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Discreet FX Numerous Summer Blockbusters

Catwoman, Spider-Man 2, and others use Discreet?s VFX technology (June 21, 2004)

Catwoman, Spider-Man 2 and Around the World in 80 Days are just a few of this summers feature films created using tools from Discreet, a division of Autodesk, Inc.. Major film studios and post-production facilities relied on Discreets visual effects, colour grading and 3D animation systems and software to deliver mesmerising motion graphics that catapult viewers into fantasy worlds.

Among the summer feature films shaped by Discreet clients using Discreet systems and software are: Around the World in 80 Days (Rhythm & Hues, Cinesite), A Cinderella Story (Digital Dimension), Catwoman (Frantic Films), Spider-Man 2 (Zoic Studios), The Bourne Supremacy (Industrial Light & Magic), Exorcist: The Beginning (Digital Dimension), King Arthur (Cinesite), Garfield (Rhythm & Hues), The Chronicles of Riddick (Rhythm & Hues), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Industrial Light & Magic, Cinesite), Troy (Cinesite), Van Helsing (Industrial Light & Magic), and The Day After Tomorrow (Dreamscape Imagery Inc., Industrial Light & Magic, Ring of Fire Studios, The Orphanage, Digital Domain, Zoic Studios).

Zoic Studios used Dicreets visual effects flame system and combustion software for multiple wire and rig removals in Spider-Man 2, in theatres June 30, 2004. Steve Meyer, Zoic Studios senior compositor said, ?On Spider-Man 2, the use of flame and combustions paint, tracking and warping tools often allowed us to completely clean the rigs out of a scene. For more difficult shots, elements were recreated, and then composited back into the scene using flame. Already the owner of three Discreet flame systems, Zoic Studios recently added 10 combustion workstations, and is benefiting from the compatibility between Discreet products.

Additionally, the Spider-Man 2 game, which will be released by publisher Activision on the movies opening day, was developed by TreyArch using Discreets 3ds max animation software.

Rhythm & Hues produced more than 500 live-action shots for Garfield. The work included creating computer-generated fur, and texturing and animating the main character Garfield (voiced by Bill Murray). According to Rhythm & Hues visual effects supervisor Dan Deleeuw, ?We took advantage of Discreets inferno system in the 3000-frame opening shot that shows Garfield growing up in stages through photographs. With the quick turnaround that inferno gave us, we were able to integrate the scanned photos into the motion picture photography, create virtual reflections to simulate the pictures in glass frames, and then show different versions to the creative team in the timeframe they needed.

Rhythm & Hues also used Discreets inferno system for some key scenes in the 50 shots it created for Around the World in 80 Days, a film based on the novel by Jules Verne and starring Jackie Chan. The inferno system was used to integrate period vehicles with computer-generated and live-action air and water plates. Derek Spears, the films visual effects supervisor, noted, ?We used Discreets inferno system for the big steamship at sea sequence as well as the flying machine. We chose inferno because of its interactivity in complex scenes. UK-based post house Cinesite also used the inferno system on 10 shots for Around the World in 80 Days.

Rhythm & Hues produced more than 130 shots for The Chronicles of Riddick, starring Vin Diesel as a hunted man caught in the middle of a galactic war. Rhythm & Hues used the inferno system to create the wispy cloud formations dubbed ?sky tendrils in a series of 15 shots. Visual effects supervisor Mike Wassel observed that the inferno systems toolset ?was particularly well suited to animating the tendrils.

Digital Dimension completed 50 shots for A Cinderella Story, including the opening shot that is 100 percent computer-generated. Benoit Girard, president and CEO at Digital Dimension, said, ?3ds max softwares flexibility and tight connection with mental ray allowed us to write our own shaders, and increase productivity and realism. mental ray, a ray-tracing and scanline rendering package, is available as an integrated rendering solution within Discreets 3ds max animation software.

