7th LEVEL has released Agent 7, software that utilizes voice recognition and RealAudio to create talking animated characters. Users select from a pre-made cast of animated characters, speak into a microphone or add an existing voice track, and Agent 7 automatically animates the character's lips and facial expressions using "phoneme" (voice) recognition. The resulting animation can be streamed in the same manner as RealAudio. 7th Level is offering a free, two-character trial version on the web site, www.real.com/products/tools/5.html.
AWN Headline News
* Tuesday, October 20 - Friday, October 23. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
SIBGRAPI, the International Symposium on Computer Graphics, Image Processing and Vision takes place. The SIBGRAPI Video Festival is traditionally presented during one of the four nights of the symposium. Its purpose is to show visual explanations of animation, computer graphics techniques, algorithm animation and software demonstrations, as well as computer-generated films produced by TV companies. For information visit www.lcg.ufrj.br/~nando.
MICROSOFT has renewed its contract with TOTALLY HIP SOFTWARE for the licensing of GIF animations used in Microsofts software. Randall McCallum, CEO of Totally Hip, said, Using our own technology to develop content for Microsoft products provides our development team with feedback that has helped make WebPainter an award-winning Web design tool. Read a review of WebPainter in the April 1997 issue of Animation World Magazine.
* Wednesday, October 21. Burbank, California, U.S.A.
ASIFA-Hollywood presents An Evening With Art Leonardi hosted by Tom Sito. Leonardi was an animator on Friz Frelengs unit and has worked on Pink Panther, Tiny Toons and Shelley Duvalls Bedtime Stories. The event starts at 7 p.m. and admission is $5. Call (818) 842-8330.
THE University of Washington has obtained a patent for its pen-and-ink illustration software developed by INKLINATION, a young Seattle-based company started by people in the schools Computer Science and Engineering Department. The technology, which was presented in two papers at SIGGRAPH 94, is now available for worldwide licensing.
* Wednesday, October 21. London, England, U.K.
The International Emma Awards is an independent awards competition open to all forms of interactive media whether published, commissioned or on-line. For information visit www.emmaawards.com
Laguna Hills, California-based CUTTING EDGE TECHNOLOGY, INC. (CETI) has introduced two new high-end graphics workstations: ProStation GS 400D and ProAlpha GS 667. The workstations, which cost $9,995 and $12,875 respectively, are compatible with animation software such as Alias|Wavefronts Maya, Softimage 3D, Lightwave 3DKinetixs 3D Studio MAX, and others.
* Wednesday, October 14 - Thursday, October 15. Pasadena, California, U.S.A.
The D.Film Festival, a showcase for independent digital media, will have two shows during the DV Expo: one on Wednesday at 12 p.m. and the other on Thursday at 7:15 p.m.. For information visit www.dfilm.com.
* Thursday, October 15 - Saturday, October 17. Santa Cruz, California, U.S.A.
The D.Film Festival will have a show at UC Santa Cruzs Kresge Town Hall. For information visit www.dfilm.com or call (831) 459-2159.
* Wednesday, October 14. Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
The University of Southern Californias (USC) Animation department presents a screening of abstract animated films by German artist, Bärbel Neubauer. The artist will be in attendance. A chronological selection of films will be screened, including her latest film, Firehouse. The screening will take place in the School of Cinema-Televisions George Lucas Building, room 108. For this special screening, the public is welcome to attend. No phone calls, please.
* Thursday, October 15. North Hollywood, California, U.S.A.
The Women In Animation Writers Group presents Collaborating With Musicians: From Scratch Tracks to Final Production, a panel discussion featuring Alex Rannie from The Simpsons and Bambi Moe, vice president of music at Walt Disney TV Animation. Admission is $10 for members, $20 for non-members. The event takes place from 7-9 p.m. at Film Roman, 12020 Chandler Blvd., Suite 200, in North Hollywood. RSVP is essential. Call (818) 623-0020 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Thursday, October 15 - Sunday, October 25. Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
The 15th Annual Chicago International Children's Film Festival (CICFF), presents over 150 films and videos for children from 30 countries in a juried competition. For information call (773) 281-9075 or e-mail email@example.com.
Robert McNeel & Associates will be releasing the final version of Rhino3D, a powerful NURBS-based modeling package, this month. The software, whichhas undergone an extensive public beta program (for the last 2 years), willbe available for Windows 95, 98 or NT, and is designed as a companion topackages like 3D Studio MAX and Lightwave. Priced at $795 US, the packageboasts features such as 3D digitising support (for Microscribe 3D and Faro),surface and solid modeling, an intuitive UI, and support for all major 3Dfile formats.
