It's been a hectic last couple of days, what with the server being down, but we're finally up and running smoothly again, so now you can get caught up on our latest news and features. Lots of tech news with the Game Developers Conference coming up next week in San Jose.
Category: Visual Effects
Flame artist Toni DiMauro has joined Click 3x. DiMauro is skilled in compositing, beauty work and design with diverse credits in commercial and broadcast media. She joins Click 3x from the freelance ranks and has recently worked with the studio in that capacity on projects for Road Runner High Speed Online and ESPN.
Softimage Co. announced that Los Angeles-based Pandemic Studios, creators of three upcoming console titles, FULL SPECTRUM WARRIOR, MERCENARIES and STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT, is standardizing its entire 3D pipeline with SOFTIMAGE|XSI, the leading nonlinear 3D production environment. The three phase transition, which will take place over the next six months and also includes the purchase of multiple licenses of SOFTIMAGE|XSI software, will replace all competitive 3D tools currently used at Pandemic Studios.
MGM Pictures, a division of MGM Studios Inc., has promoted Bruce Markoe to evp, feature post-production. He will report to Andy Davis, the evp of physical production.
"Bruce has become a vital part of MGM since he joined the company, and has been a great supporter of filmmakers here," said Davis. "This promotion is extremely well deserved."
At the Bear Stearns entertainment and media conference in Palm Beach, Florida, Electronic Arts announced it was creating a videogame based on the classic tale, THE GODFATHER, reported VARIETY. The company said the titled would most likely be their first M (mature)-rated game. EA has not released whether the game film be directly based on Francis Ford Coppola's film trilogy or Mario Puzo's original novels.
On March 11, 2004 at 6:00 pm, Tech TV will first air the second annual VES Awards. The broadcast will allow fans and industry folk alike to see all the top winners presented with their trophies. In addition, a highlight of the show will be the awarding of the VES' first lifetime achievement award to George Lucas.
Below is a complete list of scheduled repeat airings of the show (all times pacific):
March 12 at 11:00 amMarch 13 at 3:00 pmMarch 14 at 8:00 pm
TV's first CG-animated primetime series, GAME OVER, premieres tonight at 8:00 pm on UPN, and VFXWorld explores Toronto-based DKP Effects' cutting edge work on this video-game satire from Carsey-Werner-Mandabach. Read how DKP is meeting delivery challenges with artful technology that flows through their proprietary "GRID." Very topical, considering that we're highlighting new digital/3D frontiers in March.
Twentieth Century Fox Home Ent. confirmed that it has snapped up domestic DVD rights to Mel Gibson's THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, which has earned an astounding $213.8M in 12 days. Fox, which has a first-look deal with Gibson's Icon Pictures and passed on domestic theatrical distribution, is also negotiating to distribute in key foreign theatrical markets. No release date has been officially set for the DVD, but one unconfirmed online report says it's August.
Sega has announced its development of new software for future use in games that will allow for more realistic mouth movements with character voices. Magical VEngine form these movements by comparing vowels and consonants sounds against each other then use the data to create more natural facial movements in realtime. In addition, the software will analyze voice actors' speech automatically choosing the proper facial animations, thus expressing more accurate moods. Sega will unveil the technology at the Tokyo Institute of Technology at the end of the month.
Sony Pictures Imageworks has added CINEMA 4D to its matte painting production pipeline. The award-winning software is used for modeling, animation and rendering in the computer animation environment. Imageworks chose MAXON's software after testing CINEMA 4D in the production environment.
New Line Home Ent. announced on Monday that THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING will be released May 25, 2004 on DVD in its theatrical version for $29.95, and that the Extended Edition will arrive in time for the holidays.
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER creator Joss Whedon will bring his cult TV series FIREFLY to the big screen in his feature film directorial debut, SERENITY. The film will be set six months after the end of the TV series and continue the adventures of the crew of the spaceship Serenity. Barry Mendel (THE SIXTH SENSE, UNBREAKABLE) will produce with Chris Buchanan, president of Whedon's Mutant Enemy production company, and Alisa Tager of Barry Mendel Prods. serving as exec producers.
