Twilight Experiences an Eclipse
Tippett Studio is back handling the wolves, under the supervision of Phil Tippett and Eric Leven. But instead of the anthropomorphized protectors from New Moon, they are more believably animalistic. Fortunately, Tippett met the challenge by applying a new fur growth system developed for the upcoming Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore. This replaced their customary black-and-white map technique.
"I describe it as a compositing package with a node-based system where you plug lead nodes together the same way you would in a Shake or Nuke project," Leven explains. "So by building a node-based tree you determine how much fur is grown by calculating length, width and curliness.
"We have a base layer of fur that grows out of that and then another layer of fur that grows when interpolated by RenderMan between the pre-grown hairs, which is something we've never done before. Those hairs are not as controllable, but you get a much richer and denser look, still using the same amount of memory footprint."
Meanwhile, Image Engine came on board as a result of their District 9 work to apply their own gritty aesthetic to the "historic wolves" sequence that tells the origin story in flashback.
"David Slade told us that he wanted to add a gritty realism to the Twilight world," says Jon Cowley, Image Engine's visual effects supervisor. "What was nice was that it was a vignette, an action sequence, similar to the kind of work we have done previously. The other mandate was that they wanted a photorealistic look. What we were told was that these were not humans in a wolf's body but wolves in a wolf's body. So we tried to get away from animation and caricature.