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3D DIRECT • February 8, 2000

Industry News

The Who's-Animating-What Dept.

by Matthew Hoover

House of Moves Captured the Moves

House of Moves, the L.A.-based mocap service bureau (www.moves.com), recently used the Vicon 8 mocap system (www.vicon.com) in a capture session at the L.A. Sports Arena involving professional track & field athletes. The data will be used for Konami's forthcoming video game International Track & Field 2000. Hundreds of moves were captured from world-class athletes by 15 cameras, including pole vault, long jump, high jump, hammer throw, hurdles, and sprints.

There's Only One Ananova

Ananova is a cyber-reporter developed by PA New Media (www.ananova.com). She's a 3D character, rendered in real time with proprietary software, who will be delivering news over the web in Real Media format; plans call for other formats and delivery mechanisms in the future. Her launch is scheduled for April, with previews on her site before that. Her voice will be synthesized text-to-speech, but it's reported to be sophisticated and will use a tone and style appropriate for each piece of content. PA New Media is part of the Press Association, the national news agency of the U.K.

Computer Cafe Animates Your TV

Computer Cafe studio of Santa Maria, CA (www.computercafe.com), created the new "Feature Presentation" opening animation that precedes films on cable channel HBO. In one nonstop shot, a camera zooms out from an old theater and down the road through a small town, farmlands, a mountain tunnel, a desert, into a suburb, and finally into a gleaming metropolis. As the camera pulls up above the city, the buildings and lights create the HBO logo. The piece was done with LightWave, 3D Studio MAX, Digital Fusion, After Effects, and World Construction Set, plus a half-dozen custom apps, on Windows NT workstations. After building the landscape with World Construction Set, artists modeled the buildings, billboards, and other items. The models' surfaces were mapped with video images of actual buildings, billboards, and so on to provide very realistic color, texture, and lighting.

Radium a Crashing Success

Radium of San Francisco (www.radium.com) is the studio responsible for those 3D letters following Hyundai cars around town. In a recent commercial, as a Hyundai Sonata drives through a city, it's followed around by quotes from reviews of the car. When the car stops suddenly, the letters keep going and seem to crash into and cascade over the car. Using Discreet Inferno, Radium artists made 3D type that cast shadows on the pavement and reflected in puddles on the ground, making for a very convincing spot.

Match Frame was Ready for Breddy

Breddy bread, marketed in Mexico, is being promoted with 3D animated spots by Match Frame (www.matchframe.com), a studio based in Austin, TX. Eighty percent of the studio's business is for Hispanic markets, says Stephanie Schneider, Match Frame VP and director of computer graphics. The latest Breddy spot, for example, is broadcast in northern Mexico. Match Frame has bilingual artists and tries to make sure commercial messages translate well. The Breddy spot was done with Softimage 3D running on SGI Indigo2 workstations.

Chester the Cheetah has a Whole New Bag

Speaking of Mexico, Toronto-based studio TOPIX•Mad Dog (www.topix.com) completed a 3D/2D commercial for Cheetos to air in Mexico in Q1 2000. Chuck Gammage Animation of Toronto (www.chuckgammageanimation.com) created 2D characters, and TOPIX•Mad Dog composited those with 3D animation and live-action footage. The star is a green bag of Cheetos, and she's stepping out of a limo in front of an old theater in the center of Mexico City. Chester, the Cheetos mascot, of course cannot keep his cool around her cheese and jalapeño flavor and inadvertently wreaks havoc on her bodyguards.

Surf and Surf

Waves or web, the surfing will be peak at the Web3D-VRML Symposium, being held February 21-24 in Monterey, CA (www.vr.edu/conf/web3D). This ACM SIGGRAPH small conference will be host to 150-200 developers for two days of tutorials, followed by two days of peer-reviewed papers and hot-topic panels. Also included is a Web3D RoundUP, where 3D content developers will demonstrate the latest web 3D tools and technology in an environment that encourages interactive audience participation. There will also be a Web3D Consortium meeting and a modest exhibit floor.

Digital Forays Pulls 3D Forest

In the New & Improved section of the February issue of 3D magazine, we included a listing for the 3D Forest model collection from Digital Forays. After the magazine went to press, we learned that complications kept the 3D Forest models from being released, and no plans exist to release them in the future.

Matthew Hoover is news editor for 3D magazine and 3Dgate.com. Send news about products, projects, and technology to [email protected].