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Friday
Jul292011

COMIC-CON 2011 - POW! Zap! BOOM! [photos & video]

Reallusion and Animation Magazine partner to showcase super-power animation technology at the 2011 Comic-Con. 


We talked with so many great folks at Comic-con and heard some stories about our tools powering hefty studio projects.  Comic illustrators and indie publishers were interested in the Reallusion CITY marketplace and also how they can create motion comics from their existing catalog with CrazyTalk Animator.  The iClone5 Kinect mocap preview wowed with instant calibration and real-time puppetering with record.  We also announced today that iClone5 will be available in September.  There are iClone5 videos and a preview of features here.

We talked to directors like David E. Duncan a storyboard and VFX artist for Ironman, Snow White & The Huntsman and more.  His VFX and Previz studio, Flying Sorcery, specializes in innovative r/c aerial shots, animatics and previz. iClone's Kinect-powered mocap and 2D facial animation with CrazyTalk impressed a seasoned pro, but what's really impressive is the IMDB page for David.  That's his storyboard from Ironman.

Comic-Con is a pop-culture crossroads.  The entertainment industry is there in full force and nearly everyone is relaxed, having fun and ready to enjoy the ride.  Open minds reign supreme.

The combination of industry-insider coverage with a free copy of Animation Magazine and Reallusion's in-booth Kinect mocap experience made for steady crowds at the booth.  iClone5 kinect animation and CrazyTalk Animator Motion-Comic demos were a hit and we got some great feedback from animators, illustrators, directors; even  famous TV shows (ahem, Jimmy Kimmel Live!) are using Reallusion to make funny, fast.  

A perfect ensemble of storytelling at its best.  Writers of comics and celebrities from all genres are onsite for meet and greet or autographs, which makes for some major geek-freak (Ok, ok... I'm guilty. see cheese photo with Garth Ennis #kidforever) 

Indie studios have found CrazyTalk and Reallusion tools to be a just-in-time solution and we caught one film on-the-rise at Comic-Con's Martial Arts Film Festival, "Justice For Hire."

 

Zach Shelton, director, Willow Road Animation met us at our booth and shared their story of coming to Comic-Con and how CrazyTalk Animator played a big role in their film. Zach shares his experience in the following video interview I did with him the day after the premiere.

 The film, "Justice For Hire," motion-comic trailer DID premiere at Comic-Con's Martial Arts Film Festival. 

Justice For Hire Motion Comic Trailer from Willow Road Animation on Vimeo.

The Reallusion experience at Comic-Con invited attendees to see the powerful, time-saving and budget-friendly tools for 2D and 3D animation.  2D Animators see how fast CrazyTalk Animator can animate their existing 2D illustrations or rig their custom sketchs or vectors into fully animated sprite-based characters. Facial animation is solved with CrazyTalk Animator.  Define the character, record audio and see your comic panel or storyboards come to life.  Previz and feature production artists applauded CrazyTalk as a "pocket knife," in the studio.

Wednesday
Jul202011

Reallusion & Comic-con 2011

Reallusion joins Animation Magazine for Comic-Con 2011.  We're bringing CrazyTalk Animator to Comic-Con for an onslaught of animation creativity! Learn the workflow to bring character sketches to life with the facial animation and body puppeteering of CrazyTalk Animator.  See CrazyTalk Animator and catch a sneak peek at iClone5 Kinect mocap at Animation Magazine's Comic-Con booth #1535 on July 23rd and 24th.

Tuesday
Jun142011

Kinect 3D animation coming to iClone5 (VIDEO)

Reallusion confirms the buzz around the forth-coming Kinect & iClone revolution!  3D real-time animation and Kinect avatar performance goes to the next level with iClone5 (Winter 2011). 

"iClone5 is a 3D animation production studio combining the power of Kinect's user interaction for a new level of human-driven digital storytelling.  A new technological element of expression coming soon to a community of directors that before only watched the likes of masters such as Peter Jackson & James Cameron flex these type of tools in previous years.  iClone5 will represent a close in the gap between big budget and big ideas.  iClone5 and Kinect, 'All the world's a stage,' indeed." -  John Martin, Reallusion

Real at-home studio quality 3D motion capture and real-time avatar puppeteering along with Reallusion's award-winning facial animation tools equip a digital visual effects studio on-a-dime.  Virtual Actors?  Sure.  Real life performances for animation shorts, in your living room.  OK!  iClone + Kinect is a DIY animation studio you can operate with 8 feet of space for full body motion puppeteering. Further enhancing the Kinect performance, Reallusion has added the human-element to animation created with Kinect through the integration of Autodesk's HumanIK.  Now, motion in iClone5 will pose more natural in key-framing and constrain to human characteristics when puppeteered by motion devices such as Kinect.  Realluison's Winter release, iClone5, will offer real-time puppeteering viewing and simultaneous recording.  The time for performance animation and serious motion capture with minimal hassle or investment comes to independent animators and budget concious studios.

iClone5 (private-beta Summer 2011 - release Winter 2011)

Wednesday
Jun012011

Animation Magazine Pitch Party!

