THE GAYAN GLOSSARY OR HOW AN ANIMATED FILM COMES ABOUT (2) SEE PREVIOUS PAGE
SURFACES: Surfaces can range from being as smooth as glass to being deeply indented. This is accounted for using a "shading network". Whether we are dealing with rough surfaces, textiles or something like driftwood or similar, both the raised and the indented parts of these surface can only be seen as a result of light and shade. The impression of a relief surface can be created with a light/shadow effect. A "bump map" is used to describe the location of bumps and hollows. No colour information is required. Grey values are used. Raised areas are depicted as light areas and indentations as dark areas.
Colour, textural surface, transparency, reflection, refraction and luminosity are important categories for 3D specialists when they are creating or recreating materials. But these only represent the basic parameters of a texturer's craft. Highly complex descriptions are needed to create each different material.
Colour: Colour is usually the first step when creating a particular material. The information can be drawn from a photo, but it can also be produced directly by computer. At any rate "maps" have to be laid down so they can be placed next to one another like tiles. Every map consists of red, green and blue. Extra features are then added to them - either jointly or individually - to create a material that looks believable.
We can only see objects because of reflection. An object's appearance is determined by how it reflects the light that hits it. Every material reacts very specifically and that needs to be exactly described for the simulation. A reflection map is used to define the reflective effects in certain areas of a 3D object. Grey values are used to define shiny and matt areas.
Digital characters are brought to life using animation. Living beings - humans, animals, Gayans or Schnurks - move in an extremely complex manner. Animators need to have extremely keen powers of observation to be able to produce convincing digital animation. Gestures and movements are the characters' most important means of expression after speech. Often feelings and moods have to be conveyed very rapidly with them.
A distinction is made between first, second and third degree movement. Walking, running and jumping belong to the first category. If further actions occur during this first movement - for example, if a character catches an object when running and takes part in a dialogue in which its face also has to make the appropriate expressions - then these would be second and third degree movements.
For "Back to Gaya" first degree movements were recorded using the "Motion Capture System" (see Actors). Second and third degree movements were added by the animators "by hand". The motion-related data can be collated and then calculated separately.
To emulate the play of expressions, you have to add various extreme facial expressions together. These are what is known as "shapes". You can use them, for example, to mix "hearty laughter" with "amazement" by percentage. This mixing of "shapes" is known as "shape morphing".
Mouth movements are mixed together in this way to simulate the act of speaking. To make different phonemes (units of sound) we have to hold our mouths in a whole variety of different ways. When sounds follow one another in a sequence, the phonetic shapes merge into one another. This is how a digital film hero achieves lip synchronisation. As they are putting together the character's lip movements, animators check in the mirror what shapes their own mouths make when producing the sounds of the dialogue.
Real actors are also used in animation films during motion capturing. They act out the digital characters' movements to provide the animators with real life models. Their appearance is largely insignificant. What counts is their miming ability. During filming the actors wear special jerseys that have three reflective balls attached to them around each of the actor's joint areas. The jerseys each have a total of around 70 reflectors.
An actor's movements are filmed by at least three infrared cameras simultaneously. A computer calculates the spatial co-ordinates of each of the individual reflectors from the data provided by all three cameras. The angles formed by the actor's limbs can be determined from the way the three reflectors around their joints interrelate. The measurements of these various limb positions in space are then connected to a simplified computer skeleton. The computer makes the relevant calculations almost immediately. This means that the actor's movements can be followed on a computer monitor during filming.
The computer skeleton is then in turn connected to a digital character. This enables the figure to take on the skeleton's movements. This process involves extremely time consuming calculations and therefore cannot be observed in "real time".
In practice it is often the case that more than three cameras are used during filming because reflectors are often concealed by parts of the body. The raw data supplied by the system also frequently requires considerable reworking. But this process is almost always worthwhile because an animation that uses motion capturing looks more convincing and is less time consuming than one completed entirely by hand.
LENARD F. KRAWINKEL - director
Lenard Fritz Krawinkel was born on 23 January 1966 in Hanover, Germany. He attended a Waldorf School and went on to study medicine in Budapest, Geneva and Berlin. In 1990 he started working in various editorial capacities for a number of regional TV magazine shows. In 1993 he decided to go to the US after being awarded a scholarship. In Hollywood he worked on the TV show "Entertainment Tonight".
From 1993 to 1996 he studied directing at the Munich Academy for Television and Film and at La Fémis in Paris. He started making his first short films and documentaries, along with commercials (for Disney) and music videos while he was still a student. In 1997 he made three films for television.
