Getting More Immersed with Indiewire

  The Penske Media purchase of Indiewire has resulted in an expansion of my role as crafts and awards season contributor.  Beginning this week, I begin Emmy coverage of below-the-line contenders along with my usual Oscar season crafts reporting, working closely

Immersed in Blu-ray: Hitchcock and Bogart

The WB Archive Collection gets Hitch and Bogie on Blu-ray and they've never looked better for home viewing. In Kent Jones' indispensable doc, Hitchcock/Truffaut, he reminds us that Truffaut was on a mission to correct misconceptions about Hitch as a lightweight

Immersed in Books: Farber on Film

For the first time, the complete writings of film critic Manny Farber is available from Library of America, edited by Robert Polito (Savage Art: A Biography of Jim Thompson). Manny Farber (1917-2008) was the first modernist film critic to write like a modernist.


The 5D | FLUX Schedule

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

Immersive design consortium 5D | Institute will kick off their world-building design discussion series in Los Angeles on March 13-15 with 5D | FLUX presented in association with Autodesk and USC School of Cinematic Arts. 5D | FLUX will consist of three, 120-minute interactive sessions spanning three evenings aimed at encouraging in-depth conversations about world-building across disciplines. Each session will be held 7-10 pm at the Ray Stark Family Theater at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Tickets are available for purchase here.

Sessions are $25 each or $60 for a three-day pass.

World-building refers to the iterative design process that creates and actualizes the story space across media, be that game, film, animation, theater or architecture. This process of developing a dimensional, fictional world created for that story to take place occurs before a specific narrative is locked down. Tuesdayʼs “Inception” session will cover imaging and developing of worlds; Wednesdayʼs “Prototyping” session will discuss testing the story space and visualizing the world; and Thursdayʼs “Manufacturing and Finishing” session will center on building and experiencing the world.

The collaboration with USC School of Cinematic Arts has been a vital component in bringing 5D | Flux to life as the school has been a steadfast supporter of the 5D | Institute. As an education facility, the schoolʼs importance to the film, television, and interactive community is undeniable, making it the perfect partner to host the design forum. The detailed schedule is as follows:

Tuesday, March 13: Inception: Imagining and Developing the World
“World-building for independent cinema: ʻUpside Downʼ”
Presentation By: Alex McDowell, 5D Creative Director, Designer (Man of Steel, Fight Club, Minority Report)
Opening Remarks: Tom Wujec, Design Software Innovator, Autodesk Fellow
Moderator: Peggy Weil, Adjunct Professor USC and Digital Media Designer
Panelists: Rick Carter, Production Designer (War Horse, Avatar, Jurassic Park)
Angus Wall, Editor (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Social Network)
Tom Wujec, Design Software Innovator, Autodesk Fellow
Michael Wilkinson, Costume Designer (Man of Steel, 300, Watchman)

Wednesday, March 14: Prototyping: Testing the Story Space and Visualizing the World
“Building Worlds in Animation: How To Train Your Dragon”
Presentation By: Pierre Olivier Vincent, Production Designer (How to Train Your Dragon, Flushed Away)
Patrick Hanenberger, Production Designer (Rise of the Guardians)
Moderator: Henry Jenkins, Media Scholar/USC Provost Professor
Panelists: Jerrica Cleland, Cinematographer/Animator (Arthur Christmas, Finding Nemo, Toy Story)
Jim Bissell, Production Designer (Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, 300, E.T.)
Alex McDowell, 5D Creative Director, Designer (Man of Steel, Fight Club, Minority Report)
Tom Meyer, Production Designer (Real Steel)

Thursday, March 15: Manufacturing and Finishing: Building and Experience the World
“Design for Virtual Production: ʻReal Steelʼ”
Presentation By: Andrew Jones, Art Director (Oz: The Great and Powerful, Avatar, Alice in Wonderland)
Jeff Wisniewski, Art Director (Tintin, Real Steel)
Opening Remarks: David Morin, Autodesk
Moderator: Mike Fink, VFX Supervisor (Avatar, TRON: Legacy, Blade Runner), USC SCA Faculty
Panelists: François Audouy, 5D Founding Committee, Production Designer
Ron Frankel, Previs Innovator (Fight Club, Minority Report)
Habib Zargapour, Creative Director (Microsoft Games Studios), VFX Supervisor (Twister,
A Perfect Storm, Star Wars: Episode I)
Chris Defaria, Producer, Warner Bros (300, Watchman, Harry Potter)

