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Blur Studio Creates CG for First 3D Mickey Mouse MovieStudio produces 40 minutes of CG for holiday DVD/video release (December 06, 2004)
Blur Studio creates CG for Disney's Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas
“It was a singular honor and an enormous responsibility to be chosen by Disney to collaborate with them in taking their classic characters into the medium of 3D,” said Tim Miller who served as executive producer and creative director for Blur Studio. “Mickey and the rest of the Disney “Classic Characters” are icons in the animation world and their first trip to 3D had to be handled with the dignity and integrity that they deserve.”
Directed by Matthew O’Callaghan the movie is a follow-up to Disney’s extremely popular 1999 release Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas. And the disc, which debuted in third place on Billboard’s list of the nation’s best selling DVDs, has earned stellar reviews.
The segments produced by Blur include Belles on Ice, Donald’s Gift and Mickey’s Dog-Gone Christmas. Blur also created the interstitials that transition between each segment so that the film reads like a narrated storybook. Belles on Ice, in which Minnie and Daisy vie for ice skating supremacy, was inspired by the talents of Olympic medalist Michelle Kwan. Mickey’s Dog-Gone Christmas features Mickey and Pluto in a spirited North Pole adventure, while Donald’s Gift reminds us once again that giving doesn’t always come with a bow attached to it.
Translating Mickey and his friends to 3D was enormously challenging and involved intensive collaboration between Disney and Blur’s creative team. Longtime Disney lead animator Andreas Deja, whose many credits with the studio include animating Mickey for Fantasia 2000, worked closely with Blur 3D animators, advising them on the look, physical behavior and personalities of the Disney characters.
“Fans of Mickey will come to this movie with high expectations and set ideas about how he should look and act,” explained Blur Studio producer Al Shier. “We worked very hard to exceed those expectations and in some cases revamped our process to replicate aspects of the 2D medium. Our goal was to bring the best that 3D has to offer without sacrificing any of the magic that has made Mickey the most beloved character in 2D animation for 75 years.”
In undertaking Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas, Blur Studio accelerated an on-going expansion effort to create a production pipeline capable of feature-length animation projects. The studio doubled the size of its staff and made commensurate additions to its production capacity and technical infrastructure. The studio also moved to a new production facility, quadruple the size of its former headquarters.
Blur Studio, which has recently produced four CG short films under its own moniker, is eying a feature-length production as its next logical move. “This project took us a giant step closer to our goal of feature production,” said Miller. “It gave us an opportunity to build our pipeline and flex our muscles, and it prepared us for even bigger projects in the future.”
About Blur Studio
Blur Studio is a state-of-the-art visual effects and animation studio built on a solid foundation of artistic talent and client relationships. Founded in 1995, a group of highly motivated digital artists built an environment in which artists can thrive and creative excellence is the sole measure of success. The company has produced numerous projects spanning a wide range of media – large format films, commercials, concept art, feature effects, ride films and game cinematics. Notable recent projects include over 40 minutes of CG for Disney’s Twice Upon a Christmas DVD, photo-real effects in James Cameron’s latest 3D stereoscopic IMAX film Aliens of the Deep, a cinematic THQ’s Warhmamer 40,000: Dawn of War, the on-air promotional campaign for Nickelodeon and the feature film Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, a TV commercial spot for Xmen: Legends, as well as two original short films. Also included under the Blur banner is a broadcast design division dedicated to creating innovative motion graphics for television and film with clients including ABC, NBC, CBS, WB and E! Entertainment.
Blur Studio is located at 589 Venice Blvd., Venice, CA 90291. For more information, call (310) 581-8848 or visit www.blur.com.
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