Twilight Experiences an Eclipse
"We were given the opportunity to get into some new creature design and try a new spin: they're a little more battered and gangly; a little more lean and mean. We went with more of a neutral brownish color palette; slight changes to the face and proportions; beefing them up with bigger shoulders. A little different but they still had to come across as these 1,500-lb, massive creatures."
"For our muscle systems, we used Maya muscles to get all of the underlying dynamics going on, and we used nCloth as a cloth simulation on top of that so we could muscles sliding underneath and skin and the fur dynamics to happen on top of that.
"We were tasked with developing three historical wolves and were also awarded a ravine chase sequence where we had to put in two contemporary wolves as well, Quil and Embry. That was interesting because we had to closely match the wolves that Tippett created."
Image Engine was also allowed to experiment with "vampire speed," turning them into super athletes rather than superheroes. "Our comp department did a lot of rotoscoping and separating characters and time warping part of their performances so that they're moving very, very quickly but grounded in the physics of our world," Cowley says. "What was done before was in-camera and somewhat hidden. We were tasked with trying to do something that was front and center. A lot of things were shot at high speed -- 48fps, 72 fps -- so we had the incremental footage in between to speed up and slow down those performances."
They settled on expanding the "diamond skin" motif developed by Prime Focus. "Their muscles, bones, fatty tissues all start to turn to this crystal, diamond-like material when they turn," Cowley continues. "And there's still blood flowing through their veins and some human anatomy remains. We tried to get that to morph over time to these hard crystalline surfaces. That's what gives the vampires their super strength. So we developed a look based on crystal samples (ruby and quartz) that we discussed with David.
"We then built the shaders and geometry to get that particular look. One of the other mandates is that these vampires are beautiful and elegant. We started from the skin and worked all the way inside the body with this crystal motif. We couldn't get gory. Crystal was a great solution for finding that ripped apart, beautiful look."
Bill Desowitz is senior editor of AWN & VFXWorld.