Six new Maya Masters have been selected by Alias for 2004: Andrew Daffy, CGI supervisor formerly with Framestore CFC; Jeremy Gordon, president/ceo of San Francisco-based game development company Secret Level; Lee Griggs, product specialist at ART VPS; Derald Hunt, digital effects artist; Tom Kluyskens, CG supervisor; and Rene Morel, character modeler and texturer.
Category: Visual Effects
PhaseSpace unveiled their latest optical motion capture system in the Guerilla Studio and AMD booth 1334 at SIGGRAPH 2004, August 8-12 at the Los Angles Convention Center.
Major features of the new optical motion capture system, include:
Odd Lot Ent. and Batfilm have acquired the feature film rights to comic legend Will Eisner's THE SPIRIT. Odd Lot's Gigi Pritzker and Deborah Del Prete (THE WEDDING PLANNER) and Batfilm's Michael Uslan (BATMAN BEGINS, CATWOMAN, CONSTANTINE) will produce the film. Benjamin Melniker and Steve Maier are attached as exec producer with F.J. DeSanto and Linda McDonough as co-producers.
There is currently a paradigm shift in the world of vfx with the ascendance of the visual effects producer, according to supervisor Jeff Okun (THE LAST SAMURAI), who participated Thursday night in a panel discussion on "Producing Magic on Time and on Budget" at Sony Pictures Imageworks, sponsored by the Producers Guild of America's New Media Council and the Visual Effects Society.
Discreet 3ds max 7 will utilize ATI shader technology to provide impressive realtime hardware accelerated rendering in the 3ds max viewport. Created for game developers, 3D visual effects artists and artists creating 3D cinematics, the co-developed technology by Discreet and ATI will make a realtime 3D image rendered in the 3ds max viewport appear close in appearance to the final offline rendered 3D image or animation.
Noted animation industry veteran Troy Brooks has joined Pipelinefx as its cto. Brooks, formerly CG supervisor for the basketball franchises at Electronic Arts Canada, production systems supervisor at SquareUSA and lead programmer at Mainframe Ent., is a computer graphics animation pioneer with more than 13 years experience. "Troy is one of the most experienced animation experts in the industry. He knows the mechanics of both film and game production workflow inside and out," said Bill Spencer, Pipelinefx ceo.
Another SIGGRAPH has come and gone, and the buzz was generally positive in Los Angeles about the mix of exhibitors, exciting new toys and comfortable size. You can read all about it in our VFXWORLD overview later in the week along with Rick Baumgartner's take next week on the Electronic Theater and Emerging Technologies exhibition, and what The Pixel Priestess observed.
This week in AWN's Forums, a member is trying to find rare animated shorts from Tim Burton. Another member asks what is the best scanner for 2D animation. Another thread is looking for members' favorite animated shorts to increase their toon knowledge. Several junior members continue to ask for software and school recommendations. Additionally, members continue to discuss Craig McCracken's new series FOSTER'S HOME FOR IMAGINARY FRIENDS.
Disney Pictures has released the date for Andrew Adamson's THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE, reports the NEW ZEALAND HERALD. Fans will be able to catch the film Dec. 9, 2005. In addition, Sony Picture Imageworks has been hired to do 400 effects shoots for the film, whose main f/x house is Rhythm & Hues. New Zealand's Weta Workshop will create the makeup prosthetics for all of the creatures.
Pixar has announced RenderMan for Maya, a new rendering solution based on Pixar's award-winning rendering technology. The RenderMan for Maya plug-in, which is entering beta testing soon, will be available on computers running Mac OS X or Windows XP. It will be priced at $995.
RenderMan for Maya enjoys complete integration with Maya. Just switch your renderer to "RenderMan" and automatically render everything in your Maya scene, including Maya materials, Maya particles and Maya fur.
NewTek Inc. announced the LightWave  Training Edition, a special offer that provides more than $400 in training materials free to new LightWave 3D purchasers. By special arrangement with the publishers New Riders, Wordware Publishing and Kurv Studios, purchasers of new licenses of LightWave will be able to receive six books, four training videos and the DVD KAZE: GHOST WARRIOR, which includes extensive extras on how the independent CGI film was produced.
Avid Technology Inc. has introduced a new digital asset library module for its Alienbrain VFX asset management system. The Internet-based module offers unprecedented archiving and retrieval functionality to teams producing large volumes of graphics files for complex visual effects and computer-generated feature projects. The new digital asset library module was unveiled at SIGGRAPH 2004.
Atari Inc. is collaborating with best-selling author Dale Brown and Eugen Systems on ACT OF WAR: DIRECT ACTION, scheduled to be released in spring 2005. The upcoming near-future, geopolitical techno-thriller is being developed by Eugen Systems with a storyline and game universe created in cooperation with Brown, 15-time New York Times best-selling author and expert on U.S. military, global conflict and future military technology.
SPY-HUNTER producers Adrian Askarieh and Chuck Gordon have obtained the feature rights to Midway's PSI-OPS videogame, reports VARIETY. The producers hope to secure a director and pitch the project to various studios by the beginning of September. The story follows a psionic agent who has had his memory erased that must infiltrate a band of rogue agents who were in training with him.
Warner Home Video has announced that it will release a 10-disk MATRIX collection in December. THE ULTIMATE MATRIX COLLECTION will include the trilogy, THE ANIMATRIX and 35-hours of bonus material as well as a Neo bust and 80-page book.
The disks include:* THE MATRIX - containing a new digital transfer of the film with two new commentaries* THE MATRIX REVISITED
Paramount Pictures and Cruise/Wagner Productions have made it official J.J. Abrams will make his theatrical directing debut onMISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 3. Originally set to hit theaters next summer, the film will now start shooting in the summer of 2005. Abrams is best known as the creator and director of such hit series as FELICITY, ALIAS and his new series LOST. Previously, NARC director Joe Carnahan had long been attached to direct the film, but had "creative differences" with the studio, leading to his stepping down from the film earlier this year.
After seven years as CaféFX's senior effects producer and supervisor, Vicki Weimer has been promoted to exec producer. Weimer, a 30-year veteran of the motion picture industry, will handle team building and oversee all CaféFX feature film projects.
"Vicki has been an incredible asset to us during her tenure here at the Café. She has actually been doing the EP role here for years. We are just making it official," said Jeff Barnes, ComputerCafé Group's president/ceo.
HP introduced groundbreaking new software at SIGGRAPH 2004 that allows customers in graphics-intensive fields such as engineering and graphic design to collaborate with teams across geographically dispersed regions in realtime.
It looks like the heavy vfx duties on the new WAR OF THE WORLDS feature from Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks will be done by vfx supervisor Dennis Muren and Industrial Light & Magic, according to the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Steven Spielberg is directing the remake of H.G. Wells novel with Tom Cruise set to star in the pic stet to shoot in November 2004.
Ben Kingsley has been signed to play the vampire Kagan, the evil ruler of an army of bloodsuckers, in the film adaptation of the videogame BLOODRAYNE, opposite Kristanna Loken (TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES), the ASSOCIATED PRESS reported. The film chronicles the adventures of a half-vampire, half-human in 18th-century Romania who has the super strength of a monster countered by the emotions of a person.
Project postponements have freed up actor Tom Cruise and director Steven Spielberg to team up again in the re-make of H.G. Wells THE WAR OF THE WORLDS for a fast track investment for DreamWorks and Paramount Pictures.
Cruise had been set to work on MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 3 until a delay while Spielbergs untitled project on the aftermath of the 1972 Munich Olympics has also been pushed back. Cruise and Spielberg collaborated successfully on MINORITY REPORT.