Sony Pictures Imageworks Debuts New CGI Short at SIGGRAPH

Not content to rest on their laurels, the Oscar-winning animators at Sony Pictures f/x and animation division are debuting a new all-CGI short at this year’s SIGGRAPH convention, which is happening in San Diego this week.

Early Bloomer is described as a comical coming-of-age tale about an awkward,

but adorable tadpole just trying to fit in and keep up with his mischievous and playful friends. The short is being featured in the 2003 Electronic Theater at the annual computer graphics confab.

The ani-short was created and directed by Kevin Johnson, who served as lead storyboard artist on The ChubbChubbs!, the winner of the 2002 Oscar for best

animated short film.

“We’re very honored that Early Bloomer is part of this year’s Electronic Theater,” says Tim Sarnoff, Imageworks’s president. “It allows us to showcase the wonderful strides being made by our team. Kevin Johnson has created truly charming characters and tells a wonderful story.”

As with The ChubbChubbs!, Early Bloomer began as in-house training exercise. Once Imageworks’ boffins saw the early versions of the piece, they decided

to expand it to a fully produced short. In the past couple of years Imageworks has been looking to be more than an f/x house. Sarnoff says the division is also very much in the character-creation business. Clearly Sony Pics execs would love to see Pixar-like material emanating from one of their own divisions.

For his part, director Johnson is a 13-year vet of the animation industry. He joined the staff of Imageworks two years ago and most recently served as head storyboard artist for The ChubbChubbs!

Early Bloomer has been selected for presentation in the internationally recognized Electronic Theater at SIGGRAPH 2003, a showcase of exceptional computer-generated imagery. A juried process, the showcase attracts hundreds of submissions from around the world.