Rock Band 2. Image courtesy of Harmonix.

Rock Band 2. Image courtesy of Harmonix.

The folks at Autodesk have a great product. While the Autodesk suite is made up of of an astounding array of software, many of their 3-D visualization titles that have became industry standards in special effects development. Autodesk’s software is the workhorse behind movies like G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen as well as video games like Gears of War 2 and Rock Band 2.

Blast recently sat down with Maurice Patel, entertainment industry manager at Autodesk:

Blast: Tell us a little about Autodesk and your software products.

Patel: Autodesk software is the secret sauce behind many of the movies, games and TV ads you see today: from G.I. Joe to Evian’s skating babies. We also make design software for everything from automotive design to architecture. Our digital solutions provide powerful tools for building greener buildings, eliminating wasteful physical prototypes and helping build a better, more sustainable, human environment. Our entertainment software is used to create compelling entertainment from 3D stereo movies like ‘Monsters and Aliens’ to games like ‘Rock Band.’

Blast: What exactly is your software used for in video game production?

Patel: Our software is used in many places throughout the entertainment production chain. Products like Autodesk 3ds Max and Autodesk Maya are used for visualizing, prototyping and testing ideas; for building detailed scenes and texturing and lighting them and for creating compelling digital characters like Altair.

Autodesk also develops middleware solutions that give artificial intelligence to digital characters so that they behave more realistically in the game. If you have played games like Assassin’s Creed you’ll have seen technology in action. When Altair, runs, rides and jumps our middleware makes sure he doesn’t slip and slide but interacts realistically with objects and the environment.

Photos by CIS Hollywood. Copyright: (c) 2009 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

Photos by CIS Hollywood. Copyright: (c) 2009 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

Blast: What makes your software different then similar software on the market?

Patel: There are many things. Firstly we believe we have some of the best tools for making compelling, believable digital characters and imbibing them with great performances. Obviously the tool is only as great as the artists that use them, the talent that makes the game, movie or TV ad so spectacular, but we strive to provide them with great technology so that they can be truly free to experiment and try out new ideas. This is done by focusing on interaction “" making things perform fast enough to provide immediate feedback, as well as by creating sophisticated tools that enable artists to produce the highest quality work without compromise. Also the diversity of our product portfolio helps us take the best techniques from one area and apply them in another “" such as compositing images or tracking objects “" and enables us to provide customers with more efficient production workflows

Blast: What projects has your software been used on in the past?

Patel: Wow, where to begin the list is very long; Autodesk software has been used to create countless movies, commercials, TV shows and video games.

Recent movies created with Autodesk solutions include: “Ëœ9′ “ËœG.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra’ “ËœStar Trek’ “ËœTransformers: Revenge of the Fallen’ “ËœTerminator Salvation’ and “ËœHarry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.’ Many of this year’s Oscar-winning and nominated films were also created with Autodesk software, such as “ËœThe Curious Case of Benjamin Button’ “ËœIron Man’ “ËœThe Dark Knight’ and “ËœKung Fu Panda.’

Popular video games created with Autodesk art creation tools and middleware solutions include: “ËœFIFA 09′ “ËœRock Band 2′ “ËœPrince of Persia’ “ËœWarhammer Online: Age of Reckoning’ “ËœAmerica’s Army’ “ËœFallout 3′ “ËœGears of War 2′ and “ËœMortal Kombat vs. DC Universe.’

Blast: Are there any upcoming projects using your software that you would like to share with our readers?

Patel: Well our customers don’t like us to steal their thunder by talking about projects before they have been released publicly, but many of the upcoming visual effects movies and games slated for the holiday season have used our software as part of their production process. We always post our latest feature stories here.

About The Author

Ryan Cloutier is a Blast correspondent

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