt and showing his muscles.

#11 Jerry Zucker
September/28/2011
@ 5:53 am

I had to turn it off in the first :30. Any amateur could have made this.. it has no life. noone wants to listen to these mechanical voiceovers and the over-gesticulating is just annoying. Thanks for posting though, just to see what latest folly the NYT does for animation.

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