For more information about 5D | FLUX, please visit:

SIGGRAPH 2012 Accepting Real-Time Submissions

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Events, Movies, performance capture, Shorts, Tech, VFX, Videogames, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

SIGGRAPH 2012, which returns to the Los Angeles Convention Center, Aug. 5-9, seeks cutting-edge Real-Time Live! content to be presented as part of this year’s prestigious Computer Animation Festival. Examples of accepted real-time simulations and graphics submissions include:

Computer Games, Graphics & Demos

Interactive Animation, Simulations & Rendering Techniques

Military, Industrial or Scientific Visualizations

Research Projects

Real-Time Art Explorations

Interactive Data Visualization & Information Graphics

All content that is interactively controlled and rendered in real-time will be considered. Submissions must be able to be demonstrated in front of a live audience.

“Since its debut in 2009, Real-Time Live! has featured some of the most innovative work presented as part of SIGGRAPH’s Computer Animation Festival,” said Jason Smith, SIGGRAPH 2012 Real-Time Live! chair and digital production supervisor at LucasArts. “Each year the quality and diversity in real-time submissions showcases the best work occurring in the industry. This year’s program will continue this trend of dynamic innovation.”

According to Smith, since debuting at SIGGRAPH in 2009, the quality of submissions continues to be more competitive and impressive each year. This program provides SIGGRAPH attendees access to the industry’s pioneering work in the Computer Animation Festival. “As a community we embrace the diversity and origins of real-time innovation; these breakthroughs enable many industries to re-imagine their production pipelines, development techniques and commercial opportunities on a regular basis.”

The Real-Time Live! submission deadline is 9 April 2012. All real-time work will be reviewed by a professional jury of industry experts from traditional computer graphics, video games, and research organizations. Entries will be judged on creativity, innovation, performance, and most importantly, the ability to render in real time in front of a live audience as part of the Computer Animation Festival. The top selections will be played and demonstrated live on a PC or game console.

View detailed information on how to submit Real-Time Live! content.

Highlights from SIGGRAPH 2011 Real-Time Live!

5D, USC, Autodesk Present Worldbuilding Summit

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

FLUX: Digital Design and Worldbuilding for Narrative Media is a three-part exploration into design as the backbone of digital narrative media, addressing the changing role of the designer in storytelling through world building practices. Presented by The 5D | Institute, the USC School of Cinematic Arts, and Autodesk, the Summit — curated by Alex McDowell (Creative Director, 5D | Institute) and Peggy Weil (USC SCA Interactive Media Division) — will be held March 13–15 at USC’s Ray Stark Family Theatre in Los Angeles, and will include panel discussions, audience participation, and networking receptions.

Worldbuilding is the new metaphor for the creation and actualizing of the story space in narrative media and will be the theme of the Summit. It addresses narrative design thinking, the immersive process and the experience of creating new worlds. It expresses the full arc of the role of design in storytelling.

The evenings will be divided into Inception (imagining and developing the world): “World Building for Independent Cinema: Upside Down” with McDowell and moderator Peggy Weil (digital media designer); Prototyping (testing the story space and visualizing the world): “Building Worlds in Animation: How to Train Your Dragon” with production designers Kathy Altieri and Patrick Henenberger and moderated by Oscar-winning VFX supervisor and USC SCA faculty member Mike Fink; and Manufacturing and Finishing (building and experiencing the world): “Design for Virtual Production: Real Steel” with art directors Andrew Jones and Jeff Wisniewski and moderated by media scholar and provost professor at USC, Henry Jenkins.

With this first in a series of Worldbuilding Summits, the 5D | Institute and the USC School of Cinematic Arts will use their unique access to frame an investigation into the language and practices of digital design methodologies, applying learning from thought leaders in core media industries to an interdisciplinary discussion space within and across media.

