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View Full Version : IBM makes play for 'next-generation Pixar'


dmeyer
07-24-2003, 07:39 PM
The company better known for banking systems is about to announce a partnership with Threshold Digital Research Labs, a budding Santa Monica, Calif., computer-animation company run by Larry Kasanoff, who produced the movie Terminator 2.

IBM and Threshold plan to challenge Pixar Animation Studios, creator of Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo and Toy Story. Pixar, run by Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs, has reigned as the undisputed king of computer-generated (CG) films.

Threshold and IBM already have a CG movie in the works: Food Fight, about what happens in a grocery store after closing time. Trade publication Millimeter calls Food Fight "one of the most complex digitally animated feature films ever produced," with 138 main characters, 6,254 secondary characters and 174 sets. Kasanoff says it is 14 to 18 months from completion.

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/techinvestor/techcorporatenews/2003-07-24-ibm_x.htm



138 main characters? How?

RobertoOrtiz
07-24-2003, 07:57 PM
From the bottom of my heart I wish them luck.

Too bad they are not following the Pixar route of doing shorts (thus building a rock solid pipeline) and then moving into the ambitious task of doing a feature.

Hell Blue Sky followed that trail. And DNA (Jimmy Neutron) did smaller stuff first.

-R

xynaria
07-24-2003, 08:00 PM
Doesn't sound at all derivative or grossly missing the point now does it. :D

suck
07-24-2003, 08:05 PM
well one thing I know for sure is that the more characters the better! i can't imagine how much more enjoyable shrek would've been if there were 30 shreks and 75 princesses!

dmeyer
07-24-2003, 08:20 PM
It almost sounds as if they are doing this soley to test their computing on demand technology in production...hmm...makes me skeptical.

I hope for the sake of the film and the artists involved that they base the film around a good story rather than as a muscle-flexing tech demo. :rolleyes:

Wish em luck, though.

xynaria
07-24-2003, 08:34 PM
Ah I geddit now....... was wondering how they could get or want so may 'characters' but the answer is obvious.....they do what everyone esle does when things close.. they reproduce!! So we get to see a movie about fruit and veg reproducing at a frantic rate!... COOL!:beer:

Marion
07-24-2003, 08:49 PM
Any time a press release spouts a slew of numbers and technical details whils saying nothing about storytelling and art you gotta be skeptical...

On a side note, there has already been a good amount of controversy surrounding this film because of its potential for product placement. Some links for the interested:


http://www.lowbrowlowdown.com/01_5.9.shtml
http://www.wired.com/news/print/0,1294,43498,00.html
http://detritus.net/contact/rumori/200106/0282.html

Array
07-24-2003, 09:08 PM
oooooo!!! exciting!! maybe theyll come up with their own renderer to compete with PRMan? :drool:

Marc Andreoli
07-24-2003, 09:13 PM
is that thumbnail in the article from the actual movie project ? Doesn't look too impressive to me (trying to stay diplomatic...)

Goon
07-24-2003, 09:18 PM
Whats the point of having so many main characters? Each of the LOTRs only have 20 tops and those were live action. I dont think an audience could become emotionaly attached to so many. Unless of course the main characters are the main characters, and the secondary characters, and the lint that hides under the shelves, while the secondaries are simply 300lbs of grapes and cereal boxes.

Anyways thats going to be one insane production schedule.

Peter Reynolds
07-24-2003, 09:28 PM
Pixar must be shaking in their boots - NOT

Matt Leishman
07-24-2003, 09:36 PM
has anyone been to threshold's website? I just did, and it seems as though they are not pixar yet. The article talks about how IBM is going to sink a bunch of money into their company to expand the studio . . . how about making sure that they will employ artists of the same caliber as pixar (which could be the case now, I don't know), and people who tell the stories at pixar level quality? I don't care how much money IBM sinks into them for a spanking new studio, and frankly I don't care what kind of new fangled technology IBM will offer them. They will not compete if their goals are to "outdo" pixar, or to show off new technology. They will only compete if their goal is to tell great stories.

