Tech Talk with Sony's Rob Bredow
RB: Yes, what it does for the artists is it really changes their workflow. With the old renderer, they'd spend a lot of time managing data, calculating shadow maps, doing pre-passes to calculate various things. And then once they got the renderer out, if they wanted to adjust the lighting, they'd have to go back and do a lot of recalculation, re-prepping their files. There's still time, of course, to do all of that, but it's a different kind of workflow. And the interactive feedback is much better, so they can move a light and see the results in seconds because of the way we have the renderer hooked up to our system.
BD: What can you say about Alice in Wonderland?
RB: Not too much yet. But just by the trailer, you can see some of our work and that the level of the complexity is extremely high. It's a combination of live-action and lots of CG, and all sorts of sophisticated things to handle all of the size differences, all of the characters in the film, some of the environments. It's absolutely on the cutting edge of what we've been doing. We have employed a huge percentage of our best people on Alice.
BD: What's it like working with Tim Burton on his first big CG movie?
RB: The nice thing with Ken Ralston at the helm, you've got the right guy for that. He makes everybody comfortable.
BD: Yes, Ken told me that it reminds him of Roger Rabbit, only this time they know what they're doing.
RB: It's almost like Roger Rabbit turned on its head. Instead of doing a couple of characters, you're doing everything but a couple of characters.
BD: And what about 2012?
RB: We have one more shot to complete, but you can see some of our work in the most recent trailer. You can see the Arks and we got to do some of the heavy lifting on that show. Peter Nofz supervised in-house and that team is also using Arnold so it's pretty hefty scenes to have to render and we're learning new stuff about scaling it up to that scale, maybe working on set better with that many lights and pulling environments off with that level of sophistication.
BD: Hotel Transylvania?
RB: It's really about the choices in visual storytelling for Hotel T. We've had some initial discussions how the visuals are going to complement the story in terms of stylization and lighting. And, of course, the characters and all of the design work have had a very unique look in all of our animate movies. And that trend is definitely going to continue in Hotel T. The [Expressionistic] look. And the monsters are going to be great fun.
RB: Smurfs is moving along now. We have a lot happening with that: another cutting edge combination of live-action and CG.