Archive for August 12th, 2008

Viva Chihuahua

The major studios are finally starting to get the hang of this viral video business. Tippett Studio‘s marketing chief Lori Petrini pointed that out to me a few minutes ago as she showed me a couple of YouTube! videos created by Tippett to strategically help promote Disney‘s upcoming film,Beverly Hills Chihuahua.

Tippett is doing some of the effects on the film, but also made the videos “Viva Chihuahua” and “Heel Chihuahua” that you can easily find on YouTube (but in case you can’t, try: or more

Autodesk’s Busy

08autodesk1.jpgOne of today’s more pleasant meetings was with Autodesk Media and Entertainment group manager Maurice Patel, and not only because of the chocolate, cookies, and comfy couches. For one thing, I got to see old colleagues Dan Ochiva and Steve Katz after far too long during the meeting, and they might be reporting on this blog site about the Autodesk meeting, as well. more

Fjorg! Finale Finishes Furiously

fjorg1.jpgThere’s no shortage of people walking around Siggraph this year with plastic Viking helmets on their heads and goofy grins on their faces, and that can only mean one thing: Fjorg! is back.

Fjorg! 2008 The Sequel! gathers 16 teams from around the world and pits them against each other in a 32-hour Iron Man-style event where nothing but the ticking of the clock, extreme sleep deprivation, and multiple staged distractions from costumed weirdos stand in each team’s way of creating the best animated short ever. In reality, 32 hours is not a lot of time to do that, but the teams forge on undeterred. more

What’s DJ Hauck doing?

Digital Concepts Group FacePro at Siggraph 2008Tomorrow 2:40 at the Vicon booth (1101), find out what one of Sony‘s most prolific motion-capture veterans is doing with his facial capture product FacePro.

Hauck (Beowulf, Monster House, and Polar Express) and partner Steven Ilous (Polar Express) started Digital Concepts Group last year to address motion capture pipeline gaps, looking for ways to simplify various tasks. First up: facial capture. more

The Half-Life of a Trajectory

08vicon1.jpgWhat makes a VP of Production happy? This morning, for Brian Rausch of Vicon/House of Moves it was onboard trajectory building. Vicon is here with the new MX T-Series 160 camera system based on their proprietary 16 megapixel 10-bit Avalon sensor (it runs full res at 120fps; it can do 240fps at half res). Quick math says this is a big jump in performance from the 4 megapixel sensors that established Vicon’s business and reputation.

But back to trajectories. In the not-too-distant past, Rausch explains, each frame was an island; trajectory really meant snapshot (which is hardly the true spirit of trajectory). Now onboard trajectory building is additive, and a successful trajectory can be built from a single camera when other cameras lose sight of markers. “We’ll get fewer labeling issues, markers aren’t going to swap as much, the trajectories will persist and markers will remember where they were, not just where they are.” For how long? Ah, who knows? Depends on movement, occlusion, how many actors. “How long will the trajectory will allow us to be part of its life? We don’t know,” Rausch says fondly, even wistfully. However brief or persistant it’s all an improvement on precision and clarity. more

Selick’s Stereoscopy

coraline.jpgIf the clips from Laika Studios‘ upcoming Coraline are any indication, the incomparable animation artist Henry Selick (Nightmare Before Christmas, James And The Giant Peach) is directing a new spin on the idea of ’3D.’ Despite the fact that this advance look at Coraline is happening at SIGGRAPH, Selick’s amazing animation isn’t in 3D-CGI — it’s in stereoscopic stop motion. (Think of ’3D’ in its last-century meaning, before the term was transformed by computer animation.) more

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Related Topics: 3D, Animation |

Break the Rules, But There Will Be No Pie-Throwing!

It’s the same general approach, only with very different visual presentations.

Robert Neuman, stereoscopic supervisor at Walt Disney Animation, showed a trailer for the upcoming computer-animated feature Bolt, which is from the talking-animal variety of kids-oriented films. In this movie, John Travolta voices a dog who thinks the popular TV show he stars in is real life. Neuman stressed the importance of using 3D as an aid to storytelling and not as purely a gimmick, something echoed by all the presenters so far today. Having objects flying nonstop at the screen seems to be a William Castle-like relic from the past. more


08newtek.jpgThe NewTek folks were excited to show off version, believe it or not, 9.5 of LightWave 3D for Windows, and feel it continues the company’s longtime mission to offer animation artists affordable tools. The new version, which includes a new lighting system, a new hair and fur solution, and radiosity caching, among other things, is free to registered users of earlier versions, and runs under $1,000 even if you are brand new to it. more

Featured News from The Briefing Room: Maxon Delivers Fully-loaded Cinema 4D 411; Raises Bar for 3D Animation Excellence

r11-gi-scrnsht.jpgMAXON Computer, a leading developer of professional 3D modeling, painting, animation and rendering solutions, today unveiled CINEMA 4D Release 11 (R11), the next generation of its highly acclaimed 3D animation software suite. The super-charged release is packed with advanced capabilities that deliver dramatically improved ease of use and workflow, image quality and integration into any production pipeline. CINEMA 4D R11 highlights include a non-linear animation system, new global illumination render engine and dramatically improved render speed. Customers also benefit from the powerful Projection Man matte painting system, developed by MAXON for Sony Pictures Imageworks, support for the COLLADA file format and CineMan — a RenderMan-compliant tool that connects to Pixar’s industry-leading rendering solution. Additionally, multiple improvements were made to MAXON’s popular texture painting toolset BodyPaint 3D Release 4. All of these capabilities and more serve to underscore MAXON’s ongoing and deep commitment to helping 3D digital artists further advance creativity and control. Read on at The Briefing Room

More 2008 NAB Show news from The Briefing Room

Imageworks Approach

Tim Sarnoff, president of Sony Pictures Imageworks, was his usual enthusiastic self when he and other company executives sat down for a chat with industry press today. Tim said he wanted to get us together in one place to discuss the company’s current direction this year, rather than “the usual trying to find each other on the show floor at the last minute” thing that usually happens at these kinds of conclaves. (And he was right–that is how it usually goes down.)

Much of the discussion centered around the company’s global production strategy as it continues building a new facility in New Mexico to go along with a Northern California unit and a facility in India–all designed to compliment the growing Culver City campus for the company. more


The editors of Digital Content Producer and millimeter post live from Siggraph as the news happens. Check back several times a day for the latest industry news, reports from press conferences, and product introductions.


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