Kinetix and Solo Dance Master Bill T. Jones Take Virtual Dance One Step Further

'Ghostcatching' Virtual Dance From Jones and Riverbed Studios Reveals Power And Beauty of Character Studio's Motion Capture Technology

SAN FRANCISCO, - As part of its efforts to promote innovations in digital choreography, KinetixR today announced that "Ghostcatching," the latest collaborative work by new media producer Riverbed and Bill T. Jones, one of the greatest living solo modern dancers, has virtually come to life thanks to award-winning Kinetix 3D software. An experiment in motion capture and 3D modeling, "Ghostcatching" combines traditional hand-sketching with digitally rendered and refined 3D dancers who spring to life with the vitality and passion of human performers. "Ghostcatching" runs through Feb. 12 at the Arthur A. Houghton Gallery at New York City's Cooper Union School of Art.

Riverbed, a Kinetix software user, assisted Jones in the digital choreography, which has been heralded as "a landmark in the computerized rendering of the human form" by The Village Voice. Jones and Riverbed created the piece with Character StudioR, the acclaimed software extension to Kinetix's 3D Studio MAXR application and the technology behind the Dancing Baby phenomenon.

"In 'Ghostcatching,' Bill T. Jones makes powerful statements about freedom of movement and the human body -- a freedom that can be expressed ever more enthusiastically through the digital medium," said Paul Kaiser, principal artist, Riverbed. "With the revolutionary motion capture features found in Character Studio, the creative possibilities for virtual dance are endless."

The eight-minute, large-screen exhibit explores the improvisational mind and the possibilities of emerging narrative through a unique mixture of dance performance, filmmaking, hand-drawn images and an eclectic soundtrack featuring chanting, humming, singing and talking. The techniques employed in "Ghostcatching" were pioneered by dance legend Merce Cunningham in his revolutionary "Hand-Drawn Spaces," one of the first performances to combine abstract dance figures with digitally recorded real-life movements. With Riverbed producing both works, "Hand-Drawn Spaces" and "Ghostcatching" made full use of Character Studio, the groundbreaking 3D character animation solution from Kinetix. Compaq dual-processor workstations were used for the animation, and final rendering of the hand-drawn 3D images was completed at Compaq's render farm of networked workstations in Houston, Texas.

"The Compaq workstation gives independent 3D artists like Riverbed the same power and performance as any multimillion dollar workstation you would find in a Hollywood special effects firm," said Kaiser. "Its lightning-fast dual-processors let us design and render our animations as quickly as possible."

"It's gratifying to see Kinetix software play such a prominent role in the world of dance," said Jim Guerard, general manager and vice president of Kinetix. "'Ghostcatching' demonstrates the beauty of dance in its rawest form: the individual motions of the dancer. There may be no truer test of the power and potential of motion capture than the work of this modern master."

Character Studio's sophisticated motion capture animation tools let Jones and Riverbed create complex sequences of movements by capturing original dance moves. Wearing motion-capture sensors, dancers' movements were optically recorded as points and converted to digital 3D files motion files. This motion data was then combined with artistic charcoal drawings to create "hand-drawn" animations that reflect human movement with exceptional realism.

Character Studio R2 is available as a plug-in application for 3D Studio MAX R2.5, the world's best-selling PC-based 3D animation and modeling solution for professionals, and is U.S. list priced at $1,495 from Kinetix, and from Kinetix resellers and distributors. 3D Studio MAX R2.5 also is available today and is U.S. list priced at $3,495.

About Bill T. Jones
Bill T. Jones is the artistic director of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. He has received many honors and awards, including a MacArthur "genius" award in 1994. In addition to creating over 50 works for his own company, Jones has been commissioned to create dances for modern and ballet companies including the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the Boston Ballet and the Berlin Opera Ballet among others.

About Riverbed
Riverbed is a New-York based multimedia arts group founded in 1994. Riverbed's new media work explores mental spaces and drawing as performance, with a recent concentration on virtual dance. They have created installation art for museums, theaters, and other public spaces, as well as interactive works for the computer. To learn more about Riverbed projects, visit the Riverbed Web site at http://www.riverbed.com.

About Kinetix
Kinetix develops and delivers affordable content creation tools for professionals such as film and video producers, video/computer game developers, Web content developers, architects, engineers, and designers. The leader in PC-based professional 3D modeling and animation tools, Kinetix provides a full range of products for the application development process, from 2D and 3D creation to assembly and delivery. With headquarters in San Francisco, Kinetix is a division of Autodesk
R, the forth largest PC software company in the world with over four million customers in more than 150 countries. 3D Studio MAX, the company's flagship product, won more than 65 awards since its introduction in 1996. Kinetix products are sold through resellers and distributors worldwide. Visit Kinetix on the World Wide Web at http://www.ktx.com

SOURCE Autodesk, Inc.
Web Site: http://www.autodesk.com
Web Site: http://www.ktx.com