Animation World Magazine, Issue 2.4, July 1997


Silicon Graphics Pumps $4 Million Into Cal Arts. Silicon Graphics Inc. has donated nearly $4 million worth of hardware and software to the California Institute of the Arts (Cal Arts), in an effort to foster the development of trained digital artists in various disciplines. The equipment includes 23 Indigo workstations, two Onyx2Reality workstations, one Onyx2 InfiniteReality system, as well as Alias/Wavefront PowerAnimator, StudioPaint 3D and Composer software packages The equipment will be integrated into the Computer Animation Laboratory as well as programs in the Music and Interdisciplinary departments. The Roy Disney Foundation (a major benefactor of the Cal Arts Character Animation department) is contributing toward the costs of installing this new technology, as is Twentieth Century Fox and The Ahmanson Foundation.

Motion actor Bruce Marrs demonstrates FutureLight's optical motion capture system.

Motion Capture Of The Future. Santa Monica Studios research and development division, FutureLight, has developed a new real time optical motion capture system. Three years in development, the system is designed for use in everything from films and TV to interactive applications. FutureLight's director Rob Bredow explained that what makes this system unique is that it is a wireless, optical recording mechanism which offers real time transfer of motion to a computer generated character, a function which until now has been performed only by magnetic recording systems, which can be cumbersome due to wires and restrictive magnetic fields. The optical system developed by FutureLight places up to 70 points on an actor's body, and records their motions with multiple cameras developed by Northern Digital. Santa Monica Studios and their visual effects division, VisionArt Design & Animation, is currently constructing an $85 million production facility and have been contracted to use this new motion capture technology for Columbia TriStar's feature remake of Godzilla, scheduled for a summer 1998 release.

New 3D Motion Library. Los Angeles-based Blaze Software has released a new library of character animation tools for graphics programmers. The IKaID Library features scripts to apply inverse kinematics, rigid body dynamics to animations, as well as to manage animation challenges such as gravity, inertia and acceleration. Available on floppy disk for around $169, IKaID is a C++ library which is compatible with any animation program running on the Windows 95/NT operating system.

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