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Industrial Light and Magic, George Lucass own effects company is the force behind many of the major advancements to take place in CGI in recent years. Alongside Lucasfilm Ltd., ILM has put together five of the top 20 grossing films of all time.
Pixar is the company responsible for A Bugs Life, both Toy Story movies, and the upcoming feature Monsters. Box office and video receipts from this one company total well over $1 billion.
PDI is the CGI-wing of the Dreamworks movie studio, producing Antz and most recently Shrek. They have also provided visual effects for A.I., Evolution, The Mexican, and Mission Impossible II.
This movie has set a new milestone for realistic animation, with characters and scenery that are so realistic its surreal. In the Production area of this site is a brief explanation of what the animators went through to make the characters this realistic, from the concise modeling of skin textures to the study of kinesiology, to the study of fabric textures.
If you want to get into animation youre probably going to need at the very least a hardware upgrade and some very expensive 3D modeling software. VFXPro is a site dedicated to "The Art, Technology and Business of Special Effects." Its a good place to pick up tips and find out whos using what and why. You can download special effects, check out the latest hardware, and, if youre a beginner, get an overview of what its all about.
www.vfs.com / www.eciad.bc.ca
While you can teach yourself the art of 3D animation, it could take years to learn the skills to do it well. The Vancouver Film School and Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design both offer full and part-time animation courses.
The following sites may also be of use:
www.3dcafe.com The 3D Café is a hub for skills development, tools, and industry news
www.webreference.com/3d/ The 3D Animation Workshop
www.sgi.com SGI Entertainment, with animation examples, software links and reviews.