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Polar Express’ Imagemotion Technology to be Unveiled at SIGGRAPH 2004

Performance-capture may be the new buzzword, thanks to Sony Pictures Imageworks and its proprietary Imagemotion system developed for THE POLAR EXPRESS, which will have its first public display in SIGGRAPH 2004s prestigious Electronic Theater. The 31st annual international conference on computer graphics and interactive techniques will be held in Los Angeles Aug. 8-12, 2004.

Sony says Imagemotion will be utilized on a number of projects currently in development, and just yesterday VARIETY reported that POLAR EXPRESS director Robert Zemeckis intends on using it for a property he just acquired with Warner Bros., Ian Ogilvys yet-to-be published three-book series, MEASLE AND THE WRATHMONK.

Imagemotion is a unique performance-motion-capture system capable of simultaneously recording high-fidelity facial and body motion of multiple actors on the stage at any given time. This new system involved ganging a high density of motion capture cameras positioned to provide 360 degrees of recording coverage for the performers -- especially Tom Hanks, who plays four roles. Another key component to the Imagemotion process includes a unique virtual camera system that allows a live-action camera operator to choreograph camera movement on the digital characters after motion capture was applied.

"The response and feedback from directors and filmmakers to our Imagemotion technology has been extraordinary," said Tim Sarnoff, president, Sony Pictures Imageworks. "Working on THE POLAR EXPRESS as our first film that utilizes Imagemotion has been an amazing process and we look forward to developing additional projects based on this new technology."

"Imageworks has certainly raised the bar in visual effects and digital animation through Imagemotion," added Chris Bregler, chair of the SIGGRAPH 2004 Electronic Theater and Computer Animation Festival. "We are very excited to have Imageworks and THE POLAR EXPRESS as part of our 2004 program."

Two other submissions from Sony Pictures Imageworks will also be represented in the Electronic Theater: SPIDER-MAN 2 and BAD BOYS II. In addition, work highlighting the "999 Ghostly effects" from THE HAUNTED MANSION will be featured at the SIGGRAPH 2004 Animation Theater. For more information on SIGGRAPH 2004, visit or to register, visit

Sony Pictures Imageworks Inc. ( is an Academy Award-winning, state-of-the-art visual effects and character animation company dedicated to the art and artistry of digital production and character creation. Imageworks is a division of Sony Pictures Digital, which oversees the digital production and online entertainment assets of Sony Pictures Ent.