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February 27, 2006

Dogged Effects

spotted and snatched from Millimeter:

The visual effects chain for Disney's The Shaggy Dog — a remake of the 1959 film about a man who turns into a dog — relied heavily on techniques designed to improve efficiency and the ability to collaborate remotely. The film has about 300 digital effects shots, mainly involving the manipulation of real and CG animals through a variety of digital stunts, the creation of mutant animal creatures, and extreme use of CG fur on the title character. Visual effects supervisor Stephen Rosenbaum arranged for most of the 3D animal and fur work to be done at Tippett Studios, Berkeley, Calif., with compositing handled by CIS Hollywood and matte paintings done at Christov Effects, Burbank, Calif.

That last statement makes it sound as if we sent out shots to CIS for final compositing, As far as I recall, we comped all our own shots so this wasn't the case, anyhow:

In particular, Rosenbaum says the production's ability to perform preliminary color correction work on effects plates inside a digital intermediate suite at Technicolor Digital Intermediates (TDI), Burbank, where the final DI was also conducted, made a huge impact on efficiency.

“It was an idealized scenario in terms of starting the [color correction process for the plates] on the front end with [DP] Gabriel Beristain,” Rosenbaum explains. “He had a camera assistant shoot digital stills while he shot the movie, and on set, with a [then-Beta version of] Kodak's Look Manager System and a calibrated monitor, Gabriel would color-time the stills, establishing a lighting and color palette for every scene. This allowed us to focus earlier on developing the look of our CG elements to better match his photography. Then, in post, I would take those color-timed stills to TDI, where our DI colorist, Jill Bogdanowicz, would take the metadata from those digital stills out of Look Manager and do a preliminary color pass on each of the effects plates. That exact color-timing reference would then be passed to my vendors, and they could apply it to all scans and plates without having to do any significant color correction themselves. Then, when composites came back to Jill for the final DI, while it wasn't 100 percent plug-and-play, per se, it was pretty darn close, and she only had to do nominal adjustments to fit the effects shots with the non-effects shots.”

From Rosenbaum's point of view, this approach is superior to the notion of periodically generating color-timed film clips in a laboratory for reference purposes where visual effects plates are concerned.

“The DP onward hands off the digital metadata, and that maintains a consistent, exact representation of what he wants, rather than a physical film clip, which is subject to the variances of the particular lab bath used on a particular day,” he says. “Over the years, one gripe I had was the fact that color-timed film clips often did not look consistent because of lab variances, and confusion could follow about which one represented the intended look of the sequence. Using digital metadata, there is no variation. That is a significant benefit for us.”

Still, as with any significant visual effects project, Rosenbaum, his vendors, Beristain, and director Brian Robbins had to frequently conference on not only color issues, but all aspects of the digital effects shots. Rosenbaum says the production's solution for accomplishing that with many of the participants routinely in different locations was to use the cineSync remote collaboration system from Rising Sun Research. “It has probably made me give up satellite transmission systems forever,” he says.

“Essentially, we would upload a QuickTime file, usually at 1k resolution, in the new H.264 codec — a small file but without tons of compression,” he says. “Then, everyone could download it and work on the same synchronized file during a session. We can play it between multiple computers in different locations, and we can all use a mouse pointer and mark up the sequence and interact in a direct way with the vendors.”
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The Shaggy Dog

First Look: A behind-the-scenes peek at Tim Allen's remake of the Disney canine flick.

Starring: Tim Allen, Kristin Davis, Danny Glover, Craig Kilborn, Robert Downey Jr
Directed by: Brian Robbins
Release Date: March 10, 2006 (Disney)

Supported by a wire rig, Tim Allen scrambles on all fours into an alley in pursuit of an orange tabby. In a moment, the human star of Disney’s remake of 1959’s The Shaggy Dogwill morph into a pooch. “There are six trained dogs, an animatronic dog that’s unbelievable, and CGI dogs,” Allen says, with authority. “It’ll all be seamless to you, the viewer.”

Birds & Animals Unlimited, which also trained owls for Harry Potter, schooled Shaggy’s dogs, all bearded collies, in everything from typing to fetching bouquets. “You always end up with a hero dog who’s really going to do about ninety percent of the movie, and for us, his name is Coal,” says trainer Mark Forbes.

