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Cartoon character sculpture sells for $28.2 million

Published: 15/05/2014 | Type: News | Main Focus: Sculpting
There's a lot of money in cartoons these days. Yesterday a sculpture of Popeye The Sailorman made by Jeff Koons, sold for $28.2 million at Sotheby's. The buyer was Steve Wynn, the Las Vegas casino magnate who famously put his elbow through the canvas of an original Picasso a few years back... [Continue Reading]

May the fourth be with you - The pioneering VFX of Star Wars

Published: 04/05/2014 | Type: Article | Main Focus: VFX
Industrial Light and Magic was first set up to provide the effects when Lucasfilm started to work on the original Star Wars trilogy in 1975, and has since provided the VFX for more than 300 films. With today being the International Star Wars Day we take a look at some of the VFX pioneered by the films such as the first motion control digital camera system and CG film star Jar Jar Binks... [Continue Reading]

How did Autodesk Maya become so popular?

Published: 30/04/2014 | Type: Article | Main Focus: 3D Animation
With the final version of Softimage released this month, Autodesk closes the door on one of the oldest 3D applications on the market. Softimage changed hands many times, the company was first founded by filmmaker Daniel Langlois in 1986 in Montreal and then sold to Microsoft in the 1990's before it was passed on to Avid Technologies - its' final owner until Autodesk announced the aquisition in late 2008 in a deal worth $35 million. This leaves the company with Maya and 3DS Max... [Continue Reading]

Disney brings Animatronics to a new level with 3D design process

Published: 30/04/2014 | Type: News | Main Focus: 3D Animation
Disney is bringing Audio-Animatronics to a new level with the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train opening soon at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. This is partly due to a collaboration between Walt Disney Imagineering and Walt Disney Animation Studios, with the two working closely together as Disney's doing a full 3D design and delivery process on their Audio-Animatronic Figures for the first time. Based on the original 2D drawings from the 1937 film... [Continue Reading]

The Return of The Doozers - Puppets from Fraggle Rock recreated in CG

Published: 26/04/2014 | Type: News | Main Focus: 3D Animation
Remember Fraggle Rock - the iconic 1980's live action puppet show? If so, you might also recall the little green creatures known as Doozers who were constantly engaged in constuction using a candy-like substance much enjoyed as food by the Fraggles, thus creating a never ending stream of work for themselves in rebuilding. Premiering on Hulu this weekend, The Doozers is the site's first original kids show, which is aimed at children of preschool age... [Continue Reading]

Modeling for 3D Printing - An Interview with George Waldron

Published: 19/11/2013 | Type: Interview | Main Focus: 3D Printing
As a technology which is rapidly expanding at the moment 3D printing is creating new job opportunities for CG artists around the world. One of them is George Waldron, who a couple of years ago started up his own company with Catalyst Creations providing a prototyping service where he uses Maya to build the 3D models that are then converted into various 3D printed products. He gets a lot of work creating patterns that are used to cast science-fiction themed resin model kits for companies like Federation Models.... [Continue Reading]

Superheroes - A tale of propaganda and censorship

Published: 6/11/2013 | Type: Article | Main Focus: Comics
Thor: The Dark World, the latest film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is now in the cinemas. It's the 8th such film from Marvel in just five years, which kicked off with Iron Man in 2008. Superheroes are everywhere you look these days, we just can't seem to get enough of them. So, where did they come from? Starting with Superman giving rise to the genre 75 years ago at the advent of the Second World War, superheroes have been subjected to critique for encouraging violence since their very infancy and evolved through censorship.... [Continue Reading]

Studying for Scientific Visualization - An Interview with Stuart Jantzen

Published: 4/11/2013 | Type: Interview | Main Focus: Education
The Biomedical Communications program at University of Toronto in Canada is a two-year graduate program preparing students for a career in medical and scientific visualization. Combining animation and science as well as being one out of just five accredited programs of its kind, it offers something unique in a field that's growing at the moment and can offer better job security than similar positions in the film and game industry. Stuart Jantzen recently graduated from the program so we asked him a few questions about his time there, as well as how he created his first large scientific visualization in Maya... [Continue Reading]

Where do voices for animated characters come from?

Published: 31/10/2013 | Type: Article | Main Focus: Animation
Last week Marcia Wallace, the voice of Bart's fourth-grade schoolteacher Edna Krabappel on "The Simpsons", died which led to the retirement of her character. This follows a tradition on the longest running animated show in American history to remove characters when the actors voicing them dies, rather than replace the voice with another one.Though the practice of retiring cartoon characters when a voice actor dies is rare... [Continue Reading]

When fine art goes digital - Transforming old masters into animations

Published: 24/10/2013 | Type: Article | Main Focus: Animation
Transforming is a unique exhibition that's on this month at the Fine Art Society in London, where MPC has worked together with the artists Rob and Nick Carter to make audiences re-engage with the old masters. On display are six pieces, four animated digital paintings that come to life before the viewers eyes, and two bronze sculptures created through a complex 3D modeling and printing process. The exhibition is branching into a new genre in the world of art with the focus around the piece "Transforming Still Life Painting"... [Continue Reading]

