458nm (Special Jury Honors winner) Created by Jan Bitzer,
Ilija Brunck, and Tom Weber from the Institute of Animation,
Visual Effects, and Postproduction at Filmakademie
Baden-Wurttemberg in Germany, this project caught the
eye of the judges for its intricate detail and elegance.
Brush Lei Chen, a student at Bournemouth University in the
UK, crafted this highly stylized film for a master’s degree
project in 3D computer animation.
Bubble Girl This compelling animation, from Psyop, was created
for a television commercial for its client Aero.
Dairy Crest “Cityside” In this TV spot, created by artists at
Framestore CFC in the UK for client Dairy Crest, hungry digital
creatures blend into a live backdrop.
Everyone’s Hero This upcoming CG animated feature is from
directors Christopher Reeve, Dan St. Pierre, and Colin Brady of
Doll Face This project was done by Andrew Huang from USC.
Flow Presented by head of R&D Stephan Trojansky from Scanline
Productions, this project features a digital Megalodon jumping
out of water, which was further enhanced with Scanline’s
proprietary fluid-simulation techniques
Guinness “noitulovE” This fish-out-of-water animation was
created by Framestore CFC for Guinness.
Considered one of the premiere animation events, the annual SIGGRAPH Computer Animation Festival showcases the best CG works from students and professionals around the globe. And judging from the caliber of the works accepted into this year’s festival, the event surely will not disappoint audiences. “The SIGGRAPH Computer Animation Festival is an internationally recognized event that engages and inspires artists and technologists alike,” says Digital Fauxtography’s Terrence Masson, chair of the 2006 Computer Animation Festival. “Each year, it serves as a mirror of what is possible today and a window into what can be achieved in the future. It provides equal merit to films from independent and major studios as well as students.”The 2006 event is the culmination of nearly two years of planning and preparation by the festival committee, which comprises industry volunteers who committed thousands of hours to bring this presentation to the SIGGRAPH audiences and beyond, during special post-SIGGRAPH screenings at selected locales. The committee received a record 726 entries from six continents and 37 countries, including Australia, Germany, Iran, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, and Spain, resulting in a 25 percent increase over the number of submissions from last year. Moreover, the entries represent a range of computer graphics from across many disciplines. In all, 97 pieces were accepted: 34into the prestigious Electronic Theater and 63 into the Animation Theater. Of those, 51 are animation pieces, five are scientific pieces (including scientific visualization, medical imaging, and technical submissions), 10 are art pieces, 16 are broadcast pieces, three are computer game cinematics, 12 are visual effects pieces, and 38 are student works. Each year, two Electronic Theater submissions are singled out for special recognition. This year, the animated short film “One Rat Short,” from Alex Weil of Charlex, received the Best of Show award. This film, which uses computer graphics for a more dramatic and cinematic look as opposed to a cartoon look, follows a New York City rat from his gritty world to the interior of a futuristic laboratory (for more on this project, see “Oh, Rats!,” May 2006, pg. 16).
“This piece immediately stood out to the jury for many reasons,” says Masson. “The film’s emotional tone, cinematography, and technical realization melded wonderfully into a simple yet touching short film . Repeatedly, the two lead characters transfixed our gaze with extreme closeups, and we instantly wondered what they were thinking. Our ability to clearly empathize with the main characters’ desires is one of the film's single greatest achievements.”
The other award-winning film was “458nm,” by Jan Bitzer, Ilija Brunck, and Tom Weber of Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg in Germany, which received Special Jury Honors. The film is aromantic story of two mechanical snails that find each other under the moonlight. “The initial submitted artist's description in no way prepared us for the stunning impact of this film . The grace, beauty, and power conveyed with such humble subjects are only more appreciated upon multiple viewings,”says Masson. “Intricate details and subtle animation build layer upon layer of simple elegance.”
Other notable Animation Theater pieces, as singled out by the jury, include “Robin Hood Flour,” from Richard Rosenman of Red Rover Studios in Canada. In this animation, it is a holiday evening and the main characters are being interviewed at their dining room table. They are furiously wrapping gingerbread cookies in gift boxes. The table shows various gift-wrapping accessories, the freshly baked cookies, a glamorous candle ornament, and a kitchen cloth with the Robin Hood logo. The cold winter setting outside contrasts with the warm dining room lighting inside and helps develop a cozy holiday atmosphere.
These projects, along with many others, will be featured in the Electronic Theater, held during the conference in Boston. Evening performances and matinee performances are scheduled throughout the conference.
A sampling of still images being shown in the Electronic Theater is presented on these pages. —Karen Moltenbrey .
One Rat Short (Best of Show award) An emotional piece,
this fi lm-noirish animated short from Charlex and director Alex
Weil uses CG imagery in a unique way; rather than present
the medium in the typical shiny style, the group used CGI
for a dramatic, cinematic look.
Into Pieces This stylized selection is from director
Guilherme Marcondes in Brazil.
The Inner Life of the Cell One of the show’s technical presentations,
this scientifi c animator is presented by John Liebler
Rexona Go Wild This is yet another unique spot from
Framestore CFC for one of its clients.
Robin Hood Flour—Giving This warm animation from
director Richard Rosenman and Red Rover Studios in Toronto
earned special kudos from the judges.
Tread Softly A unique animation from director Heebok Lee of
Carnegie Mellon University combines multicultural imagery into
one compelling visual.
Warhammer This image, from the opening cinematic of the
computer game Warhammer: Mark of Chaos, was crafted by
director Istvan Zorkoczy of Digic Pictures in Hungary.
Wojna Directed by Agnieszka Kruczek of the Institute of
Animation, Visual Effects, and Postproduction Filmakademie in
Baden-Wurttemberg in Germany, this stylistic presentation
scores for its unique look.