HONG KONG - The newly released animated film “Astro Boy” brings the iconic Japanese manga character to movie theaters. Filmmaker Imagi International Holdings Limited (HKEx: 585) created “Astro Boy” with Autodesk Maya software from Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ:ADSK). Maya was at the core of Imagi Studios’ around-the-clock production pipeline spanning Hong Kong and Hollywood.
Osamu Tezuka first created the manga series about Astro Boy, a permanently youthful robot boy, in the 1950s. Quickly gaining popularity, it was developed into a black-and-white televised cartoon in 1963 -- the first Japanese TV series with an aesthetic that later became known worldwide as anime. On October 23, 2009, “Astro Boy” made its cinematic debut as a fully animated feature film.
Imagi Studios invested US$65 million to create “Astro Boy.” The company’s production pipeline included concept and character development, script writing and preliminary design work by its Los Angeles team; and a Hong Kong team of more than 400 artists focused on modeling, texturing, animation, lighting, rendering and compositing.
Francis Kao, founder and creative director of Imagi Studios, said, “We chose Autodesk Maya as our animation platform for ‘Astro Boy’ because of its openness, creative tools, and large pool of trained artists. We relied on the software’s powerful feature set, and our programmers also developed custom plug-ins for Maya, enabling us to efficiently create high-quality animation.”
Imagi Studios’ principal business is the development and production of computer-generated films. Released in 2007, the company’s animated film “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” was also made with Maya. The film opened in top position at the U.S. box office -- a first for an animated film created in Asia.
“For ‘Astro Boy’ foliage simulation we used the Maya software’s paint effects together with our in-house plug-in,” said Johnny Mak, head of technical operations at Imagi Studios. “Having relied on Maya for many years, we’ve seen great advancements in the software’s capabilities. It continually helps us deliver world-class animation.”
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