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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Round-up: Machinima / "Valiant" / "Surly Squirrel"

- My friends over at Cinema Minima note that the third annual Machinima Film Festival will be held on November 12, 2005. Machinima is an approach to making animated movies that relies on video game rendering software.

- News.com has a piece on the technology behind "Valiant", an animated film from Vanguard Animation that Disney is releasing this Friday.

John Borland writes:

    Spending less than half of what its most prominent recent competitors spent on comparable projects, [John] Williams' Vanguard Animation has successfully undermined the notion that you have to spend in the range of $100 million to produce a modern computer-animated film.

Valiant's budget was a mere $40 million. Borland points out that while the hardware and software necessary to crank out computer animation is getting cheaper, the audience's taste is getting more refined. Short-cuts won't cut it. He quotes George Johnson of Threshold Digital Research Labs as saying, "The audience is too smart for this to get any easier."

- Talking about computer animation gives me an excuse to mention one of the best short films I saw at Siggraph this month: "Surly Squirrel," from Canada's DKP Studios.