Production Sessions

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Learn how world-class creative and production talent created the computer animation and visual effects in some of the Computer Animation Festival's most provocative works.

Production Sessions

Making "Avatar"

Monday, 26 July | 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM | West Hall B

“Avatar” is the first predominately digitally created film, shot and directed as a live-action film. The director’s vision required photo-realistic, believable digital characters and environments that fit seamlessly with live action. To accomplish this, Weta Digital, led by Joe Letteri, developed innovations that enabled the director and actors to work as if they were in a conventional live-action movie, even when filming sequences that were entirely computer-generated.

For the audience to connect with the blue-skinned, 10-foot-tall 'Na'vi', they had to see the actor's soul shine through the character's eyes. This required increased realism, especially in facial animation. The emotional performances of the characters in “Avatar” are significant achievements because the digital characters are portrayed at a new level of believability that enhances storytelling.

Joe Letteri
Stephen Rosenbaum
Weta Digital Ltd.

Richard Baneham

Iron Man 2: Bringing in the "Big Gun"

Tuesday, 27 July | 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM | West Hall B

Industrial Light & Magic presents a behind-the-scenes view of the visual effects used to create the second installment of Marvel's blockbuster hit, "Iron Man". Building on shader techniques developed on the first "Iron Man", this year’s sequel delivered even more realistic metallic surfaces and featured completely computer-generated suits of armor that are indistinguishable from practical reference suits. The ILM team explains how advances in importance-based lighting and materials rendering made this possible, and they discuss all aspects of the performance capture and key-frame animation used in the production.

Ben Snow
Marc Chu
Doug Smythe
Industrial Light & Magic

Animation Blockbuster Breakdown

Tuesday, 27 July | 10:45 AM - 12:15 PM | Room 408 AB

Animation industry veterans break down shots from your favorite animated films. In 10-minute presentations, they each show two animated shots from recent feature films, summarize the challenges they experienced with each shot, and reveal new ways to approach the craft of animation.

Shawn Kelly
Industrial Light & MagicPanelists
Aaron Hartline
Pixar Animation Studios and Animation Mentor
Shots from his most recent films, "Toy Story 3" and "Up"

Carlos Baena
Pixar Animation Studios and Animation Mentor
Shots from his three most recent films, "Toy Story 3", "Wall-E", and "Ratatouille"

Eric Goldberg
Walt Disney Animation Studios
Shots from “Louis the Alligator" and Tiana’s fantasy sequence for Disney’s recent 2D feature, "The Princess and the Frog"

Michal Makarewicz
Pixar Animation Studios
Shots from "Toy Story 3" and "Up"

The Visual Style of How To Train Your Dragon

Tuesday, 27 July | 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM | West Hall B

The creative team behind DreamWorks Animation's hit film "How To Train Your Dragon" explains the influence of live-action filmmaking on the techniques used to create the film's cutting-edge visual style and animation.

Chris Sanders
Dean DeBlois
Kathy Altieri
Craig Ring
Gil Zimmerman
Roger Deakins
DreamWorks Animation

The Making of TRON: LEGACY

Tuesday, 27 July | 3:45 PM - 5:15 PM | West Hall B

"TRON: LEGACY" is a 3D high-tech adventure set in a digital world that’s unlike anything ever captured on the big screen. Director Joseph Kosinski, producer Jeff Silver, visual effects supervisor Eric Barba, and animation supervisor Steve Preeg display concept artwork, provide an advance look at the film, and answer audience questions in this preview event.

Joseph Kosinski
Walt Disney Pictures

Jeffrey Silver
Walt Disney Pictures

Eric Barba
Digital Domain

Steve Preeg
Digital Domain

The Last Airbender: Harnessing the Elements: Earth, Air, Water, and Fire

Wednesday, 28 July | 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM | West Hall B

In order to create the visual effects for M. Night Shyamalan’s "The Last Airbender", ILM developed a hybrid GPU-based simulation engine and renderer. In this session, the production team explains how this novel system allowed artists to achieve photorealistic results at exponential speed increases over previous methods of complex simulation. The team also sheds light on the vast 3D environments created for the show, dissects some of the more challenging effects sequences, and reveals how the results were achieved.

Pablo Helman
Olivier Maury
Daniel Pearson
Industrial Light & Magic

Day & Night

Wednesday, 28 July | 10:45 AM - 12:15 PM | West Hall B

When Day, a sunny fellow, encounters Night, a stranger of distinctly darker moods, sparks fly! At first, they are are frightened and suspicious of each other, and they quickly get off on the wrong foot. But as they discover each other's unique qualities, and realize that each offers a different window onto the same world, their friendship helps both to gain a new perspective. The stereo 3D screening of "Day & Night" precedes a presentation by the director, Teddy Newton, who explains his inspiration for the film, what it took to get a green light from the studio, and the challenges posed by such a technically ambitious process.

Teddy Newton
Kevin Reher
Pixar Animation Studios

Alice in Wonderland: Down the Rabbit Hole

Wednesday, 28 July | 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM | West Hall B

Master filmmaker Tim Burton's vision for "Alice in Wonderland" was brought to life by an extraordinary team of artists led by five-time Academy Award-winning visual effects supervisor Ken Ralston and Sony Pictures Imageworks. In this session, Ralston is joined by animation director David Schaub, visual effects supervisor Carey Villegas, stereographer Corey Turner, and CG supervisor Theo Bialek to explore the film's characters, creatures, and environments from original concept art through final-rendered 3D stereo shots.

David Schaub
Ken Ralston
Carey Villegas
Corey Turner
Theo Bialek
Sony Pictures Imageworks

The Making of God of War III

Thursday, 29 July | 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM | West Hall B

The makers of God of War III detail the creative process behind the game's ground-breaking visuals. The first part of the session follows the lead character, Kratos, from initial concept art through modeling to animation, with particular emphasis on issues specific to game animation, such as integration with player control and combat systems. The second part focuses on the game's environments and explores various approaches used to create game levels from initial concept art.

Patrick Murphy
Bruno Velazquez
Ken Feldman
Paul Coda
Jung Ho Park
SCEA, Santa Monica

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