Coal let Stan Winston Studio, the Oscar-winning animatronics team behind Terminator 2 and Jurassic Park, take a dental cast of his muzzle in order to build an accurate robot. The animatronic Coal had a coat of angora, yak, and human hair, as well as silicone skin, a fiberglass skeleton, and 28 model-airplane motors crammed into his head and body to help simulate the tail wagging, tongue panting, and ear twitching characteristic of man’s high-energy best friend. “We fill in the gaps,” says puppeteer Paul Mejias. “For instance, there’s a scene where the dog’s trying to spell ‘I’m Dad’ with Scrabble pieces. Coal can move stuff around with his paws, but to spell something out, it’s not gonna happen.”

While Coal and his doppelgänger may have a long Hollywood career ahead, at least one shaggy dog is slated for early retirement. “Our video engineer has already claimed one of the dogs, Knight,” Forbes says. “She’s number six, just a running dog, but she’s probably the best pet out of all of them. She could take or leave the movie business.”
—Cristy Lytal, Premiere Magazine

Posted by dschnee at 10:00 AM

February 20, 2006

2 Weeks Left for Tempelton

Not Really Wisdom of the Week:
(but a true fact)
"The name of the mouse in Charlotte's Web was "Templeton". The author of the book was E.B. White who was a Fiji (Phi Gamma Delta). He named the mouse after one of the founders of the fraternity (John Templeton McCarty). Pretty Cool insight."

Less than 2 weeks remain, and around 50 or so shots, to wrap up work on Charlotte's Web (phase one?)... 3 shots remain on my plate along with a handful of other comp fixes to other shots (WTF Ari?!?), all targets shall be met and delivered. cheers.

Whats Next? stay tooned...

ohh and on a creepy related note, do a google image search for: templeton mouse and check out pages 1 through 7...

Posted by dschnee at 9:40 PM

February 19, 2006

Achievement In Special Visual Effects

The gorilla pounds out another VFX award... nice!

This year's Orange British Academy Film Awards were held on Sunday 19 February 2006 at the Odeon Leicester Square in London. The full list of nominees is here, with winners in bold.

Achievement In Special Visual Effects

BATMAN BEGINS - Janek Sirrs/Dan Glass/Chris Corbould/Paul Franklin
CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY - Nick Davis/Jon Thum/Chas Jarrett/Joss Williams
THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE - Dean Wright/Bill Westenhofer/Jim Berney/Scott Farrar
HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE - Jim Mitchell/John Richardson/Tim Webber/Tim Alexander
KING KONG - Joe Letteri/Christian Rivers/Brian Van't Hul/Richard Taylor

- © British Academy of Film and Television Arts

Posted by dschnee at 9:00 PM

February 16, 2006

VES Announces 2005 Winners

Last night, The Visual Effects Society had it's anual black tie event Honoring... JOHN LASSETER with the Georges Méliès Award For Pioneering and Artistic Excellence.

Quickly, Kong Captures 3 VES Awards,
Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects Driven Motion Picture
King Kong
Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Motion Picture
King Kong-Kong
Outstanding Created Environment in a Live Action Motion Picture
King Kong-New York Dawn Attack
and in Comperland,
Outstanding Compositing in a Motion Picture
War of the Worlds
Outstanding Compositing in a Broadcast Program, Commercial, or Music Video
Empire

Here is the complete list of winners... VISUAL EFFECTS SOCIETY ANNOUNCES WINNERS AT THE 4TH ANNUAL VES AWARDS

Here is an older link for the 2005 VES nominations for Outstanding Compositing in a Motion Picture and Broadcast Program

- visualeffectssociety.com

Los Angeles, February 16, 2006 – The VES Awards were given out last night during the Visual Effects Society’s (VES) fourth annual gala event at the Hollywood Palladium. The sold-out event attracted more than eight hundred celebrities, visual effects and animation artists, dozens of nominees and members of the film, television and games industries.

“The extraordinary breadth and diversity of the awards were matched only by the extraordinary talent displayed in the room last night,” said Eric Roth, Executive Director of the VES. “It was an eye-popping, visual effects treat equivalent to a triple ice cream sundae with a dozen exotic toppings capped off with the biggest cherry ever.”

Los Angeles, February 9, 2006 - Actress Bonnie Hunt will be a presenter at the fourth annual Visual Effects Society (VES) Awards, it was announced today by VES Executive Director Eric Roth, who also announced that the Award Show is now sold out. Hunt will be joining Katherine Helmond, Cheech Marin, Edie McLurg, Craig T. Nelson and John Ratzenberger at the Hollywood Palladium on February 15th for the annual gathering of visual effects and animation professionals. The VES recognizes artistic and technical achievements with twenty awards spread across the areas of visual effects and animation in film, television, computer gaming and special venue large format offerings.

