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Apple News: Robota, Star Wars, And Maya

Apple News: Robota, Star Wars, And Maya

by , 10:30 AM EST, March 28th, 2002

Apple Hot News has a feature which we found to be interesting. It's about a group of CGI artists who call themselves Orphans and their San Francisco office, which they call the Orphange. These are no regular CGI artists, they all have experience working on some of the most widely known movies to come out of Tinsel Town, and, of course, they are all big Mac, OS X, and Maya fans. From the article titled Orphange Goes 3D with Maya for Mac:

Kids would love this Orphanage. At their offices in the tony Presidio district of San Francisco, these Orphans fly helicopters down city streets, freefall 30,000 feet through space, blow up buildings, and perform visual wizardry for the likes of Paramount, Nike and Warner Bros.

But then, these Orphans-Jonathan Rothbart, Scott Stewart and Stuart Maschwitz-have a unique pedigree: George Lucas and Industrial Light and Magic. All former ILM FX specialists, their names roll by in the credits of films such as Star Wars Episode I-The Phantom Menace, Men in Black and Mission Impossible. In just a few years, these indie filmmakers have earned a reputation for turning out studio-quality digital films and special effects-and they do it using Power Macs and off-the-shelf software.

Among the tools they use to create digital effects: Alias/Wavefront's Maya for Mac OS X-the preeminent professional application for modeling, animating and rendering 3D images.

What's really cool is the effort by those in the group, including Kevin Baillie, who are contributing to Doug Chiang's Robota project. From the article:

"One cool thing about Maya that is unique," Baillie elaborates, "is a tool called Paint Effects. We used it in a shot for Robota, a personal project for Doug Chiang, Design Director on Star Wars Episodes I and II. "In the shot, a camera is flying over a grassy hill, revealing futuristic cities built in huge rock faces. To create the scene, we built a simple 3D hill geometry, then used a tool called Paint Effects to create the grass. You select a brush size and the kind of grass you want, then you just click and drag around on this hill, and Maya literally paints the grass onto the surface. It's 3D, and you can actually see the grass grow as you paint it. You can do anything; you can paint leaves, flowers, and trees onto a surface. You can create your own worlds."

The article sports a clip for the upcoming Robota movie, and a cool truck clip from a video, both products of Macs, OS X, and Maya.

The clips alone are worth the visit, so stop by Apple's Hot New and take a gander.

The Mac Observer Spin:

We've seen Maya demoed at earlier Macworld Expos, but these bits of clips are very cool. They demonstrate the potential industrial strength of which OS X is capable. We are especially interested in the progress of Doug Chiang's Robota project. If you haven't already, stop by Doug Chiang Studio and take a peek, it's worth your time.

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