The Mind's Eye series consists of several art films rendered using computer-generated imagery of varying levels of sophistication, with original music scored note-to-frame. The series was conceived by Steven Churchill of Odyssey Productions in 1989. The initial video was directed, conceptualized, edited and co-produced by Jan Nickman of Miramar Productions and produced by Churchill. The first three products in the series were released on VHS (by BMG) and LaserDisc (by Image Entertainment) and also released on DVD (by Simitar Entertainment). The fourth program in the series was released and distributed by Sony Music on DVD.
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 and producer Steven Churchill, consisted of a non-rigid structure of many semi-related sequences. The general style which characterizes the series is light and cartoonish, 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. 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 No. 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 Mind's Eye: A Computer Animation Odyssey||January 1, 1990||Miramar Images, Inc.||Jan Nickman||Jan Nickman
|James Reynolds||Serves as a demonstration of computer animation when the artform was still in its relative infancy. The sales of this video were RIAA-certified as "Multi-Platinum" and reached as high as No. 12 on Billboard's video sales chart.||"Creation"|
The technological advances of humanity from the advent of agriculture to the future exploration of the cosmos
A segment of what might be the next sentient species to arise on Earth
Stanley and Stella in: Breaking the Ice
|Beyond the Mind's Eye||December 23, 1992||Michael Boydstun||Steven Churchill||Jan Hammer||Some scenes were originally created for the 1983 Simutrek arcade lasergame Cube Quest. Video sales were RIAA-certified as "Multi-Platinum" and reached as high as No. 8 on Billboard's video sales chart.||"Too Far"|
"Seeds of Life", a sequence themed around planet-colonizing seeds, featuring the noted Panspermia by computer graphics artist Karl Sims
CGI sequences from The Lawnmower Man (1992)
The DVD version includes both the vocal version of "Seeds of Life" (sung by Chris Thompson) that blends the animation segment and footage of Hammer and his "band" performing (composed of four Jan Hammers) and an instrumental.
|The Gate to the Mind's Eye||June 30, 1994||Odyssey Productions||Thomas Dolby||"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 series' first jazz track
"Quantum Mechanic", starring guest vocalist Dr. Fiorella Terenzi
"God and the Quantum"
"Synchronicity", produced and conceptualized by visionary artist Beny Tchaicovsky.
|Odyssey Into the Mind's Eye||July 12, 1996||Kerry Livgren||Features two vocal tracks: "One Dark World" (sung by Darren Rogers) and "Aspen Moon" (sung by Livgren's nephew Jacob).||CGI sequences from Ecco: The Tides of Time (1994), Johnny Mnemonic (1995) and Cyberscape, a 45 minute computer animation produced and copyrighted by Tchaicovsky.|
Spin-off titles and other releases
|Virtual Nature: A Computer Generated Visual Odyssey From the Makers of the Mind's Eye||1993||Odyssey Visual Design|
|The Mind's Eye Presents Luminous Visions||April 24, 1998||Odyssey Productions|
|The Mind's Eye Presents Ancient Alien||July 10, 1998|
|The Mind's Eye Presents Little Bytes||July 25, 2000|
Two other anthologies released by Churchill did not include the term "The Mind's Eye" as part of their titles and are thus not considered to be part of the series.
|Imaginaria||December 21, 1993||Odyssey Visual Design|
|Turbulence||March 16, 1996||Odyssey Productions|
Churchill's most recent releases have been entries in the eight part Computer Animation series.
|Computer Animation Festival Volume 1.0||November 5, 1993||Odyssey Visual Design|||
|Computer Animation Festival Volume 2.0||September 2, 1994|
|Computer Animation Festival Volume 3.0||July 12, 1996||Odyssey Productions|
|The Mind's Eye Presents Computer Animation Classics||May 6, 1997|
|The Mind's Eye Presents Computer Animation Showcase||August 29, 1997|
|The Mind's Eye Presents Computer Animation Celebration||May 1, 1998|
|Computer Animation Marvels||July 23, 1999|
|Computer Animation Extravaganza||August 18, 2000|
A second sister series obliquely referencing Computer Animation is formed by the original Mind's Eye video and Cyberscape: A Computer Animation Vision (August 28, 1997, co-produced by Zoe Productions and Odyssey Productions), a surreal animation chronicling the evolution of human life and thought, by Beny Tchaicovsky.
Reception and adaptations
Beyond the Mind's Eye was a bestseller in the US when it was originally released on VHS and LaserDisc. Roger Ebert selected it as his "Video Pick of the Week" for the week of December 23, 1992 on the TV series Siskel & Ebert.
Several excerpts from The Mind's Eye were seen in the 1992 sci-fi horror film The Lawnmower Man, which itself was featured in Beyond the Mind's Eye. The Mind's Eye and Beyond the Mind's Eye were both integral components in YTV's Short Circutz segments that aired between programs in the 1990s. Canadian independent television station NTV airs excerpts from the first three Mind's Eye videos as part of their "Computer Animated Art Festivals" that run overnight on Fridays.
- Business Wire. "Image Entertainment Signs Exclusive Agreement With Odyssey Productions for DVD and VHS Release of State-of-the-Art Computer Animation Programs". Aug 18, 1999.
- Fitzpatrick, Eileen. Computer Animation Reaches a Growing Niche. Billboard. Pg. 70. 18 October 1997.
- Pell City, AL Library entry[permanent dead link]
- Chen, Chun-Wei. Parsons Animation and Digital Video Festival. "Comic Studio: Research Paper" - References Archived 2012-06-30 at archive.today. Dec 9, 2002.
- SIGGRAPH '97 Newsletter
- The Mind's Eye
- The Mind's Eye at IMDb
- The Mind's Eye at AllMovie
- The Mind's Eye is available for free viewing and download at the Internet Archive
- Beyond the Mind's Eye
- Beyond the Mind's Eye at IMDb
- Beyond the Mind's Eye at AllMovie
- Beyond the Mind's Eye is available for free viewing and download at the Internet Archive
- The Gate to the Mind's Eye
- The Gate to the Mind's Eye at IMDb
- The Gate to the Mind's Eye at AllMovie
- The Gate to the Mind's Eye is available for free viewing and download at the Internet Archive
- Odyssey Into the Mind's Eye
- Odyssey Into the Mind's Eye at IMDb
- Odyssey Into the Mind's Eye at AllMovie
- Odyssey Into the Mind's Eye is available for free viewing and download at the Internet Archive
- Luminous Visions
- Luminous Visions at IMDb
- Luminous Visions at AllMovie
- Ancient Alien
- Ancient Alien at IMDb
- Ancient Alien at AllMovie
- Virtual Nature
- Virtual Nature is available for free viewing and download at the Internet Archive