The Gravity of the 3-D Situation

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Below the Line, Movies, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

In covering prestigious 3-D on Friday, I forgot to reference Alfonso Cuarón’s apparently mind-blowing Gravity (Nov. 21, 2012), which will be post-converted in 3-D and IMAX 3-D. The intimate sci-fi survival thriller stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as the lone survivors from a space station disaster who must float through space to return home. Gravity was indirectly in the news today, with Guillermo Del Toro touting his friend’s ambitious film in an MTV interview for Don’t Be Afraid of the …

Mid-Year VFX Oscar Watch

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Below the Line, Movies, Oscar, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

In my weekly TOH column at IndieWIRE, I analyze the five mid-year frontrunners for the VFX Oscar. Good thing there are five slots now, with next year’s bake-off expanding from seven to 10 (though the presentations have been trimmed to 10 minutes).

Does the Future of 3-D Rest with Prestige?

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Animation | 1 Comment

The Wall Street Journal has an informative article about Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, and Steven Spielberg venturing into 3-D for the first time, and ponders if the prestige will elevate the technique commercially just as viewers are growing weary of it being so ubiquitous. However, what I find intriguing are the artistic possibilities of pushing 3-D further (plus we have Ridley Scott and Ang Lee testing the stereoscopic waters next year with Prometheus, June 8, and Life of Pi, …

Going Blu with Criterion in B&W

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Home Entertainment, Movies, Trailers | Leave a comment

I’ve been getting immersed with Blu-ray for quite some time, including many of the monthly offerings from Criterion and Eureka (the Criterion of the UK with its prestigious Masters of Cinema series). And I look forward to making Blu-ray and DVD coverage a regular staple of my blog. So I’d like to start by highlighting some of the recent Criterion offerings: High and Low (1963) has always been my favorite Akira Kurosawa and the Blu-ray only reconfirms it. Adapted from …

Autodesk and Disney Pact on XGen Tech

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Animation, Movies, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

Autodesk obtained an exclusive five-year licensing agreement for the XGen Arbitrary Primitive Generator technology (XGen), used most recently by Walt Disney Animation Studios (WDAS) in the hit animated film Tangled. XGen technology was first presented by WDAS in a research paper at SIGGRAPH in 2003 for the creation of computer-generated fur, feathers, and foliage. Since that time, XGen has been used to create the fur, hair, feathers, trees, leaves and rocks in Bolt;  the trees and bushes in UP; the …

New Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol Image

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Movies, Tech, Trailers, VFX | Leave a comment

How’s this for a ghostly image of Tom Cruise from Brad Bird’s upcoming Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol (Dec. 21)? Looks a little like Eminem, who sings “Won’t Back Down” in the trailer. The IMF is shut down when Cruise’s Ethan Hunt is framed for a terrorist bombing, and he must go rogue (like 007 has so many times before him) to defeat the real culprits. Co-starring Jeremy Renner and Simon Pegg. VFX by ILM (supervised by John Knoll). Will screen …

Disney to Bring out Big Guns at D23 Expo

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Events, Movies, Shorts, stop-motion, VFX | Leave a comment

OK, Disney’s D23 Expo (Aug. 19-21 at the Anaheim Convention Center) is shaping up to be a mini Comic-Con. They will tout footage and discussion of Pixar’s Brave and Monsters University, Andrew Stanton’s live-action John Carter, Marvel’s The Avengers, Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie, Disney’s The Muppets and CG-animated Wreck-It Ralph, Oz The Great and Powerful, and more. Rich Ross, chairman, The Walt Disney Studios; Sean Bailey, president, production, The Walt Disney Studios; John Lasseter, chief creative officer, Walt Disney and Pixar …

Alembic 1.0 Released

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Animation, Events, Movies, Tech, VFX | Leave a comment

Alembic 1.0, the open source project jointly developed by Sony Pictures Imageworks and Lucasfilm Ltd. was released to the public today in a joint announcement at SIGGRAPH 2011 in Vancouver. Alembic is the computer graphics interchange format developed by the two entertainment giants last year and focused on efficiently storing and sharing animation and visual effects scenes across multiple software applications. It was designed to handle massive animation data sets often required in high-end visual effects and animation, which are …

SIGGRAPH 2011 News

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Animation, Events, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

Highlights from SIGGRAPH 2011: Fusion-io, a provider of a next-generation shared data decentralization platform, is collaborating with NVIDIA, Thinkbox Software, and Tweak Software, to accelerate entertainment production by demonstrating full resolution, real-time digital content creation for many of the industry’s most powerful applications. “Entertainment artists who use Fusion’s ioMemory technologies can now spend more time creating and less time waiting for content to load, playback and render,” said Vincent Brisebois, Fusion-io Product Manager. “Multiple SSDs configured in a RAID can …

The Fantastic Flying Books Short Flies into Vancouver

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Animation, Books, Shorts | Leave a comment

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is definitely one of the highlights to check out at SIGGRAPH 2011 this week in Vancouver. The Best in Show Computer Animation Festival winner directed by Bill Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg of Moonbot Studios in Shreveport, Louisiana, is a brilliant mash-up of high and low tech — perfect for SIGGRAPH. It tells the story of a Keatonesque book lover displaced by a twister and hurled into an alternate world ruled by books. …