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.
Category: Visual Effects
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Disney's latest animated short, LORENZO, premiered earlier this month at the Florida Film Festival in Orlando, and VFXWorld is proud to provide the first inside look at this darkly funny tale about a narcissistic blue cat with a curse on its tail.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
cebas Computer GmbH has announced the release of finalShaders for finalRender Stage-1. finalShaders is the first of many upcoming finalRender Stage-1 material and shader plug-in collections. finalShaders works with finalRender Stage-1 Service Pack 2a or higher. Owners of finalRender Stage-1 can upgrade to Service Pack 2a for free by sending your serial number to firstname.lastname@example.org. finalRender Stage-1 is available for 3ds max4.X, 5.X and 6.
The materials found in finalShaders include:
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.
Eovia Corp., developer and publisher of leading 3D software, announced the immediate availability of TransPoser. TransPoser is a full-featured plug-in to dynamically import animated Poser 4 and 5 figures into Carrara Studio 3.