For several years now, Direct Dimensions has enjoyed working with Kevin Kallaugher, widely known as “KAL,” a world renowned political cartoon satirist featured regularly on the cover of 'The Economist' magazine. With his recent creation of Kaltoons LLC, KAL launched an ambitious new media venture centered on the production of 3D animation featuring his unique brand of political satire. To be most effective, the project requires accurate 3D renditions of his illustrations and the work had to be completed in short turn-around time in order to keep up with our ever-changing political climate.
The project initiated as a collaborative effort by four local groups here in Maryland:
1. KAL - the artist,
2. UMBC’s Image Research Center – university-based animation research department,
3. Digital Steamworks – a commercial animation studio,
4. Direct Dimensions – experts in 3D imaging technologies.
Starting in early 2004, DDI laser scanned and digitally modeled KAL’s hand sculpted clay bust caricature of George W. Bush. KAL used the 3D digital model to create an interactive “virtual puppet” of the President, controlled by joysticks, which was used to create comedy satire animations. With the help of the Imaging Research Center and Digital Steamworks, KAL created several short animations, including Dancin' Dubya, which has enjoyed widespread internet popularity.
Following the success of the first project, KAL and DDI teamed up again to produce a virtual Hillary Clinton animation and more recently a similar animation for Barack Obama. As with the Bush bust, DDI technicians laser scanned KAL’s hand-sculpted clay busts of Clinton and Obama with a FaroArm-based laser line scanner to capture every element of the clay likeness. From there, PolyWorks software was used to digitally model the data into high-resolution polygonal mesh models for KAL to use in his animation process.
During the recent election process, KAL's 'Virtual Obama' and 'Virtual Hillary' have garnered national attention. KAL’s Obama was used in “virtual debates” moderated by KAL himself during his “The Art of Satire” performances in Philadelphia and New York. Even more animations are slated for production, and with Barack Obama becoming the new President, there is no doubt that KAL will have more of his trademark wit in store.
KAL's Site - www.kaltoons.com
KAL's YouTube Channel - www.youtube.com/politicalcartoons
KAL's George Bush Article - DDI Helps Renowned Cartoonist Kal Create Virtual George Bush
Digital Steamworks Site - www.digitalsteamworks.com
UMBC Imaging Research Center Site - irc.umbc.edu