dFX News - Disney Checks; the opening of the Robert Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts; and Baldur's Gate 2
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Friday - March 2, 2001
- Disney Merchandising Extends to Checks
- Robert Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts Opens at USC School of Cinema
- Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal
- News Link of the Day - Hundred Acre Wood Comes to Virtual Life

Disney Merchandising Extends to Checks
(by digitalmediafx.com) You can now write checks featuring Disney animated characters thanks to a deal struck last month between Disney and the Deluxe Corporation.

The introduction of the new line of personal checks -- which Deluxe expects to be one of its most popular designs -- marks the first time Disney characters have been available to the general public on checks and personal-finance accessories.

Disney checks from Deluxe will be available in four different designs: Mickey and Pals; Pooh and Pals; Classic Pooh; and Disney Film Magic, which includes images from The Jungle Book, Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp and other Disney animated movies.

"Disney checks have long been one of our most requested items," said Bo Boyd, chairman of Disney Consumer Products. "We're happy to be working with Deluxe on this new line, which lets consumers choose their favorite Disney characters to show their individuality and style to the world."

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Robert Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts Opens at USC School of Cinema
(by digitalmediafx.com) A new state-of-the-art digital facility was officially opened yesterday at the USC School of Cinema. Called the Robert Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts, the facility located across from the Shrine Auditorium in downtown Los Angeles, houses the latest in nonlinear production and post-production equipment, as well as production stages, a 50-seat screening room and the USC student-run television station, Trojan Vision. It was made possible by a generous gift from alumnus and Academy Award winning director Robert Zemeckis. It is believed to be the countries first digital training center.

"The opening of the Zemeckis Center is a milestone in the School of Cinema-Television's evolution, further enriching the curriculum with the most advanced tools in digital filmmaking," said Dean Elizabeth Daley. "We are deeply grateful to Robert Zemeckis and all of our donors for ensuring that our students stay ahead of the curve in the new technology of storytelling."

Besides containing a laboratory with 60 Avid Xpress DV systems, the Zemeckis Center also contains an impressive array of visual effects equipment, including blue and green screen technology, digital stages with motion control computers, CGI classrooms and digital compositing equipment, such as a Quantel Edit Box special effects workstation. In addition, it has five studio-quality sound stages; nonlinear digital shooting systems; multimedia cable connections; a screening room with 16mm, 35mm and digital production capabilities, a THX sound system and a Pro Tools station for audio editing.

"I am thrilled to share in the first educational venture to embrace all aspects of digital production, leading filmmakers from concept through completion," said Zemeckis. "Our goal is to offer the next generation of USC Cinema-Television students a new palette of technical tools with which to enhance the vision and scope of their storytelling."

Other notable contributors to the project include George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, David Geffen, and Ron Howard. The 35,000 foot center project began in 1998 with a $5 million donation from Zemeckis.

The USC School of Cinema offers degrees in five areas: animation and digital arts, critical studies, film and television production, producing and writing.

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Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal
(by digitalmediafx.com) Fans of Baldur's Gate II have something to cheer about. Black Isle Studios, the role-playing game division of Interplay Entertainment Corp., and BioWare Corp. announced today plans to develop an expansion product for Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn.

The expansion is titled Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal. It adds several new locations to the game as well as new characters and spells. According to a press release put out by Black Isle Studios, "Throne of Bhaal is the ultimate conclusion of the Baldur's Gate legend as
gamers fulfill their destiny as the child of Bhaal."

According to Black Isle Studios, "Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal takes players through an all-new storyline rich with intrigue and treachery as they unravel the mysteries of the Dungeon of Watcher's Keep and explore other new areas such as the City of Saradush, the Fortified Monastery of Amkethran, Sendai's Underdark Fortress and the player's own Abyssal Stronghold. Throughout their journey, characters may reach up to level 40, made possible with a raised experience cap of 8 million points, quite possibly the highest level ever achieved by characters in any Advanced Dungeons & Dragons computer game."

The expansion pack is expected to ship this summer.

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News Link of the Day - Hundred Acre Wood Comes to Virtual Life

According to The Bergen Record:

"A daily smackeral of sweetness and charm: That, in Pooh-speak, sums up "The Book of Pooh."

A brand-new showcase for the storied cuddle toy, this live-action series is as lovable as its hero, as lush and inviting as the Hundred Acre Wood... It's like a giant animation stage..."

Click here for the full story.

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