Tag Archives: computer graphics

Chaos Group acquires Render Legion and its Corona Renderer

Chaos Group has purchased Prague-based Render Legion, creator of the Corona Renderer. With this new product and Chao’s own V-Ray, the company is offering even more rendering solutions for M&E and the architectural visualization world.

Known for its ease of use, the Corona Renderer has become a popular choice for architectural visualization, but according to Chaos Group’s David Tracy, “There are a few benefits for M&E. Corona plans to implement some VFX-related features, such as hair and skin with the help of the V-Ray team. Also, Corona is sharing technology, like the way they optimize dome lights. That will definitely be a benefit for V-Ray users in the VFX space.”

The Render Legion team, including its founders and developers, will join Chaos Group as they continue to develop Corona using additional support and resources provided through the deal.

Chaos Group’s Academy Award-winning renderer, V-Ray will continue to be a core component of the company’s portfolio. Both V-Ray and Corona will benefit from joint collaborations, bringing complementary features and optimizations to each product.

The Render Legion acquisition is Chaos Group’s largest investment to date. It is the third investment in a visualization company in the last two years, including interactive presentation platform CL3VER and virtual reality pioneer Nurulize. According to Chaos Group, the computer graphics industry is expected to reach $112 billion in 2019, fueled by a rise in the demand for 3D visuals. This, they say, has presented a prime opportunity for companies who make the creation of photorealistic imagery more accessible.

Main Image: ( L-R) Chaos Group co-founder Vlado Koylazov and Render Legion CEO/co-founder Ondřej Karlík.

Lucasfilm and ILM release open source MaterialX library

Lucasfilm and ILM have launched the first open source release of the MaterialX library for computer graphics. MaterialX is an open standard developed by Lucasfilm’s Advanced Development Group and ILM engineers to facilitate the transfer of rich materials and look-development content between applications and renderers.

Originated at Lucasfilm in 2012, MaterialX has been used by ILM on features including Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, as well as realtime immersive experiences such as Trials On Tatooine.

Workflows at computer graphics production studios require multiple software tools for different parts of the production pipeline, and shared and outsourced work requires companies to hand off fully look-developed models to other divisions or studios which may use different software packages and rendering systems.

MaterialX addresses the current lack of a common, open standard for representing the data values and relationships required to transfer the complete look of a computer graphics model from one application or rendering platform to another, including shading networks, patterns and texturing, complex nested materials and geometric assignments. MaterialX provides a schema for describing material networks, shader parameters, texture and material assignments and color-space associations in a precise, application-independent and customizable way.

MaterialX is an open source project released under a modified Apache license.

Speakers set for Italy’s CGI-focused VIEW Conference

The VIEW Conference 2016, a large computer graphics and digital media conference in Turin, Italy is set for October 24. The conference spans five days of talks, workshops, panel discussions, interactive sessions and awards presented to an expected audience of 6,000 students and professionals.

This year, VIEW is headlined by three keynotes:
• Byron Howard – Co-director of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ animated hit Zootopia (our main photo). He will discuss the film’s five-plus year evolution.
• Dr. Donald Greenberg – Director of the program of computer graphics at Cornell University, with research supported by Pixar, DreamWorks, Microsoft, Intel, Oculus, Valve and Autodesk, and with government funding. Greenberg will address the question of what’s necessary to make VR real.
• Brad Lewis – Producer of Warner Animation Groups’ second animated feature, Storks, will discuss creation of the film.

The VIEW Conference has also launched, and is now accepting submissions for a competition of animated short films or videogames created during 2015 and 2016. Competition entry information and information about the conferences’ growing list of speakers, sessions and workshops is available at http://www.viewconference.it.

VIEW Conference 2016 will also include a host of talks and workshops:

Workshop: The DNA of Disney Character Design – Byron Howard
In addition to his keynote, Howard will present this workshop on creating appealing characters for animation, including for Tangled and Bolt, both of which he directed.

