Friday Flashback #42

After last Friday’s flashback post, Len Krenzler posted a link to the Def Leppard “Let’s get rocked” video, which was done in 1992 with Softimage|3D:

Came across this old Def Leppard piece, it was on the Softimage3D demo
reel the first time I saw it. Modeling has come a long way since then
but it was quite impressive at the time.

Luc-Eric pointed out that at 1:14 of the vid, you can see Softimage Eddie (click through the screenshot below to see an animated gif of a node connection operation):

At other points in the video, you can see Softimage|3D:

Googling “def leppard” and “softimage” quickly led me to the Reboot series from MainFrame, where I found this bit of info:

Ian Pearson flew out to Los Angeles, spending the next year sleeping on Chris Brough’s couch during which time Pearson, assisted by a couple of demo animators from Softimage, put together the Def Leppard promo ‘Let’s Get Rocked’. Not only did the video serve as a test of the new Softimage animation software and SGI hardware but the kid in the promo served as a prototype for Enzo.

There’s also a few interesting mentions of Softimage in the history of the Reboot series:

In bringing the series to life technical issues dogged them every step of the way. Although the systems were sound, a combination of Silicon Graphics, Onyx and Indigo hardware, the software was not. Despite being open-ended, allowing them to add to existing programs and write their own programs in-house, the main package Softimage was tempermental and not designed to handle the information being thrown at it, unpredicably crashing at random intervals. During the first year of production ReBoot animators were hit with over 15,000 software bugs, sometimes losing entire profiles or erasing over three weeks’ worth of rendering.

“We made every mistake possible,” says Dan Didio, who at the time was a programming executive for ABC and later, ReBoot’s story editor. “That’s the only way you’re going to learn, and we wound up thriving for it. We were charting new territory, which made it kind of fun. We didn’t understand the production problems at the time. ‘ReBoot Inc.’ were pushing programs further than ever before. We became pretty much a beta test site for computer software that was applied later on down the line.”

“When we started out, nobody had done what we were doing so there was nobody else’s lessons to learn from.”, says former Director of Communications Mairi Welman, “We were inventing the wheel. We made our mistakes, people worked obscene 18 hours days and slept under desks.” Some even slept in front of their workstations in sleeping bags to maximize time, “While things were rendering, they you would wake up, animate a little more, sleep some more.” Blair recalls.

At the same time they had to keep their ABC liason sweet, “I started at ABC Childrens Television and the first show that I was assigned was ReBoot,” says Didio, “Nobody knows what’s going on, nobody knows how it’s been done. I remember stepping in on the first day, seeing the tests and how incredible it was and getting swept up in a lot of what happened.” Gavin Blair now freely admits that for the most part, “We were making it up as we went along.”