3D-News Archive January 2008

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World's First 3D Stereo Planetarium Opens in Hawai'i
3D-News Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2008 (18:29 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster

Sky-Skan announced the upgrade of the 'Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai'i Planetarium to definiti® 3D status with four cinema-quality Sony SXRD™ 4K digital projectors, definiti HD lenses, DigitalSky 2 visualization software, and 3D technology from Infitec. As the first permanent definiti 3D theater, the 'Imiloa Planetarium is now distinguished as the first 3D planetarium in the world. The theater is open to both the public and scientists at nearby Maunakea observatories to see stars, planets, and a host of other sights with the stunning depth perception 3D (also called 3D stereo or stereoscopy) provides.

"Imagine immersing your audience in the Universe and giving them an experience unlike any they have ever had before!" said Shawn Laatsch, planetarium manager at 'Imiloa. "definiti 3D engages our public and school audiences in new and exciting ways. The images literally jump off the screen and into the audiences' lap! It has been truly amazing to see people's reactions and hear their gasps of delight in the dome! definiti 3D is a wonderful research tool for the observatories of Maunakea, which are the best astronomical observatories on Earth. Astronomers will be able to fly through their observations collected at the summit, and 'Imiloa looks forward to working with them to get these astronomical images and data sets to all definiti users."

The 'Imiloa Planetarium joins the family of over 80 definiti theaters worldwide and is the 8th to feature Sony SXRD 4K projectors fitted with definiti HD lenses. Each of the projectors is capable of producing 8.8 million pixels, which is equivalent to four times the resolution of today's high-definition television. Sky-Skan's blending technology stitches the four projectors' video into a seamless image on the giant 52-foot diameter dome. The experience of a show, heightened with 3D depth information, is of total immersion into another world.

"We're very pleased that Sony's SXRD 4K projectors will be used as part of the first permanent definiti 3D system which is being installed at the 'Imiloa Planetarium in Hawai'i," said Andre Floyd, marketing manager for SXRD at Sony Electronics. "We expect the system's dynamic 4K capability coupled with 3D technology will provide audiences with spectacular imagery and an on-screen experience that's truly immersive."

The ability to have 3D stereo in a dome environment is the culmination of several technological achievements. Sky-Skan engineers use new filtering technology from Infitec to provide high-quality 3D stereo without the special screen coatings or clunky glasses previously required. Sleek 3D glasses allow for a wide-angle view of the 4,000 square foot dome screen. DigitalSky 2 software's real-time graphics are already in 3D—they just needed a projection system that could show the 3D depth information on the screen. The software automatically adjusts the 3D depth effect for the wide range of visuals that might appear in a real-time show, from tiny molecules to stellar distances. Playback video shows, which don't use the real-time system but take advantage of DigitalSky 2's integrated video playback capabilities, can be shown in 3D stereo or in 2D depending on the source material. To take advantage of this groundbreaking theater, producer Mirage3D has re-created its Dawn of the Space Age to show in 3D stereo at 'Imiloa.

Sky-Skan is pleased that the first definiti 3D customer will be both educating the public and assisting the scientific community directly. As the world's first 3D planetarium, the 'Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai'i Planetarium is now a hub of activity for a diverse set of eyes seeing the world projected as it is naturally - in full color 3D on the gigantic dome screen.

3D Event at Shepperton Studios
3D-News Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2008 (18:17 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster

A 3D workshop and demonstration will be held at Shepperton Studios, Middlesex, United Kingdom, on the 25th & 26th January 2008, showcasing Inition's 3D acquisition and display equipment. The event is to show programme-makers and technicians all aspects of 3D production, including acquisition, post production, special FX and display.

The event will be jointly presented by Axis Films, Axis Post, Can Communicate, Inition, Digital Praxis, Quantel and Shepperton Studios.

"The purpose of holding this event is to show how accessible and financially viable 3D has become for all levels of production, whether it be sport, corporate, music, or commercials and is not just exclusive to the feature film market", says Paul Carter, MD of Axis Films at Shepperton Studios.

"The 3D display technology on show from Inition will cover everything from on-set 3D monitoring, to 3D displays for post, to the future of 3D in the home. We'll also be showcasing 3D film-making equipment for those on lower budgets."

