Issue: Volume: 25 Issue: 7 (July 2002)

Art and Innovation

"The Computer Animation Festival has arrived at a crossroad, where the technology achievements and innovations that we have concentrated on in the past are now presented within complex and beautifully executed stories," says chair John McIntosh from the School of Visual Arts. "As the work continues to become more and more impressive, the benchmark of the Computer Animation Festival gets higher and higher."

Yet, these standards are being met and, often, surpassed. Of the nearly 340 student sub missions that were received, 12 have been ac cepted into the Electronic Theater and 27 in the Animation Theater. Their work was judged alongside that of professionals, while pieces from scientists were judged alongside those of artists.

Included in this year's submissions are two pro ductions that have been singled out for their rich animation and extraordinary storytelling. The Ca the dral, a short animation directed by Tomek Bag inski of Platige Image in Warsaw, Poland, was selected as the Best Animated Short (see "Larger Than Life," pg. 18). Also, The Deserter, a stylized animated story by Olivier Coulon of Supinfocom in Paris, received the Jury Award, given only at the request and unanimous vote of the jury.

Still images from The Deserter and other animations from the festival appear on these two pages. -Karen Moltenbrey

The Deserter (Jury Award), directed by Olivier Coulon, Aude Danset, Paolo De Lucia, and Ludovic Savonniere, and produced by Supinfocom of Paris, is a stylized animation set in Europe during World War I. The story concerns a refugee who believes he is a bird that can rise above the events surrounding him.

Auto, directed by Ha-mok Jun and Do-ick Yun and produced by Motion & Picture in Seoul, Korea, shows what can happen when a bored pilot falls asleep at the controls and suddenly encounters a flock of tired geese wanting a ride.

Crab Men, an animated short by directors Francois Vogel and Stéphane Lavoix and producer Mikros Image SA in Levallois-Perret France, features a senseless war between two tribes of crab-like men. The film integrates practical images with 2D animation created in Photoshop and composed in After Effects.

Human Face Project, directed by Lance Williams and Hoyt Yeatman and produced by Jinko Gotoh, illustrates a technical process by the Walt Disney Feature Animation R&D team, whereby human facial performances were automatically extracted and applied to other characters.

Recycle Bein', directed by Dominique Boidin, Fabrice Garulli, Fabrice Rabhi, and Yann Tambellini and produced by Supinfocom in France, chronicles the odyssey of dust once it lands in a hostile environment.

Thermasilk Sorceress, a TV commercial directed by Bruno Sauvard and produced by F. Brun (Quad) and J. Lavaud (Monster Films) for the J. Walter Thompson agency, contains effects and particle animations created by La Maison in Saint Cloud, France. © 2002 J. Walter Thompson, Quad, and Monster Films.

Nintendo Symphony, directed by Bruno Aveillan and produced by Francois Brun of Quad for the Leo Burnett agency, features strange occurrences at a concert. La Maison used Softimage|XSI for the CGI.
© 2002 Leo Burnett, Quad.

Carl & Ray, directed by Steve Williams and produced by Alonzo Ruvalcaba, Clint Goldman, and Josh Reynolds, features Blockbuster Video's new 3D spokes-characters created with Tippett Studio's proprietary fur tool.

Walking with Beasts, a miniseries directed and produced by Tim Haines, Jasper James, and Nigel Patterson of Framestore-CFC in London, addresses hair/fur and muscle simulation challenges in the prehistoric beast models.
Image courtesy Framestore-CFC, BBC Science, and Discovery Channel.

Kaya's Screen Test, directed and produced by Alceu Baptist of Sao Paulo, Brazil, is a digital study that attempts to create a believable, charming digital girl from ordinary and imperfect facial features. Modeling was done in Maya.

The Siggraph 2002 Art Gallery celebrates the creative spirit by examining the behind-the-scenes processes used to generate digital and electronic fine art, including 2D, 3D, interactive, and installation works. Some of these presentations appear in traditional form such as print or sculpture, while others push the boundaries of Web communications and interactive spaces.

"Through sketches, diagrams, video documentation, Web documentation, and discussions, more than 70 artists reveal the magic behind their work," says chair Karen Sullivan of the Ringling School of Art and Design. "Each artwork shows excellence in innovation and artistic talent, documents creative thought, illustrates working processes, and explains the use of computers or electronics in the piece."

New at Siggraph 2002 will be a collaborative demonstration involving the Art Gallery and the Siggraph Studio, the latter of which focuses on teaming technologists with artists in a working computer laboratory. This year, the Art Gallery and Studio will present seven artists who will provide insights and, perhaps, inspiration as they generate art within the Studio's highly visible setting.

A small sampling of works from the Art Gallery is shown on these two pages. -KM

2001.4c by Kenneth Huff contains repeated elements that were automatically generated using Maya's MEL scripting language. The technique enabled the artist to produce objects that were similar but contained unique structural and textural details, making the design non-symmetrical.

Running Wild by Stan Bowman is a 2D image created in Photoshop. For the background, the artist dribbled paint on a piece of glass, scanned it on a flatbed scanner, then imported the layer into Photoshop.

Frozen Etude by Kent Oberheu illustrates the artist's use of the computer to explore the potential emotive qualities of a musical composition by creating, investigating, and manipulating forms to convey a specific idea.

Léger Reconstructed (overhead view) by E. Tulchin is a 3D re-creation of a Fernand Léger Cubist drawing in which all the digital objects were replicated with the same sense of weight, volume, emphasis, opacity, surface, texturing, lighting, and placement as the original drawing, then reconstructed to match it.

Sapporo Webcam Art by Atshushi Kasao is a visual representation of an image acquired from a Web camera set up in Sapporo, Japan. The still image was then altered for aesthetics using Synergistic Image Creator rendering software.

Pseudosphinx (L) and Deathwatch (R) by Viktor Koen combine sketches, photographic elements, Photoshop images, and computer-generated effects.