Workshop: Visual Imaging in the Electronic Age – Dr. Donald Greenberg
In addition to his keynote, Greenberg’s workshop will discuss where technology is going, where it comes from, the future of graphic environments and with much of the answers depending on how we see or how we interpret what we see, how the medium is dependent on recent research in perception psychology.

Talk: The Visual Design of The Good Dinosaur – Sharon Calahan, DP, The Good Dinosaur, Pixar Animation Studios

Workshop: Storytelling with Light – Sharon Calahan

Talk: Kubo and The Two Strings – Marc Haimes – Screenplay writer, Kubo and The Two Strings, Laika

Talk: Finding Hank – John Halstead – Supervising technical director, Finding Dory, Pixar Animation Studios

Talk: Virtual Reality – Jump Into the Story – Maureen Fan – CEO, co-founder Baobab Studios

Talk: Google Spotlight Stories – Rain or Shine – Luke Youngman, executive producer/deputy head of production and Felix Massie, director, Nexus

Talk: The Making of Open Season: Scared Silly – David Feiss director, Open Season: Scared Silly, Sony Pictures Animation

Workshop: Storyboarding in Feature Animation With Sony Pictures Animation Director David Feiss – David Feiss

Talk: The Power of Ambition as a Motivating Force in Creative Endeavors – Josh Holmes, franchise creative director – 343 Industries

Talk: Neuroscience and Video Games: A New Class of Medicine, Adam Gazzaley, co-founder, chief science advisor, Akili Interactive and Matt Omernick, co-founder, chief creative officer, Akili Interactive

Talk: The Emotions of Game Development – Daryl Anselmo – art & creative director, Zynga

Talk: ADR1FT and at Peace – Adam Orth – CEO, creative director, Three One Zero

Talk: Alice Through the Looking Glass – Troy Saliba – snimation supervisor, Alice Through the Looking Glass, Sony Pictures Imageworks

Workshop: Animation Posing and Composition – Troy Saliba

Talk: New Directions for Stylized CG – Chris Perry – Associate professor of media arts and sciences, Hampshire College

Workshop: Directing the Visual Story- Chris Perry

Workshop: Portfolio review with J.C. Cornwell – J.C. Cornwell – director of training and artist development, Sony Pictures Imageworks

Workshop: 3D Animation Taster – Alex Williams – Head of animation, Escape Studios

Talk: Crafting a Photoreal Jungle for Disney’s The Jungle Book – Audrey Ferrara

Talk: Clinical Imaging of the Human Body: For Health, Visualization and Predictive Analytics – Pratik Shak

The VIEW conference is now accepting submissions in four categories for animated short films or videogames created during 2015 and 2016.

VIEW Award – 2,000 Euro first prize will be awarded to the best short film with 2D or 3D animation or visual effects. The category is open to students and professionals. In addition, awards will be given for Best Short, Best Design, Best Character and Best VFX.

VIEW Social Contest – A Wacom Intuos Pro Medium will be given for a short film, music clip, or commercial with 2D/3D animation and VFX that focuses on social issues.

VIEW Game Award – 500 Euros will be given to the game with the best story, design and mechanics.

VIEWTube Video Award – 500 Euros for the best YouTube video in 2016 about recycling.

Italianmix – Wacom Intuos Pro Medium tablet for the best short film (30 minutes or less) focusing on Italian themes.

The deadline for submissions is September 15.

A rebrand pep talk (go get ’em, tiger)

By Drew Neujahr

It’s beginning to look a lot like rebranding season. New logos are glistening, graphic packages are getting packaged and, of course, brand positioning in the marketplace is being refined to be more representative of the needs of a shifting consumer demographic that has far more content offerings than ever before. So there’s that.

With so many new voices in the media landscape and so many platforms for content delivery, media outlets and networks are more frequently in need of reinventing themselves to stay relevant. Like politicians who change their stance on an issue as their base fluctuates, networks, too, need to adapt to the changing viewing habits, motivated by a new generation of young parents, maturing Gen X-ers, the elusive Millennials and the crazy Gen Z-ers with their new-fangled tech-immersive upbringing.

