TechEd Day 1: Keynote with Animal Logic

Frank Arrigo formally kicked off Microsoft TechEd Australia today with an early morning keynote at the Gold Coast Convention Center. He was joined by a bunch of actors dressed as tourists pretending to be discovering TechEd, as a holiday destination. Weird, but I can live with it. Here was the introduction appetizer video teaser.

DSCN1335The featured speaker was Michael Twigg, production resource manager at Animal Logic. If you think you haven’t heard of Animal Logic before, then you’re not alone. Whilst most people have probably come across their work at least once, they don’t receive nearly as much credit as they deserve. I would even rank them alongside Industrial Light and Magic (Star Wars) as the leaders in the digital visual effects industry. Some of their fine work include The Matrix (Original and Reloaded), House of Flying Daggers, Lord of the Ring: The Fellowship of the Ring, 300, and their recent feature baby, Happy Feet.

From what I have heard, some attendees weren’t too impressed with the keynote (speaker). I’m guessing their reasoning is that it has no direct relevance to Microsoft or anything that benefits their professional career, which is what they paid thousands of dollars for. Reasonable. However since I’m here not here to ‘learn’ anything, and being a movie junkie, I was very impressed.

Some other highlights with photo from the keynote:

I weren’t kidding about the tourists. They were taking pictures and everything.

Some of Frank‘s LOLCat slides.

Making of Carlton Draught’s “Big Ad”. Includes storyboard sketches, 3D models, animations and AI tests.

Making of “300”. Includes early artistic concepts.

Making of “Matrix Reloaded”. Includes concept and research to come up with the Twins’ “smoke” effect.

Making of “Happy Feet”. Includes research on penguins, “Mumbles” prototypes, models, animation and scene design.

Side note: Sorry for my out-of-order TechEd coverage, but I had to wait a few hours for the high-definition video captures from the keynote by the official recorders. Worth the wait over my 640×480 30-second clips from my camera. Speaking of which, special thanks to Howorth PR and video editors for delivering this high-quality video feed in a very timely manner.

14 insightful thoughts

  1. Well, the Animal Logic website seems to be down…so we won’t know what its connection with Microsoft is until they fix it. Maybe they use Windows or something…wait…I think they do. I remember watching a bonus feature video within Happy Feet and remember vividly seeing Windows PC’s instead of Mac’s (Pixar) or Unix (HP+Dreamworks). I’ll go ahead and make sure though, it could have been another movie…lol.

  2. For those Australians among us, I’m pretty sure Animal Logic does the title sequences for Spicks and Specks and At the Movies, and probably a few other ABC shows too.

  3. Visuals of that opening video were good, and I really like the concept of “making your mark” coupled with the painted fingers. It’s the music that is so ridiculous. I’m choosing to believe they were going for a kind of parody of a very poor rap song. Lyrics were inane, delivery was less than rhythmical (which is actually pretty important in a rap song), and the music behind it all was — to quote Zack — “cheesy.”

    The Animal Logic video was far better, and you are right: I recognized a lot of their work when I saw it. Music here worked great, but I do wish they could have used some sections from their film that were a bit slower. I know the point was to dazzle, and speed can have that effect, but it made it hard to see the brilliance of their actual work since I could never really sort out what I was seeing before the footage moved on to something else.

  4. What is interesting is that this Animal Logic did had its involvement with one of my favorite films, Happy Feet. That is really cool! Animal Logic remained so humble despite of their successful endeavors. I wish I will hear and read more stories about them.

Leave a Reply