3D animation is becoming increasingly popular with film makers and audiences alike, but the significant capital expenditure needed to make these films mean they largely remain the realm of major studios and development houses.
New technology is set to change the animation industry for ever, offering film makers, games developers and animators access to computer power over the internet, paying for as much or as little as they need. The ability to make high quality 3D animation will be opened up, unlocking new sources of creative talent.
SE3D is offering 10 groups of animators from across the UK access to HP Labs' experimental MayaTM Rendering Service to produce a 3D short. Combining cutting-edge technology, creative residencies and public events, the SE3D animation showcase has been developed to seek out and encourage 3D animation talent.
What is involved?
The commissioned SE3D animators will be given a Maya license and access over their internet connections to a HP Labs' Maya rendering farm, allowing them to exploit a cutting-edge research utility that it is envisaged will go on to become industry standard.
Participants will also receive training and mentoring in advance of production and will participate in an eight month events programme of workshops and film festival events. The SE3D showcase represents a significant investment by HP labs and Alias in 3D animation and will be supported by a major PR campaign.
In 2003, HP Labs offered an early prototype of this service to Bristol based 422 South, which they used to make the short film The Painter. A customised, high-end version is currently in use by major studios such as DreamWorks to produce feature films, including Shrek 2.
Who is involved?
SE3D is a Watershed project sponsored by HP Labs and Alias. An experienced team of researchers from HP Labs will build and manage the render farm and a project co-ordinator is in place to oversee the Festival events and workshops. The SE3D advisory group is chaired by David Sproxton of Aardman Animations Ltd and includes Steve Hinde of HP Labs, Andy Payne of Alias, Shelley Page of DreamWorks, Dick Penny of Watershed, Sarah Jane Meredith of South West Screen, Craig Howarth of 422 South and Toby Barnes of EM Media. The UK Film Council, Sgrin and S4C have all expressed strong interest in commissioning films.
What is the timetable?
The first workshop will take place in October for selected animators, funders and other interested parties. The project will be officially launched at Brief Encounters film festival in November after which the HP system will be available for use. All projects must be completed by March 2005 for screening at Animated Encounters Festival in Bristol.