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Tuesday - March 27, 2001
- Whitey & Davey Animated Movie Receives Name Change
- Critics: Gladiator Not Deserving of Best Visual Effects Oscar
- Animo Assists "Father and Daughter"
- News Link of the Day - Ads Add POW! With Special Effects

Whitey & Davey Animated Movie Receives Name Change
(by Meatball Animation's first animated theatrical release has undergone a name change from Whitey & Davey to Adam Sandler's Eight Crazy Nights. The script, written by Adam Sandler and Allen Covert, is an irreverent animated musical comedy that centers around two people named Whitey & Davey during the Christmas holidays. Actual animation on Adam Sandler's Eight Crazy Nights began earlier this month by Meatball Animation after several months of scripting, storyboarding, and voice acting work.

Meatball Animation is owned by Adam Sandler and is named after his dog, Meatball. The film is expected to be distributed by Columbia Tristar Pictures this year in time for the Christmas holiday season. Adam Sandler voices one of the title characters, Davey. The film is being aimed at a "PG-13" audience.

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Gladiator: Best Visual Effects Oscar for 2000Critics: Gladiator Not Deserving of Best Visual Effects Oscar
(by There are many critics claiming that Gladiator was not worthy of its Best Visual Effects Academy Award that it took home Sunday night. Two well known film critics, Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper, have both publicly stated that Battlefield Earth "had better special effects" than Gladiator. Battlefield Earth wasn't even nominated.

Commenting on what he called the "embarrassing" prospects of Gladiator winning for Best Picture at the Academy Awards Sunday (March 25), Roeper told KABC-TV (Channel 7) Los Angeles entertainment reporter George Pennacchio in a recent aired interview that "I think Battlefield Earth had better special effects than Gladiator." Ebert, concurring, said "It did. It did."

Gladiator was the big winner Sunday evening, taking home five Oscars, including Best Picture.

Last year's Best Visual Effects race was much more intense at the prospect of The Matrix upsetting Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace. The Matrix took home the Oscar. The Matrix DVD continues to be a best seller even though it was released to DVD well over a year ago.

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Father and Daughter Animated ShortAnimo Assists Father and Daughter
(by Cambridge Animation Systems has announced that its Animo software was used to help create the Academy Award "Best Animated Short" film, "Father and Daughter." According to Cambridge Animation Systems:

Boiling, sepia-colored textures synchronize with a mournful accordion score to create a sense of longing in "Father and Daughter," a film directed by Michael Dudok de Wit that won an Oscar for best animated short. Although the visuals have a traditional charcoal-and-pencil look, they could not have been created without the work of Spider Eye Limited (London, UK) using Cambridge Animation Systems’ Animo software.

"Father and Daughter" tells of the longing a daughter experiences after her father bids her farewell at the beginning of the twentieth century. As the vast Dutch landscapes and waving poplars go through the change of seasons, so, too, does the young girl. Even as she has become a woman with her own family, she often returns to the spot where she last stood with her father, yearning for his return.

“Although 'Father and Daughter' is stylistically simple, it was difficult to achieve and would have been impossible to create traditionally,” says John Brooks, producer with Spider Eye. “With Animo, we were able to satisfy all of the director’s requirements and add value to many of the scenes of 'Father and Daughter.'”

Boiling Textures Add Depth
Director Michael Dudok de Wit wanted to avoid the flat, painted feel of cel painting and chose instead to fill areas with different “boiling” textures. He created colored, grainy textures in Photoshop and sent them to Spider Eye. The images were entered into Animo and short film clips were made by randomly moving the images under the camera. The textures were output at high resolution, imported into final scenes, and matted to fill areas of the character animation.

Animo’s Layer Palettes feature was used to create the matte runs that define the fill areas on the character animation. A color model was made that allowed individual colors in the painter’s palette to be isolated as a black matte run.

“Sometimes as many as a dozen matte runs and textures were needed per character,” says Brooks, “so scenes could become quite complex.”

Coarseness of the grain of the boiling textures was also an issue, according to Brooks. The textures were scaled to the smallest possible size and keyframes were put on the animation timeline so they could be moved to follow the action of the character animation. When compositing was completed, the animation was output at high resolution and transferred to film.

"Father and Daughter" made its debut at the Ottawa International Film Festival, where it won the Independent Film and People’s Choice awards. Other awards include Grand Prize at the Cinanima Animation Festival and Best International Animated Film at the Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival.

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News Link of the Day - Ads Add POW! With Special Effects

According to USA Today:

"Stunts, stand-ins and special effects used to be costly tools left to big-budget movies, but these days more and more commercials also leave viewers wondering, "How'd they do that?"

Admakers are showing no fear when it comes to daredevil moves: busting up cars, battling aliens and killer bees, blowing up buildings and tossing people from them. Computer software is helping to free up creative juices. And marketers are hiring high-priced studio types to call the shots..."

Click here for the full story.

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These news articles and all content are ©copyright 2001 by Joe Tracy and may not be reused for any purpose without expressed written consent of the author and Digital Media FX. All rights reserved.

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