DJ Hero: Framestore vs Activision vs Warp Films

As we suspected when we put together our Virtual World Special issue earlier in the year – it was only a matter of time before a dedicated VFX company teamed up with a computer games company…

Grandmaster Flash in the mix… in the animated intro to DJ Hero

As we suspected when we put together our Virtual World Special issue earlier in the year – it was only a matter of time before a dedicated VFX company teamed up with a computer games company…

The much hyped DJ Hero game, in which players do battle on the ‘ones and twos’ (while Guitar Hero players use plastic guitar controllers, DJ Hero players interface with the game using plastic record deck controllers) features an intro sequence cooked up by London VFX company Framestore:

With Framestore being briefed directly by the gaming company Activision, the VFX company was able to act as production company and ask for directors to pitch for the work. Marco Puig of Warp Films won the pitch with his idea of a huge stylus terrorising a planet of DJs and Framestore put a team of 25 3D artists working on the animated CG sequence for just over six weeks.

“We definitely want to do more with the games industry,” says Framestore’s head of digital, Mike Woods. “And not just in game video, but working on characters and environments for games,” he continues. “It’s exciting to think of the potential in developing Framestore’s 3D skills into the real time rendering  environments of computer games.”

He’s partly in shadow… it’s the DJ Hero character based on DJ Shadow!

OK, so Framestore’s involvement with DJ Hero is in the creation of the introductory animated sequence – rather than working on the gameplay – but it’s a step in an interesting and perhaps inevitable direction. Gaming companies who nurture relationships with the big VFX players could find that they’re closer to being able to get hold of digital assets created for movies – which would be ideal when making a game based on said movie. A good example of this kind of relationship not existing as of yet can be found in Transformers The Movie and Transformers The Game. Apparently, Framestore’s Woods tells us, the games company involved had to remodel all the transformers from scratch in-house rather than use the digital models and rigs the VFX company had created for the film… 

More info about Framestore’s work on DJ Hero can be found here: framestore.com/djhero

Credits: 
Client: Activision / Freestyle Games 
Production company: Framestore in association with Warp Films
Director: Marco Puig
Executive producer: Simon Whalley, Framestore
Digital producer: Mike Woods, Framestore
Producer: Diarmid Scrimshaw, Warp Films
VFX: Framestore
VFX supervisor: Diarmid Harrison-Murray
Senior CG producer: Sarah Hiddlestone
Animation leads: Nicklas Andersson, Mike Mellor
FX lead: Martin Aufinger
Rigging / cloth: James Healy
Lead modelling: Alex Doyle
Telecine: Framestore

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