FLUX: Digital Design and Worldbuilding for Narrative Media
March 13–15th, 2012 | 7–10 pm

The Ray Stark Family Theatre (in the George Lucas Building)
USC School of Cinematic Arts, SCA 108
900 W. 34th Street
Los Angeles, CA

Backstage at the Oscars with Hugo and Rango

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

Here are some backstage comments gathered from Hugo’s cinematographer Bob Richardson and VFX supervisors Rob Legato and Ben Grossmann (pictured above with Alex Henning [l]) along with Rango director Gore Verbinski:

Can you talk about working in 3-D? This is not the first 3-D film to win, but it’s unusual to get recognized with 3-D.

Bob Richardson: You’re right. I think the odds of winning are extraordinarily small. I was the crystal ball didn’t work this way. I know it worked that way for Mark Wahlberg, but for me, I didn’t see it.

Where do we go now, dramatically, with 3-D now that you’ve paved the way?

BR: That’s a huge question, but I don’t think there’s any limits for it. 3-D is a very solid step. I believe it’s 15, 20 percent, give an arbitrary percentage. The advantage is a tool towards what filmmakers can use, if used, as just that, as a tool, not as a gimmick. There’s an end. I do believe it will alter that, but, technically, I don’t believe we can go into that here, ’cause I could go on for an hour…

This was a marriage of visual effects and 3-D. Talk about that marriage.

Rob Legato: What we are trying to do with the 3-D of the movie itself is to basically extend the art form of cinema by using the depth that you get and every shot was designed to take advantage of the depth that we would enhance the model of the story. So, every shot was literally made to be in 3-D and designed to give you some depth or emotional response from it.

Ben Grossmann: And there’s a lot of science behind it, but we try to take the science and distill it down to something that is so simple that it doesn’t interfere with your instinctive creativity, so you can hear Marty or Dante or Bob, and say what they feel the shot should emote.

What does this win mean about the state of visual effects and the appreciation of visual effects at least by the Academy?

RL: There’s a perfect blend and ours does not stick out but assists that and becomes part of the art form that the Academy sort of growing up with the visual effects world, and saying, we are now going to also appreciate the art of what you tried to achieve, what’s literally on screen.

Talk about the unorthodox approach of putting all the actors in one room.

Gore Verbinski: I don’t know any other way to direct actors. I want them to act and react. I suppose it I think it made it feel like it was occurring and we encouraged line overlaps and we encouraged people to be out of breath. So we really were kind of paranoid of the computer making things clinical, and it so lends itself to perfection. So suddenly you had the feeling I guess in the soundtrack that there was a tortoise talking to a lizard, because Johnny was talking to Ned Beatty and they were actually playing the scene together. So I think there’s there’s something in there. There’s some sort of DNA underneath it all. But ultimately it was just a fear of having somebody sit with a bit of text in front of a microphone. I mean, I haven’t done that since I was selling sugar water, Budweiser, you know, or whatever, doing commercials, but that’s so distant from getting a performance.

What is the take away now that you’re back to live action?

GV: They’re two completely different hats. I suppose underneath all of it it’s just finding a story you want to tell in the same way you would if you were sitting around a campfire or something. But completely different. I mean, there are no gifts in animation. We have to fabricate everything, including the anomalies, and yet now I’m two days into shooting a live-action picture. I actually go back tomorrow to shoot, and there’s chaos and you can’t orchestrate things exactly how you want them, but when events happen, they’re set in stone and you’re done. I don’t know how else to explain it. It’s just every aspect of it is so different.”

Exploring the Oscar Retro Vibe

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Below the Line, Books, Clips, Events, Movies, Oscar, Shorts, stop-motion, Tech, Trailers, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

On the eve of Sunday’s Oscar ceremony, I look at the interesting retro connections between many of the contenders in my TOH column at Indiewire. William Joyce (The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore) rejoices at the hand-made greatness of Hugo and The Artist, while Grant Orchard (A Morning Stroll) ties in the lost art of urban myths.