The Tenth Annual Animation Magazine Pitch Party contest is going on now through (better get busy) June 10th and offers Reallusion members and storytellers worldwide the chance to pitch their story to industry pros and finally knock Trey Parker and Matt Stone off their high-horses.  Well, maybe you'll just get a shot to make it big.  Good enough?  We thought so too and that's why Reallusion and Animation Magazine have partnered to encourage iClone and CrazyTalk filmmakers to prepare their pitch!  The contest requires you purchase and submit a 1/6 page ad for inclusion in the upcoming Animation Magazine Pitch Party issue.   Animation Magazine has extended a special offer of $50 OFF their 1/6 page, Pitch Party ad for Reallusion members.  Get the full details and know more over at Animation Magazine's Pitch Party Contest page.

 Reallusion and Animation Magazine have an exciting summer planned with events and contests. 

  • In June we will launch a special spotlight opportunity to have your movie and art featured in a full page within Animation Magazine... details coming soon. 
  • We are joining Animation Magazine at Comic-Con San Diego this year to showcase CrazyTalk Animator July 23-24. 

"The partnership between Reallusion and Animation Magazine connects our storytelling community to AM's media portal for all-access industry coverage, careers and green-light opportunities.  Our partnership is in the spirit of the independent animator and encourages citizen directors to bring new and innovative works from groundbreaking studios." John Martin, Reallusion

Stay-tuned for more upcoming contests and events with Reallusion and Animation Magazine.

 

Monday
Mar212011

Intel, Visualize This! podcast interview with Reallusion's John Martin


Monday
Mar212011

"There be Monsters!" iClone film finds festival success

Interview with writer and film-maker, Tom Weston.

Award winning writer, Tom Weston, moves into the director’s chair for the animated adaptation of his short story, There be Monsters! Tom’s previous work includes the screenplay, fission, which was selected as a finalist at the 2008 London Independent Film Festival, and which is scheduled to be published as a novel in early 2011. Tom’s other works include the Urban Fantasy novels, First Night and The Elf of Luxembourg, collectively known as The Alex and Jackie Adventures. Currently, Tom is writing the third book in the series, titled, Feathered: being a fairy tale. For more information, visit Tom at his web site, http://www.tom-weston.com.

When did you first get involved with iClone?

 We go way back – to version 1.5, I think. In fact, it’s almost like I’ve come full circle now, because the reason I got iClone in the first place was because I had a script for a ghost story, which I thought would make for a nice little animated film and we took a look at everything which was on the market back then to see if a film could be made without a budget or army of animators -iClone was the only one that came close for a neophyte such as me.We didn’t make the film, but I did use iClone to make a short test animation of the film’s ending. And it was seeing the beauty of that animation that made me realize the story I was trying to tell was much bigger than I had first imagined. So I shelved my plans for a rewrite of the story. That story became my first novel, First Night. But I think it was seeing that test animation fromiClone which inspired me to write a better story.

So you set aside iClone and turned to writing?

Turned to writing, yes; set aside iClone, no. What I try to do is

tell stories. Today, there are several platforms for telling stories: the printed word, sound, visuals. I named my production company tom weston media, so that I wouldn’t be limited as a writer. For me, it’s ‘Here is the story and here is the appropriate platform for telling that story.

I should point out that in the interim, we found iClone to be a really versatile piece of software. We began using it for all manner of projects – business cards, posters, web menus. The book cover design for First Night was created in iClone. We wanted to create a Boston skyline based on the locations featured in the book, rather than the real thing; so we downloaded models of individual buildings from the Google 3D Warehouse and created our own skyline in iClone. The software worked really well for that.

And with There be Monsters! you found iClone to be the appropriate platform for the story?

The story came first, but as soon as I had written it, I knew that it would be the first animation to come out of the company and I knew that iClone was still the only software we could seriously consider.

Why is that?

We do keep tabs on the software out there - we have several in house, so we know the pros and cons of most of them, but iClone remains the only one which allows me to work as a director on a film set would work; to think in terms of characters and costumes, sets and camera angles. With the competition, it’s as if I need a PhD in physics just to create a still image, let alone an animation. And then there is the rendering time.

Rendering time?

I don’t know how iClone works its magic, but the real-time rendering is amazing. To be able to create a scene - and it may be a 30 second scene - but to do that in real time, to run the animation, make a change in lighting, run it again, make a change to the camera, move a character,  add a prop, change a costume, whatever – to do all that in real time and then be able to say ‘OK that’s a wrap, print it’ – and to do all that in a fraction of the time it takes the competition to render a single frame – I’m impressed.

