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3dsMax in Motion Pictures

"The river that girds Lansquenet-sous-Tannes plays an important part in the storyline of "Chocolat," serving as the route of entry for several important characters -- Vianne, and a community of riverboat travelers including Roux (Johnny Depp) -- and also as the site of significant action -- the developing romance between Vianne and Roux and the fiery destruction of the travelers' boats.


However, unlike Lansquenet-sous-Tannes, the real-life town of Flavigny is not surrounded by a river, so an additional facet of Mill Film's work on the opening shot was the creation of a river to match the one seen later in the film. "We had to create a CG river and track that into the plate as well," Pettipher said. "When you see the difference between the original footage and what we ended up with, it's a fairly radical change."

The river was created by Mill Film artist Evan Davies. Mill Film sent drafts back and forth to Hallström and the film's editing team to get approval on the final look of the river. "We went through early mock-up stages -- we would paint something really rough and then e-mail it to the editor and the director for them to look at it," Pettipher said. "They would either e-mail us back or give us direction over the phone. They wanted a nice, wide, flowing river. It wasn't supposed to be frozen -- we had to put some movement in to show that it was flowing. We went through a couple of versions to lock down the position of the river and its size in the frame, and then it was just up to us to lock it and track it to the moving plate. The river was the main geographical change we made to the opening shot, other than removing the odd tree or two for aesthetic reasons. We were mainly adding to the shot rather than removing things."


Copyright 2000 Miramax Films

Another shot in the sequence circles around the town's church and central square. Pettipher explained that the camera movement in this shot required 3D tracking to place patches of snow in the scene; Mill Film artist Kieron Helsdon used 3ds max and Scene Genie to perform the tracking. "We used 3D tracking on that shot because the camera move was slightly tricky. The camera spins nearly 360 degrees around the church and then there's a crash zoom downward as the wind blows the church doors open. On those shots we used SceneGenie to help us lock in the snow patches on the ground. It wasn't a blanket of snow -- it was meant to look as though it had snowed a few days before."

Article from

Nobody Knows

Copyright 2000 Destination Earth LLC

"2 digital effects shots of JFK's 707 Air Force One for the film "Nobody Knows". Seems like I am doing alot of CG aircraft shots these days! Actress shot on a sound stage ans inserted into completely CG 707 and digital enviornment."

Source Tim Montijo

Chicken Run

"Many of you may be asking how computers could help the production of what is essentially a traditional stop motion animation film. That question is best answered by the staff in the studio's art department where they have applied innovative computer technologies to the preproduction of the film. Alastair Green is the Art Director of "Tortoise vs Hare". He is trained as an architect and had his own practise for four years. He taught at several prestigious schools including the Cardiff School or Art and Design, and The School of Architecture, Oxford Brookes University. The head of layout, Darren Dubicki, is a trained illustrator. Having worked as a freelance illustrator for numerous books and magazine publishing houses, his illustration style led him to work in animation. This included the creation of conceptual designs and visualizations for short films and commercials. Having learnt traditional illustration Darren has truely embraced the power of computers as a key tool for his work.

Since we are still in preproduction it is important that the director have complete creative freedom. Many of the animatics were originally rendered using 3D shading.


The directors felt that it hampered their creativity since the animations looked too "finalized". Alastair Green then decided to use Illustrate! to give the animatics a more hand drawn look. "Illustrate! was used to render simple, legible non distrating images and animation sequences.", said Alastair Green, "We test camera moves, the extents of a set, space and time implications and animation blocks without the distraction of texture, lighting and the need to produce time consuming full animation. Illustrate! helps clarify issues."

The directors, now presented with animated black and white illustrations felt much more in control and less distracted. "Illustrate! allows us to broaden our tool range in the visualisation process. depending on the complexity of the shot or sequence, it pays to have as little information as possible to communicate 3d space, the Illustrate! capability to define 3d space in black and white line is perfect for our story needs. Simplified line animation renders help to resolve any issues between storyboard and the 'canned' shot, prior to the Director entering the studio.", commented Darren Dubicki. This new style of animatic has also helped the story team as well as the animators. "The process has improved with the introduction of Illustrate! which allows me to create clean line information to assist the story team, and block colour animation for edit purposes, and a useful guide for the stop-motion animators.", added Darren Dubicki.

Copyright 2000 Aardman Animations/Dreamworks SKG/Pathe Pictures

Illustrate! was used in the design of the sets and to produce technical illustrations of the models. These technical illustrations would then go to the modeling department to serve as a guide for their constructions. "Illustrate! was used to produce easily read drawings rendered from 3DS Max or exported to Cad from which our sets are built.", said Alastair Green. "

Article from David


Cyberworld IMAX

Section of the film called 'Tonight's Performance' by REZN8 used 3dsMax.

"This two-minute segment combining classic and futuristic images is a "Jules Verne-inspired modern day opera in the clouds," according to REZN8 founder Paul Sidlo, who is also executive producer and creative director for the piece. Intended to engage audiences in a visual world of wonder, Tonight's Performance is supported by a surreal undertone. A large, floating theatre sets the stage for a young female performer in a fantasy ballet. Among the fantastic characters are flying whale-like reptiles, high-wire lighting gaffers and stilt-walking electrical engineers. All elements are structured to convey multiple stages of a circus from set-up to grand performance. Technology Notes: "Large-format filmmaking of this calibre demands very meticulous work and required a collective effort on the part of REZN8's design team," says REZN8 art director/3D artist Bill Dahlinger, speaking of the re-creation of the film for inclusion in CyberWorld 3D.

Copyright 2000 IMAX

"Since the viewing area is so large and there are stereoscopic considerations as well, we had to make sure the scale was accurate and that every piece of geometry was synched up in 3D space. At 4000 lines of resolution per frame, patience and precision were definitely valuable assets on this project." "We were striving for a cohesiveness between visual story-telling and the technical specifics of the large-format," says REZN8 art director/3D artist Mannix. "The result is a blending of the technical and aesthetic in a short frameworkŠ a meshing of classic and futuristic images that has a timeless quality to it."

Tonight's Performance principal filmmakers at REZN8 Productions, Inc.: Executive Producer/Director: Paul Sidlo Producer: Ileana Garcia-Montes Art Directors / 3D Artists: Bill Dahlinger, Mannix, David Necker Technical Director / 3D Artist: David Humphreys Effects Animator: Tim Montijo"

Source: Official Website

In addition to this the 3D backgrounds were created with Max in the IMAX The Cyber Critters section, the characters were created with Imax Corporation's proprietary SANDDE (Stereoscopic Animation Drawing DEvice) technology which Imax unveiled in 1997


Copyright 2000 IMAX


All material on this site is copyright. You have the right to view this page but you are not granted any other rights and the copyright owners reserve all other rights.