In 2000 Krawinkel wrote and directed his first film, "Sumo Bruno", for the cinema. Since then he has been working on "Back to Gaya" with his firm Ambient Entertainment in Hanover.
Holger Tappe - Production
Holger Tappe was born in 1969 and trained as a photographer at a photographic school in Berlin before studying "new media design" at the University of Applied Sciences in Hanover. As a photo designer he worked for clients that included Melitta and Bahlsen while also working as a cameraman in music videos. From 1995 onwards he worked as a director and cameraman making commercials for the likes of VW. He also designed cyber games, large screen projections and trade fair presentations (CeBIT Home, EXPO 2000).
He set up Ambient Entertainment as managing shareholder in 1999. Since then he has been working on the development and production of "Back to Gaya".
JAN BERGER - Scriptwriter
Berger was born in 1970 in Berlin. In 1998 he completed his M.A. in philosophy and German literature at Berlin's Free University. He started writing scripts while he was a student.
Berger was the co-scriptwriter on Lenard Krawinkel's first film for cinema "Sumo Bruno". In 2000 he wrote the script for Martin Walz's TV film "Ein Nachtclub voller Narren". Berger also wrote the script for Walz's short feature film "Spielerfrauen". Along with Fatih Akin and Ruth Toma Berger wrote the script for Anno Saul's forthcoming film "Kebab Connection". His script for "Showdown" is currently being produced. Another of his project's "Ofsayt" (script: Buket Alakus, Berger) is being prepared for production.
Berger is currently working on Ambient Entertainment's next project "Jules Verne gegen den Herrscher der Welt".
MICHAEL KAMEN - Music
Michael Kamen had one of the richest and most varied careers as a top musician. Born in New York, he went on to attend the city's High School of Music and Art. He studied oboe at the Juilliard School and also during this period set up the New York Rock'n'Roll Ensemble, which fused classical music and rock. He appeared with this group in Leonard Bernstein's famous "Young People's Concerts with the New York Philharmonic". Under Bernstein Kamen learned how to compose and arrange music for symphony orchestras. First of all, he concentrated on music for ballet (in total he composed ten ballets, including works for Alvin Ailey, Louis Falco, the Joffrey Ballet and La Scala in Milan). Practically at the same time in 1976 he began turning to Hollywood, as well as starting to arrange pop and rock songs, working together with Pink Floyd on their album "The Wall".
Kamen established a reputation as one of the industry's most important film composers, writing more than 75 film tracks. He created scores to all of the "Lethal Weapon" films, to the "Die Hard" series, "Highlander", "Brazil", "Mona Lisa", "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves", "Don Juan DeMarco", "101 Dalmatians", "Mr. Holland's Opus", "From the Earth to the Moon", "X-Men" and the much-feted HBO series "Band of Brothers", which was produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg.
Kamen was nominated for an Oscar on three occasions, twice for a Golden Globe and once for an Emmy. He won a Grammy four times. Along with Richard Dreyfuss, who was nominated for an Oscar for his performance as the exemplary music teacher Mr. Holland, he set up the non-profitmaking foundation "Mr. Holland's Opus" to provide children from less well-off families with musical instruments. The foundation has donated musical instruments worth more than seven million dollars so far. In recent years Kamen brought together the world of pop, rock and jazz with symphonic music, inviting stars as varied as Eric Clapton, David Sanborn, the Chieftains, Aerosmith, the Eurythmics, Bob Dylan and Luciano Pavarotti to perform to his orchestral arrangements.
In 1999 Kamen arranged, orchestrated and conducted two sell-out concerts with the group Metallica and the San Francisco Orchestra. Six million copies have been sold of the double CD album, "S&M", of this live concert. At the 2003 Grammy Awards, Kamen conducted his own arrangements for the group Coldplay and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.
In 2001 Kamen was commissioned to compose a special piece ("The Fire Within") for the Olympic Winter Games in 2002. He also conducted this music at the opening ceremony in Salt Lake City. Kamen was appointed music director of the celebrations at Buckingham Palace to mark Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee, which were watched by people across the world. Recently, he was appointed house composer by the Young Musicians Foundation in Los Angeles. This non-profit organisation supports talented young musicians in a number of ways.
Before starting work on his last film score "Back to Gaya" Kamen completed the scores for two US films: "Against the Ropes" with Meg Ryan and "Open Range" (Open Range), directed by Kevin Costner.
Michael Kamen died suddenly on 18 November 2003 in London.
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