"Space Cases™"
 
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  The television pilot for "Space Cases" was the project that launched my computer graphics career. At the time I was taking a course in 3D Studio R4 and still getting aquainted with my new Dell 486 DX4/100 computer. I was working as a roomservice waiter at a nearby hotel, when my girlfriend called me at work and said that she had just talked to Bjo Trimble (from Star Trek fame) on the phone regarding a project. I met Bjo years befor at a Sci-Fi convention where I had my models on display and we immediately made a great connection. We had many discussions regarding the "business" and she was very helpful in giving me encouragement. I knew that her calling was a very important step when she told me to call writer Peter David regarding building some miniatures for a TV pilot. It has been a dream of mine ever since I was a young child to create special effects so I imediately responded to the situation!
 
  Peter David was very Impressed that Bjo personally endorsed me as an aspiring FX model builder and that was just what they needed under their budget and deadline. I had discussed early on in our conversations the possibilties of producing computer animation for their show and Peter D. said iniatially that was what they were looking for, but they didnt have the budget to be considered by professional companies. He called Bjo knowing her knowlege and network of talent, and that was when she referred me as a model builder. The next step was convincing Peter and the other producers including Billy Mumy that I had the means to fufill the task of creating all of the FX scenes to finish the pilot. Thats when I called my friend from past projects: Ken Thomson Jr. (who was allready very familar with 3D Studio) to assist me. He was very instramental in helping me put a quick demo together that was then sent to the producers.
 
  I knew I could make the miniatures, but I really wanted to create the full animated scenes. The producers said that they would give us a shot so we then formed the Anigma FX Group. Jason Spinnazzolo was our next partner who's expertise of hardware, software and network managment rounded off the additional skills need to get an animation company started. After recieving the script and specifications, we immediatly started work on the principle scenes. We had 4 to 5 personal computer systems to use and the company started out of Ken's extra room. Ken was moslty in charge of animation, Jason in hardware/software, and myself in art direction. Ken and I worked together on the model for the main spaceship called the "Christa" which really took up most of our time. The designs were very organic and challenging to work with, the side view, top view and front view didnt match their design on paper and it was very obvious when you viewed it in 3 dimensional space.
 
  They finally approaved a design for they main ship and the next task was creating another alien type ship, an interior scene, the "dog star" (canis major), and the various animated scenes icluding the opening logo sequence. Jason maintained the computers while Ken and myself worked on the scenes. I rendered the painting/designs for the dogstar and ship interior and modeled the alien ship and room, while Ken worked on some of the texture files, space enviornments and motion paths/animation. The graphic work balanced out between Ken and myself. By the end of the first phase of animation, the company had moved into my living room. We then worked together on the openning sequence that had a camera flying through a solar system with the Christa flying past as the "Star Academy" Logo popped up. During this last phase of the project, Jim Spegman from Nickelodeon came out to Austin to help with the art direction, and I must say it was a very interesting experience setting up our computers in a hotel room, converting it to mini studio.
 
  Thanks to our tremendous efforts, the Pilot sold the series to Nickelodeon and production began in Canada at Cinar films. Unfortunatly , we were not contracted to work on the series, but the experience helped get me into the graphics field and it will always stand out as my first professional job. (Special thanks to everyone who helped us fulfill our goals: Charmaine Gernale, Mildred Thomson, Blake Bush, Mike Parkhill, Cody Davis, and especially, all of our family and friends..

 

All original designs and graphics are the ownership of J.P.F. and cannot be used or duplicated without permission. Copyright 1998 CozmicFunk

john@cozmicfunk.com