Intel making animated short

Yair Landau to produce and direct

Intel Corp. is combining computer animation and social networking to produce an original animated short film.

The Mass Animation project, which begins in the fall, will be produced and directed by Yair Landau, former vice chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment and president of Sony Pictures Digital.

Intel is sponsoring the launch of a Facebook page where animators will be able access a collaboration application built on the platform. Established and aspiring animators will be able to work together to create the animated short.

"You can think about 'American Idol' in terms of the process," Landau said. "Everyone will get a chance to participate and vote. ... It is a filtered collaboration so that we will have the best possible work at the end."

Landau is developing the story. Discussions are under way to get the finished film a theatrical release.

Creative tools will be provided. Participating animators will be able to download an evaluation version of Autodesk's Maya Unlimited 3-D computer-animation software. Reel FX Entertainment animation studio will use proprietary tools to convert selected videos to final-quality animation frames for posting and sharing on the Facebook page. Aniboom will supply the content management infrastructure.

"This is a great opportunity to bring together computer graphics with the creativity of both Hollywood and the Facebook community," said Michael Hoefflinger, GM of Intel's partner marketing group. "Intel processor performance and Facebook sharing and communication tools enable large numbers of people around the globe to collaborate on a single creative endeavor."

Landau referred to the project as a beta test. "If we manage to tell a good story and introduce compelling characters through this, let's see if we can do, for instance, a feature-length project," he said. "If it is also a good user experience, then I think we will do a bunch of things this way."