The Smurfs Take Manhattan
The upshot is that they were able to get a clean initial pass in lighting in half a day with no artist time, meaning the bulk of the time was spent on crucial creative decisions rather than mechanical ones. They used the Trimble laser scanner (3mm at 10 meters) for accurate matchmoving.
The other major achievement was the all-CG Smurf Village, which had to fit with our world, because it's a tiny place hidden beneath us. In fact, the artistic time saved on lighting was applied to the intense 10-minutes of animating the village. Gentle Giant did the Smurf maquettes, and Sony created a multitude of clove, grass, moss and Oak trees all procedurally rendered in Arnold. It was particularly challenging to get the proper scale for the 7 1/2" POV of the characters.
"This was a joint collaboration where Culver did the design and building of assets, and the color and lighting, our new Vancouver office did the heavy lifting of animation and matchmoving and plate repair was done in the India office," Hoover confirms.
Bill Desowitz is former senior editor of AWN and editor of VFXWorld. He has a new blog, Immersed in Movies (www.billdesowitz.com), and is currently writing a book about the evolution of James Bond from Connery to Craig, scheduled for publication next year, which is the 50th anniversary of the franchise.