Tech Talk with Sony's Rob Bredow
Check out the trailers and clips from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs from at AWNtv!
Rob Bredow, recently promoted to CTO of Sony Pictures Imageworks, now part of the Sony Pictures Digital umbrella, has been a talented visual effects supervisor (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Surf's Up) and technical guru for years. Now he's charged with making the studio leaner and meaner while still staying cutting edge. I spoke to Bredow about Cloudy and the rest of the Sony slate of vfx and animated projects.
Bill Desowitz: So, how's it going as the new Sony CTO?
Rob Bredow: Splitting that with production on Cloudy has been pretty tricky. So now I'm getting focused as a full-time employee and it's pretty nice.
BD: What are some of the technical advancements on Cloudy?
RB: We kind of joked at the beginning of the movie that there wasn't a single shot that we didn't know how to do. But we just weren't sure how to do them all because there was so much volume. It was just huge in terms of the scope of the movie from the very beginning all the way to the very end. The town, for example, is the biggest town we've ever built for one of our animated films. And then the Jell-O Mold was super complicated in rendering that. It's translucent and reflective and refractive, and every ray that goes in there has to blur properly and feel like Jell-O. And we did a lot of things that didn't look like Jell-O until we finally got it. And then, of course, as it animates around, the whole set moves. So, it's a pretty complicated environment.
BD: And this your first animated feature to use Arnold from start to finish?
RB: Yes, we used Arnold on Monster House and it was really groundbreaking work at the time, for sure. But on Monster House there were some compromises they made in order to get that look right, so we didn't put full hair on the characters, we simplified the cloth. In this movie, there was no question that it had to have full hair, full motion blur, full cloth simulation -- everything that we would normally put in a big high-end animated movie. This time we were really setting it up to be a facility renderer to do all of the work that we need to do. In fact, there were some places in Watchmen -- the glass castle on Mars -- that were rendered in Arnold because it's so good as a ray tracer.
BD: So that was the big breakthrough?