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On 4/10/96 Jeff Miller wrote:

>I'm hoping to work on some computer-animated dinosaurs in the
>not-to-distant future. ever see Jurassic Park? then you know what i'm...

>My main concern is that this thing be ACCURATE. this 'dataset' is
>gonna cost big bucks and I wanna make sure it's done right. for this
>to happen i need public opinion of what is 'accurate'.  if anyone
>could send me ANY and all T Rex art pages on the web it would be a

1) Judging by how you are planning to animate the T-Rex using Lightwave 3-d
on the config you've got, your beautiful digital model that you're paying
big bucks for is going to look robotic in its movements and jerky like
traditional stop-motion Ray Harryhausen animation.

        A) In order to re-create Jurassic Park quality computer
animation, you need a modeler than can simulate muscle movement
underneath the skin using "patch mesh" modeling. I don't think
Lightwave 3-d has this capability. If I remember correctly, ILM used
Alias software and modified it to create the patch mesh modeler,
basically making Jurassic Park proprietary software. I would ask
Viewpoint whether their model will be capable of animating undulating
muscle as the animal moves. Also, using Lightwave as the animation
tool may be limiting. It has an inverse kinematics feature, which
basically treats a model as a "marionette". This is ok but a realistic
T-Rex's movements are more dynamic than that of a puppet.

        B) Also, Once you go to render your animated sequence, you need a
renderer that has fractal motion blur capability. This is the most critical
factor for photo realism and the reason that Jurassic Park sequences were
successful. It illiminates the jerkiness associated with stop-motion
animation. I would suggest using Electric Image for the animation. It has
excellent motion blur tools. It's available on the PC platform ($6,800.00)
and was actually used in JP.

>oh yeah, if yer curious, here's the system i'll be animating the rex
>on: Single p166 /w 1.6 Mode 4 IDE, 98.3 megs of ram, 512 pipeline
>burst cache, 6x cdrom, SB16, Windows NT Server 3.51, Lightwave 3-d
>version 4.0.

You need more RAM (I'd say 150-200 MB).

>Coming soon-(when i can afford it) dual/quad/hex pentium system for
>batch rendering. Digital Perception's PVR /w Live capture
>daughterboard. 9 gig Seagate Barracuda SCSI-2 widw A/V. and a new

You actually need the video compression board and the disk array now. The
good news is you can get by without the new mouse though.

>"SGI? Why?"

My guess is that you are going to find out "Why SGI" soon enough.

I have been working in digital 3-D animation for a couple of years and
would love a chance at doing some Jurassic Park dinosaurs, especially for
some hard science documentaries, but it just doesn't exist outside of ILM
yet with off-the-shelf software. Who besides George Lucas or Steven
Spielberg has the money? If anybody has the resources to set me up I'd love
to do it for you...

Steve Lazarus