Intergraph takes on new `Quest'

Firm enhances classic cartoon

By JAMES MCWILLIAMS
Times Business Writer

Huntsville's Intergraph is helping give a new look to a classic cartoon hero.

Intergraph's TDZ 3-D graphics workstations are helping create animation for ``The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest,'' the company said. The show is a revival of the Hanna-Barbera adventure series that ran on prime-time TV during the '60s.

The Blur Studio animators of California recently used Intergraph equipment to create 17,250 frames of computerized images in only 10 weeks. (A typical animated cartoon consists of about 24 frames, or still images, per second.)

``We couldn't have produced this amount of work at this rate on any other system than Intergraph,'' said Blur's co-founder and creative director, Tim Miller.

Because computer animation is often highly complex, computers sometimes need a long time to print, or ``render,'' individual images for film or video. After using Intergraph machines, Miller said, ``we are seeing render times drop from one hour to eight minutes.''

Blur, a 2-year-old company, created 3-D animation sequences for the science-fiction movies ``Johnny Mnemonic'' and ``The Crow: City of Angels.'' Blur also has done work for the current version of the TV show ``The Outer Limits.''

Blur previously has used 100-megahertz Pentium machines. The Intergraph machines are powered by two to four 200-megahertz Pentium Pro processors with Windows NT software.

Render times on the Intergraph machines averaged about 10 minutes, even with special effects like ``motion blur'' and at Hollywood's digital-video standards, according to Miller.

Blur used the Intergraph machines to create 9 1/2 minutes of 3-D animation for the ``Digital Doublecross'' episode of ``Jonny Quest.'' The episode, which recently ran on the Cartoon Network, featured an evil twin of Jonny Quest.

Blur also uses Intergraph hardware to create promotional animations known as ``Quest Bites,'' which follow the end of each cartoon. ``Quest Bites'' usually last 30 seconds to 90 seconds.

``Jonny Quest'' follows the international adventures of an adolescent boy, his father and their friends.

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