Registered MAC users of LightWave 3D 5.5 and 5.6 can now downloadOpenGL from the NewTek web site. "LightWave 3D with Mac OpenGL seems like acompletely new product. The speed in redrawing and real-time viewing hasbeen amazing," said Brad Peebler, NewTek's vice president, 3D graphicsgroup. "Macintosh users have been at a disadvantage in the industry by nothaving access to OpenGL. With our new Mac OpenGL update, NewTek has leveledthe playing field for our customers who use Macs."
The producers of Maya and PowerAnimator, Alias|Wavefront recentlyannounced that they were jumping into the technical surfacing market withthe introduction of its new SurfaceStudio. SurfaceStudio, which will bereleased later this year, will be a complement to the Alias Studio 9 familyof CAID products. "The introduction of SurfaceStudio is a natural extension of theAlias|Wavefront leadership in CAID tools. Our automotive customers, inparticular, have encouraged us to make this move and we greatly benefited
By special arrangement with Nielsen Media Research, AWN publishes the Nielsen ratings for animated programs on a monthly basis in the Animation Flash. The ratings included herein are only for U.S. national network television. The following list of animated national network programs is ranked by Household Ratings. A Rating is the percentage of households that tuned into the program. This percentage can provide us with the number of households that tuned into the program on average during the month. The universe estimate for the 1997-98 television season is 98 million TV homes.
North-Hollywood-based FILM ROMAN has been hired as the production company for the WB's new prime-time cartoon, "The Downtowners," the first animated series to be developed by Castle Rock Entertainment's Television unit, whose live-action credits include "Seinfeld." Thirteen half-hour episodes of "The Downtowners" have been ordered, for debut on the WB network in fall 1999.
CARTOON NETWORK will debut two new "World Premiere Toons" shorts on November 6 at 8:00 p.m. "Mike, Lu & Og" by Chuck Swenson is about a girl named Mike who leaves her home in New York City and ends up on a remote island where the natives are friendly. "Kenny and the Chimp" by Tim Warburton is about an awkward 11-year-old and his best friend, a primate named Chimpy.
DreamWorks animated feature film, Antz has grossed over $36 million in the past 10 days since its U.S. theatrical release, topping two weeks box office charts. Reeling from this success, DreamWorks is developing a direct-to-video sequel to Antz. The film would, like its predecessor, be produced by computer animation studio Pacific Data Images (PDI). It is also being considered for theatrical release. Either way, a studio spokesperson confirmed that if the production is green lit, it would be 18-24 months before its release.
The German broadcaster RTL has purchased four Nickelodeon animated series for broadcast in its weekend morning kids programming block. Hey Arnold!, Rockos Modern Life, CatDog and Angry Beavers will be introduced to the networks program line-up over the course of the next year. The sale comes on the heels of Nickelodeons withdrawal from the tough German market [AF 6/2/98] as a network. Nickelodeon ceased broadcasting on German airwaves in May, a decision motivated by weak ad sales and increased competition for viewers.
In celebration of Disneys 75th anniversary, the Disney Channel will air a collection of rarely seen early films by Walt Disney. Films such as the 1920s live-action/animation shorts, The Alice Comedies will air October 16-29, nightly on the Vault Disney programming block, Monday-Saturday at 11 p.m., Sunday at 9 p.m. Although other studios had been putting animated characters into live-action environments, Disney, with The Alice Comedies, was the first to place a live-action character into a cartoon world.
* Tuesday, October 13. Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
The Goethe Institute of Los Angeles presents a screening of abstract animated films by German artist, Bärbel Neubauer. The artist will be in attendance and a wine reception will follow. A chronological selection of films will be screened, including her latest film, Firehouse. The Goethe Institute is located at 5750 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 100. For information, call (213) 525-3388.
The Harrison, New York-based East Coast office of Blue Sky | VIFX has promoted Michael Feder to associate producer. Feder came to Blue Sky | VIFX in 1997, following production stints at Turner Pictures Worldwide and Jersey Films in Los Angeles. Blue Sky | VIFX's CEO David Brown stated, Mike really deserves this promotion and I believe with his strong production background and experience he will continue to make significant contributions to building the studio's relationships with the New York production community.
The International Teleproduction Society (ITS) has issued its call for entries for its 20th annual International Monitor Awards, which will be presented in New York, July 24, 1999. The awards are mainly for the teleproduction and digital media industries, honoring excellence in various fields of production and post-production. The 20 categories include Short Subjects, Children's Programming, Commercials and On-Air Promotions. The early-bird deadline (discount entry fees) is December 11, 1998 and the final deadline is January 15, 1999. For information and entry forms call (703) 319-0800.
Girls, Inc. (formerly Girls Clubs of America), a U.S. non-profit organization devoted to helping every girl become strong, smart and bold, has announced that six women in the childrens entertainment industry will be honored at its annual celebration luncheon. The event will take place on Tuesday, November 10, 1998 at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California.