VFXWorld ends the month and our focus on education and jobs with an informative school survey that covers everything from core philosophies to evolving tools and curricula to meet the digital demands our ever changing 3D industries. Technology vs. technique. It's always a tough balancing act. Plus Steven Mirkin gets a few helpful hints from vfx houses about what they're looking for in new hires.
Category: Visual Effects
NVIDIA Corp. broadened its already expansive graphics line with the introduction of four new NVIDIA Quadro professional graphics solutions based on PCI Express. Leveraging this next-generation bus architecture, NVIDIA doubles the bandwidth of its AGP 8X-based products to more than 4GB per second in both upstream and downstream data transfers.
COMDEX Las Vegas 2004 has been postponed in order to reshape the event with the cooperation of information technology (IT) industry leaders, it was announced by organizer MediaLive International Inc. COMDEX 2004 had been scheduled to open November 14, 2004, in Las Vegas. The company has established a COMDEX Advisory Board representing the IT industry's foremost companies to determine how COMDEX can reboot itself to best meet the future needs of the industry.
Mercedes' latest commercial, CLOUDS, a follow-up to last year's award-winning MOVEMENT, broke across the U.K. on June 22, 2004. The HD ad (created by CDD's Walter Campbell and directed by MJZ's Nicolai Fugslig) boasts The Mill's most demanding vfx job, resulting in the London-based studio applying new working practices across the 3D department as a result of the project.
yU + co provided motion graphics design, computer animation and visual effects services for both the marketing campaign and the main title sequence of Steven Spielberg's THE TERMINAL. The studio's design team collaborated with its recently formed visual effects department to create a CG replica of an enormous "split flap" airport flight information board that spells out the film's title and other messages.
Framestore CFC has wrapped work on a new spot titled ILLUSIONS for the Audi A6. The spot features an Audi A6 traversing a cityscape that seems at first to be normal, but gradually warps and transformations of the streets and buildings that create impossible paths and spaces form.
On the eve of the premiere of the SPIDER-MAN 2 movie, National Geographic Channel will air SPIDER POWER at 8:00 pm on June 25, 2004, an extraordinary look at the evolution of one of the most successful hunters on the planet. This one-hour special uses spectacular macrophotography and stylized CGI bring to bring viewers within attack range of some of the worlds most ingenious predators and their super powers.
V12 and Panopoly Pictures are merging their respective design and production departments to form Full Circle, a the new company that will provide live-action production, branding motion graphic design and animation to clients in the feature film, commercial and broadcast arenas. Leading the joint venture are V12 founder David Hwang and Panopoly Pictures co-founder Kathryn Peaslee.
Softimage Co. announced that it will premiere its SOFTIMAGE|XSI version 4.0 software at industry events in New York and Los Angeles on June 28 and July 13, respectively. The events - sponsored by HP and Intel Corp., and part of Softimage's "i am 4 power" campaign - will feature product demonstrations of SOFTIMAGE|XSI v.4.0 software running on the latest technology from HP, Intel and NVIDIA Corp.
Once viewed as a sequel to Columbia's JUMANJI, ZATHURA, also written by novelist Chris Van Allsburg, is now being produced as a stand alone film with Tim Robbins as star. Lensing will begin in August with ELF helmer Jon Favreau in the director's chair. David Koepp, John Kamps and Eric Fogel wrote the screenplay. Michael De Luca and Bill Teitler will produce.
The story follows two brothers whose house is transported into space and wrapped up into an intergalactic adventure Robbins will play the boys' father.
VES 2004, held last weekend in beautiful San Rafael, California, was a sheer delight. The sixth annual festival of the Visual Effects Society, in which the baton was symbolically passed from founder Tom Atkin to new executive director Eric Roth, offered the latest in vfx creativity and technology (Mars and MYTHBUSTERS were two favorites). But the buzz was all about how games are catching up to movies in vfx quality, which is now being stressed in schools, the inevitable acceptance of outsourcing and the need to unionize.
