Autodesk Technology Transports Moviegoers to Worlds of Wizardry and Whimsy!

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Last Updated: December 21, 2005 11:35 pm GMT
(SAN RAFAEL, Calif.) From an inviting ice castle to a thawing waterfall,  many of the holiday season’s movies were shaped with Autodesk, Inc.’s (NASDAQ: ADSK) media and entertainment software. Leading post-production facilities, including Sony Pictures Imageworks, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) and The Orphanage, relied on Autodesk’s systems and software to realize their wildest wintry ideas. 


“Autodesk’s Discreet Flame visual effects system helped our team reach new creative heights with its speed and power,“ said David Smith, digital effects supervisor, Sony Pictures Imageworks. “While working on The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, there were many artistic challenges in creating just the right look for magical elements. The White Witch’s stone victims, the luminescent ice castle, talking animals and a vast fly-over shot of Narnia; they all needed to stir up a sense of wonder. The talent of our artists, combined with the capabilities of the Flame system, helped bring this classic to life.” 

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a film based on the classic novel by CS Lewis, in which a group of children discover a magical wardrobe that leads them to the mystical land of Narnia. ILM used Autodesk’s Discreet Inferno and Discreet Flame systems as part of its proprietary SABRE visual effects system on the film. Sony Pictures Imageworks also used multiple Discreet Flame systems – including the latest system on a 64-bit Linux-based workstation – for 3D tracking, compositing and visual effects creation.

A particularly demanding sequence was that of the waterfall. Child actors were filmed on green screen, standing on-set on an ice peak model. When reviewing the shots in post-production, the performance of the actors in one take was preferred, while the camera movement in another was preferred. Using the Flame system, Sony Pictures Imageworks was able to combine the best of both takes.

In the sequence, the frozen waterfall thaws. The river then breaks apart and melts, showing a transition to spring. This enchanting change of season was crafted with computer-generated elements such as water, fog, icebergs, wolves and beavers – all combined by Sony Pictures Imageworks in the Discreet Flame system.

In another holiday hit, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter finds himself representing Hogwarts School at the Triwizard Tournament. Amid strange events and the evil presence of Voldemort, Harry faces his grimmest challenge yet. Framestore CFC used Autodesk’s Discreet Inferno visual effects system to create mystical elements such as a flying horse-drawn carriage and an animated stained-glass window for the film. ILM used the Discreet Inferno and Discreet Flame systems as part of its proprietary SABRE visual effects system. The Orphanage also shaped the magical realm of Hogwarts, a key backdrop for the film.

Shadi Almassizadeh, computer graphics supervisor at The Orphanage, said, “The Orphanage was tasked with creating a water surface in the Pensive sequence – essentially a bowl of water filled with ‘memory threads’ that gets manipulated by wands and wizardry. After experimenting with many fluid solvers, we concluded that the best tool for the effect was Autodesk 3ds Max software’s reactor simulation.  Its quick iterations and complex wave generations allowed us to rapidly achieve the look. Coupled with the Brazil Rendering System, the complex water surface became a reality. 3ds Max software makes the artist feel in control of the shot. It's fast, easy to use and has a robust feature set."

Vaah! Life Ho Toh Aisi is the first high-definition Indian film. This light-hearted fantasy required extensive editing, visual effects, compositing and digital color grading. Leading post-production facility Prime Focus used an Autodesk film pipeline including Autodesk 3ds Max software, the Discreet Smoke and Discreet Fire editing/finishing systems and the Discreet Lustre digital color grading system. Numerous surreal environments were created with the Autodesk pipeline, including a car driving through clouds and illusions of the lead character.

Autodesk’s Discreet Lustre system was used to create dramatic looks for several fall and winter movies, including King Kong (Weta Digital), Oliver Twist and Revolver (Éclair Laboratoires), Stay (Laser Pacific) and Domino (Asylum). Asylum worked on approximately 100 visual effects shots and 160 optical shots for Domino, using an Autodesk film pipeline that consisted of the Discreet Inferno and Discreet Flame visual effects systems, as well as the Discreet Smoke and Discreet Lustre systems.

Other recent and upcoming films shaped by Autodesk clients using Autodesk technology include:

  • A History of Violence: Mr. X used the Discreet Flame system and Autodesk Combustion desktop visual effects software
  • Aeon Flux: The Orphanage used Autodesk 3ds Max software and Pacific Title & Art Studio used Discreet Inferno, Discreet Smoke and Discreet Lustre systems
  • Brokeback Mountain: Buzz Image Group used the Discreet Inferno system
  • Les Chevaliers du Ciel: La Maison used the Discreet Inferno and Flame systems and Autodesk Combustion software
  • Flight Plan: Pacific Title & Art Studio used Discreet Inferno, Discreet Smoke and Discreet Lustre systems
  • Ice Harvest: Mr. X used the Discreet Flame system
  • Jarhead: ILM used the Discreet Inferno and Discreet Flame systems as part of its proprietary SABRE visual effects system
  • Just Friends: Pacific Title & Art Studio used Discreet Inferno, Discreet Smoke and Discreet Lustre systems
  • King Kong: Weta Digital used the Discreet Lustre system
  • Munich: ILM used the Discreet Inferno and Discreet Flame systems as part of its proprietary SABRE visual effects system
  • Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio: Sony Pictures Imageworks used the Discreet Flame system
  • Rent: ILM used the Discreet Inferno and Discreet Flame systems as part of its proprietary SABRE visual effects system
  • Serenity: Zoic Studios used the Discreet Flame system and Autodesk Combustion software
  • Stay: Buzz Image Group and R!OT used Discreet Inferno systems, and Frantic Films used Autodesk 3ds Max software
  • The Brothers Grimm: Peerless used the Discreet Inferno system and Autodesk Burn background processing solution
  • The Legend of Zorro: Peerless used the Discreet Inferno system and Autodesk Burn background processing solution
  • Where the Truth Lies: Mr. X used the Discreet Flame system
  • Yours, Mine and Ours: Pacific Title & Art Studio used Discreet Inferno, Discreet Smoke and Discreet Lustre systems
  • Zathura: Sony Pictures Imageworks used the Discreet Flame system and Digital Dimension used Autodesk 3ds Max software

About Autodesk
Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK) is wholly focused on ensuring that great ideas are turned into reality. With over seven million users, Autodesk is the world's leading software and services company for the manufacturing, building, infrastructure, wireless data services and media and entertainment fields. Autodesk’s solutions help customers create, manage and share their data and digital assets more effectively.  As a result, customers turn ideas into competitive advantage by becoming more productive, streamlining project efficiency and maximizing profits.
Founded in 1982, Autodesk is headquartered in San Rafael, California.  For additional information about Autodesk, please visit www.autodesk.com

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