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DreamWorks Animation CTO Lincoln Wallen discusses digital distribution at CES
The Role of Supervising Technical Directors
It’s no secret that it takes a rather large village to create an animated film. One look at the scrolling end credits of a DreamWorks Animation production such as our latest, “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted,” reveals the hundreds of professionals responsible for creating stories that are both entertaining and visually arresting.
Vital to the communal nature of animated filmmaking are the Supervising Technical Directors, or Sup TDs. They’re the ones who turn on the lights, metaphorically speaking, at the start of production, and they’re the folks who turn them out at the end.
In simplest terms, Sup TDs manage all the technology (software and hardware) for a feature film so that the moviemaking process is a seamless and efficient one from start to finish. But they’re not just techies. Yes, they’re troubleshooters and technical whizzes but, because they work with many different aspects of the production, they’re translators and ambassadors between departments as well. They also oversee the Technical Directors (TDs) that are imbedded in almost every department of production from modeling, animation and layout to surfacing and lighting.
They say money can’t buy happiness, but it can stop an angry mob! In Sequence 1450 from Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, nearly 1,200 Euros are thrown/animated into the air during the chase scene.
Congratulations to our very own Lincoln Wallen, Head of Animation Technology, on his honorary degree from the University of Edinburgh! Before embarking on a career in entertainment, Lincoln was a professor at Oxford University where he researched mathematics and foundational approaches to computer science. He has a degree in Math and Physics from Durham University and a PhD in Artificial Intelligence from University of Edinburgh. Congratulations Lincoln!
We have BIG NEWS to share on this Technology Tuesday! To bring the scale of the Circus to life in Sequence 2050 from Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted; we created the largest, most detailed crowd in our film’s history with 35,361 characters in the scene!
It’s Technology Tuesday and we wanted to touch on how we bring our characters to life. To animate a character you need to create “controls” that will allow you to add movement. These controls are like strings on a marionette. In terms of controls, the most complex character DreamWorks Animation has is the Hideous Zippleback from How To Train Your Dragon, which has a jaw-dropping 3,557 controls on his body! Hiccup by comparison has 868.