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Softimage used by Hybride on Spy Kids 3D

Hybride used a range of Softimage systems to create animation and effects for the box-office topper SPY KIDS 3D: GAME OVER. The 100-person team at Hybride relied on the SOFTIMAGE|XSI product, SOFTIMAGE|XSI Batch and SOFTIMAGE|XSI BatchServe.

Compared with SPY KIDS 2, SPY KIDS 3D includes more extensive and sophisticated effects shots, said Hybride president and co-founder Pierre Raymond. Also, with large sections of the movie being stereoscopic -- which will require the audience to wear 3D glasses -- we had to address some highly-technical challenges and doubling of rendering requirements, on top of the usual creative demands of a CG movie. Softimage had all the right tools for the job. Thanks to the unsurpassed performance, workflow capabilities and productivity-enhancing features of SOFTIMAGE|XSI, we were able to finish our work on SPY KIDS 3D smoothly and on time, without compromising our creativity.

The film takes the kids into a virtual-reality video game. Once the characters enter the video game the audience puts on 3D glasses. From the design and animation of the CG versions of Grandpa and robot characters to the creation of more than 15 different motor vehicles and dozens of virtual environments, every element had to be rendered twice to create the illusion of a 3D environment. Hybride built a powerful 200-CPU render farm based on the SOFTIMAGE|XSI Batch system, managed by the SOFTIMAGE|XSI BatchServe software.

To create a depth of field perceptible with special 3D glasses, we used the amazingly flexible render tree in SOFTIMAGE|XSI to render each shot twice, the first time as if it were seen from the left eye, and the second time as if it were seen from the right eye and then interleaved the two shots, explains Marc Bourbonnais, senior technical director at Hybride. One of the other unusual aspects of the movie is that almost 75% of the live action was shot on a greenscreen, the rest being totally computer generated. In fact, in most shots, the only real elements are the actors! We made extensive use of the effects tree to key in the greenscreen shot actors into the CG scenes so that we could easily change their timing and positioning within these scenes, just as if they had been CG characters themselves.

Softimage Co., a subsidiary of Avid Technology, Inc., is an industry leader in 3D animation, 2D cel animation, compositing and special effects software. Softimage customers include R!OT, Valve, Capcom, Pandemic Studios, The Mill, Pixel Liberation Front, Blue Sky Studios, Hybride, Janimation, Quiet Man, PSYOP, Cinepix and Framestore CFC. For more information about Avid visit

Hybride is a 10-year-old visual effects company located in Piedmont, Quebec, Canada. Its credits include SPY KIDS 2, ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO, BATTLEFIELD EARTH, THE FACULTY and MIMIC. For more information visit

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Bill Desowitz, former editor of VFXWorld, is currently the Crafts Editor of IndieWire.