The Corridors of Lucasfilm #4 – Howard Anderson Optical Printer

Lucasfilm – Howard Anderson Optical Printer

Not much is known about he Anderson Printer before ILM purchased it from Paramount Pictures in 1975.  It had been used for compositing for Cecil B DeMilles The Ten Commandments in 1956, and shots for Alfred Hichcock’s North By Northwest in 1959.  The printer fell out of permanent use as the VistaVision format waned.

VistaVision is a method of shooting a a 35mm negative horizontally (8 perforations), double the size of typical upright negatives.  To project a VistaVision movie a special projector was necessary; one that lay on its side.  The cost of the new equipment and higher costs to process the film made VistaVision an impractical format for film.  Though the quality of an Continue reading


The Corridors of Lucasfilm #3 – The ILM Kodak Scanner.

In 1995 ILM was awarded a technical achievement award from the academy of motion pictures for the development of the Trilinear High Resolution CCD Digital Input Scanner, commonly known at ILM as the Kodak Scanner, and at Kodak as the ILM Scanner.  The evolution of the digital scanner was a joint effort, beginning with concept design and planning in 1998.  It was completed in 1989 with its first use in a feature motion picture in 1990 on Die Hard 2.

IMG_6073As the first input scanner with the capabilities and throughput to be an effective digitizing system for use in the production of feature movie pictures, the ILM Kodak Scanner dramatically changed the way movies are made.  The scanner digitized motion picture film, converting it to digital format for use by digital image compositing and effects systems.  The ILM Kodak Scanner employed a tri-linear CCD array instead of a serial array and mechanically moved each frame of film past this array to scan the entire area of the frame.  The tri-linear CCD integrated circuit is coated with specifically developed red, green and blue dyes that match the color response of the Eastman-Koadk film.  This provided both higher resolution and superior quality for its cost than serial arrays.  The last show that was scanned on the ILM Kodak Scanner was Mission Impossible in 1996.


Full list of films scanned on the ILM Kodak Scanner.

1990 – Die Hard 2.
1991 – Mickeys Audition, Switch, Arachnophobia, The Doors, Hudson Hawk, Backdraft, The Rocketeer, Terminator 2 Judgement Day, Star Trek VI, Hook.
1992 – The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, Memoirs of an Invisible Man, Alive, Death Becomes Her.
1993 – The Nutcracker, Manhattan Murder Mystery, Last Action Hero, Meteorman, Malice, Rising Sun, Fire in the Sky, Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List.
1994 – Hudsucker Proxy, The Flintstones, Maverick, Wolf, Babys Day Out, Forrest Gump, The Mask, Radioland Murders, Star Trek Generations, Disclosure.
1995 – In the Mouth of Madness, Village of the Damned, Casper, Congo, The Indian in the Cupboard, Sabrina, The American President, Jumanji.
1996 – Special Effects (an IMAX film), Mission Impossible.

s2013 Pre-Conference Round-Up.

There’s a lot out there now to give a good indication of what you can expect to see at this years conference, and it’s looking like a pretty awesome 40th Anniversary.

Schedule at a glance.

Advanced program pdf.

The Computer Animation Festival Trailer

Dailies Preview

Art Gallery Preview

Real-Time Live! Teaser

Emerging Technologies Trailer

Technical Papers Trailer

For more info on what’s coming, check out these links:
Media Blog
European Directors Win Majority of SIGGRAPH 2013 Computer Animation Festival Honors
SIGGRAPH Business Symposium to Focus on Key Issues Facing Film and Game Industries
SIGGRAPH 2013 Highlights Accomplishments in Computer Graphics

And while you’re here, check out the 40th Anniversary SIGGRAPH People website.

Hopefully see you in 19 days!

The 2013 Animation Festival Jury is done!

What an amazing weekend with an incredible group of people.  The official write-up is now on the SIGGRAPH Blog.

