Digital Dimension Animates 3D Deepo

After traveling to the stars for Sony’s Zathura: A Space Adventure, visual effects studio Digital Dimension has tested the CG film waters with the completion of Deepo, a stereoscopic 3-D underwater adventure. Created in partnership with renowned themed park attraction developer Gary Goddard, the film is the centerpiece of the 4D theater presentation at the recently opened, 500,000-square-foot, $250-million-dollar Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta.

Featuring more than a dozen oceanic characters including fish, sharks and sea turtles, the 12-minute Deepo plays like an immersive journey into the world of Pixar’s Finding Nemo. Digital Dimension Montreal handled storyboarding, layout, modeling, animation, rendering and compositing, while producer Chris Del Conte and exec producers Ben Girard and Jerome Morin regularly held meetings with Goddard to review shots in the Los Angeles offices.

Michel Heroux, VP of post production for the Montreal studio, comments, ‘The biggest challenge was working in 3-D stereoscopic, because that meant doing everything twice. Deepo has a stage/live-show feel; the characters know we are looking at them and they’re looking at us, so it was important to get into a looking-at-the-camera kind of wink-wink, interact-with-the-audience animation style.’

Deepo‘s characters were modeled based on concepts by character designer Phil Mendez. The 3D animation was completed using Autodesk’s 3ds Max, while Eyeon Digital Fusion was used for stereoscopic compositing and Mental Images’ Mental Ray for rendering.

Digital Dimension recently created CG-animated horses for Warner Bros.’ live-action/CG comedy, Racing Stripes, which whet the team’s appetite for diving into a completely animated project. The studio’s success with Deepo has led to a CG feature film deal with unnamed former Disney producers, and Digital Dimension Montreal is now recruiting additional CG artists to produce the motion picture.

Housing more than 100,000 animals in eight million gallons of fresh and salt water, The Georgia Aquarium lays claim to being the largest aquarium in the world. Entertaining patrons with a colorful, musical story about marine life and the responsibilities of humankind, Deepo was sponsored by Home Depot, which helped fund the aquarium’s 4D theater.

Goddard’s theme park attraction design credits include Terminator II 3D and Jurassic Park: The Ride for Universal Studios Hollywood, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man and Jurassic Park River Adventure for Universal Studios Florida, Star Trek: The Experience for Paramount Parks and Hilton Las Vegas, and The Enchanted Laboratory for Busch Gardens.

Digital Dimension’s previous stereoscopic 3D work includes the IMAX feature Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D, produced by Tom Hanks. The studio recently wrapped visual effects on the motion picture Zathura. For more information about the company, go to www.digitaldimension.com.