(Source: blog.digitalcontentproducer.com) Digital Design Village has opened as a new digital studio to serve the rapidly growing filmmaking industry located in Michigan. The announcement was made today by Arnie Jones, CEO/Founder, Digital Design Village.

Concurrent with today’s announcement, Digital Design Village, and the renowned, Marin, CA-based Kerner Group, have signed an agreement by which Digital Design Village will offer resources for film production, special practical effects production, and post production in Michigan utilizing the Kerner Group’s expertise and technologies. The Kerner Group, formerly the physical effects division of Industrial Light and Magic (ILM,) is an innovative provider of special practical effects and 3D technologies.

(Source: movies.sky.com) Ridley Scott’s proposed prequel to his 1979 horror hit Alien has stalled before production could even begin.

The director is at odds with the studio behind the project, 20th Century Fox, over budgetary and creative differences, according to sources close to the production.

It would seem Scott wants a budget of around $250m to make it a sci-fi spectacular, and is also pushing for an 18-rated level of violence and horror. Fox, however, don’t plan on investing anywhere near that sum, and are keen to get a 15 rating to maximise the audience appeal.

(Source: vfxsoldier.wordpress.com) The visual effects business is one of the most bizarre professional industries to work in because some of the most prestigious and successful companies in our industry are the ones that pay the lowest.

In my last article I wrote about vfx salaries at many facilities and how I found it a bit odd that companies like Pixar Animation paid salaries sometimes 20-30% lower than other facilities.

(Source: tcpalm.com) As Digital Domain Holdings Corp. moves into a temporary workspace at Indian River State College, the animation company is in the midst of a hiring spree.

Digital Domain has hired about 46 people and the company expects to easily exceed 65 by the end of the year. The company plans to do digital animation for feature films and military applications.

Digital Domain and Port St. Lucie agreed in November 2009 to a $51.8 million deal helped with state contributions. The money will go in part to building a 150,000-square-foot facility. The company must create up to 500 jobs at an average salary of $64,233 by 2014.

(Source: forums.cgsociety.org) [Demo video below]  There were many drawbacks to traditional texture mapping methods that led to the development of Ptex:

  • UV assignment was a tedious task, and making good UVs on complex models was difficult.
  • Texture seams could produce visible artifacts especially with displacement maps.
  • Large numbers of texture files were required creating a significant I/O bottleneck.

Ptex addresses all these issues by eliminating UV assignment, providing seamless filtering, and allowing any number of textures to be stored in a single file.

(Source: CGW) The Visual Effects Society (VES) announced that Dr. Rich Terrile, NASA astronomer and evolutionary computer visionary, will be the featured speaker at the VES Production Summit 2010 on October 23rd. Dr. Terrile is the director of the Center for Evolutionary Computation and Automated Design at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Terrile uses techniques based on biological evolution and development to advance the fields of robotics and computer intelligence. He has a Ph.D. in Planetary Science from the California Institute of Technology and has developed missions to Mars and to the outer solar system. Terrile’s other areas of expertise include the development of medical instrumentation for neurosurgery and the study of planetary rings and geology. He has discovered four moons and is the first to photograph another solar system.

(Source: Variety.com) Not long ago I got a call from a Time magazine reporter working on a story on the visual effects business. As we discussed the dire financial straits of many vfx companies despite their growing importance to studio movies, she asked, “Don’t these people have business plans?”

I told her she was proceeding from the false premise that people start vfx companies to be business owners. Most people who go into vfx do it for the same reason people become actors: They love the work. But when they fail as businessmen, the result is too often misery.

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(Source: InsideTheMagic.net) At the tail end of the Disney Parks panel presentation during the first day of Star Wars Celebration V, Imagineer Jason Surrell, with help from C-3PO himself, actor Anthony Daniels, offered the audience a glimpse at a new video for Star Tours: The Adventures Continue, the upcoming update to Disney’s popular Star Tours attraction.

The video is a “commercial” of sorts from the Star Tours company promoting three of their exciting intergalactic destinations, Bespin, Alderaan, and Endor:

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