24 , 2001
Your task is to create an opening title sequence for the latest Jerry Zucker comedy, Rat Race. The film features, among other things, a massive ensemble cast of name-brand actors, and you need to keep the audience entertained as all of their credits parade across the screen for a whopping three minutes and 15 seconds. That's not a title sequence; it's a short film. Oh, you're also on a tight deadline with a limited budget.
So what do you do?
Well, if you work for San Francisco-based Wild Brain Inc.the studio that actually created the opening sequence for Rat Raceyou get yourself some talented animators, a bunch of Macintosh G4s and a few copies of Photoshop and After Effects and get cracking!
What Wild Brain Director Julia Tortolani came up with for the film, which opened last week, was a photo-collage piece featuring digitized versions of the film's cast and a choppy animation style to move the viewer through the credits and into the movie's opening live action scene seamlessly.
Wild Brain creates content across a broad range of media, from film and television to commercials and interactive platforms. Founded in 1994, Wild Brains client list includes Universal, Twentieth Century Fox, DreamWorks, Warner Bros., Oxygen Media, LucasArts, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network. Wild Brain's animated commercial credits include work for Hersheys, Sega, Nabisco, Ford, KFC, AT&T, Sony, Microsoft, Nike, Levi Strauss and Coca-Cola.
The studio uses a wide range of technologies for its projects, spanning a number of platforms, from Macintosh to SGI Irix. For this project though, it was Mac all the way. The photo-collage technique was done entirely in Adobe After Effects and Photoshop.
I had a chance to interview Director Julia Tortolani and Senior Technical Director Eric Schweickert about the company's most recent work for Rat Race, the technology used and, of course, the role of the Mac in the process.
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Dave Nagel is the producer of Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; host of several World Wide User Groups, including Synthetik Studio Artist, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe LiveMotion, Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; and executive producer of the Digital Media Net family of publications.
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