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Category: Visual Effects

Headline News Digital Musings From the Editor:

We bid farewell to March and our focus on new frontiers with Tito Belgrave's fascinating look at "Photogrammetry: A Study of Image-Based Modeling." IBM has caused quite a stir with the ability of artists to explore 3D objects and scenes captured from real world photography, and Belgrave breaks it down nicely. Meanwhile, April kicks off our timely emphasis on gaming, what with GDC behind us and E3 just down the road.

Headline News Former Discreet Computer Team Auctions Itself On eBay

After losing their jobs at Discreet in England because of outsourcing, a team of computer gurus who worked on THE LAST SAMURAI, THE MATRIX and MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE have auctioned their services off on eBay, Britains GUARDIAN reported on Wednesday.

Headline News Zemeckis to Direct Transformers?

Coming in from Wizard World's Los Angeles convention, producer Tom DeSanto revealed to Inland Empire Strikes Back (www.iesb.net) that Oscar-winning FOREST GUMP director Robert Zemeckis will helm THE TRANSFORMERS feature. In addition, the site claims that New Line Cinema will distribute the film and TV series' voice actors Frank Welker and Peter Cullen will reprise their roles. The tentative date for the film's release is Dec. 2006. Until further confirmation can be made this is just hearsay, but both Zemeckis and New Line have been attached to possible participators in the past.

Headline News Robot Chooses 3dx max for Onimusha 3: Demon Siege Opening

Tokyo-based Robot Communications relied on Discreets 3ds max to create the introductory cinematic opening sequence for ONIMUSHA 3: DEMON SIEGE, the final installment in the critically acclaimed game series from Capcom. The game, running on Sony Computer Ent.s PlayStation 2 platform, has been available in Japan since February 2004, and is expected to be available April 2004 in North America.

Headline News Comcast To Purchase TechTV

Comcast Corp. announced that it has signed an agreement with Vulcan Programming Inc. to acquire TechTV Inc. Comcast plans to merge TechTV with G4, the Comcast-owned television network devoted to videogames and the gamer lifestyle. The deal increases Comcasts content portfolio and expands G4s distribution. The combined channel will be available to 44 million cable and satellite customers nationwide.

Headline News LucasArts Signs Multi-Title, Multi-Platform Agreement With IGN/GameSpy

LucasArts and IGN/GameSpy have signed a multi-title, multi-platform technology licensing agreement to facilitate online gameplay for titles developed by LucasArts' internal and third-party teams. Titles already scheduled to have technology embedded include: STAR WARS: BATTLEFRONT PC, STAR WARS: BATTLEFRONT PS2 and STAR WARS: REPUBLIC COMMANDO PC. IGN/GameSpy will supply LucasArts four distinct Software Development Kits (SDKs) toolkits that integrate with the company's games to provide matchmaking, community, administrative and networking functionality.

Headline News Oregon3D Expands Training and Consulting With Portland 3D Model

Oregon3D has purchased a license from Newlands & Co. Inc. for rights to the data that comprises a 3D prototype of the city of Portland, Oregon. Oregon3D plans to use the Portland City model for realtime visual simulation projects, allowing users to fly through the virtual city in realtime.

Headline News Lion, Witch and Wardrobe VFX Awarded to Rhythm & Hues

VFXWorld has learned that Walden Media has selected Rhythm & Hues to recreate the beloved characters for the upcoming movie based on C.S. Lewis classic childrens tale, THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE, a co-production with Walt Disney Pictures. According to Richard Hollander, president of R & H's film division, the studio is in the process of building its team from within R & H.

Headline News Focus Features Opens Specialty Label Rogue Pictures

Focus Features has opened a new action, thriller and urban dedicated label called Rogue Pictures, reported VARIETY. Supervision of the new unit will be headed by Focus' management team. Focus president of distribution Jack Foley will be the go-to man on Rogue releases. The first film to be released by the new arm with the forthcoming CHILD'S PLAY sequel, THE SEED OF CHUCKY, directed and written by series creator Don Mancini.

Headline News HimAnI Prods. Completes Full Slate of VFX Work

HimAnI Prods. has completed work on SCOOBY-DOO 2, HELLBOY and TREMORS 4 and continues contributing effects shots to the hit ABC TV series ALIAS.

For Warner Bros.' SCOOBY DOO 2: MONSTERS UNLEASHED (opening March 26), HimAnI designed, created and produced more than 30 vfx shots. These range from matte paintings and set extensions to the creation of "ghost ships" and an animated "ghost sword." HimAnI worked directly with visual effects supervisor Peter Crosman.

