[ #Reel #VFX #Animation ] CG Record has announced that Rocco’s Carrot by Spellwork has won CGRecord | Reel of the Month #10 Awar...
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CGRecord has chance to have an interview with Sermed Darah from Spellwork Pictures and the team behind the movie.
Thank you for accepting our interview! Was this the most exciting project you've ever done, and what was most challenging in creating a CGI creature? Could it be the animation, fur creation, or the rendering?
This was our very first full CG creature project, so we were very excited that we could achieve the realism that we were looking for. We also had no experience working with Yeti and Arnold as the renderers before then and so we didn’t know what the final product would look like at the end or if we would have complications during the production stage. Those were the challenges.
You got the project under a tight deadline, so what was your solution?
The schedule was very tight, everything had to be finished before Christmas and we had only 5 weeks. We had to create a flexible workflow and tested everything before production started. We animated a lot of shots before we even knew how the edit would be. We couldn't wait till the edit was locked. We then tried to get the animatic approved before rendering the shot, but that turned out to be difficult because of the look of a grey-shaded rabbit and our final rabbit-with the fur-was too different. We couldn’t expect our client and their agency to be able to abstract the animation. So we always had to render a low-Res fur to get a final go.
First we had to decide what specie the rabbit should be. Of course it was nothing compared to the other tasks. We then defined the pattern and color of the fur. For modeling and sculpting, we had to collect a lot of references because we did not know how the rabbit looked under the fur. We started from a base mesh in zBrush, and aligned the proportion to the image of a skeleton. We had pictures of shaved rabbits and sculpted muscles and wrinkles. The rig was straight-forward, nothing special. We sculpted many blend shapes in zBrush and connected them to the control rigs. We worked closely with the animators and corrected the rig severally during the animation phase. The fur was the most challenging part. The groom network became pretty complex and the shading of the fur caused headaches. What we found most important was the deep color texturing of the fur to create a realistic behaviour with the lighting and movement of Rocco. We created a complex natural pattern of individual hairs that helped to get more realism in the fur. Our groom artist provided 7 different ID’s for the fur which the compositors could play around. I think we had about 40 render passes with some in deep and double resolution for 16bit and 32bit, crazy compositors!
For lighting the rabbit, we used image-based and geometry-based lighting with some Area and Directional lights. We scanned some parts of the set on the day of the shoot and used the texture as a light source to get a physical correct bounce light on the rabbit.
What is the most important thing you've achieved from this project?
We've seen many great works by your team, from Automotive rendering, to creature rendering... How big is your team? Could you please share with us on how you built up a talented team like that? Do you also have any goal for the team in the nearest future?
We are a very small company and we mostly work with freelancer. We do have a core team of artist who are mostly involved on the more extensive projects. I always look for artists who fit to the particular task, but most important is a harmonic and good human relation between the artists. The interpersonal part is more important than skills. We love what we do and we always have fun, no matter how stressful and how much pressure we’re facing. We try to push ourselves, and we all love the very little details that only other artists see.
Thank you very much for your great work and interview!
Spellwork Pictures is an internationally active visual effects company based in the lively neighborhood of Berlin-Kreuzberg.
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