Frantic Films provided more than 250 pre-visualisation (pre-viz) shots and 63 post-production shots for Warner Bros. Catwoman with Discreets 3ds max animation software. Chad Wiebe, pre-viz supervisor at Frantic Films, said, ?What impressed me most about Discreets 3ds max software was its ability to model, animate and render upwards of 250 shots in less than a week, as was necessary for pre-viz production on Catwoman. 3ds max's scanline renderer enabled us to render numerous shots on a daily basis, ensuring a quick turnaround and prompt feedback from the director.

3ds max software was also used by Digital Dimension on 80 shots for Exorcist: The Beginning, in which a priest leads an archeological excavation of a mysterious Byzantine church and confronts evil.

Digital colourist Peter Doyle digitally graded both Catwoman and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban with Colorfront technology that forms the foundation of Discreets lustre colour grading system. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the third installment of the Harry Potter novels by J.K. Rowling. In the film, boy wizard Harry must protect himself from serial murderer Sirius Black. Post-production house Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) used Discreets inferno system, as part of SABRE, to suck Harrys soul out of his body in the opening train scene.

ILMs compositing sequence supervisor Dean Yurke said, ?The opening train scene required 61 takes to perfect. The movements of Harrys body as his soul is being sucked were designed with the inferno systems 3D geometry, cone vortex, particle and displacement mapping tools. Using the inferno system as part of SABRE let us create the ?extreme look that helps make Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban the scariest of the three Harry Potter films. Cinesite also used Discreets inferno system for 13 of the films shots.

ILM also worked on 507 shots for Van Helsing - a film about Gabriel Van Helsing (actor Hugh Jackman), who must rid the world of evil creatures like Dracula. Discreets inferno and flame systems are an integral part of ILMs proprietary SABRE visual effects and compositing system, and were used on 170 shots, including the scene in which Van Helsing walks through a mirror portal in Draculas castle. As Van Helsing penetrates the mirror, it crystallizes and wraps around his body.

Said Alex Tropiec, SABRE artist at ILM, ?The toolset in Discreets inferno system allowed us to quickly and cost effectively deliver the scene. We knew we needed to craft a unique visual, but we werent nailed down to a specific concept. inferno allowed us to experiment. Ultimately, inferno is an artists tool you can materialize your vision at lightning speed, and what you see while building the shot is what you get when you render it.

ILM also applied the inferno systems paint, touch-up and morphing tools in fight scenes between Dracula and Van Helsing. During the fights, Van Helsing morphed between human and werewolf forms depending on the position of computer-generated cloudbanks over the moon.

?Whether its bringing a favorite comic book character to life, or turning the world into an arctic wasteland, todays digital artists are pushing the boundaries between imagination and digital reality harder then ever before, said Martin Vann, vice president of sales and marketing for Discreet. ?As a result, more of a studio productions revenue is being generated from digitally created assets: from the movie itself to after-market distribution such as DVDs and TV distribution. Discreet solutions play a critical role in empowering our clients to create and modify massive amounts of digital media, while enabling creativity and ensuring longevity of the production asset.

About Discreet
Discreet empowers media professionals to realize the visual experience and transform their most evocative and ambitious visions into reality. Discreet's award-winning solutions are designed for digital media creation, management and delivery?across all disciplines from film and television visual effects, colour grading and editing to animation, game development, web/interactive, and design visualization. Discreet is based in Montréal, Québec and is a division of Autodesk, Inc, the world's leading design and digital media creation, management, and distribution company. Product and corporate information:

Discreet is a division of Autodesk, Inc.


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Related Keywords:Discreet, VFX, Autodesk, visual effects, colour grading, 3D animation, flame, combustion, Zoic Studios, Rhythm & Hues, Cinesite, Digital Dimension, Frantic Films, Industrial Light & Magic, Dreamscape Imagery, Ring of Fire Studios, The Orphanage, Colorfront, inferno, Martin Vann, visualization,


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