Headline News Shuffle USA Launched to Build Roster of Commercial Directors

Shuffle Inc., an international television commercial production company with offices in Venice, California, and Tokyo, Japan, has launched Shuffle USA as a new operating unit.

Headline News Orphanage Adopts Stray Toasters Graphic Novel Adaptation

The Orphanage has announced that it will produce a film adaptation of Bill Sienkiewicz's graphic novel, STRAY TOASTERS, reported VARIETY. The pic will be directed by Jeff Renfroe and Marteinn Thorsson, whose ONE POINT O feature competed at this year's Sundance Film Festival. Sienkiewicz, Renfroe and Thorsson have all contributed on the screenplay. Orphanage head of production Amy Israel will produce with R.D. Robb, Renfroe, Thorsson and Sienkiewicz.

Headline News Sony Pictures Mobile Announces New Spider-Man 2 Mobile Products

Sony Pictures Mobile has announced its roster of mobile entertainment products inspired by this summer's SPIDER-MAN 2. The premium mobile entertainment products will be available in the United States exclusively to Sprint PCS Vision customers for a limited time beginning in May.

Headline News Weta Digital To Rent Out Server Space

With the epic undertaking of the LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy behind them, Weta Digital is considering renting out several racks of IBM blade servers in partnership with Telecom, reports www.stuff.co.nz. Telecom Advanced Solutions started hosting the hardware last winter after Weta ran out of room in the Miramar facility. The new servers were linked to Weta's main site using a 10 gigabit fibre-optic connection.

Headline News Secondhand Lions Shows Off Subtle VFX on DVD

SECONDHAND LIONS (New Line Platinum Series, $27.95), the eccentric yet warm-hearted coming of age story starring Michael Caine, Robert Duvall and Haley Joel Osment, is noteworthy for being Digital Domain's first in-house feature production (with Erik Nash serving as visual effects supervisor). The effects and digital animation are subtle but effective, as revealed in the supplementary comparisons.

Headline News yU + co Probes Killer's Mind in Taking Lives Main Title

yU + co delves into the dark and disturbing world of serial murder in its wonderfully creepy main title sequence for D. J. Caruso's psychological thriller TAKING LIVES. The Warner Bros. release, about a murderer who assumes the identities of his victims, opened nationwide on March 19, 2004.

Headline News Muppets Take the Yellow Brick Road in TV Movie

In what will be the first outing for the Muppets as members of the Disney family, ABC has given the greenlight on a Muppet version of THE WIZARD OF OZ, reports VARIETY. The long in the works project will be produced by Jim Henson Prods. and Fox TV Studios. Debra Frank (HOME ALONE 4) and Steven Hayes (HEY, ARNOLD) will be penning the screenplay, which will be based on L. Frank Baum's novel, not the 1939 MGM musical. The Muppet characters are set to star as the Scarecrow, Tinman and Cowardly Lion with a human playing Dorothy. Internet rumors have attached Natalie Portman as the possible lead.

Headline News Gnomon Workshop Releases Three DVDs by Sculptor Brown

As part of its continuing series, the Gnomon Workshop released three new training DVDs by sculptor John Brown (A BEAUTIFUL MIND, PLANET OF THE APES, SPY KIDS). These titles focus on sculpting, casting and molding the full-size head and character maquette.

Headline News Kaydara Launches MOTIONBUILDER 5.5 Professional

Kaydara Inc. announced the release of MOTIONBUILDER 5.5 Professional, the latest version of the company's popular realtime 3D character animation software. With added support for Python scripting and CgFX shaders, MOTIONBUILDER 5.5 Professional allows 3D animators to create complex character set-ups and animation sequences in minutes instead of the days and weeks required by other systems.

Headline News Digital Musings From the Editor:

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.

Headline News Click 3x Adds DiMauro to the Flame

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.

Headline News Pandemic Standardizes 3D Production with SOFTIMAGE|XSI

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.

Headline News Pixologic Announces ZBrush 2

Pixologic Inc. has announced the upcoming release of ZBrush 2, the newest version of its award-winning 2D/3D digital-art creation software, on March 31, 2004. Modeling, texturing and painting features have all benefited from code enhancements and new tools and options provide even more versatility in all areas. Medium- to high-resolution models respond instantly to sculpting actions, constantly rendered and shaded in realtime.

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