Tippett's Scott Liedtka Talks The Smurfs
How did you accomplish the work?
Azrael and Gargamel out of their element in the Big Apple.
For Tippett Studio, this was a show that was a great fit with our pipeline. We are quite comfortable creating a CG character to match a live action animal, animating it for maximum performance value, then lighting it and integrating it into a live action plate. Our standard production pipeline works really well to ensure the work looks great and gives the filmakers the ability to efficiently direct the work. The twist in this case was the fact that more than half of our shots had elements from both Tippett Studio (Azrael) and Sony Pictures Imageworks (Smurfs) which required a lot of communication and data sharing to keep things moving forward smoothly.
What tools were used?
Tippett Studio mainly uses a Maya, Nuke, Renderman pipeline. We also use Mudbox, Shallowpaint (an internal 3D paint tool) and Photoshop, Jet (an internal job control tool) and Houdini.
What advances, if any, did you achieve on the project?
Tippett is known for their CG animal work and this show gave them a chance their cat model.
We made many incremental advances on this show. We shifted off of Shake onto Nuke for compositing. We beefed up our tools for using image based lighting. We reworked our cat asset and made significant improvements to the animation rig. Prepping for stereo went very smoothly.
What specific expertise did you bring to the project?
Tippett Studio has a rock solid crew and a production process that delivers great looking shots. I think the area that we really excel at is in getting the character animation right. Our animation supervisor got the trust of the director early in the project and and was given a lot of free reign to find funny performances. We had to go for realistic animation in a lot of shots, which is hard enough, but in other shots we pulled out the stops to get the laugh. Even though our Azrael did not have any lines, he had to carry his part and fit in opposite Gargamel. It was a lot of fun bringing him to the screen.