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Making Jimmy NeutronAn interview with John Davis, Director and creator of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius
The way that Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius came to the Silver Screen is a story right out of Hollywood. John Davis was getting ready to move to a new house more than 10 years ago when he found an old script and a storyboard hed written called Runaway Rocket Boy. By 1995, he had produced a 40-second animated short from the script that screened at SIGGRAPH and won two Wavey awards for Best Character Animation and Best in Show.
An ensuing article about Runaway Rocket Boy in the now-defunct magazine Video Toaster User caught the eye of writer/producer/director Steve Oedekerk (Ace Ventura), who contacted Davis about developing the product as a television series. With Keith Alcorn, co-founder with Davis of the Dallas-based animation house DNA Productions, they expanded and polished the short and retitled it The Adventures of Johnny Quasar.
|For behind-the-scenes video interviews with the animation crew at DNA Productions, click here.|
|Jimmy Neutron and his robot dog Goddard. (Click image for larger view.)|
Davis, who directed and shared producing and screenwriting credits, is proud of the fact that the movie was produced entirely with off-the-shelf tools, principally Newtek's LightWave 3D and project:messiah 1.5, a 3D program from pmG Worldwide LLC. RenderBOXX machines from BOXX Technologies were used for rendering. DNA Productions is not nearly on the scale of Disney or Pixar, but the rich 3D animation in Jimmy Neutron has the quality of anything put out by the big studios. We talked to John Davis on the eve of the Jimmy Neutrons release about the production process and the challenges faced by DNA Productions animation team.
Digital Media Net: Jimmy Neutron is not realistic animation, but its a striking 3D look. What challenges did you face to make this as 3D as possible, but not realistic?
|Jimmy and his family. (Click image for larger view.)|
|Jimmy's dumb Dad. (Click image for larger view.)|
Davis: Yeah, we had a little bit of that. Things like chairs are pretty easy, but with things like character fixes, then that can be another thing. With the Dad, for instance, we had an issue with his hands they were just incredibly huge. They looked good at the time, but once we got into using him and those other characters, somebody said thats all you look at is his h-u-g-e hands! So, OK, we need to go back and tone those down a bit. But most of the time, we just tried to be really cautious. We didnt have a lot of time, and it really is a tightrope walk to push the cartoonyness of it, but keep it to where things can still relate to each other in terms of furniture and characters sitting in things and reaching things.
Related Keywords:Jimmy Neutron, animation, SIGGRAPH, John Davis, Nickelodeon
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