A Visit to, Mr. Finnegan's Toy Shoppe

deemarie · December 19, 2005 9:47 am

There is much excitement this Christmas at DAZ3D. Dan Farr, Chris Creek and Chad Smith took time to sit and chat with us about Mr. Finnegan's Giving Chest.
Message2500456.jpg Dan Farr, Mr. Finnegan, Maggie, Chris Creek, Switch, Chad Smith, and Jake

I remember a short animation at DAZ3D for The Dick Van Dyke Show, there was also a short blurb/TV interview you did with a local station. Is this how the book idea got started? Dan Farr: Right, it was for The Dick Van Dyke Show Revisited (TV 2004), and if you look behind Dick Van Dyke you can see the DAZ3D Calendar sitting opened behind him. Everything started long before that time. In 1999, we approached Dick Van Dyke about an idea for a Christmas project using 3D graphics. Not many people know this, but Dick Van Dyke is a 3D graphics and animation enthusiast. Ever since he played the role of Bert in Walt Disney's Mary Poppins. And he's one of the nicest men I know. Guess where he was on Thanksgiving? (laughing) I have no idea, where was he? Dan Farr: He was helping feed the homeless at a local mission. Many people don't know it but that's the kind of man he is. The story is based on Dick Van Dyke's character Mr. Finnegan? Dan Farr: Yes! So, it was important that Mr. Finnegan look as much like Dick Van Dyke as possible. He was kind enough to send some photo's from when he played Bert in Mary Poppins, some were one of a kind originals too. He has been so helpful throughout this entire project. We also arranged a photo-shoot on the set of Diagnosis Murder where we photographed Dick making various facial expressions and phonemes, so we could later recreate these shapes on the 3D computer model. That was a lot of fun. Then Chris went to work. Chris Creek : Originally, I sculpted the head out of clay. Then, I made a life size model of the head.
Message2500462.jpg Mr. Finnegan and Maggie in the toy shop
Are the children featured created from the Millennium Kids? Chris Creek : I made Maggie and the other kids from Victoria 2. I'm not certain the Millennium Kids were even available then. I made Mr. Finnegan and Jake before Maggie.
Message2500460.jpg Jake and Maggie
And the other characters? Chris Creek : All three women in the story were created using Victoria 3. Dan Farr: Dick Van Dyke has the Mr. Finnegan character. Then what happened? Chris Creek : We set up the scenes. Chad Smith: If we needed an alley for example, we would go to our store and look around. Everything was done, for the most part, with DAZ Studio and items available in our store. DAZ Studio is a powerful tool. And at the time was becoming 1.0 so this was great means for beta testing. So we might see some enhanced animation capabilities in future DAZ Studio releases? Chad Smith: You might. (laughing) Dan Farr: And we know more now of what we want to add to future versions of DAZ Studio. What was NVIDIA'S role in creating the book? Dan Farr: They've been a great help to us. They had developed graphics cards that helped us optimize DAZ Studio. What happened next? Dan Farr: We were ready to publish Mr. Finnegan's Giving Chest ourselves when Shadow Mountain (publisher) said they were interested in publishing the book. This has been a long process but it has also been a labor of love.
Message2500454.jpg Mr. Finnegan, his dog Switch, and the Giving Chest
So what's next for Mr. Finnegan: Another book? Movies? Made for TV movies? Video/DVD? Dan Farr: We're anxious to see where it will all lead. We're willing to discuss any of the mentioned options and are excited about the possibilities You said initially that there are many versions of the story and other stories. So there is a potential for prequels and sequels? Dan Farr: Yes there are. Isn't it exciting?
All images are copyright, and published by permission. Images cannot copied, printed, or reproduced in any manner without written permission from the artist.

Message2197295.jpg On The Road With is a regular featured column with Renderosity Staff Writer Vicki Shane [vshane].
December 19, 2005

Article Comments


3D_Explorer ( posted at 12:00AM Tue, 20 December 2005

WOW!

vshane ( posted at 12:00AM Tue, 20 December 2005

Just a quick update to the story. I had correspondence with Dan Farr recently and he advised me book sales have far exceeded their expectations. Mr. Finnegan's Giving Chest may sell out of bookstores before Christmas!

mylemonblue ( posted at 12:00AM Wed, 21 December 2005

This interview is absolutely wonderful!

nemirc ( posted at 12:00AM Fri, 23 December 2005

I look forward to see what they come up with for the next version of Daz Studio =D However I think it will be a long before I change poser for DS

Neec ( posted at 12:00AM Fri, 23 December 2005

I echo the above sentiment WOW. Good job Vicki! I always enjoy your interviews and this is wonderful to read at this time of the year. Merry Christmas all and keep the great reads coming Msssssss. Vshane :o)

nickcharles ( posted at 12:00AM Sat, 24 December 2005

Great interview, Vicki! This looks really cool!

REALVISION101 ( posted at 12:00AM Sun, 25 December 2005

Merry Christmas creators! I love when somebody have this kind of enthusiasm for their projects, and it is great to see that you finished this long term commitment project and still want to do more! I wish you a lot of great times in future creation process and more great books for our children (and for everybody that feel that way sometimes)! Merry Christmas to interviewer as well, great pick! Oh, one more thing: Merry Christmas to us all!:)