People Behind the Pixels

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Kleiser Walczak Construction Company

  • All
  • animation
  • Tron
  • pioneer
  • scanimate
  • technical director
  • animator
  • co-founder
  • visual effects
  • software engineer
  • software
  • film
  • production
  • Producer
  • SIGGRAPH
  • Animation
  • previsualization
  • visual effects supervisor
  • Pioneer
  • designer
  • video games
  • Wavefront
  • One of the first Wavefront based production companies, KWCC was founded in 1987 by Jeff Kleiser and Diana Walczak. Jeff Kleiser went to Colgate University as a CG major using VISIONS, an early fortran code from Syracuse. He made several experimental films and a few commercials by outputting to a DEC Graphics display terminal and shooting 35mm film off the screen. He then moved from Dolphin Productions (1976-77) as a Scanimate operator, Digital Effects (1978-1986) as Animation Director and President, then to Omnibus as Director of the Motion Picture Special Effects Division in LA. Diana Walczak was a sculptor and CG enthusiast from Boston University who met Jeff while at SIGGRAPH 1985, and joined him at Omnibus for a Marvel ...

  • Their first Synthespian, created for SIGGRAPH/88, was Sextone for President. The 30 second piece demonstrated facial animation based on interpolating Diana's digitized sculptures with software written by Larry Weinberg. The TALK program could mix any percentage of any facial shape at any frame, even with arbitrary polygon ordering. This technique of phoneme interpolation is today a standard way of producing 3D facial animation. The narration made heavy use of irony as the character lobbied for SAG (Synthetic Actors Guild) rights.

  • Sextone for President

    Their first Synthespian, created for SIGGRAPH/88, was Sextone for President. The 30 second piece demonstrated facial animation based on interpolating Diana's digitized sculptures with software written by Larry Weinberg. The TALK program could mix any percentage of any facial shape at any frame, even with arbitrary polygon ordering. This technique of phoneme interpolation is today a standard way of producing 3D facial animation. The narration made heavy use of irony as the character lobbied for SAG (Synthetic Actors Guild) rights.

  • KWCC was reborn as Synthespian Studios and continues to produce high-end computer graphic animation and visual effects.

  • The End

    KWCC was reborn as Synthespian Studios and continues to produce high-end computer graphic animation and visual effects.

  • "Diana and I formed KWCC to build databases using her sculptures and a 3D digitizer by Polhemus. Soon we were approached by Viewpoint who wanted to market our data along with theirs, and we were more interested in developing Synthespians than database service market." - JK

  • Getting started ...

    "Diana and I formed KWCC to build databases using her sculptures and a 3D digitizer by Polhemus. Soon we were approached by Viewpoint who wanted to market our data along with theirs, and we were more interested in developing Synthespians than database service market." - JK

  • Two important television series were also created in conjunction with Santa Barbara Studios: Astronomers with 12 minutes of cosmic simulation for PBS and '500 Nations', where they built entire Native American cities.

  • Collaborations

    Two important television series were also created in conjunction with Santa Barbara Studios: Astronomers with 12 minutes of cosmic simulation for PBS and '500 Nations', where they built entire Native American cities.

  • In 1989, Hewlett Packard supported KWCC's next character Dozo in the ambitious Don't Touch Me. The 3 minute animation utilized early optical motion capture from Motion Analysis. Frank Vitz joined the team to wrangle the always late and always buggy motion capture data. After more than five months, only about 20% of the motion capture data was delivered, forcing KWCC to make very creative use of piecing together and repeating many short fragments of motion. The rendering was done all ...

  • Don't Touch Me

    In 1989, Hewlett Packard supported KWCC's next character Dozo in the ambitious Don't Touch Me. The 3 minute animation utilized early optical motion capture from Motion Analysis. Frank Vitz joined the team to wrangle the always late and always buggy motion capture data. After more than five months, only about 20% of the motion capture data was delivered, forcing KWCC to make very creative use of piecing together and repeating many short fragments of motion. The rendering was done all over the country, anywhere there was Wavefront rendering code. All the final imagery was output to big 9-track data discs and stacked 6 feet high, output to film and delivered to NY airport, picked up by an HP employee and handed into the SIGGRAPH office one minute before the midnight deadline for the Electronic Theatre submissions.

  • In 1992, Ed was hired by Kleiser-Walczak Productions as the CGI Supervisor for one of the three VFX-heavy attractions for the grand opening of the Luxor hotel in Las Vegas. The work was the creation of Visual Effects icon Douglas Trumbull ("2001: A Space Odyssey," "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," "Bladerunner") and Ed worked with one of the earliest Particle Systems being developed for Wavefront by programmer Jim Hourihan. Ed's work was for the "Theater of Time" a vertical-format ...

  • EDK

    In 1992, Ed was hired by Kleiser-Walczak Productions as the CGI Supervisor for one of the three VFX-heavy attractions for the grand opening of the Luxor hotel in Las Vegas.  The work was the creation of Visual Effects icon Douglas Trumbull ("2001:  A Space Odyssey," "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," "Bladerunner")  and Ed worked with one of the earliest Particle Systems being developed for Wavefront by programmer Jim Hourihan.  Ed's work was for the "Theater of Time" a vertical-format ultra-high resolution and high frame rate show which featured CGI vehicles, fireworks, and humans all interacting with practical miniatures and interchangeable models to visualize different possible futures.  The digital humans were called "synthespians," a term coined by Diana Walczak.  During this time, Ed also worked on the most recognizable piece of his career, the "Lady with a Torch" logo which is shown opening every movie from Columbia Pictures.  It was also during this time that Ed worked on his first feature films, an uncredited stint on the movie "Stargate" where Ed was involved in creating the helmet-morph shots, and his first screen credit for creating the CGI "smart bomb" sequence from the movie "Clear and Present Danger."