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Max Ink Cafe Breathes Fire into Dragon Rage for PS2

By John Virata
Max Ink Cafe announced it has completed game cinematics for 3DO's Dragon Rage, 3D0's Christmas release (Dec. 4) for the PlayStation2 game console. The Venice, California-based digital effects facility finished 10 minutes of animation for Dragon Rage's game cinematics (a game cinematic rewards the game player for completing sections, or levels, in a game. It also provides the storybase exposition for the game play.) and delivered some ocean footage that was incorporated into some matte paintings that appear in the game.

MIC modeled, textured, and animated the characters and the environments employing a mix of keyframe animation and motion capture. The company completed the motion capture sequence at motion capture facility House of Moves.


The company used a variety of tools, including, Discreet's 3ds max and Character Studio, Right Hemisphere's Deep Paint, and three Digimation plugins: Shag Hair, Stitch, and Bones Pro 2.

MIC was in production on Dragon Rage's for 12 weeks. Animation director was MIC's Todd Sheridan Perry, and CG Supervisor was Duane Stinnett (former art director at Irvine, California game developer Blizzard Entertainment).


Game development has been often compared to filmmaking with regard to the brutal production schedules and the varying amounts of effects that are generated to immerse game players into the game, and to help to tell a story in a film. MIC, which estimates that 40 percent of its work is done for the game development community, has been able to work both within the film community and the game development community.

"In games, you have complete control over all the elements and you aren't necessarily aiming for photoreality. There is a lot of creative latitute when creating the fully CG world," says Jennifer Champagne, CG producer at Max Ink Cafe. "In movies, you are trying to create the illusion of reality, so there is a lot more attention to detail. Also, you are dependent on the design and quality of the live action footage that you are trying to match."

In addition to the animation and video sequences, Max Ink Cafe also created dragon fire with a mix of analog effects--via hair spray lit on fire and shot with a Canon XL1 DV camera. MIC then melded the fire elements into the final scenes with the CG Elements. MIC's previous game work includes Warriors of Might & Magic (June 2000), WDL Thunder Tanks (August 2000), and WDL War Jets (September 2000), all for the 3DO company.

For more information, go to www.maxinkcafe.com

Credits:

Todd Sheridan Perry--Animation Director
Duane Stinnett--CG Supervisor
Jennifer A. Champagne--CG Producer
Jennifer Sheehan--Project manager
Lucas Feld--Lead Modeler
Tharyn Valavanis --Modeler
Andy Roberts--Modeler
Christoper Janney--Animator
Lisa Lavender--Animator
Amani Williams--Animator
Nick Palahnuk--Animator
Michael Aceves--Matte Painter
Kelly Allen--Lipsyncing
Charles Garcia-Concepts and storyboards

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John Virata is senior editor of Digital Media Online. You can email him at jvirata@digitalmedianet.com
Related Keywords:animation, video, special effects, game development

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