Discreet High Fives Spider-Man 2, Ryan

Discreet, a major provider of 3D animation solutions, today issued a statement congratulating the post-production facilities Sony Pictures Imageworks (SPI), Zoic Studios, Radium and Ring of Fire for taking the Academy Award for Achievement in Visual Effects for Spider-Man 2. Discreet also sent out a pat on the pack to director Chris Landreth for his Oscar-winning animated short, Ryan, co-produced by Copper Heart Ent. and the National Film Board of Canada in association with the Seneca College Animation Arts Centre.

While fellow vfx nominees Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Warner Bros.) and I, Robot (20th Century Fox) employed Discreet’s products to some extent, it was the 108 shots SPI created for the second Spider-Man installment that helped earn the prize. The shots included the Doc Ock bank robbery, train and deli sequences, as well as the action-packed car chase.

Lisa Deaner, senior Discreet flame system artist at SPI, comments, “During Spider-Man 2, Discreet’s flame and burn solutions helped us solve problems and realize creative ideas quickly, which became invaluable when layering 2K and Vistavision 12-bit plates. The interactivity was a perfect complement to our traditional node-based compositing pipeline.”

Zoic Studios used Dicreet’s flame system and combustion software for multiple wire and rig removals in Spider-Man 2. Steve Meyer, senior compositor for the company, notes, “On Spider-Man 2, the use of the flame and combustion solutions’ paint, tracking and warping tools often allowed us to completely clean the rigs out of a scene. For more difficult shots, elements were recreated and then composited back into the scene using the flame system.”

In addition, Radium and Ring of Fire created 52 and 26 shots respectively, mostly using Discreet’s inferno system and combustion software.

Discreet boasts that three of the five nominated projects in the Animated Short Film category–Ryan, Blur Studios’ Gopher Broke and Sejong Park’s Birthday Boy–used its solutions. For Landreth’s CG tribute to Canadian animator Ryan Larkin, all animation was keyframed with heavy reliance on Discreet’s combustion software and flame system for compositing and 2D effects.

Belma Abdicevic, lead compositor on Ryan, comments, "These tools helped us complete complicated shots in simple ways, such as the last shot in the bathroom where Chris looks in the mirror. The shot ends with a motion blur, effectively communicating emotion and transition to viewers. The color correction tools enabled us to achieve a dark mood in specific shots without compromising the short’s quality.”

Discreet is planning to release 3ds max 7.5, the latest version of its award-winning modeling and animation software, in mid-April for customers in the Discreet Subscription Program. The company will also be at the Game Developers’ Conference (GDC) during the second week of March with a series of classes offering artists a chance to “Learn from the Masters of 3ds max.”