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NVIDIA and Jim Henson's Creature Shop to bring cinematic computing to life

Courtesy of NVIDIA
January 8, 2004

NVIDIA Corporation announced that it has teamed up with Academy Award-winning Jim Henson's Creature Shop, one of the pre-eminent character-building visual effects facilities serving the international film, television, and advertising industries. By way of this collaboration, The Creature Shop is using NVIDIA Quadro graphics technology to assist in the creation of digital versions of its characters, which are some of the most complex 3D characters in the film and television industry today.

For CES, NVIDIA and The Creature Shop will introduce "Dawn". Introduced in conjunction with the NVIDIA GeForce FX graphics processing unit (GPU), "Dawn", the world's most detailed realtime, 3D human character, was developed to showcase what is possible with cinematic computing. With the Henson Digital Performance Studio, "Dawn" will be controlled using puppetry to interact with show attendees.

"By having the ability to control characters down to eyelid blinks and facial animations, we're able to bring a whole new meaning to 'cinematic computing'."

- Dan Vivoli, executive vice
president of marketing at NVIDIA

"For more than 20 years, The Creature Shop has produced amazing characters for film, TV, and advertising," said Dan Vivoli, executive vice president of marketing at NVIDIA. "By using the unique skills of Jim Henson's Creature Shop we were able to add a new dimension to our demos, allowing us the ability to "perform" expressions of computer generated characters in real-time. By having the ability to control characters down to eyelid blinks and facial animations, we're able to bring a whole new meaning to 'cinematic computing'."

The Henson Digital Performance Studio (HDPS) is the patented performance animation technology based on Henson's award-winning control systems. Through this technology, a digital character can converse live and give dynamic interactive performances that can be used for both entertainment and educational purposes. Character performances can be broadcast live or recorded, generating a very high yield of animation per minute-while using digital "puppets" to communicate.

"NVIDIA's vision is much like ours, to deliver something fantastic, something that makes people smile," stated Jeff Forbes, Computer/Electronics Supervisor, Jim Henson's Creature Shop. "With the power of NVIDIA graphics technology, we now have access to state-of-the-art computer graphics to combine with our animatronics, puppeteering technology to delivering stunning realtime computer generated characters for everything from live events and promotions, television, online, and game development."

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