Is there anyone here who works for Threshold Digital? And if so can you elaborate and possibly buoy up our hopes that you will indeed succeed and create great works as pixar already does? I'm all for quality stories being told (regardless of the medium - although cg is my favorite), and I hope that Threshold can do just that.

FloydBishop
07-24-2003, 11:46 PM
Millimeter's article on the topic:

http://millimeter.com/ar/video_next_generation_digital/

leuey
07-25-2003, 12:09 AM
Did they make their website and all the artwork on it look like crap on purpose to fool their supposed competitors? Come on. ILM has the talent and resources to challenge Pixar and PDI/Dreamworks in the feature film CGI biz. But this marketing ploy is probably the most you will ever hear about Threshold (sorry to be so blunt but don't do a national story on how you're going to be the next-gen pixar when your current body of work is so NOT next gen pixar.)

later,

Greg

FloydBishop
07-25-2003, 12:13 AM
There's a lot of this kind of thing going around lately.

leuey
07-25-2003, 12:22 AM
Originally posted by Floyd Bishop
There's a lot of this kind of thing going around lately.

yup. I'll give their owner/ceo/biz guy credit for convincing somebody at IBM to write them a check (a soon to be fired somebody most likely). But it's presumptous (and perhaps insulting?) to have a press release claiming you're the next gen pixar. And then claim 342,000 main characters has some sort of relevance on the movie's success. I mean c'mon. Built a body of work worthy of that type of statement first.

Money and technology will enable your talent to achieve their goal. But it won't spontaneously create talent or bring latent talent forth - their website looks like a junior high project.

-Greg

xynaria
07-25-2003, 01:14 AM
Peeps .. you are missing the point... 3D films make money so if you throw money even at imbeciles.. you will make even more money by the simple equation that more lead characters means more bums on seats equals more money without the word sheep or the phrase lambs to the slaughter even being mentioned.... just hope they can do it before someone makes a film with 598 main characters and 3,000,000 extras cos thats whats counts.. numbers.. you don't need a story with numbers.. just ask George Lucas... you don't need anything really ..just ask George Lucas and the infamous Matrix brothers.. hey .. lets all get rich.. buy shares now while you still can!!!!!! :beer:

Fasty
07-25-2003, 02:56 AM
Originally posted by dmeyer
IBM and Threshold plan to challenge Pixar Animation Studios, creator of Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo and Toy Story. Pixar, run by Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs, has reigned as the undisputed king of computer-generated (CG) films.


Do they think they're the first to have this idea? Join the end of the queue guys!

Love that quote by SUCK, re: more characters equalling better! :applause:

This is all so hilarious, GO PIXAR!!!

FloydBishop
07-25-2003, 05:03 AM
Here's another statement, made by a different exec at a different company:

"We've done what every other major studio has wanted to do. We've created a worldwide virtual studio to produce 3D computer graphic animation at the highest quality, what we refer to as Pixar-like quality. We can do this in a more cost and time efficient manner than any other studio. "

What he meant to say is that we have a few people working in the US, who we pay the bare minimum to. They feed work to a staff we will be putting together overseas of around 100 people who are "mostly just kids, so we can pay them whatever we want".

I think that these execs should, when making statements like these, be forced to show some images that are what they say they are. If they don't, they should be spanked with the spikey side of a hairbrush.

Fasty
07-25-2003, 05:12 AM
"We consider ourselves like a Pixar on steroids," said Berger.

Ok, see you after your first $400 million hit guys!

RobertoOrtiz
07-25-2003, 05:17 AM
Quote from AWN:

Williams continued, "The combination of us being creative and production partners, with the added clout of their financial capabilities will help us become a creative force that we think is in the category of what will be a Pixar of the future."

"We consider ourselves like a Pixar on steroids," said Berger. "
:rolleyes:

I just hope he was misquoted, or taken out of context.


