People Behind the Pixels

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Metrolight

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  • Ron Saks (formerly of Abel's) was hired by Cranston Csuri (CCI) in anticipation of opening an LA office. Richard 'Doc' Baily was hired in LA first, followed by Paul Sidlo and a few more people. All the new hires went out to Ohio in the summer of 1986 to learn the custom CCI code. A bunch of people soon went back to LA to an office in the back of Abel's old building. These included Tim McGovern (Abel), Jon Townley, Steve Martino, Mark Steeves, Doc Baily, Neil Eskuri(Disney) and Al Dinoble(Cinesite), Larry Elin (Magi/Abel) and Steve Klevatt. When CCI folded, Ron Saks remained in Ohio and took up a teaching job there. Jim Kristoff, Dobbie Schiff (Jim and Dobbie are ...

  • In 1994 the MetroCel software 'annie' was sold to the interactive company '7th Level', who were going public with the backing of a certain investment banker named Michael Milken.

  • "Annie" and "7th Level"

    In 1994 the MetroCel software 'annie' was sold to the interactive company '7th Level', who were going public with the backing of a certain investment banker named Michael Milken.

  • Before MetroLight was chosen as the official name, it was originally called North Light Studios (until it was found that this name was already taken)

  • Fun Fact!

    Before MetroLight was chosen as the official name, it was originally called North Light Studios (until it was found that this name was already taken)

  • Although MetroLight was only acknowledged by company name in the films credits, Verhoven rewarded the company with allotments for additional personal credits in the video release.

  • Fun Factoid! ( Total Recall )

    Although MetroLight was only acknowledged by company name in the films credits, Verhoven rewarded the company with allotments for additional personal credits in the video release.

  • MetroLight's first job was a intro for National Geographic, Directed by Jeff Doud. The rendering was done at 1k at 1:1.33 aspect ratio for both film and television markets. Jeff was soon after hired to work at MetroLight as an Art Director, and then to Click3x in Atlanta.

  • First job

    MetroLight's first job was a intro for National Geographic, Directed by Jeff Doud. The rendering was done at 1k at 1:1.33 aspect ratio for both film and television markets. Jeff was soon after hired to work at MetroLight as an Art Director, and then to Click3x in Atlanta.

  • In May of 1988 MetroLight decided that it wanted a more robust rendering software solution than was provided by Wavefront at the time. Yung-Chen began work on the in-house code only to loose all his data four months later in a series of software backup failures. More for the better the second time around, the code (finished in spring of 1989) was fast, and enough to carry them until about 1991/92 when they began using Renderman. At this same time ...

  • software update

    In May of 1988 MetroLight decided that it wanted a more robust rendering software solution than was provided by Wavefront at the time. Yung-Chen began work on the in-house code only to loose all his data four months later in a series of software backup failures. More for the better the second time around, the code (finished in spring of 1989) was fast, and enough to carry them until about 1991/92 when they began using Renderman. At this same time Alias was selling there product modularly and MetroLight decided on their superior modeling package rather than write their own code for this task. Alias animation eventually replaced Wavefront Preview, with Composer also being recently replaced with Chalice for compositing. Maya was also being introduced as the all around tool of choice, 

  • Over the years MetroLight has also contributed to a number of large format films, including the Korean 'Star Quest' (with DreamQuest providing practical effects) and an Imax Intel show. Two such large format projects are currently in production; one for a summer 1999 release in Universal's new Florida theme park, and another in Orlando for Sigfreid and Roy, produced by L Squared.

  • Special Venue

    Over the years MetroLight has also contributed to a number of large format films, including the Korean 'Star Quest' (with DreamQuest providing practical effects) and an Imax Intel show. Two such large format projects are currently in production; one for a summer 1999 release in Universal's new Florida theme park, and another in Orlando for Sigfreid and Roy, produced by L Squared.

  • A little known fact is that MetroLight also created 3D effects for several Ren & Stimpy episodes. In one scene, George Liquor sees Ren through a pet store window which was rendered in 3D with reflections and refractions. Another 3D effects included a full blown snowstorm effect.

  • Stimpy you FOOL!

    A little known fact is that MetroLight also created 3D effects for several Ren & Stimpy episodes. In one scene, George Liquor sees Ren through a pet store window which was rendered in 3D with reflections and refractions. Another 3D effects included a full blown snowstorm effect.

  • Initially new SGI 3130 computers were purchased for the new company, running software from a relatively new company called Wavefront. At this same time Robert Abel and Associates had just gone out of business with that companies landlord acquiring much of the production equipment upon its closing. MetroLight then purchased this gear for itself (which included Evans & Sutherland computers, Mitchel cameras, motion control equipment, and other hardware.

  • first hardware and software

    Initially new SGI 3130 computers were purchased for the new company, running software from a relatively new company called Wavefront. At this same time Robert Abel and Associates had just gone out of business with that companies landlord acquiring much of the production equipment upon its closing. MetroLight then purchased this gear for itself (which included Evans & Sutherland computers, Mitchel cameras, motion control equipment, and other hardware.

  • For their first attempt at feature film work, MetroLight shared a Special Achievement Visual Effects Academy Award for 1989's Total Recall. The project required animating 3D CG "skeletons" in a life size walk-through X-ray machine. Initially an early optical motion capture system from Motion Analysis was tested on Arnold (complete with sticking ping-pong balls all over him!). Eventually though the problems with the system necessitated a backup plan. The rear camera used behind the X-ray in the motion capture set ...

  • Total Recall

    For their first attempt at feature film work, MetroLight shared a Special Achievement Visual Effects Academy Award for 1989's Total Recall. The project required animating 3D CG "skeletons" in a life size walk-through X-ray machine. Initially an early optical motion capture system from Motion Analysis was tested on Arnold (complete with sticking ping-pong balls all over him!). Eventually though the problems with the system necessitated a backup plan. The rear camera used behind the X-ray in the motion capture set up was used to capture footage that was rotoscoped for the key frames used in the final character animation. Paul Verhoven, then new to CG technology was very accommodating to the MetroLight crew, although he vetoed the idea of putting muscles on the X-ray skeletons. The hope was that this would help to differentiate Arnolds large physique from the other 'normal' sized human skeletons, but it was not to be.