SolidSound

This was commissioned by Hewlett Packard, Alias Software (now part of Autodesk) and the Watershed Media Centre (Bristol, UK), as part of the SE3D project.

SE3D was essentially a Research and Development project initiated by HP. They’re developing something called the ‘Utility Render Service’, which is basically an enormous server ‘farm’ (literally thousands of computers sitting in a room somewhere in California) for 3D animation. This facility can be rented as required, potentially giving access to the kind of render power the likes of Pixar and Dreamworks use to… well, people who aren’t Pixar or Dreamworks. So, to test the service, 11 projects were commissioned from small media companies or individuals, and I was one of them. With some extra funding from Arts and Business, I was paired up with Supernatural Studios, a new production company in London.

This was really an R&D project on a personal level too. Much of the project was devoted to developing a piece of software (imaginatively titled ‘soundtracker’), which allows various parameters of sounds to be extracted and applied to any aspect of animation (in, in this case, Maya). So, the motion, cameras, lighting and even geometry are all derived from the sound in this demonstration piece. I think there’s a lot of potential in these techniques, and that we only just scratched the surface here. One day I’ll do a follow-up (and more substantial) piece. One day…

in Video