TVland 1

At Roger, we’ve had the privilege of participating in two major network branding projects this year: the rebrand of TV Land (right) and the brand launch for Canada’s Family Jr. network. Both projects were very different, yet we employed the same design process: research, brainstorming, experimentation and execution.

Every branding project comes with its own set of challenges and solutions. We certainly don’t have all the answers, but we try our best and along the way we’ve gained a lot of insight.

Here are five things to keep in mind when embarking on a rebrand.

1) Have A Voice
A brand isn’t a Pantone color and a fancy swooshy logo. It’s an identity, a mission statement, a subculture, a voice. A rebrand should be a redirection of that voice. Just like your conservative aunt, who’s come around to accepting marriage equality, brands can evolve. It’s important to revisit who your audience is and what you want them to know about you. If you’re going through the hassle of rebranding, you might as well avoid baby steps and “go for broke.”

As Ian MacKaye from Fugazi once said, “You can’t be what you were, so you better start being just what you are.”

2) Don’t Pander
No one wants to think of themselves as one of the dumb ones, but we all know they’re out there. As a network or non-traditional media outlet, you want to drive and accelerate culture, not be dragged along by its lowest common denominator. As they say in basketball, you want to “dictate the pace of the game.” Don’t shy away from clever thinking just because it might ruffle a few feathers. No one ever won an award for being mediocre; no one’s still water-cooling about Leave It To Beaver reruns.

Roger's work on the Family Jr. rebrand.

Roger’s work on the Family Jr. rebrand.

3) Be Functional
We’ve all seen a lot of carts placed before horses, and they always make for a bumpy ride. It sounds obvious, but knowing what your needs are before you attempt to fill them is generally sound advice. Experimentation is welcome in a design phase, but the elements of a brand’s image are ultimately tangible from a logo to a website to a produced marketing campaign. Don’t set yourself up to fail by not understanding where and how these elements will function, and how they’ll need to be expanded upon in the long term.

4) Have A Flexible Game Plan
Do you know how sometimes you’re watching “the sports” and in the first quarter, things aren’t going so well for the good guys, so they make adjustments? It’s the same players, they have the same uniforms, but they’re trying some new things and it’s working.

A brand strategy shouldn’t be so rigid that you can’t adjust when changes occur. Who knows if one of the stars of your show is going to say something racist or decide to run for president? Who knows if Flickr is going to update their capabilities and make Instagram irrelevant?

Have a strategy that works on any platform. Today’s world is all about being nimble and fast enough to react to trends. Make sure the brand strategy you’re fostering is one that allows for adaptability. People are buying new clothes all the time, so why does your brand have to have a Steve Jobs wardrobe?

More of the TV Land rebrand.

5) Be Compelling
There are so many talented artists and designers in the world. There is no reason to turn towards traditional references for inspiration in your research. It’s not just about out-of-the-box thinking for the sake of being different. Attention spans are at an all-time low and no one wants to see the same old approach with a different logo in the middle.

Whether or not you have a direct competitor in the same market or you’re carving out a specific niche, you want to be the trusted source for the themes you’re projecting and your brand voice is your calling card, so make it compelling.

Drew Neujahr is director of business development at LA-based Roger. They provide design, animation, original content, brand IDs, live-action production and post production.

Work boots get CG reboot thanks to Sullivan Branding

By Claudia Kienzle

With its Rocky Elements work boots about to hit the market, Ohio-based Rocky Outdoor Gear wanted a very visually dynamic product video to demonstrate the many intricacies and features of their new boot collection.

The key distinction is that the Rocky Elements product line is comprised of four trade-specific work boots designed for the unique rigors of working with wood, block, steel or dirt.

Rocky’s goal was to produce a cost-effective cinematic sales video that would dramatically convey how the design and craftsmanship of the four different boot styles benefit workers in those occupational environments.

Looking for ideas, they approached Sullivan Branding — a full-service advertising, marketing Continue reading