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Janimation | Quantum of Solace Game

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Janimation Reveals Role in Covert Operation

Dallas, Texas, November 21, 2008 – Animation and visual effects powerhouse Janimation has lifted the veil of secrecy surrounding their part in bringing to life Activision’s latest James Bond-based video game, Quantum of Solace.

"With over 25 cinematic sequences featured in the game, Treyarch – the developer – needed a team that could deliver both top-notch lip-synched animation while conveying just as much pathos as the real actors in the actual movie," said Janimation CEO Steve Gaçonnier. Known both for work on fast paced features like the Spy Kids series and our efforts on video games like Stranglehold, Treyarch "naturally came to us," said Gaçonnier.

"We were faced with producing over four in-game cinematics featuring 58 shots – over four and a half minutes of full CG – on a really short, five-week timeline." explained Janimation’s Senior Technical Director and CG Supervisor Ludovick Michaud. "We were recreating scenes from the movie as well as new scenarios, so we had to get it right." Added Senior Creative Director Greg Punchatz, "When you’re using real dialog from great actors like Daniel Craig and Judi Dench, you really, really want their virtual counterparts to be just as emotive."

To keep the process flowing as quickly as possible, the animators turned to Face Robot by Autodesk’s Softimage. "Face Robot really helped streamline things," stated Michaud. "Standard face rigging just wasn’t going to work well enough or fast enough. We used Face Robot for over 85% of the facial animation."

Additionally, the Janimation team of nine 3-D artists relied on motion capture support from House of Moves and Motus to help "compress our insanely insane timeline," according to Punchatz. "Also," explained Michaud, "we used [Softimage’s] Crosswalk to translate Treyarch’s Maya models into our preferred XSI format. It worked seamlessly and let us use the tools we’re most at home with."

Bradley Gabe, Senior Technical Animator, interjected, "Of course, not all of our tools are off the shelf. We have a proprietary set of automated rigging tools that got the models rigged up in record time."

"Typically, we like to up-res models for this kind of work," mentioned Punchatz. "But Treyarch wanted our models to closely match what the players saw during actual game play. Our final look might be described as ‘game plus’ and we rendered out in Mental Ray."

And the end result of all this hard work? The first Bond game in a decade to be considered a worthy successor to the venerated GoldenEye 007.

"Our team may not have a license to kill," opined Gaçonnier, "but when it comes to saving the creative bacon, I’ll put Janimation up against anybody. Even Judi Dench."

Quantum of Solace is the 22nd installment in the James Bond film canon. It is the first true sequel in the series, picking up immediately after the conclusion of 2006’s Casino Royale. The Quantum of Solace game features action from both movies’ storylines.


Additional information:

Credits:

Activision

  • Kragen Lum – Producer
  • Matthew Hunt – Associate Producer

Treyarch

  • David Chartier – Creative Lead
  • Danny Donaho – Producer
  • Paul Golding – Writer

Janimation

  • Steve Gaconnier – CEO/Chief Creative Director
  • Mike Duffy – Executive Producer
  • Greg Punchatz – Sr. Creative Director
  • Ludovick WilliamMichaud – CG Supervisor
  • Kimberly Benzine – Sr. Producer
  • Joanna Ferguson – Coordinator
  • Lyn Caudle - Sr. 3D Generalist
  • Bradley Gabe – Sr. Technical Animator
  • Rares Halmagean – 3D Painter/Lighter
  • Steve Quentin – 3D Animator
  • Chris Curra – 3D Animator
  • Cris Fudge – 3D Generalist
  • Robert Quinn – 3D Generalist
  • Garett Jaeckel – 3D Modeler
  • Joe Elwood – Sr. Editor
  • Joel Braby – Sr. Information Technologist
  • Paul Adams – IT
  • Brooke Dahmen – Render Wrangler
  • Robbie Stevens – Render Wrangler
  • Jennifer Ford – Render Wrangler/Admin
  • Jennifer Magill – Admin
  • Sharon Brickell – Admin
  • Debbo O’Neal – Sr. Accounting Manager