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3December' brings in some of the nation's innovators

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How are Nemo's swimming motions so fluid? How can "Madden '08" replicate the human physique so realistically? And how can an average computer user mirror the techniques used by the pros to create imagery for the highest-grossing films and video games of the year?

These questions and more will be answered by "3December," a celebration of the art of computer animation, where leading minds in the industry will hold seminars to show off some of the basics in digital design.

Events are held on or around Dec. 3 worldwide, and Oklahoma City company Digital-Tutors will be hosting the first event held in the metro on that Wednesday at Harkins Bricktown Cinemas, 150 E. Reno. The event is free and open to the public, although it is suggested to reserve a seat online.

Speakers will cover a wide variety of subjects, from character design to commercial tie-ins. Pixar Art Director Anthony Christov ("Finding Nemo," "WALL-E") will conduct a character design session showing how to develop a character to adhere to a film director's vision.

Dale Carman, chief visioneer of Reel FX Creative Studios, will discuss his company's role of designing tie-in commercials, such as the "Bee Movie" Oscar announcement for Best Animated Short Film and commercials tying into major motion pictures.

"When you see the commercials about 'Kung Fu Panda' being at McDonald's, DreamWorks doesn't make that commercial, because DreamWorks is making their next feature film," said Sandip Patel, chief operating officer of Digital-Tutors. "They shop that out to different studios that can handle the production."

NINTH YEAR
Digital-Tutors produces training material for Autodesk products. Autodesk is the world's largest design software company that develops AutoCAD, Maya and other tools used by most of the major players in digital design. "3December," now in its ninth year, was begun to help users become more familiar with the potential applications of Autodesk software.

"Any feature film, any video game and, for that matter, any house or road you drive on is made using AutoCAD products. They own the market for 3-D animation, visualization," Patel said.

The seminars are not just directed at seasoned users, but for anyone interested in finding out the nuances of digital design. Patel's brother and Digital-Tutors CEO, Piyush Patel, will discuss the growing trend toward 3-D film. Other speakers will cover topics from digital effects in film to motion capture techniques.

"These speakers will talk about things that can be done in Oklahoma," Sandip Patel said. "To develop this industry, there needs to be an educational component that happens and there needs to be a business component. Texas helps subsidize a lot of this stuff, which in turn helps them employ hundreds of people and builds up the economy."

Because computer imagery doesn't need the actors or the director to physically be where the content is created, Patel thinks that it could be another growth industry in the state.

"Digital graphics is a huge, multi-billion-dollar business," he said. "It is completely overlooked in many people's eyes, especially in Oklahoma, even though these people generate billions in revenue. Rockstar Games has made more with 'Grand Theft Auto' than what many feature films have made." "Charles Martin

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