Issue: Volume 34 Issue 1: (Jan-Feb 2011)

Editor's Note

By: Karen Moltenbrey
Late last month, right after Christmas, I was attempting to put away my presents only to find that what I really needed most was more space. My closet was al- ready overflowing, yet I still couldn’t live without that new, cute winter sweater. And those adorable, new shoes that really complimented that winter sweater. And as much as I like these new favorites, I was not ready to toss aside any of my other former-favorite apparel. So, I found a way to make room for all of it—let’s just say I now open the door slowly and carefully.

My closet was not the only thing bulging at the seams lately. This month, I ran into a similar situation while trying to cram CGW with stories showcasing the cutting-edge techniques used to create some amazing visual effects and games. Just a few weeks ago, in December, audiences were treated to some tremendous work at the box office. One highly anticipated visual effects film was TRON: Legacy, which we covered extensively in our previous issue. Much to my surprise, though, it did not make the final list of Oscar nominees for Best Visual Effects. Another film that failed to make the final cut is The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. The movie con- tinues to up the visual ante in terms of its CG creatures and more—this time taking us on a breathtaking voyage across a magical CG-created sea. Impressed by the work on this third film in the Narnia series, we prepared an in-depth look at the digital work that went into this production. And even though we were given a good amount of editorial space in this issue, in the end, it was not enough. But then again, editors always want more space. I was faced with a tough decision: run the story as is or cut out large portions of it. I didn’t want to hack the story apart. It was simply too good. Instead, I divided it into two pieces. One part, which details the work pertaining to the computer-generated water, appears in this issue. The other, which focuses on the movie’s CG characters and magical library, was rolled into a feature all its own and can be read online at www.cgw.com—a very large virtual story closet indeed. To make the online story easier to read—it is quite lengthy, after all—we packaged it in a beautiful layout, just like we do for our printed pieces. So, after you read “Swimming in Effects” on pg. 36, use your smartphone to read in the QR code at thebeginningofthestorysothatyoucan easilyaccess“MagicalMenagerie”online. (More details on how to do this can be found on the table of contents.)

That was not the end to the cram session. I still had Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I to deal with. This movie is vying for the Oscar, and it’s easy to see why. West Coast contributing editor Barbara Robertson enchants us with her de- tailed report on these spellbinding VFX. The movie, from the get-go, takes us on an exciting journey as the young wizards flee for their lives while being pursued by Voldemort and his evil cronies. Some of the most exciting effects occur during the early moments in the film as Harry and his friends (who briefly all look like Harry thanks to a potion) barely manage a harrowing escape. The work is explained in “On the Road Again” on pg. 32. Meanwhile, the other complex work (and there is a lot of it!) is presented in a wonderful feature layout online, also accessible via the QR code on the first page of the story. We took a similar approach with our game features in this issue, as our MMA, Assassin’s Creed, and Fable 3 pieces are augmented with online stories that will provide a more complete picture of the DCC process described in the pages of this magazine.

As we try to live greener with less “stuff,” we often find that some things are worth keeping. And that was certainly the case with these stories. I hope you agree.
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