CafeFX feasts on animation

Category: Nim's Island News | Posted by: admin
Article Date: July 20, 2007 | Publication: The Hollywood Reporter | Author: Carolyn Giardina
Publication/Article Link:The Hollywood Reporter

Feature film visual effects facility CafeFX has launched a character-animation division, led by Academy Award-nominated animation supervisor James Straus.

The idea for the new unit was born when the company created the characters for "Pan's Labyrinth," CafeFX CEO Jeff Barnes said. "We started getting a lot of interest in more character-animation work," he said.

The company has been building an animation pipeline that would operate parallel with the company's visual effects business. The pipeline includes Autodesk Maya at its core for animation and modeling, Softimage XSI for texturing and lighting and Mental Ray for rendering. Plans call for the addition of more animators, specialized hardware and software as well as in-house training. "We are increasing the quality and efficiency of what we have," Straus said.

The new capabilities also will be available for production at Sententia Entertainment, CafeFX's feature film production division, whose credits include "Pan's Labyrinth."

Straus' first project at CafeFX will be character creation for the Frank Darabont-helmed "The Mist," an adaptation of the Stephen King science fiction story in which numerous species of horrific creatures emerge in a small town in Maine after a massive thunderstorm.

Also in production at CafeFX are visual effects for "The Kite Runner," "John Adams" and "Nim's Island." Recent credits include "Evan Almighty," "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" and "Spider-Man 3."

Straus was nominated for an Academy Award for best visual effects for his contributions to "Dragonheart," and he served as directing animator on "Shrek."