VFX house CafeFX is branching out into character animation, which will be headed up by Academy Award-nominated animation supervisor James Straus. The move is a reaction to an increased demand for the company's character animation work following its participation on PAN'S LABYRINTH.
Of his new animation home Straus, who served as a directing animator on SHREK, said, "I'm very happy to be here. CafeFX has a dynamic combination of talent and advanced technical resources. There's an eager, exciting energy here because everyone knows that they are contributing to the work in a very personal way. CafeFX is on a meteoric arc and I feel privileged to be a part of that momentum."
Jeff Barnes, ceo of CafeFX, said "James brings a wealth of experience in CG animation, but importantly, he has built and managed large animation teams for very significant live action and animated films and developed the requisite pipelines and proprietary software. There are great things on the horizon for CafeFX and we intend to bring the utmost in creativity and technical sophistication to those projects."
Their animation pipeline will be built on Maya with XSI used for texturing and lighting and Mental Ray for rendering. The expansion will see new hires, R&D work and in-house training programs.
The new division's first job will be to create the horrifying creatures in Frank Darabont's adaptation of Stephen King's THE MIST.
CafeFx's sister production company Sententia Ent., which helped produce PAN's, will also take advantage of the new arm.
CafeFX's upcoming vfx work includes THE KITE RUNNER, JOHN ADAMS and NIM'S ISLAND. Its work can be seen in such summer releases as EVAN ALMIGHTY, FANTASTIC 4: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER and SPIDER-MAN 3.