To register for the event, please visit http://www.quantel.exvn.com/docs/Stereoscopic3D-Shepperton.cfm?id

FotoKem Adds Quantel's Stereoscopic 3D Technology to DI Workflow
3D-News Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2008 (18:11 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster

FotoKem, one of the most respected names in feature film post production, has become the first DI facility in Hollywood to acquire a Quantel Pablo 4K with the new Stereoscopic 3D option. It is FotoKem's fifth Pablo system. The facility intends to use the new technology to perform DI color grading, editorial and compositing for stereoscopic 3D special venue films, such as IMAX titles, and for the increasing number of studio features being produced in 3D.

Introduced at IBC 2007 in Amsterdam, the Stereoscopic 3D option for Pablo 4K marks a breakthrough in post work for 3D movies by allowing operators and their clients to view work in 3D context as they are working on it. Previously, operators have had to rely on inaccurate preview modes or employ play-out services to see the results of their work, which often led to imaging problems and production delays.

Anticipating a spike in the production of stereoscopic 3D films, FotoKem decided to act proactively by implementing technology necessary to service such projects efficiently, accurately and with maximum creative flexibility. "We made a careful evaluation of the available stereoscopic solutions and Quantel was the clear leader," said FotoKem Chief Technology Officer, Bill Schulz. "Other approaches don't provide the same smooth experience for the client."

What distinguishes Quantel's Stereoscopic 3D solution is its ability to play out and process two streams of high resolution media simultaneously without rendering. This not only makes editing 3D as straightforward as 2D, it also enables stereo strength and convergence to be adjusted on the fly, allowing the operator to experiment interactively to achieve just the required stereo depth and impact on every shot. Colorimetry, sync, editorial and imaging errors are all instantly visible and easily fixed. The system can also operate in comparison mode, with views including 50/50 mix, left/right eye and difference map.

"The Quantel technology will provide us with much quicker feedback in terms of color grading and how well the 3D effect is achieved," Schulz said. "We will be able to see right away if the inter-ocular adjustments are correct or if further adjustments are needed."

The impact in terms of speeding up the post process is exponential. "The ability to work interactively with 3D imagery is a huge advantage," observed FotoKem DI colorist, Walter Volpatto. "We can use the whole machine—editing and color correction—and see the results immediately. Before we were limited to viewing one eye or the other and it took a very long time to build the final product. If there was a mistake, you had to redo it from the very beginning."

Quantel's stereoscopic 3D solution also offered the advantage of integrating seamlessly into FotoKem's existing DI workflow. "It fits perfectly with our networking technology, Genetic Engineering, which is important due to the high storage requirements of 3D projects," Volpatto said. "It is typical of Quantel that adding new capabilities does not mean re-engineering the workflow. You don't have to change your gear, you simply add on the part you need."

Stereoscopic 3D films are becoming a hot trend in Hollywood, as studios seek ways to boost theater-going by delivering experiences that cannot be replicated at home. "We expect stereoscopic 3D filmmaking to grow quickly," said Mark Horton, Quantel Strategic Marketing Manager. "So post houses need tools that allow them to work interactively, creatively and efficiently with stereo 3D imagery. That makes the arrival of Quantel's 3D solutions so timely."

Spatial View and ASCON Forge New 3D Product Development Partnership
3D-News Posted: Monday, January 14, 2008 (20:16 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster

Spatial View Inc., Toronto, Canada and ASCON, St. Petersburg, Russia announced a new development partnership. The alignment pairs ASCON, one of the first and the premiere CAD/CAPP/PDM developer and integrator in Russia, with Spatial View, pioneers in auto-stereoscopic display solutions.

The two companies intend to work closely and cooperate on a number of product development initiatives as well as strategic marketing. Among them the creation of a new Engineering Bundle featuring ASCON's popular CAD software, KOMPAS-3D paired with Spatial View Multi-User displays resulting in excellent, accurate glasses-free visualization of 3D models. KOMPAS-3D has been successfully used across various industries as a fast and effective CAD solution for 3D solid modeling in automotive, shipbuilding and other industries.

Future efforts will also include direct integration of Spatial View 3D into the next version release of the KOMPAS-3D software, as well as presentation of joint technology at future trade fairs, like Hannover Messe, an important technology show in April 2008. Joint strategic marketing and coordination with both companies' technology and distribution partners is also planned.