Mel Gibsons THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST continued its assault on the box office this week, racking up $10.1M on Monday, $9.2M on Tuesday, $8.4M on Wednesday and $7.6M on Thursday, bringing its nine-day total to an astounding $160.6M. To put these numbers into perspective, RETURN OF THE KING earned $171.M during a comparable period, while SPIDER-MAN earned $202M, but that covered two weekends. Box office information obtained from boxofficemojo.com.
With an eye on a robust slate of current and future client activity, rapidly expanding Blitz Digital Studios (DS), a leading interactive marketing agency based in North Hollywood, California, has elevated three staff members and brought on board two creatives.
NXN Software, a leading supplier of asset management solutions for creative teams, announced increased market momentum in Asia for NXN alienbrain Studio. New NXN customers in 2003 included game developers such as NCSoft, Hanbitsoft and DR-Interactive in Korea, and CAVIA, Namco, Sonic Team, Think and Feel, Grandprix and Tose in Japan.
Oregon3D, The Academy for Digital Arts & Sciences, and Discreet will sponsor upcoming "Storytelling and Animation" seminars at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Jose, California. Scheduled for March 25, 2004, this two-part class will explore the world of animation from a general overview to the current state of animation as a career.
IMAX Corp. and Tom Hanks' and Gary Goetzman's Playtone have reached a deal with Lockheed Martin, to have the aerospace company sponsor the forthcoming IMAX 3D film, MAGNIFICENT DESOLATION. The 45-minute space documentary, which will be shot in giant 15/70 format using IMAX 3D cameras, will detail the life-changing experience of the 12 men who walked on the moon by showcasing what these men saw, heard, felt, thought and did while on the lunar surface.
What a busy week! RETURN OF THE KING swept the Academy Awards on Sunday with a record-tying 11 Oscars, while FINDING NEMO and HARVIE KRUMPET took the animation honors. Then today the great Disney showdown finally took place at the annual shareholder meeting in Philadelphia, with more than 43% voting against retaining Michael Eisner as chairman and ceo.
Despite fan quibbling about the packaging and lack of significant extras, STAR TREK VOYAGER - THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON (Paramount Home Ent., $129.99) nonetheless arrives on DVD with all 15 original episodes from '95 looking and sounding better than ever. For some, the series is better than NEXT GENERATION with its emphasis on the science, intrigue and fun of time travel, wormholes and four-dimensional creatures.
3D Festival 2004, held May 3-6 in Copenhagen, Denmark, has just announced its preliminary list of speakers and sessions for its three conferences: 3D Festival, Game Developers World and Architectural Visualization.
3D Festival 2004 Preliminary Speaker List and Sessions (subject to change)
Justin Leach, Softimage"CG and Anime - Innocence: GHOST IN THE SHELL 2"Emile Edwin Smith, Zoic Studios"The VFX of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA"Jordi Bares, The Mill"Artificial Intelligence in CommercialsBuilding Crowds"
SPY KIDS director Robert Rodriguez has signed on to helm a feature version of Edgar Rice Burroughs' sci-fi classic, A PRINCESS OF MARS, for Paramount Pictures, reported VARIETY. The film will be produced by Alphaville Prods. and Rodriguez's Troublemaker Studios. Alphaville's Sean Daniel and Jim Jacks, along with Rodriguez Troublemaker's Elizabeth Avellan, will produce the project, which is set to begin production early next year. The film will be based on the first book in the 11-novel JOHN CARTER OF MARS series. THE CELL screenwriter Mark Protosevich is penning the script.
The Game Developers Conference 2004 (GDC), held March 22-26 in San Jose, California, has updated its Visual Arts Track lineup, which is designed "to take art and animation in new directions." Sessions are focused on intermediate and advanced artists and are expanded in length to walk attendees step-by- step through the latest tools and technologies.
Keynotes:"From Visual Anti-Establishmentarianism to Ubiquity and Back"John GaetaVisual effects supervisor for the feature films THE MATRIX, THE MATRIX RELOADED, AND THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS
After three successful years rhinofx, the New York visual effects studio, has launched a new division offering 3D previsualization. Having ventured into visual effects projects for film, television and video games, rhinofx is doubling its workspace in their New York midtown office building. A larger workforce and more artist stations are in place and previs services are being ramped up to form the new division called rhinofx previz.