Friday Flashback #350


1995…Softimage used in TV’s first 3D animation series

reboot1reboot2

 

REBOOT 100% DIGITAL

ReBoot animation transcends anything else seen on network television today. It’s the world’s first 100 percent computer-animated series, telling the story of Bob, Dot and Enzo, 3D characters living in the city of Mainframe. ReBoot creators produce a whopping 60 minutes of completed animation in just six weeks. Fans love ReBoot so much, it’s been renewed for a second season.

FACING THE 3D CHALLENGE

How does Brough Lovick Television (BLT) face the unprecedented 3D challenge of producing the quantity of animation with the quality they expect? According to Chris Welman, BLT’s director of software development, the solution was found in Softimage 3D. “We’re using Softimage 3D exclusively.”

SOFTIMAGE_A NATURAL CHOICE

HIGH-QUALITY CHARACTERS

“We can animate faster with Softimage 3D than with any other package I can think of,” states Welman, “Because we’re dealing with a lot of character animation, we’re using the skeletons with path animation, inverse kinematics, flexible skin and envelops extensively.” Using Softimage 3D to endow characters with fluid motion, including natural facial expressions, hand movements and lip-synch is what makes ReBoot a ratings winner in the Saturday morning toon market.

RENDERING AT FULL THROTTLE

And what about the unique challenges in producing the weekly CGI series? Christopher Brough, the show’s producer says, “It’s getting an enormous volume of animation out of the computer and onto digital tape.”

Welman concurs, stating, “There are few people producing the quantity of 3D animation with the quality that we are today. With 21 minutes of footage to produce every few weeks, rendering time is obviously of concern. The Softimage renderer is really pretty quick, and with their mental ray renderer, it looks like they will stay ahead of the
competition in terms of photorealistic and customizable rendering.”

COMBINING TOOLSETS

BLT at times, finds it convenient to combine toolsets by writing their own software because “it’s nice to be able to write our own effects to extend the package if we have to,” states Welman. Softimage 3D tools in the hands of talented ReBoot animators delivers network television’s first highly-rated 3D animation series.

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