"We're very excited about this partnership with ASCON," says Andreas Kozak of Spatial View. "The SVI-ASCON product combo will be a break through for mid-class companies: a direct, simple, inexpensive solution for construction engineers, designers, developers, and also marketing management. One that features an easy step from CAD to VR as well—useable for discussions, presentations, and analysis—without any extra data to export or any extra VR software or expensive projection systems to purchase."

Discover 3D: Black Maria Gallery explores the world of fine art stereography
3D-News Posted: Sunday, January 13, 2008 (7:18 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster

Black Maria Gallery inaugurates 2008 with a January show of eight artists working in three-dimensional media. Curated by 3D artist and writer Ray Zone, the Discover 3D exhibition features a wide-ranging array of stereoscopic images viewed with many different techniques. Among the unique 3D formats presented are View-Master, large-scale wall mounted stereographs and anaglyphs as well as classic formats from visual history that use the conventional stereoscope.

Several of the artists create work so that the stereo viewing device becomes an art object in itself, a wall-mounted or freestanding sculpture through which the 3D image is perceived. Other works make a "site-specific" use of the Black Maria Gallery environment to create a stereographic viewing zone. Virtual Reality is also suggested by the creation of images that appear to inhabit the gallery space.

"It's exciting to present such a diverse array of stereoscopic images and formats," observes Zone. "3D imaging is a technique with potential for many fine art applications. The Discover 3D show is a great demonstration of artistic possibilities and just how many unique ways there are to look at three-dimensional images."

19 January – 16 February 2008. Opening Reception: Saturday 19th January, 7:00 – 10:30pm

Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 12pm until 6pm (or by appointment)

Artists: Heather Lowe, Abe Fagenson, Perry Hoberman, Claudia Kunin, Franklin Londin, Larry Ferguson, Boris Starosta, Terry Wilson, Levon Parian and Ray Zone.

Black Maria Gallery: 3137 Glendale Blvd, Los Angeles CA 90039, USA. Tel: 1 (323) 660.9393, http://blackmariagallery.com

O.A.R.S. and Teva Team Up to Support a 3D Experience for IMAX Theaters - Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk
3D-News Posted: Sunday, January 13, 2008 (6:55 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster

O.A.R.S. (Outdoor Adventure River Specialists) announced their participation in the new MacGillivray Freeman Films production of Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk, a film for IMAX Theatres and IMAX 3D Theatres. The film, presented by Teva and supported by Kohler Co. in association with Waterkeeper Alliance and the Museum Film Network, premieres on March 14, 2008 in anticipation of World Water Day (March 22, 2008). The movie chronicles environmental heroes Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Wade Davis, along with their daughters, as they journey down the Colorado River to raise awareness about the world's growing shortage of fresh water. O.A.R.S. provided production support as well as promotional support in the form of a national sweepstakes with a chance to win a 15-day Grand Canyon rafting trip for two. The film features songs and music by the Dave Matthew Band and an original score co-composed by the Dave Matthews Band's Stefan Lessard and Steve Wood.

Confident in O.A.R.S.' abilities to manage complex logistics, Teva and MacGillivray Freeman Films approached the California-based adventure travel company in early 2005 with the concept of an IMAX Theatre film in the Grand Canyon. O.A.R.S. has a long-standing, collaborative relationship with the National Park Service, as well as an elite crew of professional river guides who have been with the company since its inception over 35 years ago. Their intimate knowledge of the river, the canyon and the logistics necessary to provide an unforgettable journey is unparalleled. Widely recognized as an authoritative resource for environmentalists, conservationists, politicians and eco-celebrities, O.A.R.S. has guided more than 25,000 people through the Grand Canyon (and more than 400,000 people on rivers and coastlines of the Western U.S. and worldwide).

Nearly four decades have passed since a whitewater rafting trip through the Grand Canyon captured the imagination of O.A.R.S. president and founder, George Wendt. His journey inspired him to establish an adventure travel company, which was the first exclusively oar-powered outfitter permitted to run the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon back in 1969. The company is now the largest and most geographically diverse river outfitter in the West, running rivers throughout Idaho, Utah, California, Oregon, Wyoming and the Grand Canyon. Upon reflection Wendt says, "The river's hypnotic rhythms altered the course of my life immeasurably. I had only a glimmer then of where the flow would lead me: dedicating my life and business to sharing with others, and safeguarding, such mesmerizing landscapes." Wendt is honored to be working with MacGillivray Freeman Films to bring his passion for rivers to the giant screen in 2008.

