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Bowling Green MoCap Team Takes FJORG! 'Viking Animator' Competition

Team MoCap from Bowling Green State University (Tomas Jech, W. Jacob Gardner and Jim Levasseur) took first place in the 32-hour FJORG! ''Viking Animator'' Competition for their animation SWITCH at SIGGRAPH 2007 in San Diego. Sixteen teams of three people each competed to create the most impressive character-driven animation of at least 15 seconds in length adhering to a strict set of rules and using only the resources provided at the conference.

Sponsors of the "iron animator" event included DreamWorks Animation, HP and AMD. Based on storytelling, animation talent, use of resources, creativity and technical skills. Picture This, a team from Miami International University of Art and Design came in second place and Impulse, from Illinois Institute of Art-Schaumburg, won third place.

A documentary on the competition and all 15 FJORG shorts can be viewed in AWN's exclusive SIGGRAPH coverage in the Media Center.

"The response from the animation community surpassed all expectations," said Patricia Beckmann-Wells, FJORG! chair. "All the teams did a fantastic job throughout the competition and it was clear early on that is was going to be very difficult for the judges to select one winner. The winners ended up having just a slight edge from a humor, technical, and creative perspective."

The three winning teams will be treated to lunch with top Sony execs and animators, among other prizes. The first and second place teams will also be given an all-expenses-paid trip to DreamWorks Animation headquarters that includes a sneak peek of BEE MOVIE, a tour of the facility, and dinner with top DreamWorks executives.

Teams were judged by a panel of industry experts, including:

* Simon Allen, animator, Pixar Animation Studios

* Scott Benza, animation director, TRANSFORMERS, Industrial Light & Magic

* Spencer Cook, animation director, SPIDER-MAN 3, Sony Pictures Imageworks

* Raman Hui, co-director, SHREK THE THIRD, DreamWorks Animation SKG

* Gregorz Jonkajtys, directing artist, and Marcin Kobylecki, exec producer, THE ARK (SIGGRAPH 2007 Computer Animation Festival Best of Show)

* David Smith, DreamWorks Animation SKG

The teams were supplied with limited resources during the event including:

* Sound and voice-over selections

* Rigged model for Maya

* 51 HP xw9400 Workstations with Dual Core AMD Opteron processors

* Autodesk 3ds Max

* Autodesk Maya

* Macromedia Flash

* Adobe Photoshop and After Effects

* Softimage|XSI

* Meals

* Liquid refreshments

* White boards and markers for team management

* Entertainment

* Nap area

The Assoc. for Computing Machinery (ACM) SIGGRAPH sponsors SIGGRAPH 2007. ACM is an educational and scientific society uniting the world's computing educators, researchers, and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field's challenges. ACM strengthens the profession's collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for life-long learning, career development, and professional networking.

DreamWorks Animation SKG is devoted to producing high-quality family entertainment through the use of CG animation. Utilizing world-class creative talent and state-of-the-art technological capabilities, the company is committed to making two computer-animated feature films a year that appeal to a broad movie-going audience.

HP (www.hp.com) focuses on simplifying technology experiences for all of its customers --from individual consumers to the largest businesses.

Advanced Micro Devices (www.amd.com) is a leading global provider of innovative processing solutions in the computing, graphics and consumer electronics markets.

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Rick DeMott
Animation World Network
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