This group of actors will be part of the tribute to Pixar's John Lasseter, who collects the VES Georges Méliès Award for Artistic Excellence at this year's event. This award recognizes artists whose contributions to the filmmaking industry have advanced the craft of visual effects. Hunt, McLurg, Nelson and Ratzenberger have worked previously with Lasseter on movies from famed Pixar Animation Studios. Helmond and Marin join Hunt and Ratzenberger in Pixar's upcoming release, the Lasseter-directed "Cars."

One of Hollywood's youngest organizations, the VES was formed in 1997 in response to the explosive growth in the visual effects industry. It is a professional, honorary society, dedicated to advancing the arts, sciences, and applications of visual effects and to improving the welfare of its members by providing professional enrichment and education, fostering community, and promoting industry recognition. The VES is the entertainment industry's only organization representing the full breadth of visual effects practitioners including artists, technologists, model makers, educators, studio leaders, supervisors, PR/marketing specialists and producers in all areas of entertainment from film, television and commercials to music videos and games. Comprised of a diverse group of about 1,300 global members, the VES strives to enrich and educate its own members and members of the entertainment community at large through a multitude of domestic and international events, screenings and programs.

PIXAR TRIBUTE STEALS VES AWARDS SHOW

(variety) "King Kong" and "War of the Worlds" were the big winners at
the fourth annual VES Awards Wednesday as each pic walked away with three
awards and at least one top honor. But an emotional tribute to Pixar toon
titan John Lasseter stole the show.

Lasseter was saluted with the Visual Effects Society's George Melies
lifetime achievement award. He was hailed for melding computer science with
the principles of traditional animation to create the foundation for today's
visual effects and CG-animation industries.

"King Kong" garnered top honors for visual effects in an f/x-driven picture, and snagged kudos for animated character in a live-action pic.

In accepting the top award, "Kong" visual-effects supervisor Joe Letteri
saluted Lasseter, saying, "All the principles of animation you were
preaching years ago, some of us were listening."

Pic also drew the created environment nod for its high-altitude depiction of
New York at dawn.

But "War of the Worlds" grabbed honors for the year's best single visual
effect, the "Fleeing the Neighborhood" sequence, as well as awards for its
models-and-miniatures work and compositing.

"Kong's" rivals for top honors, "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the
Witch and the Wardrobe," "Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith" and
"Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" were shut out.

"Kingdom of Heaven" took the supporting visual effects kudos.

On the TV side, TNT's "Into the West" won two awards, while HBO's "Rome"
drew the prize for visual effects in a series.

The tributes to Lasseter included digs at Disney, which rebuffed his efforts
to launch computer animation at the Mouse House some 25 years ago.

Presenter John Ratzenberger quipped that the day he saw the news that Pixar
would be taking over Disney animation, "I also saw a little item that Walt
Disney had stopped spinning in his grave."

Lasseter, in his acceptance speech, recalled going to work in 1980 at
Disney, "the place I'd wanted to work all my life," only to find "they'd
reached a plateau."

Recognizing huge potential in the work being done on "Tron," he worked on a
demo to show what computer animation could do.

"It fell on deaf eyes," he said.

Lasseter was careful not to disclose any plans as animation topperfor the
Mouse once the purchase of Pixar is complete, saying only that he is
"looking forward to working with the pioneering artists" there again.

Lasseter's tale hit a nerve among the assembled visual effects pros, many of
whom were disgruntled ex-Disney animators.

Fellow Pixar vet Ed Catmull, who also goes with Lasseter to Disney, will
receive a sci-tech award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
on Saturday.

Pixar's Jim Morris received a special honor, the VES board of directors
Award. Morris is a longtime Lucasfilm vet who left to join Pixar in 2004.

Morris managed Lucasfilm's transition into digital production and was
saluted for being a linchpin of the VES during its founding and early
growth.

Posted by dschnee at 7:19 AM

February 13, 2006

Kong DVD Cover Art

I like it.
See the artwork kong size here
DVD Release Date: March 28, 2006
Pre Order: King Kong (2005) 2-Disc Special Edition

DVD Features:

* Available Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
* Available Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
* The Volkswagen Toureg & King Kong
* Wish You Were Here
* Introduction by Peter Jackson
* Post-Production Diaries: Director Peter Jackson takes you on an unforgettable journey revealing virtually every aspect of post-production.
* Nearly three hours of exclusive behind-the-scenes footage!
* Kong's New York, 1933
* Skull Island with Peter Jackson and his crew

Posted by dschnee at 9:24 PM

February 10, 2006

Shaggy Dog is up @ Apple Trailers

Get your trailers here, freshly popped trailers here, for low res, high res, tiny for your iPod, and in HD!?! ohh boy!