"In our film, the Colorado River becomes a metaphor for global water issues, revealing how interconnected our rivers, water supply and human actions really are," says the film's two-time Academy Award-nominated producer/director Greg MacGillivray. He adds, "A river trip is one of those amazing life events where you're ripped out of your daily routine and inspired to see the
world in new ways. With IMAX 3D images, we're able to put the audience even more into the action and let them participate in every twist and turn."

MacGillivray Freeman Films, the most experienced independent producer and distributor of special venue (70mm) motion pictures in the world and producers of the blockbuster giant-screen hit Everest, will literally make a splash with their first 3D film for IMAX Theatres, Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk. The giant-screen film combines exhilarating whitewater rafting action, family fun and the grandeur of the Grand Canyon to tell an engaging story of how ordinary people can make a difference for our parched planet – one that is running out of clean, fresh water so fast the U.N. estimates that 40% of the world could face life-threatening shortages by the year 2050.

"Safe fresh water is a human right like clean air, yet more than one-fifth of the world's people suffer without adequate clean water," says Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who recalls going down the Colorado just a few decades ago with his own father and seeing wide, sandy banks and animals that have since vanished. "My hope is that Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk will remind the world that restoring our waterways and conserving fresh water are important, not just in developing nations but here at home. The quality and survival of our civilization will depend on it."

The Colorado once flowed freely across 1,400 miles, from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. Today, however, the Colorado no longer consistently reaches the sea, and the river, which is a source of water and power to 25 million Americans, is literally shrinking due to a severe drought cycle now facing the American Southwest. Researchers predict this so-called "mega-drought" could last into the next century, threatening to wreak havoc among the seven states that depend heavily on the river's water.

Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk is produced by MacGillivray Freeman Films and MacGillivray Freeman Films Educational Foundation, presented by Teva and supported by Kohler Co. in association with Waterkeeper Alliance and the Museum Film Network. The film is directed by Greg MacGillivray, produced by Greg MacGillivray, Mark Krenzien, and Shaun MacGillivray, and written by Jack Stephens and Stephen Judson. O.A.R.S. provided production support and guide services, as well as promotional consideration.

SPECTRONIQ 3-D, Inc. Introduces Pioneering 3-D HD LCD TVs During CES in Las Vegas
3D-News Posted: Monday, January 7, 2008 (15:50 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster

Southern California-based consumer electronics innovator SPECTRONIQ® 3-D Inc. ("SPECTRONIQ 3-D"), will unveil its inaugural stereoscopic 3D HD LCD TVs in Las Vegas as the focal point of the company's presentation during CES, January 7-10. Already a leader in the realm of high-end HD LCD televisions, SPECTRONIQ 3-D is ramping up for a groundbreaking summer 2008 nationwide retail launch for the 46" 3D TVs under the SPECTRONIQ® brand, the first mass market consumer roll-out of its kind.

At the vanguard of setting a new industry standard for the coming 3D revolution in digital media, entertainment and gaming, SPECTRONIQ 3-D's 3D HD LCD TVs deliver an immersive and riveting sensory experience. Visual elements appear to break through the screen's boundaries and the technology allows for a spacious 3D viewing zone. Proprietary in both its methodology of combining diverse cutting-edge technologies - universally compatible with all current 3D formats - and with its intuitive user interface applications, SPECTRONIQ 3-D has created a user-friendly product unprecedented in the marketplace.

SPECTRONIQ 3-D's CEO Leo Chen commented, "The impact of 3D on consumer electronics is going to be the biggest paradigm shift in decades. It is an extraordinary feeling to be on the brink of introducing this technology and making it available and affordable, to home audiences for the very first time."

The sets were developed through a landmark alliance between SPECTRONIQ 3-D and Kerner Optical Research & Development Inc. ("KORD"), whose end-to-end 3D Solutions form the SPECTRONIQ 3-D TV's primary technology suite. KORD is a spin-off of Kerner Optical, LLC, the former physical effects division of Industrial Light & Magic® ("ILM®") a Lucasfilm® Company. SPECTRONIQ 3-D's sophisticated consumer electronics design, production, distribution, and sales chain, together with KORD's brilliance as a disruptive technology incubator, positions both to lead the way in bringing breakthrough 3D display technology and original content to the masses.

