People Behind the Pixels

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Japan Computer Graphics Lab (JCGL)

  • All
  • president
  • Pioneer
  • In 1978, Mits Kaneko of MK Company obtained from MGM Studios the animation rights to Marjorie Keenan Rollings' Pulitzer awarded "The Yearling". Mits Kaneko decided to use computer animation on the 52 episodes of 30 minute television series because of rapidly rising cost of animation artists and film recording process. After two year's development and artist training, in April of 1980, JCGL was established with Mits Kaneko, Toho Company(a movie distribution company), Kodansha (a book publishing company), Toppan (a printing company) and Telework (a television production company) .. 38 artists, 4 programmers and 3 hardware maintenance persons.

  • JCGL's system for television animation production consisted of a huge custom designed optical printer to print extra frames of the same image for reducing rendering time, 2 Dicomed 48-S film recorders, 2 Vax 780 super mini computers , 4 PDP 44s, 8 PDP 11s for ink and paint stations, two DeAnza scanners for scanning animation papers, 18 Genisco frame buffers for image buffering and one PS 300 for vector drawing. The software "MK-1" was based upon NYIT's Tween and Tweep ...

  • Starting hardware and software

    JCGL's system for television animation production consisted of a huge custom designed optical printer to print extra frames of the same image for reducing rendering time, 2 Dicomed 48-S film recorders, 2 Vax 780 super mini computers , 4 PDP 44s, 8 PDP 11s for ink and paint stations, two DeAnza scanners for scanning animation papers, 18 Genisco frame buffers for image buffering and one PS 300 for vector drawing. The software "MK-1" was based upon NYIT's Tween and Tweep software for vector animation generation and scanned image inking and coloring capabilities with help of Tokyo Institute of Technology Image Lab lead by Prof.Takeshi Agui.

  • The production of "The Yearling", however, failed with only one completed episode, which was actually No.2. of the series. Because of various creative challenges, the production schedule became almost double of what had been estimated. This episode No. 2 was broadcast in April 1982 and became world's first television animated program completely processed with a computer. The rest of the 51 episode production was switched to the conventional hand drawn, hand painted method.

  • The Yearling

    The production of "The Yearling", however, failed with only one completed episode, which was actually No.2. of the series. Because of various creative challenges, the production schedule became almost double of what had been estimated. This episode No. 2 was broadcast in April 1982 and became world's first television animated program completely processed with a computer. The rest of the 51 episode production was switched to the conventional hand drawn, hand painted method.

  • JCGL lead Japan's CG production for 7 years but came to its dissolution in 1987 when its VAX based system could not compete any longer with cheaper more modern systems.

  • The End

    JCGL lead Japan's CG production for 7 years but came to its dissolution in 1987 when its VAX based system could not compete any longer with cheaper more modern systems.

  • Mits Kaneko decided to move to 3D computer graphics production for commercial films and special effects on feature films. Jim Kristoff of Cranston Csuri Production (CCP) helped integrate 3D production software with the existing hardware, and the transition went well. The JCGL went on to win prizes including Nicograph, NCGA and INA gran-prixs.

  • Great success

    Mits Kaneko decided to move to 3D computer graphics production for commercial films and special effects on feature films. Jim Kristoff of Cranston Csuri Production (CCP) helped integrate 3D production software with the existing hardware, and the transition went well. The JCGL went on to win prizes including Nicograph, NCGA and INA gran-prixs.