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Rainbow Studios Brings Egyptian Dinos To Life For A&E

Phoenix-based animation house Rainbow Studios has digitally cloned and animated 3D dinosaurs for MPH Entertainment's upcoming A&E Network documentary special THE LOST DINOSAURS OF EGYPT. "We did a lot of things different on this project," said director Jim Milio of MPH Entertainment. "Because we heard so many stories from scientists about how inaccurately dinosaurs have been depicted, that some of the most famous dinosaur imagery has been filled with misinformation and falsehoods such as wrongly shaped bodies, heads and behaviors, I promised to keep the scientists closely involved." Rainbow modeler and animator Adam Schimpf, along with several paleontologists, were on set during the filming of background plates. Rainbow used Newtek's Lightwave 3D, Discreet's 3D Studio Max and Nichimen's Mirai software packages to produce digital sculptures of four dinosaurs: two enormous Brontosaurus-like plant-eaters and two T.Rex-sized carnivores. "The [crocodile-like] Spinosaur has a sail that runs along the length of his back that was very complicated to model," said modeler Boyd Lake. "The scientists told us that sail was really an extension of its spine, but that sort of skeletal set-up made the model very difficult to flex and move smoothly. Inside Alias|Wavefront's Maya we set-up a custom muscle object to help the sail compress as the creature arched its back and expand as it lengthened its spine forward." The entire documentary was shot in high definition and edited on BOXX Technologies' HDBOXX. Rainbow producer and vice president Nicholas Napp said, "That meant we had to rely on some really fast equipment. We chose BOXX Technologies for its outstanding track record of reliable system technology. Their helpful support technicians helped us create a solution for getting the Hi Def background files into LightWave 3D, which streamlined production immensely. That whole pipeline was an interesting challenge because, ultimately we were handling frames that were between four and six megabytes each." THE LOST DINOSAURS OF EGYPT is scheduled to air this fall.

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