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THE MONTREAL CONNECTION TO HALO 3

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Montreal-based visual effects and animation studio damnfx tag teams on Halo
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> (Montreal, Canada) – Thursday, September 21, 2007 - damnfx is pleased to
> announce the completion of 20 minutes of cinematic animation for Halo 3, the
> third chapter in the immensely popular videogame franchise from acclaimed
> developer Bungie Studios. Halo 3’s release on September 25, 2007 is one of
> the most highly awaited entertainment events of the year.
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> James McQuillan, lead producer at Bungie Studios, tapped damnfx to assemble
> a cinematic animation team capable of everything from subtle,
> character-driven performances to all-out action sequences, and tasked them
> with providing some of the character animations for Halo 3’s in-game
> cinematics. “We wanted damnfx to bring their attention to character detail
> to our cinematics, their ability to work shots from blocking to final polish
> and deliver renderable Maya scenes in a very tight production pipeline.”
> Once incorporated into Bungie’s game engine, these scenes are rendered on
> the fly by the Xbox 360 in high definition as players reach cinematic
> sequences.
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> “Having recently worked on two large format stereoscopic films for IMAX
> theatres, it was refreshing to focus simply on delivering outstanding
> animation, while letting Bungie’s Halo 3 game engine worry about lighting,
> rendering and compositing the shots!” said damnfx executive producer Peter
> Skovsbo.
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> CJ Cowan, Bungie’s cinematics director, worked closely with damnfx animation
> supervisor Emilio Ghorayeb to develop a standard of quality for all of the
> animation. “Bungie provided us with assets for each shot, from rigged and
> textured models to layouts for animation scenes, and provided clear reviews
> so we could maintain our level of quality and deliver on schedule,” said
> Ghorayeb.
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> After an initial trip to Bungie Studios outside Seattle last January to
> mind-meld with Cowan, Ghorayeb and Skovsbo returned to Montreal to gear up
> for an intense six months of work. Autodesk Maya 3D software was used by a
> team of 25 animators whose previous projects included such films as The Lord
> of the Rings, Shrek, King Kong, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Transformers.
> “One amazing aspect of the Halo franchise is its ability to attract
> top-notch artists who normally work exclusively on films,” said damnfx
> producer Chris Capell, who oversaw the day-to-day running of the project.
> “It’s just that highly regarded as an entertainment franchise.”
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> "It's been a true pleasure working with such talented animators. They took
> the layout we gave them and were able to add personality, character, and
> subtle detail that is really hard to find in most animation houses, and was
> exactly what I was looking for. I look forward to working with them again,"
> added Cowan.
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> Capell and Ghorayeb worked together to create a very specific pipeline that
> could distribute and manage all the various shots and sequences amongst
> animators working both in-house and remotely. “With today's technology, I
> was able to work with animators in locations such as Montréal, Québec City,
> Los Angeles, Seattle and New York, to name a few, and deliver on time.” said
> Ghorayeb.
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> Reacting enthusiastically to the animation they saw from the damnfx team,
> Bungie brought Ghorayeb and a crack team of animators to Seattle near the
> end of production for some last minute fine-tuning and additional animation.
> “Being invited out for these last minute tweaks at Bungie was the icing on
> the cake. The animators knocked themselves out and it was tremendously
> rewarding to give them the opportunity of seeing Bungie from the inside, of
> collaborating with CJ and his team face to face. Halo 3 was a fantastic
> experience. Would I do it again? Most definitely,” added Ghorayeb.
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> “In addition to our other VFX work, damnfx is carving a niche in character-
> and creature-based animation, and Halo provided us with just the perfect
> opportunity to show off what we can do,” concluded damnfx creative director
> Mark Dubeau.
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> - 30 -
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> About damnfx
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> damnfx is an award-winning visual effects and animation studio located in
> Montreal, Canada, devoted to creating high-end digital imagery for film,
> television and commercials. The studio currently houses a team of over 80
> artists and industry professionals, and its client/credit list includes
> Microsoft/Bungie, Sony Pictures, France 2, Marathon, BBC, Discovery
> Communications, National Geographic Society, Cirque du Soleil, TVA, Cossette
> Communication, and Galafilm.
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> About Bungie Studios
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> Bungie Studios was founded in 1991 with two goals: to develop games that
> combine brilliant technology, beautiful art, intelligent stories and deep
> gameplay, and then sell enough of those games to achieve its real goal of
> total world domination. Over the past 10 years it has produced games such as
> the Marathon Trilogy and the first two Myth games, hailed as classics by
> critics and gamers around the world. Bungie's Halo franchise is an
> international award-winning action title that has grown into a global
> entertainment phenomenon, selling more than 14.5 million units worldwide,
> logging over 800 million hours of multiplayer action on Xbox Live and
> spawning action figures, books, a graphic novel, apparel, an upcoming film
> adaptation and more. Halo 3 represents the third chapter in the Halo trilogy
> and is slated for release in September, 2007. More information on Bungie can
> be found at http://www.bungie.net .

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