September 2009 Newsletter
From ANIMUSIC director Wayne Lytle
Thank you all for lots of happy feedback (email, comments in orders, etc.). We really do appreciate all the enthusiasm and encouragement that's been sent our way.
Of all the questions we get, the majority have to do with the status of our 3rd DVD, which will have the very clever title of ANIMUSIC 3. Anywhere from "Are you still working on it?" (Yes, we are) to "Is it almost done?" (No, unfortunately not).
We do have some production images here on our newly updated web site, with more to come. It's really fun working with ANIMUSIC|studio (our proprietary production software) at this point...building instruments is kind of like snapping together Lego pieces. And after trying more renderers than you'd ever believe, we're now integrating with mental ray, which is personally my favorite renderer ever (and I've used a quite a few over the last 20 years or so).
To help push things along, we hired a full-time software developer who was a friend way back at Cornell in the 80's -- Ben Trumbore. We'd been out of contact for a few years, but it turns out he lives practically just down the street. So it's been great to offload a lot of technical stuff to Ben, especially the rendering-related stuff, but also some of the "fancy math" part of our music animation algorithms. (Well, it's fancy to me, anyway...since I think all math is fancy.)
One of the other fun things we can do now that we couldn't for our previous two productions is driving sound from animation, not just driving animation from music. While this is something that's not all that uncommon, particularly in video games, it's nice to be able to automate the timing of sound effects like a door opening or an instrument stand unfolding. Doing it manually in post production is both time-consuming and inaccurate. So that's another positive development.
For those of you that are into digital music software, this time around we're working with Propellerhead Reason pretty much exclusively at the moment. ANIMUSIC|studio is used for all the sequencing, but we pump MIDI out, across the LAN, and into Reason running on a separate machine. Fun stuff.
So when will the fun be done so we can share it with you? Sometime in 2010 is the best answer we can give. It's probably not the answer you wanted, nor us, but building ANIMUSIC|studio has consumed an exorbitant amount of time, resources, and energy. I think it's been worth it.
Thank you all for being (mostly) patient; and actually being impatient for ANIMUSIC 3 isn't really such a bad thing...
If you'd like to get news updates via email, just sign up for our newsletter.