They have a double memory system giving a 160 second capacity, up to 4,030 frames can be prepared, all stored in Harry on video disc. The Harry system together with the Paint Box cost around £150,000.
The first step in computer animation is to put the character or object to be animated into a form that can be manipulated by the computer programme. They can be entered from a keyboard by making a master drawing, working out the dimensions and typing them in. More usually at Rushes they use a 3-D digitizer, which is like a pen on a wire plugged into the electronics, to take the coordinates of an object or a model of the item to be animated. “You actually go round the object with it and it feeds the information into the computer. It is a very clever system,” said Pye.
The image stored in the computer memory is 3-Dimensional and you are able to move it around to view all sides. Lettering can be made to resemble all kinds of materials, such as chrome which sparkles as it turns. To get a chrome finish you can call up a programme for shiny and it will ask questions like “How shiny?” When the animation has been completed on the Bosch the images are transferred to video or to Harry for editing in the usual way and adding sound.
To complement the digital video equipment Rushes have installed a new pin-register telecine and Sony 2500 stop-frame video tape recorder. Pye explained, “Telecine has always had an imperceptible weave but now we have a register-pin gate which grabs each frame and holds it rock steady, the video machine records that frame, the telecine moves onto the next one, and so on. That way you can shoot on film and add complicated opticals on tape or on Harry. You can superimpose two or more images on top of each other and they won’t move against one another.”
In a near-by building, known as Rushes Two, the company have two fully staffed and equipped film editing suites for 35mm / l6mm and an offline video edit suite.
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Printed in Animator Issue 18 (Spring 1987)