Hugo to Get Plenty of FMX Love

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Events, Movies, performance capture, stop-motion, Tech, VFX, Videogames, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

Hugo will get two presentations at FMX 2012, the 17th conference on Animation, Effects, Games, and Transmedia, May 8-11 in Stuttgart, Germany. VFX supervisor Rob Legato and Ben Grossmann (Pixomondo’s VFX supervisor) will discuss the game-changing 3-D along with the VFX challenges of pulling off Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-nominated ode to Méliès.

Then, Matthew Gratzner (New Deal Studios) joins Grossmann to dissect the impressive train sequence in a second presentation. While New Deal Studios created the train as a model both in the computer and on set before the crash was filmed, Pixomondo created further visual effects, which involved, amongst others, texturing the train and turning it into a digital model.

Meanwhile, VFX supervisors Juri Stannosek (Pixomondo) and Rainer Gombos (HBO), who create the work for the medieval fantasy series Game of Thrones, reveal which visual effects await the audience in the 2nd season of the critically acclaimed show based on George R.R. Martin’s best-selling A Song of Ice and Fire series of fantasy novels.

Christian Cordona (Look Effects) — one of the VFX supervisors who works on the American crime series Bones – imparts professional insights ranging from pre – through post-production.

Bioware’s Technical Artist Luis Alonso illuminates how the Mass Effect trilogy has evolved since Mass Effect came onto the market. The final installment, Mass Effect 3, is highly anticipated by fans and experts alike. The third-person role playing game The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings constitutes another gaming highlight at FMX. Lucjan Wiecek from the Polish video game publisher CD Projekt Red takes the audience on a journey into the breathtaking world of Geralt of Rivia, the Witcher.

The traditional, annual FMX presentation of “SIGGRAPH Papers,” this year curated by Michael Goesele from the Technical University Darmstadt, is supplemented by a new series on “Eurographics Papers.” This is a scientifically oriented track in cooperation with the European Assn. for Computer Graphics, curated by Prof. Carsten Dachsbacher, who teaches at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. The following speakers have already confirmed their coming: Lars Krecklau (RWTH University Aachen), Diego Gutierrez (Universidad de Zaragoza), Kai Schröder (University of Bonn), Pascal Mueller (Esri Germany), Daniel Sykora (Czech Technical University in Prague), and Tim Reiner (University of Karlsruhe).

Forbis & Tilby Talk Wild Life

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

As we await Sunday’s 84th Academy Awards, I chatted with Wild Life directors Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby about their inspired animated short from the NFB about the Canadian frontier in the early 20th century. It’s told with a wry mockumentary style utilizing gouache on paper to achieve a rough, painterly look.

What was the origin of Wild Life?

Wendy Tilby: Amanda had an idea many years ago of telling a story about remittance men (young British gentlemen who were told to do something in the colonies rather than hang around home), but she wasn’t necessarily thinking about animation, and when we were trying to come up with a story to do after When the Day Breaks. We were thinking of something a little more documentary and it merged into Wild Life.

Amanda Forbis: It kind of comes from the place we’re both from, which is Alberta — the Canadian prairie — and the fact that we both have English relatives who came over around that time and who suffered under similar circumstances. The point was that all the breeding in the world can’t help you in those circumstances.

And this theme is more applicable than ever.

WT: I was just about to say that we’re hoping that the theme can be broadened to empires in general and the hubris that goes without that.

AF: For me, as an animator, I think I have a very tenuous grasp on well being. The rug can be pulled out at any moment. Animation is what I know and what would I do without animation?

It’s a wonderful journey and I especially liked the comet metaphor (not being a part of the whole and crashing).

WT: Thank you. That was a slightly contentious issue at the end with people looking at the film just before it was finished, who were puzzled by it and thought the descriptive text might be a distraction. But we were reluctant to take it out. It was part of the story from the very beginning and added a dimension.

AF: I think helps in terms of visualizing the emptiness and loneliness.

WT: It’s his version of a religious experience at the end.

How did the animation go?