The Lion King makes history - First Broadway musical to cross $1 billion mark

Published: 22/10/2013 | Type: News | Main Focus: Film
The Lion King has become the first Broadway musical to pass the landmark $1 billion in ticket revenues. Based on the film with the same name from 1994, it was the first Disney animated feature to be created from an original story rather than already existing work. Although this came under controversy when the film much resembled the Japanese 1960's anime TV-show "Kimba the White Lion" which had been translated into many languages and some people familiar with the Japanese original believed they were watching a remake... [Continue Reading]

Why is there a teapot in 3DS Max? - The origin of common 3D test models

Published: 03/10/2013 | Type: Article | Main Focus: 3D Modeling
Many people have opened 3DS Max over the years and wondered why along with the common primitives like the cube, sphere and cone that can be used as starting shapes for modeling you find a teapot. The "Utah Teapot" is an icon of computer graphics being one of the first 3D models modeled using mathematical curves rather than polygons, and in early computer graphics labs it was used as a test model for many algorithms... [Continue Reading]

The Uncanny Valley and CGI - The Challenge in Creating Realistic Humans

Published: 19/09/2013 | Type: Article | Main Focus: Motion Capture
The film industry first became aware of the uncanny valley 25 years ago in 1988. This was the year Pixar 's short film "Tin Toy" presented the world's first computer animated baby, named Billy. Pixar at the time was still a hardware company which was working on the Pixar Image Computer intended for high-end scientific visualization and the animated shorts were simply produced as a way to show off its capabilities... [Continue Reading]

The Early Days of Science Fiction - Before World War II

Published: 29/08/2013 | Type: Article | Main Focus: Film
As new technologies emerged during the second half of 19th century such as electricity and powered transportation science fiction as a genre became widely popular, this is when H. G. Wells and Jules Verne became the world's first full-time science fiction novelists. The genre of science fiction in film came at the same time as the motion picture itself at the turn of the century. In Europe French illusionist Georges Méliès , known as the first "Cinemagician"... [Continue Reading]

55 Years of Belgian Blues - A History of The Smurfs

Published: 22/08/2013 | Type: Article | Main Focus: Comics
One of the most important contributions to popular culture from the tiny nation of Belgium is the Franco-Belgian comics, known under the name of bandes dessinées - which in English translates to "drawn strips", where the Smurfs as well as the characters from recent feature films Tintin and Asterix originated. The man who introduced the Smurfs was Charles Depuis, a pioneering Belgian publisher of French-language comics... [Continue Reading]

Medical Animation in the UK - An Interview with Rajeev Doshi

Published: 17/02/2012 | Type: Interview | Main Focus: Medical Animation
Medical animation and illustration has been a large field of computer graphics for many years in the US and in recent years has gone through a boom period the UK with new studios starting up. With a wide variety of clients and an increased interest in health amongst the public this field is expanding at the moment and offers a broad range of work for CG artists with an interest in science. Medi-Mation is a London-based studio started in 2006... [Continue Reading]

Creating a Webcomic - An Interview with Caanan Grall

Published: 20/10/2011 | Type: Interview | Main Focus: Comics
Crowdfunding is becoming an increasingly popular way for creative people to ask the community for financial backing to get their ideas off the ground. Cartoonist Caanan Grall is currently running a campaign on IndieGoGo for the printing of his webcomic Max Overacts - nominated for the 2011 Eisner Awards. [Continue Reading]

Studying at Media Design School - An Interview with Sergej Zlahtic

Published: 24/09/2011 | Type: Interview | Main Focus: Educational
This week we speak to Sergej Zlahtic who is currently a student at New Zealand's Media Design School in Auckland. Sergej is originally from Slovenia, a small country in the heart of Europe, and he's enrolled at the Advanced 3D Productions course that the school offers. [Continue Reading]

Freelance Animation - An Interview with Josh Burton

Published: 31/08/2011 | Type: Interview | Main Focus: Freelance Work
Meet Josh Burton, animator and storyteller, who's been creating things for as long as he can remember. After graduating from SCAD with a BFA in animation in 2005, he started at Midway Games in Chicago and Austin, where he would work on games during the day and personal projects at night. Since fall of 2008 he's been working as a freelance animator... [Continue Reading]

For the Love of Animation - An Interview with Gabriele Ranfagni

Published: 24/08/2011 | Type: Interview | Main Focus: Animation
Gabriele Ranfagni is an Italian animator who started out in Florence in the early days as an illustrator before he turned to animation. He's worked on more than 40 productions and held multiple roles doing storyboarding, stop motion, character design, concept art, 2D and 3D animation. For several years he also worked as a teacher at both the Florence International School of Comics and NEMO Academy.... [Continue Reading]

Working in the Game Industry - An Interview with Mike McKinley

Published: 15/08/2011 | Type: Interview | Main Focus: Games
This week we talk to Mike McKinley, who's been in the game industry for the past eight years and on SimplyMaya even longer than that. Mike has worked as an Environment Artist on a number of different game productions and is currently a Content Creator at InfiniteZ in Seattle. He's written several books about using Maya for games and in this interview he talks about some of the projects he's worked on... [Continue Reading]

Industry Insights Maya Modeling - An Interview with Jason Edwards

Published: 15/05/2011 | Type: Interview | Main Focus: Film
In this interview Jason Edwards who's currently a Senior Modeler at Windmill Lane VFX in Dublin, shares some of his experiences from his time in the industry. He's worked on a wide range of projects in both television and film a lot of the things he talks about in this interview as well as some tips and tricks on how to land a job can be very helpful for those of you who are looking to get that first foot in the door at the moment... [Continue Reading]
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