Creature Shop selects Red Hat for Digital Production


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Apr 11, 2002
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Jim Henson's Creature Shop Selects Red Hat for Groundbreaking Digital Production
Coutesy of Yahoo News

Red Hat, Inc., the world's premier open source and Linux provider, today announced that Jim Henson's Creature Shop(TM) is using the Red Hat Linux operating system to power its award-winning Henson Digital Performance Studio (HDPS) and other digital design projects.

"Red Hat has provided the Creature Shop with a highly functional, easy-to-use operating system that also happens to be the production industry's de facto standard," said Steve Rosenbluth, control systems designer at Jim Henson's Creature Shop. "In addition, we had no idea how much time we could save on management until we began using Red Hat Network. Now we spend our time getting work done rather than trying to get our systems and applications to work."

With HDPS, the Academy Award-winning Jim Henson's Creature Shop has created the next generation of puppetry and computer graphics -- a system that makes a digital character as instantly performable as a puppet. The Company uses Red Hat Linux as the operating system on both the HDPS and the animatronic Henson Performance Control System (HPCS).

In addition, Red Hat Network is utilized for crucial updates and management, and commercial applications certified on Red Hat Linux for its design needs. With Red Hat Linux powering its systems, Jim Henson's Creature Shop has completed successful design and performance work for major motion pictures, video games, Web events and other projects.

"Jim Henson's Creature Shop is changing the way digital production works, so it makes perfect sense that Red Hat Linux would be at the base of their innovative systems," said Mark de Visser, vice president of marketing at Red Hat. "We're thrilled that the company which brought us Kermit and Miss Piggy is using Red Hat technology, and we're glad to be part of this growing trend within the digital production industry."

The HDPS was awarded the 2001 Computerworld Honors 21st Century Achievement Award for Media, Arts and Entertainment. For more information about Jim Henson's Creature Shop and the HDPS, please visit

About Red Hat, Inc.

Red Hat is the world's premier open source and Linux provider. Red Hat is headquartered in Raleigh, N.C. and has offices worldwide. Please visit Red Hat on the Web at For investor inquiries, contact Gabriel Szulik at Red Hat, (919) 754-3700.

About Jim Henson's Creature Shop, Inc.

Academy Award-winning Jim Henson's Creature Shop(TM) is one of the pre-eminent character-building visual effects facilities serving the international film, television and advertising industries, with a reputation for creating memorable and moving film stars in such films as Cats and Dogs, Babe, Lost in Space, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Dr. Dolittle, among others. Located in London, Los Angeles and New York, with a subsidiary workshop in Australia, The Shop has worldwide capabilities. A leader in digital as well as physical visual effects, The Creature Shop is unique in its ability to provide a total service from concept design through film production to post production. Jim Henson's Creature Shop is a subsidiary of The Jim Henson Company.

LINUX is a trademark of Linus Torvalds. RED HAT is a registered trademark of Red Hat, Inc. All other names and trademarks are the property of their respective owners.


Forward-looking statements in this press release are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Investors are cautioned that statements in this press release that are not strictly historical statements, including, without limitation, management's plans and objectives for future operations, and management's assessment of market factors, constitute forward-looking statements which involve risks and uncertainties. These risks and uncertainties include, without limitation, reliance upon strategic relationships, management of growth, the possibility of undetected software errors, the risks of economic downturns generally, and in Red Hat's industry specifically, the risks associated with competition and competitive pricing pressures, the viability of the Internet, and other risks detailed in Red Hat's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, copies of which may be accessed through the SEC's Web site at


Well-Known Member
Apr 17, 2002
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Doesn't Karen Prell have a Red hat?


Well-Known Member
Apr 15, 2002
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This article is mentioned in

Here's the text of a post I submitted.

I was at the first MuppetFest in December 2001. One of the best weekends of my life. I saw this technology in action for about a half hour. It was one of the highlights of the festival.

Dave Goelz (Gonzo) and Steve Whitmire (Kermit) were on the right side of the stage, standing in front of these really-big-college-refrigerator-sized boxes, each containing a computer, and topped off with a control system and video monitor. The control system was basically the metal exoskeleton of a puppet head. They also had access to a keyboard and some other control, but they weren't highlighted.

They were just improving with Kemit and Gonzo for a half hour straight, on this big screen. These guys are freaking hysterical with their characters. We were blessed with about six hours of *live* improvisation during the whole festival...the puppeteers sitting on the stage, with their characters in their lap, just talking with each other and with us. Watching them in video form was no less magical. As I said, it was one of the highlights of the festival.

As far I could see, and as we were told...

The control system, to the puppeteer, feels exactly the same as when they use a normal puppet. Probably 80% freedom of movement, compared to an actual puppet. Of course, it is ultimately attached to the computer, but it was designed from the beginning to be as expressive and comfortable as possible.

To move a character around in its environment requires extra programming. During the demonstration, you only saw Gonzo and Kermit standing side by side. Extra programming is also required to do more complicated things, like moving individual fingers in a realistic fashion.

(Steve Whitmire was showing how he could move Kermit's finger, flexing his pointer finger back and forth for, like, fifteen seconds. Everyone quickly realized that the finger was right over his crotch, and started laughing. Steve was quite embarrassed :' )

Even cooler still: This system can be hooked up to a piece of software (to control virtual muppets, as I described) or to an animtronic device. This was also demonstrated.

They brought out the cat from the movie Cats and Dogs. The cat was sitting on a table, with five (!) people underneath it, each controlling an appendage (everything but the head and neck). The actual puppeteer's performance was recorded. The main computer/control mechanism was not to be seen. The cat performed a song, which I guess was in the movie (but since I refuse to *see* the movie, I can't know this for sure).

It was really cool. The cat's head and neck was controlled by the "recorded" performance, and he was belting it out like a real broadway singer.

Then the curtain pulled even farther out, and you saw that the performer *was* there. Singing and puppeteering. During the whole last verse of the song you saw both him and the cat. One moment in particular, the performer was really into his singing, and was leaning back and squinting his face, and you saw the cat having the exact same expression. So very cool.

(Kermit and Gonzo looked just *fine*, as we were watching them live on screen. But we we told that the performance can be recorded (SAVED, right?) and then the images can be rendered to look even more realistic. I personally was surprised, cause they looked perfectly acceptable to my eyes. Not to mention the backgrounds and clothing that can be added... One other thing this system makes possible: Puppeteers could be spread across the country, but perform their characters on the same screen, in all/just one of those locations. Wow.)

To see a few pictures, go here.
(get there by clicking on "Articles" in the left-hand toolbar and then "MuppetFest" towards the top right).

Click on "MuppetFest Photo Gallery", which pops up a new window. Choose "Day Two" from the drop down, and then go about fifteen pictures forward. The first picture of note is the cat on the table. The next four or five pictures show the animitronic cat and then the virtual Kermit and Gonzo.

Here's a search on Google that shows a bit more information.


Well-Known Member
Apr 16, 2002
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JHC now using Red Hat Linux

Well, okay. As a fan of both Linux and the Muppets, I thought that this article is interesting.

From what I gather, JHC and RedHat (a Linux distributor) are working to create a digital puppetry system. The article is light on the tech details, but I hope we hear more about this....

P.S. - my online chat system uses Linux, too. Of course, it's Debian linux, but the same thing :smile:


LINK: CNet story

LINK: Red Hat Linux

EDITED: I botched one of the URLs... :smile: