VCP and Vivid Animation find Shake is integral to compositing multifaceted production projects

November 1999 

Virtual Celebrity Productions is a two-year-old digital production company specializing in human and character animation as well as the creation of realistic virtual performers for the advertising and entertainment industries. Vivid Animation is a new division of Virtual Celebrity Productions (VCP) that is focused on delivering content for animated feature films.

Daniel Robichaud is vice president of Vivid Animation's creative development, overseeing new content, stories and character design for the company's upcoming animated projects. Previously, Robichaud was an animation director at Digital Domain on "Apollo 13," "The Fifth Element," and "Titanic." He states that Nothing Real's Shake™ compositing software is an integral part of the production pipeline at both VCP and Vivid Animation and is being used to composite computer generated elements.

"Starting with our previous work at Digital Domain, the Vivid Animation team has developed a strong respect and places great importance on the compositing process. We liken this stage of production to an art form," stated Robichaud, "We knew of Shake from our days at Digital Domain where we had received a demo. Once the Vivid team was in place, we knew we would need a compositing solution. For us, nothing in the marketplace except Shake can compare to Nuke." (Editors' Note: "Nuke" is Digital Domain's proprietary compositing software)

Included among VCP's current projects is the digital Marlene Dietrich project, which debuted last August at the SIGGRAPH convention's "Millennium Motel," a forum for emerging technologies.

The challenge on the Dietrich project required that compositor Garramuno Gonzalo, mimic the optical properties of the unstable black and white film grain of the 1930's. Using Shake, he wrote simple expressions that realistically simulated the flickering and jittering quality of films from that time period.

"There was a huge difference between the before and after rendered images of Dietrich," added Robichaud. "Shake provided us with the flexibility to color correct high contrast images in order to achieve a believable film noir feeling."

The finished stylized version of the Dietrich piece will be used to welcome visitors to the new film museum in Berlin in the summer of 2000.