Impossible Brings Oldest Human Ancestor ‘Ardi’ to Life
DENVER, Oct. 12 /PRNewswire/ — The discovery of the oldest-known fossil skeleton of a human ancestor (dubbed “Ardi”) has generated enormous buzz in the scientific community and news media. A new documentary airing on the Discovery Channel, entitled Discovering Ardi, unveils this historic finding to the world thanks to computer animations created by Impossible, a leading design and visual effects studio.
According to scientists, Ardi represents a critical milestone in the chain of human evolution and creating her was a daunting undertaking, according to Steve Urbano, Vice President at Impossible. “No one has ever seen a creature like this. We had a tremendous responsibility to the scientists that our animations be accurate, from what Ardi looks like to how she moves,” says Urbano.
Employing a team of about 30 artists, animators, modelers and motion capture experts, Impossible created Ardi from the actual skeleton as well as anatomical drawings from the scientific team. Particularly difficult was creating skin, fur, lighting and natural environments for a creature that hasn’t existed for some 4 million years. But over the course of two and a half years, the team successfully produced the critical shots for this historic television program.
“Our challenge was to transform abstract, scientific information into a living, breathing creature that viewers could identify with and see as it really existed. We literally brought Ardi to life,” says Joel Pilger, President at Impossible. “Without these kinds of accurate depictions, it would be difficult for people to understand the significance of the scientists’ findings.”
Scientists feel their findings and the documentary are an important contribution to the study of human evolution. Project anatomist and evolutionary biologist Owen Lovejoy of Kent State University says, “The novel anatomy that we describe… fundamentally alters our understanding of human origins and early evolution. It changes everything.”
Impossible is a leading design and visual effects studio with offices in Denver and Boulder, Colorado. They produce award-winning broadcast design, show packaging, commercials and brand-sponsored entertainment for clients, television networks and advertising agencies. Among their clients are Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Discovery, Sundance, A&E, Nat Geo, IBM, Pepsi, Ford, DISH Network, Starbucks, Charter, MillerCoors and many more. Several of their recent projects are among the permanent exhibits at the Smithsonian Institute. For more information, visit www.impossible.tv.