University Film and Graphics Innovators to Converge, Compete for Imagine Cup 2004 World Championships

REDMOND, Wash., June 16, 2004 — Microsoft Corp. today announced worldwide finalists for the Imagine Cup 2004 short film and rendering invitationals, honoring the university teams for forging new territory in film and rendering through the fusion of artistic exploration and high technology. Ten teams representing nine countries on four continents were declared finalists by a community of their peers through online voting. The 10 teams will showcase their breakthroughs in digital film and computer-generated animation next month at the Imagine Cup 2004 finals in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

“These teams represent not only innovation in technology, but also innovation in storytelling and visual art overall,” said Morris Sim, senior director of the Academic and Developer Community Group in the Servers and Tools Division at Microsoft. “We are inspired by the depth of their skill and creativity — they are showing the rest of us what’s possible in short film and rendering in the years ahead. And most rewarding of all is the fact that their peers handpicked them to head to Brazil next month.”

“I spent a great evening of fun viewing the short films as the community voting process began,” said Kevin Durdle, of the Canadian short-film team. “Some friends and I had a little film festival in our living room. I must admit that most of the Imagine Cup film submissions were just outstanding!”

“It’s always a thrill to see what great work with digital film is being done by students, and to have that talent exposed through activities like the Imagine Cup,” said John Manulis, CEO and lead producer of Visionbox Pictures, who will be on hand at the Imagine Cup worldwide finals. “I am very excited to head down to Brazil and share the creative process with these students. I expect to learn a thing or two myself.”

Following are the short-film invitational finalists:

  • Canada. Kevin Durdle, Nick Haffie-Emslie, Tom Gordon and Toben Alexander, representing the University of Western Ontario, produced a film in which a man comes to learn that true innovation is impossible until one has broadened his or her understanding of the world.

  • China. Eric Foster and Wang Renchao, representing East China Normal University, created a movie about a college boy who records sounds that can be heard throughout the world, such as a bird chirping or a passer-by’s whisper. The film comments on the contributions people make to the world around them, even when contributions are made unconsciously.

  • Germany. Thomas Bedenk, Lars Fischer, Jenny Meissner and Stefanie Schiessl, representing the Georg-Simon-Ohm-Fachhochschule Nrnberg University of Applied Sciences, created a music video titled “The Storm,” which tells a story about a man imprisoned by his split personalities.

  • Romania. Adrian Baragan, Emilian Baragan and Marius Patrascanu, representing the Faculty of Computer Science of Romania, developed an animated film that follows the human race from the dawn of civilization to the modern day and beyond — finally positing that humanity is the greatest of all achievements.

  • United States. Benjamin Eachus, Jessica Inocencio, Gregory Marx and Andrew McConnon, representing Princeton University, produced a short film epitomizing the ideals and mores governing the 1950s social relationships of suburban youth. The film — through improvisational dance routines — addresses how these ideals have transformed over the years.

Following are the rendering invitational finalists:

  • Belgium. Charles-Frederik Hollemeersch, Wesley De Neve and Elisabeth Hollemeersch, representing Ghent University, created an application that evokes the sea in all its aspects, from the vivid reefs to the murky depths. All source code was written and compiled using Microsoft® DirectX® 9.0 and Visual Studio®
    .NET 2003.

  • China. Liu Hongchun, Ning Wei, Liu Feixiong and Li Xiaoyi, representing Beijing University of Technology, developed an application that visualizes the ancient Chinese myth of the dragon using DirectX 9.0 technology. The application features two dragons and focuses on the rivalry of might and wealth that exists between the two adversaries.

  • Columbia. Juan Esteban Mora Palacio, Andres Felipe Serna, Andres Felipe Tabares and Andres Fernando Gonzalez, representing Universidad de Antioquia, developed “SpaceBattle,” a 3-D game for the PC. In the game, a player controls a ship that has to battle against space invaders who want to destroy a friendly base in the middle of an interplanetary war. The game was developed with DirectX 9.0 and Visual C++®
    .

  • Lithuania. Aras Pranckevicius and Paulius Liekis, representing Kaunas University of Technology, developed a noninteractive program titled “The Fly” that displays real-time 3-D graphics, such as organic scenes, animation and other graphic effects, and plays music. “The Fly” was developed using DirectX 9.0 and Visual C++.

  • Vietnam. Ngon Pham, representing HCM University of Technology, developed a programming tool dubbed 3DProS that is designed to help people create 3-D animation sequences and solve graphic problems easily by dragging and dropping. 3DProS was developed using DirectX 9.0 and the Microsoft .NET Framework.

The 10 teams’ final entries can be viewed at http://www.imaginecup.com/ .

About Imagine Cup and the Short Film and Rendering Invitationals

The Imagine Cup, now in its second year, is a worldwide competition designed to provide an outlet for students to explore technological and artistic interests outside the classroom. This year Microsoft expanded Imagine Cup to include additional categories, conducted in an online forum, designed to highlight a blend of technology and art. More than 10,000 students from over 90 countries competed in the four Imagine Cup 2004 invitationals, including software design, rendering, algorithm and short film.

About Microsoft

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