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Max Ink Café Animates Dragon Rage

Venice, California-based Max Ink Café (MIC) recently completed the game cinematics for DRAGON RAGE, the newly released PlayStation2 game console for game developer 3DO. MIC created seven movies totaling 10 minutes of animation, integrating live-action digital video footage of the ocean, a sunset and fire with pure CG environments and matte paintings that appear in the cinematics. Characters like dragons, orcs and sprites and their environments were modeled, textured and animated employing a mix of key frame animation and motion-capture using a variety of tools, including Discreet's 3ds max and Character Studio, Right Hemisphere's Deep Paint and three Digimation plugins: Shag Hair, Stitch and Bones Pro 2. The mo-cap sequences were completed at House of Moves. Max Ink Café, which also does visual effects and animation for film and television, estimates that 40 percent of its work is done for the game development industry. "In games, you have complete control over all the elements and you aren't necessarily aiming for photo-reality. There is a lot of creative latitude when creating the fully CG world," said MIC CG producer Jennifer A. Champagne. "In movies, you are trying to create the illusion of reality, so there is a lot more attention to detail. Also, you are dependent on the design and quality of the live-action footage that you are trying to match." MIC's previous game work includes WARRIORS OF MIGHT & MAGIC, WDL THUNDER TANKS and WDL WAR JETS, all for 3DO.