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Spider-Man 3: Autodesk Technology Helps Web-slinging Superhero Conquer the Dark Side

Autodesk Flame and Maya Used on Majority of Visual Effects Shots (July 03, 2007)
DMN Newswire--2007-7-3--Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK) today announced that Sony Pictures Imageworks used Autodesks media and entertainment technology to create the unforgettable visual effects shots in this summers blockbuster film, Spider-Man 3.

Marc Petit, Autodesks Media & Entertainment senior vice president, said, ?With Spider-Man 3, the artists at Sony Pictures Imageworks have reached new heights in character animation and visual effects. Were proud that they used Autodesk solutions to enhance characters performances with digital doubles and to generate detailed, photo-realistic sets.  We congratulate them on this milestone film.

Sony Pictures Imageworks used Autodesk Maya 3D animation software for modeling, texturing, rigging, match-moving, character animation and visual effects animation on approximately 50 percent of the shots completed by the facility.  The Autodesk Flame visual effects system was used for character face replacements and to composite live footage of the main characters into fully computer-generated environments.

The ?Birth of Sandman sequence, the most technically complex and dramatic sequence in the entire film, also used Flame technology. During the three minutes of on-screen magic, a pile of sand slowly gathers itself into a sentient being and poignantly transforms into the human that is Thomas Haden Church in the role of Flint Marko. Audiences deeply sense Sandmans emotions as they flicker from confusion to loss, distress, grief, love, and finally, determination.

The first shot in the ?Birth of Sandman sequence is approximately three minutes long (2,672 frames), without a cutaway, starting with a few dozen grains of sand that gradually gather with billions of others as the creature is formed.  The computer-generated Sandman was created at Sony Pictures Imageworks by a team led by Visual Effects Eupervisor Scott Stokdyk, Animation Director Spencer Cook and Digital Effects Supervisor Kee-Suk Ken Hahn. The work also highlights the talents of CG Supervisor Bob Winter, Sand Effects Supervisor Doug Bloom and Software Engineer Jonathan Cohen.

?The Sandman shots involved many paint-fixes to blend between different takes of sand simulations, said Peter Nofz, Sony Pictures Imageworks digital effects supervisor for Spider-Man 3. ?The Flame systems versatility and speed enabled us to deliver extraordinary results. Overall, Flame was used in the final step of the production pipeline. It was the tool of choice for many difficult changes and fixes.

In addition, Sony Pictures Imageworks used Maya to design the ?venom goo. The use of this software in the design of the evil, shape-shifting symbiote allowed animators to build goo-rigs on a shot-by-shot basis. The artists could then animate each shot with those rigs, retaining very precise control over the animation. The result is a powerful, alien-looking black silky goo that slithers and pulls itself along with dramatic fluidity.

?One of our most significant accomplishments on Spider-Man 3 was integrating character animation with effects animation, as they were very closely related, explained Nofz. ?The Autodesk Maya software's flexibility and adaptability made it possible for character animators to work concurrently with effects animators to produce seamless results.

About Autodesk
Autodesk, Inc. is the world leader in 2D and 3D design software for the manufacturing, construction, and media and entertainment markets.  Since its introduction of AutoCAD software in 1982, Autodesk has developed the broadest portfolio of state-of-the-art digital prototyping solutions to help customers experience their ideas before they are real.  Fortune 1000 companies rely on Autodesk for the tools to visualize, simulate and analyze real-world performance early in the design process to save time and money, enhance quality and foster innovation.  For additional information about Autodesk, visit

Autodesk, AutoCAD, Flame and Maya are registered trademarks or trademarks of Autodesk, Inc. /Autodesk Canada Co. in the USA and/or other countries. All other brand names, product names or trademarks belong to their respective holders.
2007 Autodesk, Inc. All rights reserved.
Spider-Man 3 2007 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.  Spider-Man, Sandman and Venom characters and 2007 Marvel Characters, Inc.  All rights reserved.

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