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Category: Visual Effects

Film Headline News

Bruckheimer G-Force Behind Talking Animals

Walt Disney Pictures has tapped uber-producer Jerry Bruckheimer to oversee G-FORCE, a live-action/CGI family film that features talking animals. Visual effects supervisor Hoyt Yeatman (THE ROCK, KANGAROO JACK) will make his directing debut on the film, which was been in development at Yeatmans Whamaphram Prods. Disney Jason Reed will oversee the film for the studio with Whamaphram's David James serving as exec producer. Ed Kashiba will also work in a producing role on the film.

Headline News

Shark Boy Lands Its Villain

Jacob Davich has been hired for the role of the young bully in Robert Rodriguezs THE ADVENTURES OF SHARK BOY AND LAVA GIRL IN 3-D. Dimension is set to release the film in June 2005. Davich, who makes his feature debut as the young Howard Hughes in Martin Scorsese's THE AVIATOR, will play Minus, who terrorizes 10-year-old, Max, who has a pair of imaginary superhero friends. The cast also includes George Lopez, David Arquette, Kristin Davis and newcomers Taylor Dooley, Taylor Lautner and Cayden Boyd. Rodriguez will write and direct via his Troublemaker Studios in Austin, Texas.

Universal Headline News

Columbus Dives into Sub-Mariner

Universal Pictures has hired Chris Columbus to direct and produce the feature adaptation of Marvel Comics SUB-MARINER. Marvel Studios chairman-ceo Avi Arad and former Universal production president-turned-producer Kevin Misher will produce along with Columbus 1492 Prods. The films screenwriter David Self will serve as exec producer. Universal Pictures vice chair of worldwide production Mary Parent and vp of production Damien Saccani will shepherd the flick for the studio.

Visual Headline News

Sony Pictures Imageworks Promotes Debbie Denise

Debbie Denise has been promoted to evp, Production Infrastructure, and exec producer at Sony Pictures Imageworks, Denise, who joined Imageworks with Ken Ralston in 1995, is a highly respected executive visual effects producer who most recently completed production on the CG feature THE POLAR EXPRESS, on which she also received credit as associate producer. It was her sixth film with director Robert Zemeckis. With this promotion, she continues in her role as an exec producer along with oversight of Imageworks production infrastructure. Together with recently appointed Jenny Fulle, the two evps lead all aspects of Imageworks production, from client relations and bidding to production management and staffing. Both continue to report to Imageworks president Tim Sarnoff.

Effects Headline News

Kim Libreri Joins ILM

Visual effects supervisor and ESC Ent. founder Kim Libreri has joined Industrial Light & Magic as the company prepares to move next year into its new Presidio facility in San Francisco and goes through a major shift in the way the facility structures productions and support ranks on its film projects.

Headline News

Craft Animations Releases HeliCam for Maya

Craft Animations, the inventors of the Hyper-realistic Physics Engine (HYPE), has released Craft HeliCam v1.30, the first tool of the commercial plug-in suite, Craft Camera Tools (CCTs), for Maya.

CCTs, previously released for 3ds max, is used by animators to control and record camera movements directly in the viewport, in realtime, with a joystick. CCTs offers animators freedom from the unnatural robotic perfection of spline curves. CCTs move cameras with a natural human imperfection, offering HYPE Freedom and timesavings.

Motion Headline News

Test-Drive 3D Motion Controllers at CGI Festival 2004

3Dconnexion, a Logitech company, has announced that visitors to CGI Festival 2004 will be able to test-drive its award-winning line of 3D motion controllers as part of a free, no-obligation 21-day evaluation.

CGI Festival 2004 reconvenes at the Business Design Centre in London from Dec. 7 to 8 after commencing last month in Leeds.

Work Headline News

Kim Libreri Helps Develop Iridas Products

Kim Libreri, former vfx supervisor at ESC Ent., played a key role in the inception and development of Iridas FrameCycler Digital Daily System and SpeedGrade, the new non-destructive color grading and film finishing application. Both products were used extensively in the two MATRIX sequels as well as CATWOMAN.

Headline News

Hanks to Star in The Da Vinci Code

Tom Hanks will play famed symbologist Robert Langdon in Columbia Pictures upcoming film adaptation based on Dan Browns best-selling thriller THE DA VINCI CODE, slated for release May 19, 2006. Ron Howard will direct from a script by Akiva Goldsman, who previously collaborated on Oscar-winner A BEAUTIFUL MIND. Brian Grazer and John Calley will produce. Presumably vfx, with lots of potential for virtual environments, would be handled by Sony Pictures Imageworks.

Software Headline News

SOFTIMAGE|XSI 4.2 Now Available

Avid Technology Inc. announced version 4.2 of SOFTIMAGE|XSI software, offering a series of enhancements designed to streamline the creative process for professionals working on complex CG productions including games, films, broadcast and post-production projects. Now, advanced features, such as crowd simulation and compositing and paint capabilities, are included with different versions of SOFTIMAGE|XSI 4.2 software.

Blu-ray Headline News

Four Studios Back Toshiba’s HD DVD Format

AP reports that Japanese electronics maker Toshiba Corp. is getting support from Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios, Warner Bros. and its sister studio New Line for its next-generation DVD format, HD DVD, to be launched at the end of 2005 in players, recorders and other products.

