the end, a six-minute computer-generated animation created with technology developed at NCSA and SGI, is continuing to receive critical acclaim after being nominated for an Oscar by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
The animation, created by Chris Landreth and Robin Bargar, was one of five nominations for an Academy Award in the Best Short Film (animated) category and the only one utilizing computer graphics. Landreth-- computer animator and artist-in-residence at Alias/Wavefront, Toronto-based subsidiary of Silicon Graphics Inc.--designed and created the animation. Bargar, who composed and computed the sound, is director of NCSA's Audio Development Group, part of the Virtual Environments Graphics Division. Both artists collaborated on the script and storyboard.
Produced by Alias/Wavefront, the animation utilized Alias PowerAnimator software to create the graphics. Sound was rendered with NCSA Sound Server and other software. The software empowered the artists to structure an interactive creative process where sound and image computation were brought together at every stage of production. "A prime objective was to elevate the role of sound in the decision-making process," said Bargar. "To this end special software was created to allow data-sharing between the animation and sound synthesis processes."
Both artists used SGI high-performance workstations. Landreth used Indys and Indigo2 Extremes for modeling and animation; Indys, Indigo2s, Onyxes, and a POWER CHALLENGE, for rendering. Sounds computed at NCSA ran on Indys and Indigo2s.
Although Bargar and Landreth did not expect to win the Academy Award due to competitors like Walt Disney, they won three prizes at Imagina, the prestigious annual international computer graphics festival in Monaco--a 3D animation award at PIXEL-INA Awards, a special award from the judges; a third-place award in the Fiction category, after Toy Story and The Simpsons; and an international award of the SACD (Societe des Auteurs Compositeurs Dramatiques) for the scenario, granted for excellent narrative structure. Without NCSA's promotion of collaboration between art, science, and technology, Bargar said the end could not have been made.
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NCSA: The National Center for Supercomputing
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