THE LOST SKELETON OF CADAVRA (Columbia TriStar Home Ent., $24.96) is one of the best examples of kitschy B-movie sci-fi in recent memory a reminder of our primitive vfx origins; it streets June 22, 2004, on DVD. Aliens from Mars crash land on Earth and the key to thwarting the invasion lies in reviving a talking skeleton. Larry Blamire's instant cult classic contains the following DVD features:
* Director and cast commentary* Character commentary* Blooper reel* American Cinematheque Q&A featurette
Ryan Church, concept design supervisor at Industrial Light & Magic (STAR WARS EPISODES I, II and III) is the Grand Master award winner for EXPOSÉ 2, the latest in the series of digital art books from Ballistic Publishing that will begin shipping in July. The Grand Master is awarded to an artist exhibiting outstanding skill and contribution to the advancement of digital art. A graduate of Art Center, Church began his career at Walt Disney Imagineering (blue-sky concepts for future theme parks) before freelancing at Universal and hiring on at ILM in digital feature production.
Whodoo EFX recently completed vfx for THE STEPFORD WIVES. Led by president/digital effects artist Helena Packer and exec producer Mark Ritcheson, the Whodoo EFX team collaborated closely with famed comedy director Frank Oz, Academy Award-winning visual effects supervisor Richard Edlund and Award-winning art director Terry Windell.
Crayola's new SPIDER-MAN 2 inspired activity line allows kids to melt crayons and mold them into their own Spider-Man and Dock Ock characters with the SPIDER-MAN 2 Character Maker, draw webby designs with Crayola Spider Writers, pens that ooze a spider-web-like ink and even decorate their windows with all things "Spidey" with SPIDER-MAN 2 Window Markers and Window Clingers.
Warner Bros. Pictures, along with Atmosphere Ent. MM and Hollywood Gang Prods., will bring Frank Miller's graphic novel 300, which chronicles the legendary Battle of Thermopylae and the origins of democracy, to the big screen, reports HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The trio of production houses has hired DAWN OF THE DEAD director Zach Snyder to the direct and do a rewrite with Kurt Johnstad. Michael Gordon wrote the first draft of the screenplay. Atmosphere's Mark Canton and Hollywood Gang's Gianni Nunnari will produce.
The buzz at VES 2004 may have been mostly about jobs, outsourcing and the need to unionize the industry, but the seminars were still about creativity at the sixth annual VES Festival of visual effects, held in the bucolic community of San Rafael, California, June 18-20. VES 2004 also introduced new executive director Eric Roth, who recently succeeded founder Tom Atkin.
Linda Moinet joins as Xytech Systems Corp., a leading provider of workflow and media asset management software, as vp of Implementation Services responsible for project management processes, tools and techniques plus lead the project management team to a new level of customer service.
French f/x house BUF Compagnie is in final negotiations to create the futuristic cityscapes and environments for Paramount's live-action version of AEON FLUX, reports THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The Paris-based firm would handle the previs, on-set supervision and more than a hundred CG shots. The original animated series created by Peter Chung followed a female assassin who lives in the future where disease has wiped out all humans except for one protected city.
The ROBOCOP trilogy has just been reissued on DVD (MGM Home Ent., $39.96), and the real selling point is the availability of Paul Verhoeven's unrated director's cut of the original 1987 movie, with a bit more graphic violence involving the half-man, half-robot protagonist portrayed by Peter Weller. This uncut version had previously been available only on the out of print Criterion Collection edition. But this new MGM disc contains an enhanced anamorphic presentation with finer detail (except for the deleted footage, which is not as clean).
Pendulum Studios has wrapped production on two CG shots for production company, Oasis Films' :30 DuPont spot, TRUNK CREW. In the commercial, NASCARs Jeff Gordon is shown driving a brand new black Monte Carlo. After being coated in DuPonts Car Care product by a pit crew, which travels in Gordons trunk, the live-action car is doused with extremely muddy water by a passing truck. But, due to the protective coat, the car is able to shake itself completely clean in an almost dog-like manner.
Congrats to Mike Gabriel (LORENZO) and Chris Landreth (RYAN) for recent their triumphs at Annecy. By now youve become very familiar with these highly imaginative and technically innovative animated shorts, thanks to VFXWORLDs timely coverage. Obviously both are must-sees. Meanwhile, later in the week, Henry Turner travels around world to discover the vfx wonders that lie within Disney and Walden Media's remake of AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS.
Click 3x has completed the graphics package for the 2004 AICP Show, The Art & Technique of the American Television Commercial. The studios creative team, headed by creative director/designer Susan Armstrong, created a 50-second opener for the show as well as more than two-dozen graphics introducing awards categories. Click 3xs show opener follows a young creative as he strolls through an urban landscape and finds inspiration in non-assuming features of the environment like the bricks of a crumbling wall and the plywood barrier of a construction site.