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Who said it’s hard to find employment in the game industry?

The list:

It is unlikely that this year’s Oscar ceremony will include an award for best animated actor in a film. But that has not stopped movie companies from pushing the boundaries of animation to make their synthetic characters seem as real as possible—even if those characters happen to be shape-shifting megaton robots, as in last summer’s Transformers special effects extravaganza.

The prospect of turning a lineup of toy action figures into a live-action film that kids would want to see (and their parents would want to take them to) was daunting, admits Industrial Light & Magic’s (ILM) Scott Benza, the animation supervisor for Transformers. He adds, “We all scratched our heads,” when we first heard about the project.

The names George Lucas and Regin Philbin don’t usually pop up in the same sentence, but both men will be popping out with separate 3-D TV presentations this Halloween.

LucasArts is teaming up with the Cartoon Network for 3-D versions of episodes of two original series on the net, “Out of Jimmy’s Head” and “Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends.” As a bonus, viewers will get a sneak preview of the new LucasArts videogame “Thrillville: Off the Rails.”

Legendary Pics/Bryan Singer’s crowd don’t even know whether they’re going to make the movie yet – don’t believe the ‘we’re still on schedule’ spiel; it isn’t true, Warner Bros is still a little cautious to continue the series so it’s on indefinite hold– so its rash in the least to be talking Superman Returns 2 casting rumors, but this is a fun bit of gossip, so lets throw it out there.

“[There is] something lifeless about it,” he said in reference to motion-capture, the technique behind such movies as “The Polar Express.” “An interesting technique, but not successful.”

The man responsible for bringing Roger Rabbit, Simba and Shrek to the big screen spoke about his work with animated blockbusters yesterday afternoon in Kresge Auditorium. Jeffrey Katzenberg, the current CEO of DreamWorks Animation SKG, spoke to an audience including computer science, pre-business and film-focused students in “A Conversation with Jeffrey Katzenberg,” an event sponsored by the Film and Media Studies Program.

American actress Michelle Rodriguez – coming to New Zealand this month to film James Cameron’s latest big movie – has to be home in time for Christmas so she can go to jail.

Rodriguez, 29, best known for her tough-girl roles in television series Lost, and the film Girlfight, has been sentenced to six months in jail for violating her probation from previous drink-driving and hit-and-run offenses.

Her other main film roles have been The Fast and the Furious and Blue Crush but the show business newspaper Variety recently reported that Academy Award-winning filmmaker Cameron had added Rodriguez to his cast for the science fiction film Avatar.

(Source:  In an untimely display of union infighting, the  head of the alliance representing Hollywood’s technical workers publicly rebuked the leaders of the Writers Guild of America, West on Thursday over proposed strike rules.

Thomas C. Short, president of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, blasted a strike rule recently adopted by the guild that prohibits its members from starting work on new animated features once a strike begins, including those working under an agreement with another guild.

Although the Writers Guild has contracts for prime-time animated TV shows including “The Simpsons,” most animated features are covered under Animation Guild Local 839, which is part of Short’s alliance.

This was an incredibly valuable lesson in the workflow for polishing an animated feature, which has some lessons we can directly employ for our own peer-review processes. The initially self-deprecating yet entertaining animator Andy Schmidt took us through the challenges of creating the characters for Ratatouille, (namely, how to turn vermin into an appealing character) before moving on to Pixar’s general approach to taking a scene through various levels of polish.

Notes on Pixar character development:

Each character was given a signature movement style to differentiate themselves from one another, this is something that would be great to explore with a game containing only a few diverse characters, as game animation is often diluted to facilitate sharing among multiple characters.

When I asked Jeffrey Wells of to pipe in on the Oscar race for Best Animated Feature, he brought up a fascinating question: Is “Beowulf” eligible?

Jeff saw a reel of footage yesterday and it “may not, according to the Academy’s ‘Rule Seven,’ be an animated film,” he warns. “It’s a real eyeball-popper and clearly something else in the realm of animation — each and every frame is, in fact, animated by the standard of digital animation — but the Academy seems to be saying that any film that starts with live action footage and then uses digital animation to enhance or augment that footage (like Richard Linklater’s ‘Waking Life’ and ‘A Scanner Darkly’) is not eligible.

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