WT: That was kind of agonizing actually. We had just finished When the Day Breaks when we started working on this and we wanted to use the computer more because we were just getting literate with it, so we thought we’d use a style that would be computer friendly and it would go faster. And we mucked around with different techniques in the computer and just never found anything that was truly satisfying to us. We decided to go back to real paint because we like the accidents that are created; there are all these unintended things that happen with painting that make them interesting and it’s harder to achieve that with the computer because you have to plan everything.

For the style itself, we wanted a folksy naive thing: opaque, colorful. It was rather a long process because we would animate in Flash and then print them out and paint them and then hand them in and, in some cases, cut them out and place them in a different background. It was a pretty arduous process and I don’t know if we’d work that way again.

Academy Salutes the Shorts

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Animation, Events, Movies, Oscar, Shorts, stop-motion, Tech | Leave a comment

Last night the Oscar-nominated shorts for both animation and live action were celebrated at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater, hosted by Brad Bird, who has significantly crossed over with his blockbuster Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol (which hits Blu-ray April 17 from Paramount). In fact, there’s nothing like watching a movie at the Academy, and that merely magnifies the enjoyment of the shorts. This year’s crop looked particularly stunning, especially The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, La Luna, and Wild Life.

Bill Joyce set the tone in the lively Q&A by discussing how Katrina and his love of books coalesced into a magical ode to old-fashioned storytelling and tactile techniques. “In the aftermath of Katrina, the whole city of New Orleans was sort of gray,” Joyce explained. “It had lost its color and we found drifts of books washed around in the detritus of the storm.”

Joyce was joined by co-director and Moonbot Studios co-founder Brandon Oldenburg; La Luna’s Enrico Casarosa from Pixar; A Morning Stroll’s Grant Orchard; Dimanche/Sunday’s Patrick Doyon; and Wild Life’s Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby, who proclaimed that government financing in Canada gives you a better chance at realizing your filmmaking dreams.

However, Orchard’s bizarre zombie apocalypse at the end of A Morning Stroll caught Brad’s attention. He said the whole existential preoccupation with the chicken was pure animation and that the zombie was the perfect metaphor. Given Joyce and Oldenburg’s great success with turning Morris Lessmore into an Apple app — which Bird wanted to learn more about — he joked that Orchard should turn his zombie into an app as well.

Meanwhile, Academy governor Jon Bloom announced that all 10 shorts nominees were released yesterday on iTunes in 56 countries while playing in 138 theaters and VOD, which is unprecedented. “We have grossed through yesterday over a million dollars,” Bloom said, and then predicted that it would hit a historic $1.7 million.

Autodesk’s Hand in Oscar

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

Artists using Autodesk’s Digital Entertainment Creation (DEC) software had a hand in many of this year’s Academy Award-nominated films.

“Great films depend on great storytelling and our technology is designed to enable artistic vision,” said Marc Petit, SVP, Autodesk Media & Entertainment. “We congratulate the multitalented teams of artists from North America, New Zealand, Europe and Asia, and we are proud of Autodesk software’s role in helping them create these extraordinary movies.”

Best Visual Effects
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2″ — UK-based visual effects (VFX) studios Double Negative, MPC and Framestore each used Autodesk Maya 3D animation and rendering software to help create the visually extravagant effects for this final installment in the Harry Potter franchise. Double Negative VFX Supervisor David Vickery said, “Maya has been the lynchpin of our pipeline since ‘Goblet of Fire.’ For this film, Maya helped us build a fully computer-generated (CG) Hogwarts in a massive 3D environment, including a spectacular mountain range and an animated fire-breathing dragon digitally modeled with Autodesk Mudbox software.” MPC VFX Supervisor Greg Butler added, “From the first film in the ‘Potter’ series through to this film’s final shot, MPC has relied on Maya for modeling, rigging and lighting.” Andy Kind, Framestore VFX supervisor said, “Autodesk’s Maya once again was our go-to tool, enabling us to bring to life the magic of the Chamber of Secrets for Ron and Hermione’s first kiss, as well as Harry’s vision of Heaven. We couldn’t have done any of the eight films without it!”

