Framestore Helps MTV ‘Believe’
"With over 30 shots to do in a very short time," said Boyd, "the IBL/mental ray set-up meant that everything would be basically in one beauty pass. Taking the lighting information we'd gathered on the shoot, we would do a lighting set up and create a master shader, which senior technical directors Jamie Isles and Chris Syborn and I could artistically test for each shot. So all we had to do was replace the environment image, and we could race through it. So we ended up giving Ben a total of three passes to comp the beauty, the special multi-light pass that gave him some grading control, and a shadow pass and that was it. On some jobs we've handed him six to14 passes, which would have given him very little time."
Syborn created a set up to control the robot's cabling and wires via Maya's dynamic hair tools. Given that the schedule was so tight, there wasn't time to go in and hand animate secondary cable animation for more than 30 shots, so by treating each cable as an individual (albeit gigantic) hair, real dynamics could be applied to its movement. So a sudden stop by the robot would cause the cables to continue to move in a realistic way, softening the motion and making it very natural.
Finally, the look of the robot had to be quite grubby, given its origins in the car plant. So, while Isles hand painted and textured the dirt for the hero' pieces of the robot's body, for much of the smaller parts, Boyd created a procedural shader that actually put a lot of little bits of dirt in, avoiding the time-consuming process of hand texturing everything.
It took Cronin and inferno artist Chris Redding two intensive weeks to comp BELIEVE. 2D concerns they addressed included a careful grading of the robot, because taking an indoors object outside, where you wouldn't normally see it, can lead to subtle color saturation issues. For an interaction shot, where the robot clambers over a BMW, Cronin used a shiny new hire car, which he shot being bounced up and down and then vandalized further in inferno. Additionally, the robot's tail a huge piece of multi-core cable was given sparks as it bounced of some of the road surfaces.
London-based Framestore CFC is one of the leading visual effects company working on effects for feature films and commercials. More information can be found at www.framestore-cfc.com.