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Computer Animation Festival

Conference 12-17 August 2001
Exhibition 14-16 August 2001

Los Angeles Convention Center
Los Angeles, California USA

The Computer Animation Festival is the world's most prestigious film and video event that showcases the dazzling and innovative imagery created by today's digital artists and scientists.

A record-breaking 678 submissions were received this year. Submissions were carefully viewed and rigorously examined for technical excellence, innovation, artistic achievement, content, creativity, originality, narrative quality, design, entertainment value, production values, cultural diversity, and a contribution to computer graphics. After exhaustive and careful deliberation, the distinguished jury of industry experts accepted 118 pieces, less than six percent of the submissions. Thirty percent of the accepted pieces were student produced, and 42 percent of the submissions were received from the international community.

"As we enter the new century, we see that computer graphics has evolved and matured," said Sande Scoredos, Sony Pictures Imageworks and SIGGRAPH 2001 Computer Animation Festival Chair. "We have advanced the technology to a state where anything is achievable and advancement is subtle. Computer graphics is now viewed as another tool in the larger sense of moviemaking for visual storytelling, entertainment, and explanation. The work selected this year takes us on a remarkable journey showcasing the talent and brilliance of current and future trends in art and science, and blends it with the very best imagery depicting comedy, drama, action, adventure, fantasy, science fiction, and science fact. The technical and aesthetic perfection that artists reach today is evident throughout the show. Advancements in perfecting photo realism, radiosity, motion capture, and how-to explanations of advanced rendering techniques and seamless integration of computer graphic elements into live action scenes, are just a few of the highlights in an extremely engaging and entertaining festival."


Values (Best Animated Short)
Van Phan, University of Southern California Film School
This animated film was inspired by the filmmaker's relationship with his late father. In a very minimalist manner, using primitive shapes such as spheres, planes, and cylinders, the filmmaker wishes to tell a story about parent-child relationships. By simplifying the characters construction and locking the camera to primarily a master shot, the filmmaker tells his story mainly through the acting and lighting. By keeping the elements to a minimum, the audience can project more of their own experiences into the story and can be drawn closer. Less can sometimes be more. The computer animation was done using Maya 3.0. The film was rendered with the Maya renderer in D1 resolution and resized to 2K for film exposure. Everything was textured procedurally with Maya. Alias|Wavefront Composer 5.5 was used for compositing and editing. Rendering was completed on a Dell workstation provided by Intel.

F8 (Jury Honors)
Jason Wen, Crystalline Lens
In the distant future, an unstoppable alien power genetically altered the entire population of a planet to serve as a labor force. The labor is bred to believe that their sole reason for being is the complete infrastructure buildup for an, as of yet, intangible, supreme being. Amidst this scenario, one individual manages to break into a face vault to steal a particular identity and attempt a daring escape. Software: Lightwave 5.6, Project: Messiah, After Effects, Premiere, Photoshop, and Nuendo. Hardware: 1 PIII 550, 1 PIII 600, 2 AMD Athlon 800's, KRK V8 speakers plus S12 subwoofer, Sennheiser K6 shotgun mic, Sennheiser headphones, and Tascam portable DAT recorder.

Yasuo Ohba, Namco Ltd.
This computer graphics work, "Anjyu," refers to its composited layers of calmness. It reflects the Ohba's feelings and emotions during creation. Software: original. Hardware: SGI Octane.

Body Story
Dominic Buttimore, The Moving Company
Commissioned by Wall to Wall Television for Channel 4, the Discovery Channel, and ITEL, "Body Story" is a series of programs that take the audience on six thrilling journeys inside the human body. MPC created 48 minutes of computer animation for six episodes which was 12 months in the making with in excess of 350 shots. In-house software was written to effect an efficient method of rendering such vast amounts of geometry. Other software used: Maya, RenderMan, Shake, proprietary software, Inferno, and Fire.

Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas
Bob Hoffman, Digital Domain
The highly stylized Seussian world created for director Ron Howard's 'Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas, is testament to the huge strides computer graphics has taken over the past few years. Although the film was shot entirely on stage, the winter wonderland created for the film was generated at Digital Domain. The film's visual effects challenged all the assumptions of marrying 3D computer graphics with 2D work. The submitted piece features the computer graphic landscape and atmospherics of the film from the opening credits to the top of Mt. Crumpit and film's sleigh ride finale - all created in computer graphics.

