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CDS Tools

Toolset used to create trailer for NASCAR The Game 2011.

The promotional video game trailer may indeed be the most important aspect of a video game package. Created to link potential players to the overall story line, cinematics and features of a game, the trailer itself serves as the first impression. So, why shouldn't an animated trailer be completed in the same way the product is intended to be played?

Manchester-based animation and visual effects studio Mi took this exact approach while creating the fully CG trailer for Activision's NASCAR The Game 2011 . Integrating Craft Animations TM' Craft Director Studio TM (CDS) toolset, Mi was able to animate over 40 NASCAR cars involved in the trailer using an Xbox controller. Based on cutting-edge research in autonomous control systems, CDS tools simulate the complex physical behavior of 3D vehicles and cameras in real-time. Their ability to be controlled by various input devices such as video game controllers, 3D mice and interactive pens, adds a high degree of control, while eliminating the time-consuming tasks of keyframing, scripting and rigging.

"Not only did CDS make animating as fun as actually playing the game, the tools themselves provide a very high level of control which adds even more realism and quality to our end product," says Mi Technical Director, Gareth Thatcher. "We were able to create shots from day one, immediately experiencing time and cost savings."

Combined with both Autodesk 3ds Max and Autodesk Maya, Mi utilized the CDS 4-Wheel Extended tool in Autonomous mode to simulate the dozens of race cars running in formation at approximately 190 mph over the one-mile Dover NASCAR track. For the hero cars, Thatcher's team layered keyframe animation using relocators, or proprietary custom rigs, in order to achieve precise control of the car's placement. "CDS allowed us to simulate every car as it rounded the track, and we were able to reuse that simulation in every shot, therefore, parameter changers were quick and painless," says Thatcher. "When compared with traditional animation processes, I estimate that CDS saved us around 60% of our animation overhead. CDS has proved to be a brilliant tool for us and we are already putting it to use on our new stereoscopic race car project.

About Craft Animations

Founded in 2006 and based in Gothenburg, Sweden, Craft Animations TM AB is a leading developer of a new era of professional real-time 3D animation technology, Craft Director StudioT (CDS). Based on cutting-edge research in autonomous control systems, CDS and its add-ons simulate the complex physical behavior of cameras and 3D vehicles such as helicopters, cars, airplanes, boats and motorcycles. Utilized by high-profile companies worldwide such as Disney, Pixar, NAMCO BANDAI, Lockheed Martin, Ford and Toyota; CDS streamlines production, enhances realism and increases creativity for users in the visual effects, game development, forensic reconstruction and architectural design industries.

For more information, please visit

About Mi

We are Mi. We produce outstanding imagery, animation and visual effects from our Manchester studio.

If you work with digital imagery you can now create anything you can imagine. The creative opportunities open to you are endless. We are an award winning animation and visual effects production studio. Our staff have been creating outstanding digital imagery for nearly 10 years. We are part of a new era of digital possibilities.

Our clients include Activision, BBC, Distiller Records, Eutechnyx, Land Securities, Marketing Manchester and many others.

We work with advertising agencies, games companies, production companies, record companies, property developers, architects and Tv companies.

We have the technology and expertise to achieve incredible results for you, and a clear staged working system - Mi Method - which simplifies what can be a complex process.

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© 2011 Craft Animations AB. All rights reserved. All other brand names, product names, service marks or trademarks belong to their respective holders.

For additional information, Press Only:

Liaison Public Relations for Craft Animations

Heidi Lowell, 503-796-9822,

Reader Contact:

Craft Animations Headquarters

Regnbagsgatan 3

S-417 55 Gothenburg


+46 31 352 2980,




U.S. Office:

10940 Wilshire Blvd., suite 1600

Los Angeles, CA 90024

+1 310 443 4186


Unit 1A, Abito


M3 7NA

United Kingdon

+44 161 214 4780


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