“Hugo” — VFX studio Pixomondo managed a global production team across 10 of its 11 facilities in North America, Europe and Asia for this richly detailed reimagining of 1930s Paris. The worldwide team worked for over a year using a production pipeline comprised of Maya and Autodesk 3ds Max for animation, rendering, character rigging and modeling; as well as Autodesk MotionBuilder for motion capture and animation. VFX Supervisor Ben Grossmann said, “The interoperability of Autodesk tools helped us meet tight deadlines and bring Martin Scorsese’s magical vision to the big screen.”

“Real Steel” — Visual effects powerhouse Digital Domain, motion-capture specialists Giant Studios and virtual production innovators Technoprops delivered “Real Steel” within an impressively efficient 71-day production schedule. The close collaboration between the three companies and an Autodesk toolset helped create this realistic and thrilling action movie with a believable and captivating robot and human relationship. VFX Supervisor Erik Nash said, “The on-set real-time interoperability of Maya and MotionBuilder enabled tremendous creative freedom for the entire production team.”

“Rise of the Planet of the Apes” — Caesar, the CG chimpanzee performed by Andy Serkis is a creative milestone for Weta Digital in New Zealand. Weta used Maya and MotionBuilder as the core of its creative production pipelines for its groundbreaking visual effects and performance capture. Sebastian Sylwan, chief technology officer at Weta said, “Creating a believable and realistic CG character like Caesar required providing our artists with the right tools and innovative technology that allowed them to iterate and express their creativity. We developed our own software to perfect performance capture, hair, eyes and muscles amongst others, using Maya and MotionBuilder as a backbone.” Canada-based Image Engine contributed previsualization for the film and also took advantage of a Maya-based pipeline.

“Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon”
— The extraordinarily detailed Transformer robots contain up to 50,000 million polygons rendered in stereoscopic 3D by lead visual effects houses Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) with studios in San Francisco and Singapore and Digital Domain. ILM used the following Autodesk DEC software tools in its pipeline: 3ds Max for digital environment work; Autodesk Flame as part of its proprietary SABRE high-speed compositing system; and Maya as the core tool for animation, rigging and layout. Scott Farrar, visual effects supervisor on ‘Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon’ said, “As effects work continues to grow in complexity, it is more important than ever that our artists have access to best of breed tools and by using Autodesk’s Digital Entertainment Creation software, ILM is able to continue to create groundbreaking visual effects.”

Best Animated Feature Film
“Kung Fu Panda 2″ and “Puss in Boots”– Both movies earned not only Academy Award nominations for Animated Feature Film for Dreamworks Animation (DWA), but also were two of the top three grossing animated films of 2011.* DWA continues to creatively push technology to imbue animated characters with huge personalities, and both films used Maya. Phil McNally, stereoscopic supervisor on both movies said, “Either on our own or in concert with Autodesk, we can develop tools in Maya to specifically address the challenges of stereoscopic 3D. Maya gives us that intuitive flexibility, or the ability to see what we’re doing — while we’re doing it — in 3D.”

“Rango,” the story of a weird lizard’s quest for identity, was ILM’s first animated feature. The film presented some daunting creative and technical challenges: Rango’s face alone required over 300 controllers to achieve the range of performance needed for the 1,100 shots he appears in. On top of which, Rango was just one of well over 100 characters that populated the film. “All of these characters had some combination of scales, feathers, or fur and all had clothing. We strove to create a very tactile world for Rango,” said ILM’s Hal Hickel, animator director on the film. “We wanted to create the illusion that if you could reach out and touch objects in the frame you’d know exactly what they would feel like, so it was very important that our software enable us to show as much detail as possible at each phase of the process. This allowed us to make certain the performances would translate to the big screen. Maya was great at letting us do that.”