Eve Solal
Miance Marc, Attitude Studio
Interview of a young French virtual personality. Eve Solal has worked for French fashion magazines as a top model and radio disc jockey. Fully animated with motion capture (vicon), all the 3D work was done on Maya. Proprietary development for skinning and facial animation.

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
Terri Sasaki, Square USA, Inc.
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within defines the current state of the art in fully synthetic moviemaking. It breaks new ground by presenting a fully computer-rendered world populated not by insects, robots, or toys but by realistic human characters who can act and directly involve the audience. Ambitious use of new modeling and procedural animation methods, high-quality rendering, and new forms of special effects have been combined with traditional character animation and innovative motion-capture technology to create a theater experience unlike anything movie audiences have yet seen, and which is likely to spawn an entirely new genre.

Fruits of Labor
Rand Cabus, Giant Studios
The film is a quirky tale that centers around a small creature the animators named Guy and his misadventures with an apple. The action takes place in a gorgeous park-like setting, infused with luminous tones and rich detail. Our unfortunate little star trips on a grape and lands head first in an apple that is on a picnic table. His ensuing struggles and the results make for a Charlie Chaplin-like comedic sketch that is a tour de force of Giant Studios' new animation aesthetic.

Ice Age
John Donkin, Blue Sky Studios
"Ice Age" is a fully computer graphics animated feature film from Blue Sky Studios and Twentieth Century Fox. Set against the on slought of the Ice Age, the story revolves around three characters: a woolly mammoth, a sabre-tooth tiger, and a giant sloth. Together this unlikely group of characters takes an unexpected passenger, an abandoned human baby, on a journey home. Blue Sky's propietary renderer CGIstudio(tm) is featured. Alias|Wavefront's Maya is used for modeling and animation. Nothing Real's Shake software is used for compositing.

Julie Haddon, PDI Dreamworks
Metropopular is an animated short film about what the cities of America would say to one another if they could talk. Frantic about a popularity contest in which these cities are competing, they jockey for top position while arguing between themselves. Highlighting their separate personalities, each city had his or her own reason why they should be ''America's favorite city.''

Pearl Harbor
Yves Metraux, Industrial Light + Magic
For Pearl Harbor, ILM created vistas of period battleships under attack and computer graphics planes in combat at Pearl Harbor and in other battles. Simulation software was written for the huge smoke billowing from destroyed battleship row and new rigid body software was developed for the destruction of planes and ships. Other developments included: new environmental lighting techniques to enhance the realism of rendered planes and ships; new crowd and sailor placement software using motion capture, including data from a daylight motion capture solution; and new match animation tools created to deal with complex plates and set extension needs.

Rule Based Dynamic Simulation for Wave of Death
Stephan Trojansky, CA Scanline Production
A Rule Based Dynamic System has been used to produce this fully computer-generated dam breaching sequence, which differs significantly from conventional keyframe animation or pure dynamic simulation. Instead of animating each chunk, fragment, dust, water, or mist element separately, a software was developed to combine all dynamic behavior, interactions, and dependencies in one big rule system. With the Rule Based Dynamic Simulation the control of the whole visual effect sequence was extremely simplified, which reduced the amount of work dramatically.

Sequence from ''Monsters, Inc.''
Karen Hartquist, Pixar Animation Studios
Using a sequence from Disney/Pixar's ''Monsters, Inc.," Pixar Animation Studios' submission is a continuous progression starting with storyboards, then polys and final lighting, showing our newest cloth and long fur technology. "Monsters, Inc." is the largest scare factory in the monster world. Sulley is one of its top scarers and Mike is his scare assistant. Their job is to gather the kids' screams which power the monster world. When Sulley accidentally lets a little girl, Boo, into Monstropolis, life turns upside down. While trying to get Boo home, they make a discovery that changes the monster world forever.

Rendering Translucent Materials
Henrik Wann Jensen, Stanford University
This animation demonstrates a new practical model for rendering translucent materials. Translucent materials, such as marble, milk, and skin have a soft and smooth appearance that cannot be simulated with standard lighting models. The importance of correctly rendering translucency is demonstrated, and the animation shows how the traditional hard computer graphics look can be eliminated. This model is described in detail in the SIGGRAPH 2001 Paper: A Practical Model for Subsurface Light Transport.

Where is Frank?
Angela Jedek, Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg
''Once upon a time'' from different perspectives or a story from cool cowboys, a fly, and the ride of things. Animated by hand. Hand drawn textures in Indian ink. Software: Maya 3.0 NT. Adobe Photoshop 4.0.


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