But as you said, all software has pros and cons. Do you feel you that using iClone was a compromise on There be Monsters!

I’ve seen work produced by various software packages. Some of it is amazing – well beyond my capabilities – but I think that credit for that must also go to the artists. I’ve seen equally stunning work produced from iClone. Great art is dependent on the artist, not the tools. I think a lot of people, when they use software, whether it’s iClone or not, underestimate the artistry and assume that it is simple to duplicate. And they get frustrated when they don’t.

When it came to There be Monsters! we chose to go in a different direction. We were never going to emulate the animation or photorealism of a Pixar full length feature. We just don’t have the artists, the budget or the time, even if we had the software. If I had wanted to create that type of animation I could never have even started the project.

Instead, we played to iClone’s strengths. In iClone, we were able to create the characters and sets very quickly. We were also able to use iClone to create the Storyboards. And then we were able to turn the Storyboards directly into animations, with no wasted effort.

Production Stills (Facebook)

There be Monsters! is a 9 minute animation. How long did it take to produce?

Our narrator, Tony Impieri, finished the voice-over of the story in April, 2010. I had done some preliminary work on the characters and sets before then, but no animation because I wanted his interpretation of the story to set the tone. We wrapped up the project in November, 2010 and started to submit to the Film Festivals in January. So in total, the project took about 7 months. We were juggling this project with a couple of others, so the actual real-time effort spent on the film is less than that.

I assembled the animation, but I would like to point out that in the time-frame allowed to us, nothing would have been possible without having off-the-shelf models and motions available to us from Reallusion and Reallusion’s community of content providers such as Alley, Bigboss and Shygirl. Having those resources at hand were indispensible. And as I indicated, the content providers are the real artists in the world of There be Monsters! so I take my hat off to them. This is their animation as much as mine.

There be Monsters! will now be screened at several film festivals.

Yes, we got the ball rolling with an acceptance to the 2011 Worldkids International Film Festival in Mumbai, India. What’s really exciting about that is that There be Monsters! will also be shown to children around India as part of the Worldkids Foundation’s ‘Lessons in the Dark’ program.

Closer to home, There be Monsters! will have its world premiere right here in my home town of Boston, on April 16th at the Loews Cineplex / AMC on Tremont Street, as part of the Boston International Film Festival, April 15th to 24th. So I am even more excited about that.

And then I’ll be making a trip to the west coast and Santa Monica for the Edgemar Short Film Festival on April 28th to May 1st at the Edgemar Center for the Arts in Santa Monica, California.

If anyone reading this is going to be attending those festivals, and whichever others we are lucky enough to be selected for, I’d love to hook up and talk iClone.

Monday
Mar142011

Game Developers Conference 2011

Reallusion & Intel partner for the 25th Anniversary Game Developers Conference ~ San Francisco, CA - March 1-4 

GDC had a booming turnout with major releases and news from top title makers and console creators.  The show floor was packed with lines to see the Nintendo 3DS (yep, it's rad), live talks from Intel and famous game engine and developer middleware from Autodesk, Havok and Speedtree.


Intel featured Reallusion, Autodesk and even Lady Gaga remixer, Justin Lassen.  The technology buzz inside the booth included new rendering achievements with Intel Sandy Bridge, exciting real-time special effects from Confetti, Havok Destruction & Cloth and live podcasts from Intel Software Network TV show, 'Visualize This!,' hosted by Arti Gupta.  John Martin joined Arti for a podcast interview that will be posted soon.
The Intel Visibly Smart theater gave Reallusion's John Martin the stage for a talk about 2D animation for game designers and the new powertools for simplified animation in CrazyTalk Animator.  John discussed the shifting size of game studios and increasing development platforms that is now creating an environment for faster production and cost effective solutions. 

 

"CrazyTalk Animator equips game studios with a simplified solution for animation creation without the cost of a hefty license or commercial fees.  CrazyTalk Animator's tools provide a complete 2D animation solution for gamemakers and with 2D sidescroller and platform games on the rise, 2D is back with a force.," said John to the gathering of game developers during the Intel demo and tech talk.

The 2011 Game Developers Conference website

Intel GDC website

Intel Sandy Bridge Core

Wednesday
Jan262011

Google SketchUp Contest Winners Announced

Monday
Jan242011

Contact 2011 - iClone Screenplay Contest

If the pen is mightier than the sword, then your keyboard should be well up to the battle for humanity's survival.  Dramatic?  Exactly!  Wolf and Dulci kick off 2011 with a supernova screenplay competition.  You write the screenplay and the winner gets their movie made into a epic iClone adventure.  Read on for details... 

Wednesday
Jan192011

How to create PRO video intros with iClone: Tutorial by SmallWStudios

SmallWStudio's provides a great tutorial on how to create cool cut-out video effects in iClone.

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