Other Categories
· “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore” — nominated for Short Film (animated) — Moonbot Studios in Louisiana used Maya to help create this poignant and humorous allegorical film.
· “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
nominated for five awards – Digital Domain created digital doubles, matte paintings, animation and set extensions using both Maya and 3ds Max. Method Studios contributed to 101 VFX shots, including a fully CG train sequence through a snow-covered landscape using Maya, Flame and Autodesk Flare software. Blur Studios created the amazing title sequence using a combination of 3ds Max for animation and Autodesk Softimage for keyframing.
· “La Luna”nominated for Short Film (animated) – Pixar used Maya and Pixar’s own Renderman to create this mystical coming-of-age story.
· “The Muppets” nominated for Original Song – LOOK Effects used a combination of Flame, Flare and Maya to help bring these beloved characters to life in this box-office hit.
“The Tree of Life” nominated for three awards including Best Picture — Method Studios used Maya to help create the fully CG 4K (4096 × 3112 pixels per frame) sequence for the film’s “Microbial” section, which plays effectively alongside practical and mixed-technique approaches. Method’s EVP Dan Glass was also the film’s overall senior visual effects supervisor. Prime Focus used Maya, 3ds Max and Mudbox to create the wonderfully realistic dinosaur sequences, dedicating a team of 50 artists to achieving Terrence Malick’s vision for these scenes.
· “War Horse” nominated for six awards including Best Picture — UK-based Framestore used Maya to help create the equine digital double, barbwire VFX integration, digital environments and clean-up on 200 shots for Steven Spielberg’s epic drama. Hollywood and London-based The Third Floor also previsualized key sequences using a toolset that includes Maya.

NVIDIA Previews GTC 2012

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Education, Events, Tech, VFX | Leave a comment

NVIDIA’s third GPU Technology Conference, GTC 2012, will be held in San Jose, May 14-17. It is the flagship in NVIDIA’s global series of events focused on how the GPU is transforming science. It is expected to draw the greatest minds in the scientific, engineering, research, and developer communities from more than 40 nations.

For more information or to register, visit the GTC website.

“In just a few short years, GTC has become the single most important event for scientists and researchers who use GPUs to advance their work,” said Steve Scott, CTO for Tesla at NVIDIA. “The leading figures in astronomy, bioinformatics, cloud computing, and neuroscience, among many other fields, will be sharing their latest computing techniques, technologies and real-world experiences.”

GTC 2012 will include keynotes, presentations, research posters, tutorials, and hundreds of instructional sessions from top experts. It will again feature the Emerging Companies Summit, where some of the world’s most innovative startups showcase new technologies. It will also include networking events throughout the week, enabling experts to share information.

A partial list of those scheduled to present at GTC 2012 are experts from:

  • Supercomputing and research centers: Barcelona Supercomputing Center, CERN, National Institute of Natural Sciences/Institute for Molecular Science (Japan), Irish Centre for High-End Computing, Chinese Academy of Sciences/Institute of Process Engineering, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Naval Research Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
  • Corporations: Citrix Systems, Cray, GE Intelligent Platforms, HP, ING Bank, LEGO, Microsoft, Siemens Corporate Research, Synopsys, Tata Motors Limited, Technicolor VMware
  • Universities: Johns Hopkins University, Nanyang Technological University, National Tsing Hua University, Stanford University, Texas A&M University, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tsinghua University, University of Bonn, University of Calgary/Department of Chemical & Petroleum Engineering, University of California at Berkeley, University of Hamburg/Institute of Applied Physics and Microstructure Research Center, University of Hong Kong, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania

In addition, NVIDIA and Los Alamos National Laboratory, a leading U.S. national security research institution, will co-host at GTC 2012 the Accelerated High Performance Computing Symposium, bringing together leaders in supercomputing to share knowledge to help solve the most crucial supercomputing technology challenges.

Also co-located at GTC 2012 will be the new InPar 2012 academic conference, which provides a first-tier venue for peer-reviewed publications in the field of innovative parallel computing.

The GTC website will provide GTC 2012 attendees and the GPU computing community with the latest news and information from the event. The site serves a year-round resource, featuring details of keynotes, technical sessions and events from regional GTC events, as well as conference scheduling tools, social media resources, and much more.

Sponsors for GTC 2012 include: HP, Microsoft, Supermicro, PNY, Adobe, Dell, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Lenovo, CAPS, Bull, Synnex, Cooley, TSMC, Amazon Web Services, Next IO, GE Intelligent Platforms, Appro, Fusion IO, and SGI.