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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Depth Perception

Walt Disney Animation Studios creates a virtual space in the 2D-to-3D conversion process

Labels: 3DPost-Production

This Article Features Photo Zoom

"We can use our in-house software to streamline a lot of the 2D-to-3D conversion processes," Neuman says, "and are able to see the results of parallax changes in close to real time [to monitor the degree of stereoscopic staging and blocking being re-created in each scene]. But the dimensionization project takes around 10 months, with as many as 30 artists working in parallel. It's an incredibly careful and labor-intensive process."

Katie Fico, Olun Riley and Dale Mayeda worked as sequence supervisors on The Lion King 3D and Beauty and the Beast 3D.

For more information, visit www.disneyanimation.com.

3D Toolkit
NewTek LightWave 11 offers interactive, real-time stereoscopic CGI production
By Mel Lambert

For 3D productions that will be CGI-based, with no live action, NewTek offers an affordable solution for creating 3D images within conventional Windows- or Mac-based workstations. LightWave 11 enables videographers and artists to develop CGI scenes with objects that can be moved freely within the virtual space created by the DSP-based model and separate the viewing points or "virtual cameras" being used to generate appropriate left- and right-eye outputs. The fully integrated application includes modeling, rendering and animation capabilities. LightWave 3D was used with great success during virtual production for such landmark movies as Avatar and The Adventures of Tintin, as well as final work and renders for Titanic, Repo Men, V, Fringe, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Terra Nova and The Fairly OddParents, plus the in-progress James Bond movie, Skyfall. The software also was used to produce Abiogenesis, a five-minute animated feature from New Zealand director Richard Mans.

"The industry is facing unprecedented budgeting and scheduling challenges," says Rob Powers, NewTek's VP of 3D software development. "LightWave includes an entire pipeline—from model to render—designed to support the creative process. The application provides artists with the ability to interact in real time with 3D content and to work seamlessly with the full range of software applications in production pipelines."

A new LightWave feature, Instancing, makes it possible to duplicate a large number of objects in a scene while minimizing memory overhead, with the ability to scale, position, rotate and surface randomly cloned objects for realistic detail.

Adds Powers, "Another new function, Flocking, allows artists to animate realistic motion of grouped objects, such as birds, fish, insects, animals, aircraft and spaceships, using a new motion modifier, including crowd avoidance of neighboring objects. And Fracture lets the user pre-fracture objects that are ready for destruction with a new Modeler tool. Finally, Bullet Dynamics can be used to collapse buildings, create explosions or place objects in a natural-looking random pattern."

Model and texture data also can be imported/exported to Pixologic ZBrush software.

The Emmy® Award-winning 3D modeling and animation software enables users to set interocular distance and convergence to match the artist's intention of placing objects either in front of or behind the neutral visual plane and then move these CGI objects freely throughout the space.

"The main advantage of LightWave 11 is that the software doesn't require a separate rendering engine," says Powers. "It's built in. The end result is a much faster turnaround and an accelerated workflow."

NewTek's Virtual Preview Renderer (VPR) offers on-screen, real-time rendering, while Anaglyph Stereoscopic Preview enables real-time interocular, "red-blue" anaglyphic separations.

Powers identifies a major paradigm shift in the way that CGI is used in current 3D productions. "Previously, you would use a wire frame model to assemble the elements, paint the scene, add textures, light the image and then add a virtual stereoscopic camera," he says. "Now, because of the real-time DSP power of programs like LightWave, stereographers can fully integrate with the process and see the result rendered instantly to create a fully operable working environment. Our latest modeling algorithms make the end results as photorealistic as possible, which helps create an enhanced depth of field."

LightWave 11 has a suggested retail price of $1,495; upgrades from earlier versions cost $695.

For more information, visit the NewTek website at newtek.com.

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