February 16, 2003

Film Gimp Continues Hollywood Takeover

- By Robin.Rowe -
Film Gimp
has recently been adopted by ComputerCafe,
the fourth motion picture studio to use it in making feature films.
Film Gimp, a sophisticated image retouching program designed to
manipulate high dynamic range 35mm film images, is a collaborative
open source project that branched from GIMP
in 1998. After years behind the scenes in Hollywood, Film Gimp
had its public launch on SourceForge on July 4, 2002.

ComputerCafe, based in Santa Maria, California, is best known
for creating elaborate photorealistic 3D sequences for Spy
Kids 2
, including attacking skeletons, a miniature menagerie,
and mutant animals. The studio created special effects for Panic
Room, Hulk, Imposter, The One, Armageddon, Flubber
, and Battlefield
Earth
. ComputerCafe is using Film Gimp in current feature
film productions.

Film Gimp is in use at three studios besides ComputerCafe.
At Rhythm & Hues it was
used in Scooby-Doo, Harry Potter, Cats & Dogs, Dr. Dolittle
2, Little Nicky, Grinch, Sixth Day, Stuart Little,
and Planet
of the Apes.
Hammerhead
Productions
used it for Showtime and Blue Crush,
and is using it for The Fast and the Furious II. Sony
Pictures Imageworks
used Film Gimp for Stuart Little II.
Although not in movie production yet, developers at DreamWorks

and ILM are contributing to
the Film Gimp code. ILM recently made open source its OpenEXR
code, the studio's wavelet compression image file format for high
dynamic range images. Film Gimp was one of the first external
applications to support OpenEXR, thanks to a Film Gimp plug-in
developed at ILM.

In Los Angeles on Tuesday, February 18th, a distinguished
panel discusses the past and future of Film Gimp at the Linux
Movies conference track
during Creative
Cow West
in Los Angeles. This is the first time an open source
project has figured so prominently at a motion picture industry
event. The all-day Linux Movies track features speakers from motion
picture studios describing the
state-of-the-art in Linux motion picture technology
. The Film
Gimp panel includes Ray Feeney, winner of four Academy Awards
for Scientific and Engineering Achievement, president of RFX,
and founder of the Film Gimp project in 1998; Caroline Dahllöf,
a programmer at Rhythm & Hues and a founding developer of
Film Gimp; Sam Richards, a CG supervisor at Sony Pictures Imageworks
and release manager of Film Gimp; Thad Beier, effects supervisor
at Hammerhead Productions and a user of Film Gimp; and Robin Rowe,
a partner at MovieEditor.com and project leader of Film Gimp on
SourceForge. The all-day Linux Movies track costs $100. Immediately
following the event at the Westin LAX there is a free open meeting
of the Linux Movies Group.

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