ILM Uses Softimage 3D to Create Summer Blockbuster Movies

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 5, 1997 — Softimage Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp., announced today at SIGGRAPH ’97 that Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) used Softimage® 3D to create breathtaking special effects for its hottest films coming out this summer, including “The Lost World: Jurassic Park,” “Men in Black,” “Spawn” and “Speed 2: Cruise Control.” All four films push the artistic envelope and set new standards for stunning visual effects and realistic character animation. Softimage is proud to be a software provider to the artists and developers at ILM and applauds their tremendous success this year.

ILM continues to strengthen its relationship with Softimage and recently purchased a significant number of new Softimage 3D licenses. ILM’s added investment in Softimage 3D will be used to push the envelope in special effects in future films such as “Flubber” and “Saving Private Ryan.”

“We faced our greatest challenges to date this season in the seamless integration of computer animation with live action,” said H.B. Siegel, chief technology officer, ILM. “Softimage 3D continues to play an important role in allowing us to creatively deliver the most realistic and believable animation.”

“The Lost World: Jurassic Park” Reaches New Heights in Animation

With a record-breaking opening May 25, 1997, “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” went beyond what was seen in its predecessor, “Jurassic Park.” With much more complex choreography, extreme dinosaur movements, physical contact with real actors, and realistic interaction with the dinosaurs’ environment, this film used state-of-the-art software and hardware in ways never before done. The original “Jurassic Park” had 6.5 minutes of ILM work; “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” has more than 28 minutes of ILM work. This 28 minutes includes more than 11 types of dinosaurs, with some scenes showing as many as 40 dinosaurs at a time, all animated using Softimage 3D.

Using constraint controls, expressions and other tools in Softimage 3D, ILM redefined its methods for chaining characters. For instance, in the earlier version of “Jurassic Park,” to rotate a dinosaur’s head, animators had to manually enter rotations for the individual chains in the neck to make the motion taper realistically down the neck. With the new version, ILM was able to write a single expression for twisting the dinosaur body that provides realistic rotation that tapers along the length of the body.

“Men in Black” Takes 3-D Animation to Another Planet

Released July 2, 1997, “Men in Black” explodes with entertaining 3-D elements ranging from space bugs, aliens and flying saucers to a 3-D supercar that flies around and drives on a tunnel’s ceiling. Softimage 3D was used to create all the animation. The characters were created in a hybrid manner, with overall motion created using Softimage 3D and signature facial expressions created using ILM’s proprietary CARICATURE software.


“Spawn,” released Aug. 1 by New Line Cinemas, is an action adventure based on the comic-book character by the same name. The story revolves around a government assassin who is brought back to life as a superhero with supernatural powers years after being murdered by his own agency. For this project, ILM used Softimage 3D to animate the intriguing 3-D characters Spawn (with his body armor and utility belt), Violator and Clown.

“Speed 2: Cruise Control”

“Speed 2: Cruise Control,” released June 6 by Twentieth Century Fox Productions, centers on the suspenseful hijacking of an ocean liner. ILM was presented with the intriguing task of making a huge ocean liner that could crash realistically into supertankers, a harbor town and more. With Softimage 3D, ILM was able to animate the ocean liner and its parts in a way that was both authentic and believable to viewers.

Softimage Information

Founded in 1986, Softimage develops software for media-rich applications including video, film, interactive games and CD-ROM applications. Products include Softimage 3D (high-end animation), Softimage Eddie (compositing) and Toonz (2-D cel animation). Additional information about Softimage and Microsoft can be found via the Internet at and , respectively.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

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