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Steven Stahlberg created the "virtual actress" in this scene years ago, and although he describes his efforts in developing her as unfinished, he uses the model in renderings with Science Fiction and Fantasy themes. Steven says that this genre has been his favourite since he was a boy. This image is titled "The Pet" - probably in reference to the robot dinosaur. When asked if this work would have the same appeal to women as to men, he guesses that "to like it half as much [a woman] would have to be really into CG." One of Steven's dreams "is to be part of a team that wins an Oscar (or at least gets a nomination) for best lead role with a CG character." (At present, there is no Academy Award for individual animated characters - although an animated film could win for Best Picture, and awards can go to the director, music, and voice performers. The issue of whether a motion-captured performance, or a voice-over performance, can earn a best actor or actress nomination, without them actually having been filmed, has not been resolved.)

About The Artist:

Steven Stahlberg is the chief animator at Optimage Digital Studio in Hong Kong. Steven was born in Australia, grew up and went to art school in Sweden, and worked as a freelance illustrator in Sweden and Hong Kong for 10 years. In 1990 bought a used SGI Iris 4D 20, and started working in CG.

Visit his web site, www.optidigit.com, to see more of Steven's work.

Behind The Scenes:

The modelling, rendering, and animation were all done in Alias Power Animator. The wireframe view below shows a side-view of the character. "The hardest part was the face of the woman - it's still not right, but getting there." Steven says he regrets having built the head in all horizontal/vertical curves, and wishes he had used mouth-centered geometry instead. He also wants to avoid using a blend surface, which is now used around the mouth. (A lot more pictures of this character, and an animation, are in his gallery section under "studies.") In working on this character, Steven says he "learned a lot about anatomy and what skin looks like - you'd think that 3 years of art school and 10 years of illustrating full time would have done it, but it didn't." In addition to a detailed model, he also has built up 25 facial clusters, with keyframes for most standard muscle movements, although he is considering moving the head over to Alias's ShapeShifter system (in which the user defines facial expressions as target versions of the head model, instead of manually defining clusters of points and animating their positions.)