Based in Northern California on the historic former ILM campus, KORD's core team includes members of George Lucas' ILM start-up brain trust as well as noted stereoscopic 3D experts. Collectively, they bring with them a fifteen-year track record of pioneering stereoscopic 3D technologies - as well as expertise that contributed to ILM's 15 Academy Awards® for films including E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom and Star Wars, Episodes V and VI. In addition to 3D display technology, KORD and its affiliates have also developed an unparalleled 3D camera rig where SPECTRONIQ 3-D is further collaborating with them on the development of exclusive content.

SPECTRONIQ 3-D has also announced other key strategic partners whose technologies are intrinsic to the viewing experience provided by their 3-D HD LCD TVs. An agreement was reached with SENSIO Technologies to incorporate the Montreal-based company's 3D high definition decoder technology featuring JVC's real time 2D to 3D conversion technology, into KORD's 3D Solutions suite. This will be the first time it will be integrated into a television intended for the consumer market. SENSIO technology provides quality 3D technology with full resolution and colors.

The technology firm RaisingSun Digital Video Technology Company is providing board systems solutions for the SPECTRONIQ 3D television sets.

t is expected that other key partnerships will be made public in the near future.

In addition to 3D HD LCD TVs, SPECTRONIQ 3-D products in development also include a 3D home theater PC for gaming and a laser HD television.

On Monday, January 7, 2008, CES's first convention night, SPECTRONIQ 3-D will celebrate its landmark 3D TV launch with a four-walled event at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

For more information, see http://www.spectroniq3-d.com

PassmoreLab and 3DH Patent Innovative Camera Alignment/Synchronization System for Stereoscopic 3D Video
3D-News Posted: Sunday, January 6, 2008 (9:14 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster

In a development that will revolutionize - and greatly simplify - the production of live-action stereoscopic 3D video, PassmoreLab, in cooperation with Atlanta-based 3dh Communications, Inc., has patented a landmark system for the precise alignment of multiple cameras, as well as time synchronization of multiple stereo channels. Continuing its advancement of technology for 3D imaging, the southern California-based company has addressed the problems associated with the time-consuming camera alignment process, and created a technical solution that will significantly reduce production time and expense.

The new, patented system utilizes a special target placed in front of the multiple cameras - essentially a digital "slate" - to mark the beginning of a shot. This digital cue is then applied during post-production through the application of proprietary software, which analyzes the target and automatically performs precise vertical and rotational alignment, thus eliminating visual conflicts between the multiple stereo channels. Significantly, the system can be used in conjunction with large camera arrays, such as the prototype 10-camera array recently developed by PassmoreLab, as well as simple stereo configurations.

To fully grasp the importance and potential benefit of this new technology, consider that using standard processes, in order to obtain accurate stereo alignment it is required that cameras be placed on precision mechanisms with all alignments being done manually, often demanding numerous incremental adjustments to achieve acceptable results. Understandably, this is a slow and tedious process that wastes time and resources. By contrast, using the new system it is now possible to simply place two cameras side-by-side on a table, complete an image capture, and in post automatically perform precise vertical and rotational alignment for superb results. In addition, if the interocular distance between the cameras is inappropriate for the subject, the software can apply a horizontal-offset bias for the scene - essentially allowing the user to adjust the apparent location of the screen plane - that will assist in making the video output more accurate and visually pleasing to the eye. Again, this was a problem that previously had to be corrected through manual camera adjustments and tedious trial and error. This should be great news to the entertainment and advertising industries, which now have a technology that can considerably lower production costs over time.

Another groundbreaking element of the patented system is in its application to specialized filming techniques, such as the use of helmet-mounted cameras and other camera configurations required for challenging location-shooting situations. Here, the difficulty arises in cueing the exact initiation of image capture between multiple cameras, as well as maintaining precise alignment in space. The new system utilizes a photographic flash unit, which is directed into the cameras' optics and triggered at the start of a shot. In post, the software uses this visual cue to time-synch the multiple channels, while also performing vertical and rotational alignment of the channels. It is now possible to essentially place multiple cameras in relative alignment and pointed at a subject, start each of them independently, and simply trigger a flash when the shot is ready to start. In post, everything is then precisely aligned in time and space. As noted previously, the system is applicable to bigger multi-camera arrays, accomplishing automatic alignment between large numbers of video channels. This makes it particularly suitable for the types of arrays needed to produce content for auto-stereoscopic displays, where up to 10 video channels may be used.

