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.

Videogames

5D to Explore The City and the Book

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Books, Education, Events, Movies, previs, Production Design, Tech, VFX, Videogames, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

Immersive design consortium 5D Institute will explore the dynamic world of storytelling in interactive, virtual spaces during the next summit, The City and the Book, Sept. 20 and 21 at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Read more

Trailering More Wreck-it Ralph

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

There’s a new Wreck-It Ralph (Nov. 2) trailer, which not only reveals more humorous footage involving other characters but also hints at the dangerous, unintended consequences of Ralph’s actions to reinvent himself as a hero. Read more

SIGGRAPH 2012: The Foundry Releases Mari 1.5

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

The Foundry’s Mari continues to get a foothold in the industry as a brilliant texture painting software. Version 1.5 offers shadows and Photoshop brush support as part of its continuing evolution for high-end VFX. The  big news is that The Foundry’s highly touted texture painting software has recently made inroads at Rhythm & Hues, Laika, and LucasArts (where it’s a fixture in the upcoming Star Wars 1313 game). Read more

Previewing Wreck-It Ralph

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

I got a glimpse of Disney’s upcoming Wreck-It Ralph this week, which I discuss in my latest TOH/Indiewire column. It leverages the momentum from Tangled by layering hand-drawn sensibilities over the CG to give it warmth and snap. Read more

NewTek Launches LightWave 3D Group

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

NewTek has formed a new LightWave 3D Group, powered by newly appointed president Rob Powers, former head of 3D development, with Dominick Spina jumping from NVIDIA to become VP of worldwide sales and marketing. Read more

SIGGRAPH 2012 Preview: Art and Science

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Below the Line, Education, Events, Movies, performance capture, previs, Production Design, Shorts, stop-motion, Tech, Trailers, VFX, Videogames, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

SIGGRAPH has always been about the convergence of art and science. It’s a place to showcase the latest and greatest advancements driving the industry’s blockbuster work in VFX and animation. This year, the 39th edition of the prestigious computer graphics conference returns to the LA Convention Center (Aug. 5-9), proudly proclaiming: “I AM ART” and “I AM SCIENCE.” Read more

Trailering the Ultimate Dark Knight Trilogy

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Costume, Movies, Tech, Trailers, Videogames, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

Bruce Wayne’s journey as the conflicted crime fighter is conveyed in this new ultimate trilogy trailer. Read more

Trailering Wreck-It Ralph

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

Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph (Nov. 2) teaser trailer went online today and it looks like a sleeper.  It’s very inventive and yet nostalgic in its evocation of ’80s arcade video gamesRead more

Digital Domain Expands into Middle East

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

Digital Domain, which recently came under attack for John Textor’s ill-advised comments about fueling its new feature animation studio in Port St. Lucie, Florida, with student labor from its education program, will expand its VFX, animation, and motion capture resources in Abu Dhabi. An alliance has been struck between the Digital Domain Media Group (DDMG) and twofour54, the Abu Dhabi government-backed media and entertainment hub. Read more

FMX: Wreck-It Ralph and Disney’s New Virtual Camera

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

Walt Disney Animation Studios has launched a new virtual camera system with the upcoming Wreck-It Ralph (Nov. 2), which is a potential game-changer. Evan Goldberg, manager of animation technology, gave an informative sneak peek at FMX 2012 in Stuttgart, Germany, last week. He revealed with some making of footage that they created the virtual camera system to replicate the feel of a real camera in layout. It was particularly suited to Wreck-It Ralph, the story of an ’80s video game baddie turned hero, with its “hand-crafted” and “organic” feel.

While Disney embraced the Vicon camera for optical tracking, it had to think long and hard about switching from Maya to MotionBuilder. In the end, the studio stuck with Maya when it figured out how to run at 24 fps with Open GL.

Likewise, introducing capture technology into the Feature Animation pipeline proved challenging, but well worth it, considering the dynamic advantages you get with the new system: a digital scouting device, closer involvement for the director (Rich Moore), hundreds of takes in an hour, the ability to scale a virtual world up and down, as well as translate and rotate, and an unparalleled camera polish. Plus the ability to introduce different looks for the movie’s three worlds, including a hand-held one for the futuristic first-person shooter game, Hero’s Duty (the second image). The other two are Fix-It Felix Jr. (the first image) and the candy-colored Sugar Rush racing game (the third image).

Goldberg proclaimed that the future would offer a simple operator view, gestural, lyrical motion for simulation and VFX, such as velocity-driven particles.

Wreck-It Ralph takes animation and virtual production to new heights at Disney.