Platige Image Talks Animation & VFX
The third part consisted of the scenes where the director wanted to achieve some artistic, unreal or visionary effect, like the scenes with acorns. We had to script and animate hundreds of small growing and dying plants together with a lot of matte painting and composition.
BD: What were some of your challenges?
JK: Artistically, we encountered two difficulties. The first one was how to obtain a balance between reality and a dream. From the very beginning, we were learning the visual language of this film. In many shots, our initial approach was far too real, too complicated. We had to learn this very raw, minimalistic look and still leave some space for beauty. The second difficulty concerned the gore level. We had never dealt with horror-like movies or shots before. In our projects we did head shots, blood and stuff like that but it had its visual limits. This time it was much more than that. There were moments when we had a feeling that we had gone too far, and then we would get a comment: "Add more."
From the technical point of view, it's nothing like those big Hollywood VFX movies, but we faced our own challenges. Actually, all of the animal shots were a bit tricky. Removing all that wiring and collars from running animals required 3D body replacements. The trickiest part was the speaking fox scene. Of course, this scene is problematic for the audience. At the very beginning we were supposed to use a shot fox and add some morphing to the mouth with some minimal jaw replacement at the beginning of the shot. Later on, the director's decision was that the fox needed to speak with a very exact lip sync. That really changed our approach. We had to replace the whole fox's face and reanimate the shot. We tracked the head very exactly in boujou and then created a full face in Softimage. We had 40 versions of the lip sync animation, and finally the strongest and most pronounced version was picked for the shot. Then the original fox's head was mapped on the new 3D face, repainted and that map was used as the color for the fur. mental ray was used for the rendering and Nuke for compositing.
BD: What other vfx projects are you working on?