/disney/theshaggydog/trailer/

Posted by dschnee at 9:01 PM

February 9, 2006

Mantastic 2006

Over the past month I've been involved in a company sponsored event, Mantastic 2006, a beard growing contest among 35 of us at the studio. 8 Mantastic Styles, The Amish(backstreetboys), The Amish Goatee(cult classic), The Lemmy(motorhead), The Neanderthal(uhhgg, food good, fire bad), The Selleck(fruity), The Muttonchops(what I got), The Handlebars(hulkamania), and The Neckbeard(nasty)!

We start off clean shaven, and through the luck of the draw we have a style chosen for us that we have to wear for One full month... and.

Through the magic of space and time this past Monday was week #4 of our check in, so you can see the progression from man to mantastic. Many have entered few will win, actually I didn't for my style, but I lost to a worthy apponent (I was robbed!) in the Muttonchop division, dude looks like a sabre-tooth tiger with his gray patches down the sides of his cheek. anyhow...

To catch up on the entire adventure that is Mantastic 2006 visit:

http://mantastic2006.blogspot.com/

Here is my progression... you ain't got Mutton on my Chops!

Posted by dschnee at 5:24 PM

February 4, 2006

Shaggy Dog Super Bowl Spot

Super Bowl TV Spot:
QuickTime, Hi-Res
QuickTime, Lo-Res

L00K for it during gameday superbowl sunday - Seahawks vs. Steelers!

Watch Tim Allen "..drop the Hamma' on Gramma'.." -Chris Berman ESPN

Here is what the folks over at I Watch Stuff!.com had to say about this super shaggy spot...

When America demands more Shaggy Dog, Walt Disney delivers. Over at ComingSoon.net they've got not only The Shaggy Dog trailer, but the new Super Bowl spot as well. The TV spot seems a little contrived, giving the movie a play-by-play like the football game, but the trailer answers a lot of questions.

My favorite part is where it zooms in to the cellular level, showing the Shaggy Dog cells merge with the Tim Allen cells. The whole time before this I was thinking, "Seems like a great concept, a man turning into a shaggy dog, but I'm just not sure it's scientifically feasible." Then that shot came on and it totally sold me. Dog bites a guy, transfers Shaggy Dog cells, they latch onto the human cells, creates a man-dog-- it all makes sense. And here I was worried they wouldn't explain what was going on. Plus, he chases a cat! Like how dogs do! You don't need science to tell you that's funny.

-source

Posted by dschnee at 8:43 AM

February 2, 2006

Jackson deserved nomination for Kong,

says Weta chief...

The Weta Digital team made such a perfect job of creating digital doubles and realistic settings for King Kong that they nearly cheated themselves out of their Oscar nomination for visual effects.

The monster movie, by Wellington director Peter Jackson, received four nominations in the technical categories of art direction, sound mixing, sound editing and visual effects, it was announced last night.

Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, which was shot in New Zealand, directed by Andrew Adamson, was nominated for sound mixing, make-up and visual effects.

Weta Digital chief Joe Letteri, whose team brought the great ape to life and created a virtual New York of 90,358 buildings, and an entire island ecosystem, said he was "pretty excited and relieved" with the nominations.

Last week the filmmakers attended the "bake off" of short-listed films in Los Angeles to present their work to the Academy and discuss it before the members voted.

Mr Letteri said the presentation was "not so much lobbying" as actually pointing out where the special effects appeared.

"Visual effects has got to the point where even those of us who work in it find it hard to tell what was done real and what was done as visual effects after the fact."

With dinosaurs and giant gorillas, people do not usually have much difficulty separating fact from fiction, he told NZPA.

"But with the digital doubles for people, and the environments, it's must harder to spot."

Many people had wanted to know where they had shot the jungle scenes, he laughed.

"We were just in the parking lot of Stone St studios - we never left!"

While the four technical nominations were a great honour - especially considering the "incredible" competition - he admitted he was slightly disappointed that the film was not up for any of the major awards.
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Jackson's Return of the King - the final in The Lord of the Rings trilogy - won Best Film, Best Director and a host of other Oscars last year.

"In a perfect world we would have liked to have seen the film itself and Peter (Jackson) recognised for what he brought to the screen - so that's a bit of a disappointment," he said.

"It's hard to say what the mood of the Academy is.

"They have tended to have gone for more serious films this year, more political topics seem to be order of the day."

-source stuff.co.nz

Posted by dschnee at 2:02 PM