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.
Category: Visual Effects
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Digital Artist Agency (DAA) has signed THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST visual effects supervisor Ted Rae to feature, television and commercial projects.
In addition to his work in Italy on the Mel Gibson religious epic that raked in a heavenly $125M in its first five days, Rae also served as the film's second unit director and second unit dp. Rae was additionally responsible for vfx design, realtime motion control, miniature photography, CGI and digital compositing.
The Walt Disney Studios has entered into an agreement with Walden Media to co-finance and distribute the long-awaited motion picture THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE, the first book published in C.S. Lewis' famed series. SHREK-helmer Andrew Adamson will direct the live-action film, which is due out Christmas 2005. As part of deal, the two companies have left open an option for future films in the seven-book series.
Lions Gate Ent. has been granted film rights to develop, produce and distribute theatrical films based upon Marvel properties -- IRON FIST and BLACK WIDOW. Marvel and Lions Gate will share equally in certain revenues derived from the properties, with Lions Gate funding development, production and distribution and Marvel handling all merchandising in connection with the films. The companies have also announced their plans to begin developing THE PUNISHER II.
Kodak has released two new film stocks that incorporate the companys advanced VISION2 color negative film technology, adding 100- and 200-speed, ultra-fine grain color negative films to the product line.
Robert Rodriguez (SPY KIDS franchise, ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO) has signed on to direct the screen adaptation of Frank Miller's classic crime saga, SIN CITY. The feature will be based on the three graphic novels SIN CITY, THAT YELLOW BASTARD and THE BIG FAT KILL. Rodriguez and Elizabeth Avellan will produce the project through their Troublemaker Studios. Andrew Rona and Brad Weston, co-presidents of Dimension, will oversee the project for the studio.
Mel Gibson's THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST exceeded all projections, grabbing a whopping $26,556,573 on Wednesday, nailing the biggest opening day gross for a movie released outside of summer and holiday seasons, even subtracting the $3M from private church group screenings on Monday and Tuesday that were lumped in by indie distributor Newmarket.
Steven B. Cohen, a pioneer in digital technologies used to edit and screen feature films, has joined Ascent Media Creative Services in the newly created post of vp of feature film services. In his new role, Cohen will develop leading edge digital services for use in film production; including digital dailies, location and studio screening rooms, digital cinema previews and the digital intermediate process.