A further benefit of the new system is that it allows for the use of inexpensive, lower-end video cameras, which may be better suited for difficult or potentially damaging shooting situations or locations. Such applications would be extreme action sports, auto racing, skydiving, surfing, underwater shooting, or anywhere that the risk to high-end equipment would be prohibitive.

Autodesk Technology Helps Beowulf Battle Believably in 3D
3D-News Posted: Sunday, January 6, 2008 (8:28 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster

Autodesk, Inc. announced that Sony Pictures Imageworks used Autodesk Maya and Autodesk MotionBuilder software to shape hundreds of 3D animation and visual effects shots for Beowulf, director Robert Zemeckis' stereoscopic film. With the help of Autodesk technology, Sony Pictures Imageworks has taken the worlds of performance capture and 3D stereoscopic imaging to an exciting new level in Beowulf.

Sony Pictures Imageworks and an on-site Autodesk Consulting team customized the Maya interface so that a wider range of stereoscopic controls could be manipulated through the software. This interface enabled the Beowulf team, including Zemeckis, to view and make real-time changes to the film. Sony Pictures Imageworks' Buzz Hays, senior visual effects producer, said, "With Maya and the enhancements Autodesk's Consulting team added to it, we had an interface that let us interactively adjust the stereo depth and layout of sequences in Beowulf. This provided a whole new level of artistic control. It was a critical step in delivering the best possible 3D experience to viewers."

Over an intensive two-and-a-half years, more than 250 artists contributed to the creation of human and mythical characters portrayed in the film. The artists relied on Maya for all animation shots, while MotionBuilder was used for all motion editing and blending.

Creating the Story with Autodesk MotionBuilder

Corey Turner, Sony Pictures Imageworks' technical animation supervisor, said, "MotionBuilder has been a part of our pipeline since we started doing performance capture. With every project we work on, we build on what we learned on the previous shows. On Beowulf, we pushed the system harder than ever before." Turner explained that the MotionBuilder software's capabilities were extended through near-time integration (NTI) and director's layout (DLO).

"NTI is the relatively early process of getting motion data onto characters, and getting those characters into their correct position within the environment," Turner said. "We began NTI while the director was still capturing data, but he wanted to see all he could before setting up his shots. We'd never really pulled any textures or lighting into MotionBuilder before, but that was all part of the job on Beowulf. All characters were textured as they would be in a high-end video game. We lit all our scenes, used particle effects for flames, shadow maps, normal maps -- anything we could to help the director visualize the mood of the scenes. The scenes were then saved and passed on to DLO."

Turner continued, "The benefit to this system is that you can take the best parts of each live take, combine them together, and edit them using the MotionBuilder story tool, thereby giving the director one perfect take. All the layout camera work is done post capture, and the director can experiment until he loves it. With MotionBuilder, he can do it in real time, viewing and changing his camera on-the-fly."

Creating Realistic Physiques with Autodesk Maya

In order to give the lead character a realistic, non-cartoon-like physique, complex muscle systems were developed. The Autodesk Consulting team provided Sony Pictures Imageworks with custom features, interface extensions and on-site support services to aid in the implementation of production-based tools. Kenn McDonald, animation supervisor at Sony Pictures Imageworks said, "All of our shots were set up in Maya. Beowulf has a habit of removing all his clothes when he fights. We were able to create elaborate, realistic musculature for him, giving him as much definition and sinew as we could without making him look like a bodybuilder."

McDonald added, "Although Grendel was based on performance capture, the character also required a lot of keyframing in Maya. In order for Grendel, a 12-foot-tall creature, to match Crispin Glover's performance, we had to scale a lot of curves, add weight, and adjust timing to create the feeling of an enormous monster. The fire-spewing dragon was also completely keyframed in Maya."

Facial Animation with Autodesk Maya

Elaborate facial rigs were created to handle detail in the complex expressions of male, female and monster faces. McDonald recounted, "We wrote custom tools for our facial controls, and each of our characters eventually had as many as 300 facial controls for us to manipulate. Right up until the very end, we were adding new facial shapes and new levels of control. In the end, our job was all about getting the best realization of each actor's performance. Maya gave us the ability to animate these characters, and the ability to write plug-ins and custom tools for Maya was an integral part of that."

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