-R

Rhs_CG
07-25-2003, 05:55 AM
Sounds like they've put the technology first. Too bad, too bad.

dmeyer
07-25-2003, 06:13 AM
Originally posted by RobertoOrtiz
Quote from AWN:


"We consider ourselves like a Pixar on steroids," said Berger. "
:rolleyes:


I hope IBM is able to fund the widening of all the doorways in the facility so that they can fit their heads through them.

asparapani
07-25-2003, 12:41 PM
It's not computer power that makes a movie, it's rock solid, well thought out, unquestionable , full of r&d characters. We'll see how well Threshold does. I hope for them and the industry that it's a box office smash!:beer:

anieves
07-25-2003, 01:13 PM
don't you guys get it?

both fictional icons and animated characters based on icons associated with real products, such as Mr. Clean, Chester Cheetah, and others, all licensed by TDRL battle the nefarious schemes of the mysterious Brand X.

This is a huge marketing campaign to promote products. After the movie is done ppl are going to rush out of the theatres to go to the closest supermarket and get their Mr. Clean and Cheetos fix.

RobertoOrtiz
07-25-2003, 03:31 PM
I agree 100% with anieves.
The precedent being created by this total sinergy
between cg filmaking and pushing brands is quite concerning.
Something will be lost.
-R

flipnap
07-25-2003, 04:59 PM
pretty funny.. this whole situation reminds me of the 80's when apple made that commercial of the guy throwing the steel ball through the huge "big brother" monitor (IBM).. Jobs being pixar and IBM challenging, its funny... Except IBM chips are now in apple, which is even funnier.. im getting cramps:surprised

FloydBishop
07-25-2003, 06:00 PM
Here's another example of a "we can be Pixar, too" article:

"...The new UK animation outfit promises to "bring animation back to Britain" as part of the $80 million redevelopment of Ealing Studios, which aims to create a European rival to the likes of LA-based Pixar Studios."

Except Pixar is in Emeryville, California... NOT Los Angeles! They are off by about 370 miles!!

This quote is from the Animated Movies website:

http://www.animated-movies.net

mental
07-25-2003, 10:31 PM
"bring animation back to Britain"
when did they ever lose it? :rolleyes:

keithlango
07-26-2003, 02:53 AM
Floyd's on a roll!

Go get 'em, dog!

:D


I'm crafting a press release with a public relations firm this very moment. In this press release I'm going to promote myself- a single human being- as being the next generation "beyond Pixar-level" artist who is capable of producing mind numbing technical and filmmaking feats for FREE!

Beat THAT, Mr "Half the Price of LA Type Pixar Studios". Ha!

-k

Fasty
07-26-2003, 12:47 PM
Originally posted by keithlango
I'm crafting a press release with a public relations firm this very moment. In this press release I'm going to promote myself- a single human being- as being the next generation "beyond Pixar-level" artist who is capable of producing mind numbing technical and filmmaking feats for FREE!

Beat THAT, Mr "Half the Price of LA Type Pixar Studios". Ha!

-k

Hahaha :applause:

How many main characters will you have??

Peter Reynolds
07-26-2003, 03:50 PM
Good one KL.

Fasty - I think its been established now, you need at least 5000 billion MAIN characters for a successful film. I imagine background characters would have to be at least double that.

The more you can throw into the render the better, right?

jipe
07-26-2003, 10:58 PM
No, no - Keith is going to pull this off by having no main characters at all. Brilliant idea, I must say..

BillB
07-27-2003, 11:50 AM
Originally posted by jipe
No, no - Keith is going to pull this off by having no main characters at all. Brilliant idea, I must say..

And no sets! Realtime rendering!

Anyone who thinks Steve Jobs is the key to Pixar is barking up the wrong tree for a start.
No offense to Steve...

Man, if you're gonna take on a class act like Pixar, don't claim you are, that's just plain obnoxious - do it, then say you did.

Marketingdroids. Pah.

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