Game Headline News

Game Creator To Adapt Oz for Bruckheimer

Uber-producer Jerry Bruckheimer has optioned the videogame series OZ as well as tapped creator American McGee to adapt the film script, reports HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Bruckheimer has put in place a trilogy deal with Walt Disney Co. based on the property, which serves as a prequel to the classic L. Frank Baum book, THE WIZARD OF OZ.

McGee will pen the first films script and outline two sequels. McGee and writer Camden Joy have already completed an 500-page illustrated novelization of the game, which Warner Books will publish.

Marvel Headline News

Nick Cassavetes to Direct Iron Man

New Line Cinema and Marvel Studios have signed Nick Cassavetes (THE NOTEBOOK, JOHN Q) to direct the highly-anticipated big screen adaptation of IRON MAN. The film is scheduled to be a 2006 tentpole release. The project, which is being produced by Marvel Studios' ceo Avi Arad and Angry Films' Don Murphy, is based on a script by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, and David Hayter. The studios will begin casting immediately.

Headline News

Choose Your Spidey 2 DVD

SPIDER-MAN 2, with vfx designed by John Dykstra and created by Sony Pictures Imageworks, slings its way on multiple DVDs Nov. 30, 2004, courtesy of Columbia TriStar Home Ent.

A double-disc special edition loaded with more than 10 hours of bonus material retails for $29.96.

Bonus features include:* Commentary by director Sam Raimi, actor Tobey Maguire, producer Ani Ahrati and co-producer Grant Curtis* Technical commentary

Series Headline News

Digital Musings From the Editor:

Last year when VFXWORLD met David Schaub, the animation supervisor on THE POLAR EXPRESS, we couldnt resist offering him the chance to write an exclusive production diary on the making of Robert Zemeckis experimental film. Now you can read Schaubs first of three installments, Testing and Prepping, which should lend some context to this fascinating -- and controversial hybrid.

Game Headline News

New James Bond Game Puts Players in Villain’s Hands

Electronic Arts announced the release of the latest videogame in the JAMES BOND series, GOLDENEYE: ROGUE AGENT. This first-person shooter gives players the chance to explore the dark side of the Bond universe and experience life as a ruthless, unpredictable villain. The game is available for PlayStation 2, Xbox and the Nintendo GameCube.

"By allowing fans to step into the shoes of the bad guys, GOLDENEYE: ROGUE AGENT is the most exciting, cutting-edge episode of the Bond videogame series to date," said Patrick Gilmore, exec producer at EA Los Angeles.

Headline News

Prisoner of Azkaban Escapes on DVD

Alfonso Cuarón stepped into the directors chair for HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN, the third and darkest entry so far in the smash movie franchise, which arrives on DVD Nov. 23, 2004 (Warner Home Video, $29.95). Not surprisingly, along with the creepier plot and creeping sense of doubt, the vfx are up to the task, particularly the CGI creatures such as Buckbeak and the Dementors.

Design Headline News

Former ESC Ent. Staffers Form Evil Eye Pictures

In the wake of ESC Ent.s shutdown, former senior staffers Dan Rosen, Matt McDonald and John Jack have launched Evil Eye Pictures in the San Francisco Bay Area.

A design and compositing-focused company, Evil Eye specializes in art direction, compositing, shot design, on-set supervision, matte painting, set extensions, motion graphics and title design. With years of experience in creating and supervising 3D imagery as well, Evil Eye provides a critical eye, working with clients to achieve their unique vision.

Production Headline News

Animal Logic Welcomes New Digital Production Incentive by NSW Government

At a screening of the Chinese blockbuster film HERO last week, the NSW attorney general Bob Debus announced that a NSW fund used to attract traditional film projects will now also be available to digital production. Animal Logic welcomed the incentive and applauded the government for recognizing the importance of digital production to the future of international filmmaking.

Animal Logics director of communications & public affairs, Greg

Imax Headline News

IMAX 3D Polar Express Continues Record Run

Despite its failure to catch on at the dominant box office, THE POLAR EXPRESS has clearly been a boon for IMAX, as the large-format companys maiden 3D feature grossed approximately $2,050,000 over the weekend, following last weekends record $2.1M gross. Playing on 60 screens in North America, the movie registered a noteworthy estimated per screen average of $34,000 for the period ended Nov. 21, 2004, and has now grossed a total of almost $6 million in only 11 days in IMAX theaters.

Company Headline News

Lucas Digital’s Morris Departs to Pursue Computer Animation

Jim Morris, president of Lucas Digital for 11 years, is heading south to produce computer-animated movies. Chrissie England, svp of production at ILM, has been promoted to president of ILM.

Jim, Chrissie and their team at ILM have been working hard over the last 18 months to implement sweeping changes in both the operations and structure of ILM, commented Lucasfilm Ltd. president Micheline Chau. Now that those initiatives have been launched, Jim is taking this opportunity to move on to other areas of the entertainment business.

Digital Headline News

E=mc2 Launches Double Edge Digital in Major VFX Global Expansion

Award-winning vfx company E=mc2 Digital, which was recently acquired by Double Edge Ent., a privately held film production company based in Los Angeles and Taiwan, has launched a sister animation/vfx studio, Double Edge Digital, in a major expansion of its facility, staff and capabilities in Glendale, California. In addition, Double Edge Digital execs and creative staff are overseeing the formation of a digital production infrastructure in Taipei, which will mirror the California facility, for the efficient throughput of select aspects of the company's visual effects projects.