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Odyssey Into The Mind's Eye

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Published on Aug 23, 2012

The Mind's Eye series consists of several art films rendered using computer-generated imagery of varying levels of sophistication. The series began in 1990. It was produced by Steven Churchill of Odyssey Productions (originally Odyssey Visual Design) & Miramar Productions.

The typical entry in the Mind's Eye series is a short package film, usually 50 to 60 minutes long, with an electronic music soundtrack over a series of music video-like sequences. The original film, titled The Mind's Eye: A Computer Animation Odyssey' by director and co-producer Jan Nickman, consisted of a non-rigid structure of many semi-related sequences. The general style which characterizes the series is light and cartoony due to the difficulty of rendering more complicated images using the computers of the day.

The computer animation sequences that appeared in the films were generally not produced specifically for the Mind's Eye series but rather were work originally created for other purposes, including demo reels, commercials, music videos, and feature films. Director and co-producer Jan Nickman then assembled these sequences into a narrative through creative editing, which resulted in a double platinum selling film considered to be a milestone in the field of computer animation. As a result, "The Mind's Eye: A Computer Animation Odyssey" reached #12 on Billboard's video hits chart. This approach gave Churchill access to the best-quality computer graphics of the time without having to bear their substantial production costs.

The soundtracks for the films were composed by James Reynolds, Thomas Dolby, Jan Hammer and Kerry Livgren (founder and guitarist for Kansas).

The Mind's Eye: A Computer Animation Odyssey (Miramar Images, Inc., 1990) was the first effort by director and co-producer Jan Nickman which served as a demonstration of computer animation when the art-form was still in its relative infancy. It is composed of a sequence of segments ambitiously chronicling the formation of Earth ("Creation"), the rise of human civilizations ("Civilization Rising"), and the technological advances of humanity from the advent of agriculture to the future exploration of the cosmos. The video speculatively concludes with a segment of what might be the next sentient species to arise on Earth, as well as the CGI short Stanley and Stella in: Breaking the Ice. The soundtrack was composed by James Reynolds.[3] The sales of this video were RIAA certified as "Multi-Platinum" and reached as high as #12 on Billboard's video sales chart.

Beyond the Mind's Eye (Odyssey Visual Design, 1992) featured the efforts of Jan Hammer and included the first vocal tracks in such segments as Too Far and Seeds of Life, a sequence themed around planet-colonizing seeds featuring the noted Panspermia by computer graphics artist Karl Sims. The DVD version included both the vocal version of Seeds of Life (sung by Chris Thompson) that blended the animation segment and footage of Hammer and his "band" performing (composed of four Jan Hammers), with an instrumental version of the same track. Beyond the Mind's Eye also features a heavily edited version of the CGI sequences from The Lawnmower Man. The DVD contains 11 segments. The sales of this video were RIAA certified as "Multi-Platinum" and reached as high as #8 on Billboard's video sales chart.

The Gate to the Mind's Eye (Odyssey Visual Design, 1994) continued the trend of vocal tracks, along with music by Thomas Dolby. Five of its nine segments include vocal tracks: Armageddon, a sequence depicting massive devastation; Neo, an astronomy-themed song; Valley of the Mind's Eye, a song about the progress of human technology; Nuvogue, the first jazz track in the series; and Quantum Mechanic with guest vocalist Dr. Fiorella Terenzi.

Odyssey Into The Mind's Eye (Odyssey Productions, 1996) features a soundtrack by Kerry Livgren and two more vocal tracks, One Dark World (sung by Darren Rogers) and Aspen Moon (sung by Livgren's nephew Jacob)[4]. Odyssey Into The Mind's Eye also features versions of CGI sequences from Johnny Mnemonic and Ecco: The Tides of Time. Released on VHS and DVD by Sony Music.

A short segment taken from the Mike Oldfield music video Let There Be Light from his album The Songs of Distant Earth is included in the Oceanic Celebration video from Odyssey Into the Mind's Eye.

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