Los Angeles, Calif. – VICON House of Moves (HOM), a motion-capture and animation service company, was contracted by Guardian Media Entertainment (GME), a new joint venture between the National Hockey League (NHL) and SLG Entertainment led by Stan Lee of POW! Entertainment, to develop animated content for a new superhero franchise.
GME will produce The Guardian Project franchise: tales of good vs. evil based on 30 superhero guardians (one to represent each NHL team) told across a variety of content delivery media, including television, print, social media, Jumbotron, and more. The new venture will be introduced at the NY Comic-Con convention during a panel featuring VICON House of Moves' director Peter Krygowski and VP of production Brian Rausch, alongside Stan Lee, chairman, POW! Entertainment; Brian Jennings, EVP Marketing, NHL; Adam Baratta, CCO, GME; Tony Chagrin, co-founder, GME; and comic book artist Neal Adams.
VICON House of Moves was approached by GME with a concept by Stan Lee (creator of many legendary franchises) and comic book character drawings. HOM took the original designs and turned around full computer-generated (CG) finished animations built around each of the 30 characters. HOM directed and/or developed all assets, including models, animation, character rigging, motion capture, lighting, rendering, and final output.
"The viewers and fans are never going to expect how truly great this production is going to be thanks to the magic of VICON and the spectacular effects that they're able to pull off," says Lee.
In just six months, the HOM animation team was able to turn around several animated shorts, the first of which will be teased at Comic-Con in New York, with a complete roll-out slated over the course of the NHL season.
"This is by far the most ambitious project to date for both our mo-cap stages and our animation team. We're developing hundreds of CG assets--from a film short to broadcast and in-stadium promotional clips and a host of other animated assets for delivery on multiple content platforms," says Tom Armbruster, vice president, sales support, VICON. "It was an honor to work with Stan Lee, and to collaborate with the NHL as we're all huge comic book and hockey fans over here!"
In order to accommodate a challenging delivery schedule, HOM chose to render final animation in the Unreal Game engine. "With traditional rendering methods, we wouldn't have had time for iteration--and to develop such a breadth of characters in such a short timeframe, we needed to be able to march forward as quickly as possible. The Unreal Engine lent itself very well to this project because not only did it provide the freedom to generate a tremendous volume of effects very quickly, but also provides an incredibly high quality output. Because we're delivering final product to a variety of arenas and broadcast venues--all with different playback methods (HD, SD, banners etc), a standard rendering engine wasn't really an option," says Brian Rausch, vice president of production, VICON House of Moves.