My prior connection with some of the Jurors was tenuous.  I’d met Norman Badler briefly while speaking at UPenn and caught a John Frame exhibition at Portland Museum of Art last January.  Infact, the only significant connections I held with any of the Jurors was three years studying under Peter Parr (at Bournemouth Arts University) and two years working with Wayne Stables (at Electronic Arts).  Most of the others I’d never met previously, but to me this group represented a strong mix; four continents, a diverse array of backgrounds, animation styles, technical skills, industries and education.

In these situations you’re never quite sure how things will pan out.  Fortunately, with Fran and Cris managing the hard work of logistics and technical direction I could focus on direction for the Jury process.  Now it’s just a case of wrapping their results into a show the Jurors would be proud of, and one the SIGGRAPH attendees will enjoy…

SIGGRAPH 2013 Computer Animation Festival Jury

… very special thanks to Dayna & Lutzner at Disney for hosting us (again!).

Walt Disney Archives

20 hours of movies can be tough. Carlo Vogele taking some well earned time-out.

Carlo Vogele

If you’ve ever considered being involved with SIGGRAPH – it’s hard work, and one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll have.  The graphics and animation communities are simply an amazing group of people with an unbelievable mix of humility and talent.

SIGGRAPH Real-Time Live! 2013

Check out the 2013 RTL! trailer featuring some of the mind-blowing presentations from last years show, including Square Enix, AMD, BeautyPi and NaughtyDog.

Be a part of the show!

Every year since it’s inception, RTL! has featured technology from independent artists and engineers alongside products from billion dollar companies; it’s the diversity and quality of content that makes the show unique.  Don’t delay if you’re considering submitting; only one week left.

What do you think cutting edge real-time graphics look like?  Let us know if you’ve seen something that should be on stage…  we’d love your ideas.

The Computer Animation Festival 2013

Celebrating its 40th year, the world’s most innovative exploration of computer-generated animation and visual effects will be on display at SIGGRAPH 2013 in Anaheim, California this summer. The four-day, international event (21-25 July) spotlights the most prestigious innovators of technical and artistic short films. The festival showcases everything from student films to blockbuster visual effects and mainstream commercials.   Full Press Release | Computer Animation Festival

SIGGRAPH 2013 Computer Animation Festival

Be a Siggraph Student Volunteer

If you’re schooling in, or just interested in computer graphics and currently a student I can’t recommend this program enough.  The SVs make SIGGRAPH happen and I’ve never met one who didn’t have an amazing week.  But don’t take my word for it…

SV Program

Star Wars Games Retrospective

Star Wars Games

From Flying to MMO, Action, Adventure and more, Star Wars Games have covered most genres. And now, for the first time they are all covered (from 1982-2008) in one video. Sit back and enjoy this epic collection of the Star Wars Retrospectives thanks to


Study Interactive Rendering, for free.

A few weeks back I shared a link to the Foundations of Computer Graphics course being offered free at Berkley.  Well, the Awesomeness that is Udacity are also offering an introductory course to 3D Computer Graphics, with a focus on Interactive Rendering.

About the course
CS291 will teach you about the basic principles of 3D computer graphics: meshes, transforms, cameras, materials, lighting, and animation.  By the end of this class you will know enough to make an animated 3D demo program that runs in a web browser, while also understanding some basic principles of how realistic computer images are generated.

Knowing how to program in some language is all you’ll need to get started. Some knowledge of JavaScript is useful later on if you wish to make your projects more interactive and engaging. Familiarity with vectors and matrices will ease your way but is not critical.

CAF 2012 in the Bay

This years SIGGRAPH Computer Animation Festival comes to the Bay via the SIGGRAPH San Francisco chapter.  It will be hosted on Friday 7th December at the Adobe offices in town.  For more information or to reserve tickets check out the chapter website.

Catching the hilights of the largest Computer Graphics festival in the world – a steal at just $5 (students and members) or $10 (non-members).  Hope to see you there!