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“House”, “True Blood”, “Bones”, “CSI”, “Californication” and More Shaped with Autodesk Tools

This year’s fall television schedule features content created with the full range of Autodesk entertainment solutions. From Mad Men and Sons of Anarchy to NCIS, Entourage, Smallville, Pushing Daisies and Stargate: Atlantis, TV programs are advancing creativity through Autodesk Media & Entertainment technology.

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Zoic Studios
Zoic Studios‘ roster includes some of television’s most watched programming. To help shape its work on CSI (CBS), Eureka (Sci Fi), Eli Stone (ABC), True Blood (HBO) and Reaper (CW), Zoic turned to a suite of Autodesk products, including Autodesk Maya 3D animation, modeling and rendering software, the Autodesk Flame visual effects system and Autodesk Combustion compositing system.

Zoic also uses Maya extensively on Fringe, J.J. Abrams’ science-fiction show on Fox. “Fringe is an exciting show because each episode is unique and we are called upon to create a whole host of effects,” remarked Andrew Orloff, VFX supervisor at Zoic. “Working with dozens of layers at that level of complexity, Maya software’s customized scripting and editable histories are invaluable. Maya allows us to focus on the artistry and efficiently incorporate our client’s needs.”

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For Showtime’s serial killer drama Dexter, Canadian boutique shop Topix used Flame to create a teaser promo that shows the main character traveling through time via a computer-generated funhouse.

“The biggest challenge was making it all fit together,” says Topix VFX supervisor Marco Polsinelli. “Two days, different locations, different cameras, many lighting setups and loads of greenscreen. With Flame, we were able to handle the challenging opening, which was built entirely out of digital files of the sky, clouds, and matte paintings with glint and glow filters. We then seamlessly composited all elements into the previously shot footage.”

LOOK Effects
LOOK Effects employs Maya and Flame for its work on Pushing Daisies (ABC), Life (NBC), Bones (FOX) and Life on Mars (ABC). Mark Driscoll, founder and president of LOOK Effects, says, “Autodesk’s tools allow our artists and animators to create a truly diverse mix of effects. The visual styles of these shows reach from realism to extremely stylized and these tools are fundamental to the creative process.”

John Adams

CafeFX, well known in the film world, ventured into television with HBO’s epic miniseries John Adams, winning an Emmy Award for visual effects. The series’ 320 visual effects shots ran the gamut from matte paintings to virtual set extensions to 3D effects.

For a complex scene involving CG water effects, CafeFX used Autodesk Maya to animate the characters on the decks and the motion of the small boats. “Maya helped us use visual effects in support of the storytelling by enabling meticulous choreography of ship activity in Boston Harbor,” says Jeff Goldman, CafeFX’s VFX supervisor.

Mad Men
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LaserPacific Media Corp.
For the color correction in postproduction, five-time Emmy winning post house LaserPacific Media Corp. looks to Autodesk Lustre digital color grading system to shape a number of shows including AMC’s Mad Men, ABC’s Pushing Daisies, the Starz series Crash, CBS’ Medium and the pilot for U.S. version of the BBC hit Life on Mars.

“Two years ago we applied our feature film knowledge to redefine the TV workflow from hardware- to software-based and the Lustre system is our tool of choice,” explains Leon Silverman, president at LaserPacific. “Lustre not only provides unprecedented power and saves time and money but also allows us to create the magic of Hollywood.”

The Guard
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Other studios that worked with Autodesk solutions to create content for the 2008-2009 TV season include: