Dusting Off the Tooth Fairy
Turning Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson into a lovable angel was quite a fun change of pace for CIS Vancouver, the lead vendor on Fox's Tooth Fairy. As Randy Goux, CIS Vancouver's visual effects effects supervisor, suggests, "Usually, in our careers, we're either blowing something up or flying through space."
CIS Vancouver worked on a total of 130 shots (mostly 2D), centered particularly around Johnson's first assignment as a minor league hockey player on angel probation for trying to convince his girlfriend's daughter that there is no tooth fairy.
"It contains lots of pretty intense and very detailed greenscreen work," explains Randy Goux, visual effects supervisor at CIS Vancouver. "His first assignment was our main sequence. He starts off shrinking on the front deck and goes to put the money under the pillow, and we spend a long time making sure that was a little something extra and not just your standard greenscreen work.
"Under Jake Morrison's guidance [the production visual effects supervisor], and he's a pretty detailed guy, he really pushed us -- and we pushed ourselves -- on the illusion of him being so small. Lots of depth of field details, and really making sure that the in-comp sculpting and lighting to make sure that he was really [performing] to scale, and generating the right shadows and reflections on the ground. It was a pretty sequence to do, especially since you're turning The Rock into [such a softie]. And this was a chance to think about [vfx] differently and really focusing on making these real gentle moments look real."
Even such details as Johnson walking on the bedspread were made more believable in CG. "It wasn't enough to leave him walking along this spread fabric and blending in," Goux continues. "We rebuilt the bedspread in 3D and made sure we did all the right deformations and making sure the texture looked to scale and all that stuff. We used Maya for any 3D and used Shake for all of our compositing. We did some particle work where he's invisible and skating on the ice before he starts to take the guys out. The only other real 3D that we did was the goofy moment when he takes the bad fairy drugs and his head blows up like a light bulb and squashes down. We had his performance on a greenscreen and built a 3D version of his head and reprojected the greenscreen performance onto a 3D head and did the full deformations of the jiggled deformers and seemed to get all that comedic who-haw. "
CIS Vancouver also did a wing shot in which Julie Andrews (who else?) first floats in as the Fairy Queen. "They had shot it with some prosthetic wings on and, of course, they bounced around, and once you have Julie Andrews in an angelic moment, it looks kind of wonky -- you have to fix it," Goux adds. "It's in some sort of British law. So we took her wings off and put in CG wings and added fur to the edges and made them gracefully come in and God rays behind her, and it was a nice little shot to work on."