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Friday - November 16, 2001
- Harry Potter Opens to Mixed Reviews
- Caligari Announces trueSpace 5.2
- Top Selling Animation and FX DVDs
- News Link of the Day - Denver FX Company Takes Emmy Home

Harry Potter Opens to Mixed Reviews
(by Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone opened today amongst mixed, but mostly positive, reviews and much fanfare. Several showings of Harry Potter sold out (due to advanced and online ticket sales) prior to it opening. Many analysts are predicting a record breaking $75 million or more as it opens in a record number of theaters and plays on a record number of screens.

Here are select quotes from three new reviews:

Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times - "...What saves Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is what created it in the first place: J.K. Rowling's enrapturing imagination. At those sporadic moments when the film allows us to share in Harry's wonder, it lets us recapture our own as well. We all would love to go to Hogwarts, and now, albeit imperfectly, we can.

Mark Caro of The Chicago Tribune - "The movie also may inspire a case of the CGI blues. The baby dragon and rampaging troll (think Shrek on steroids) are as rubbery as computer-generated beasties usually are, and the visual trickery is too apparent for you to feel like the kids and troll really share the same space...All that said, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" remains an enchanting tale..."

Bruce Newman of the San Jose Mercury News - "...Sorcerer's Stone' spends so much time curtsying in the direction of the author and her hard-core fans that you begin to wonder why they didn't just have Rowling sit in the middle of the screen and read aloud for 2 1/2 hours..."

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is rated PG for some scary moments and mild language.

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Caligari Announces trueSpace 5.2
(edited press release) Caligari Corporation has announced trueSpace 5.2 with a new Facial Animator tool that generates animated human facial muscle movements directly from speech or text input using high level animation controls. This new version of Caligari's 3D modeling program also features Key Frame Editor animation enhancements.

"Facial Animator uses our new sophisticated neural network-based automatic Lip-Sync engine and provides great tools for advanced character animation," said Roman Ormandy, president of Caligari. "trueSpace5.2 users will be able to enliven their characters with realistic facial expressions to accompany character voices. These new tools will make talking, singing, shouting, and other character dialogue appear highly realistic."

Facial Animator can use a generic model of a human head or a model provided by the user. The model can then be matched to a real human face with trueSpace5.2's new texture editor that uses two photographs of an actual human face and converts them into a fully textured 3D model.

The new Lip-Sync capability enables users to automatically create facial animation directly from speech by generating speech-related human facial muscle movements for the entire human face. Users can also easily combine speech animation with key-framed animations for high-level control of character emotions. Smiles, frowns, and expressions of anger, relief, or other emotion can be simply created by adjusting slider values.

In addition to Facial Animator, trueSpace5.2 also includes an enhanced Key Frame Editor. All vertex and bone animation parameters are now available for editing in track and function curve views, and animation tracks can be assigned to individual vertices or bones. All function curves for a single animation parameter are now displayed simultaneously on one screen for easy editing.

trueSpace5.2 combines high-end modeling, rendering and animation power with an intuitive interface that allows for real-time direct manipulation in a hardware-accelerated, integrated, 3D perspective workspace. Used extensively for product design, web design, graphic design, and multimedia, the software delivers advanced features including hybrid radiosity rendering, a full complement of NURBS-based modeling tools and advanced surfacing features. trueSpace5.2 also offers both linear key-framed animation and non-linear physics-based animation with properties such as wind, gravity, and collision detection.

trueSpace5.2 will be available in December 2001 for $595 with 60 days of technical support. Current trueSpace5.1 users will be able to upgrade for $99; the upgrade is free for proTeam subscribers. For more information contact Caligari by telephone at 800-351-7620 or 650-390-9600.

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Top Selling Animation and FX DVDs
(by Here is a list of the current top selling animation and FX DVDs at Animation and FX DVDs are in 10 of the top 20 positions for sales. Tomb Raider, particularly has climbed the chart in the last several weeks.

Rank Title Genre Price
1 Shrek Animation $19.95
2 Tomb Raider FX $22.49
3 Star Wars: The Phantom Menace FX $22.95
7 Planet of the Apes FX $23.95
8 The Simpsons: Complete First Season Animation $29.98
9 Pearl Harbor FX $22.49
10 Jurassic Park 3 FX $20.24
15 Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within Animation $22.46
17 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Animation $19.95
19 The Mummy Returns FX $19.99

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News Link of the Day - Denver FX Company Takes Emmy Home

According to the Denver Business Journal:

"...Cyberdyne Systems Corp. won an Emmy award the first time it was nominated for one, but the victory was bittersweet.

The Denver-based graphic design company received the honor for its 30-second, animated sequence that opened a Disney TV program called 'Sea of Sharks.' Designers basically 'painted' an underwater scene on a shark..."

Click here for the full story.

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