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Prix 1987 - 2007

ORF Oberösterreich

MTV Top 20 Video Countdown Graphics
Cassidy Curtis

MTV commissioned XAOS, the San Francisco computer animation and design facility known for its non-traditional style, to create the opening animation and graphics for their Top 20 Video Countdown, which is currently the most widely seen show on MTV. It is broadcast by every international MTV affiliate and shown in over 78 million homes worldwide. In the U.S., the show airs Fridays at noon and 8:00 p.m. as well as Saturday mornings. The computer generated graphics, which have appeared since 1994, are the result of tests created by XAOS programmer Cassidy Curtis. XAOS sent these tests, which featured a countdown of numbers integrated into a fluid multi-color background, to MTV. According to Robert Jason, MTV's producer of the opening and packaging, they were the 'perfect counterpart' to the MTV design.

According to Curtis, who developed the software and created the graphics, the idea was to simulate the appearance of a liquid, such as watercolor or ink, that leaves behind a film as it slides down a glass surface. The final piece is 'reminiscent of a natural phenomenon', which is a difficult challenge in computer graphics. Curtis affectionately refers to the technique he used in creating the software as 'ichor' which he describes as 'blood of a supernatural being'. He was able to create this substance with specific attributes, and he controlled its motion through coersion as opposed to specific commands. Inherent in much of XAOS software, this 'controlled randomness' mimics those qualities found in nature, creating a more naturalistic appearance. (XAOS)