rhinofx Shows off New ATI Graphics Technology with Doublecross
"There were some interesting challenges on both sides in terms of actually making that work. I know that we broke rhino's process on a number of occasions," added McInally. "The way that they traditionally do things doesn't always work well for our domain. They also pushed our team to think beyond what we would normally do. So we ended up having to tweak our processes. That was a very interesting challenge because the two worlds are very different."
To animate the spot's action-packed martial arts scenes, the company went with motion capture, turning to fight coordinator, Declan Mulvey and New York-based Perspective Studios.
Lead animator Jeff Guerrero, was called on to develop a special scalable rig in Maya that could accommodate each of the spot's six characters.
"Since we were using motion capture, we needed to develop the rig so that we could bring in the data and at the same time, do keyframe animation on top of it," Guerrero said. "Its not like we could develop a rig for a specific character, because it hadn't been approved yet, so we did a scalable rig where the rig would be consistent with all six characters. And they all had different scales -- Ruby was 58, the kingpin was 64 and the ninjas were 62. And their extremities were different. Ruby had longer legs and the ninjas had longer arms. On the other hand, the rig had to be read by the ATI card, meaning we had certain restrictions. For example, we had a specific amount of bones per character, because of the specifications of the graphics card. So we had to make sure that there were bones where they needed to be."
Keyframe animators at rhinofx massaged the motion capture data, and worked on hands, facial animations and hair.
In terms of lighting, lead lighter and project lead, Joe Burrascano, was limited to three light sources, and the lighting had to be precooked into texture maps.
"Usually we have no limitation on the number of lights that we can use and the types of lights. In this case, we were limited to three lights. It was like going back to the basics -- a very old-school way to work, but it was interesting and it was a good way to light," said Burrascano.
To tackle the 76 shots in the piece, the rhinofx's software developer Jim Callahan developed a proprietary in-house asset management system called Pipeline.
"If we didn't have Pipeline I think it would have been pretty hard to do," said Guerrero. "It is basically a file management system that works with any software. It was still in beta testing, so we needed an opportunity for us to test it on a job and this was the perfect job. Because of the schedule everybody had to work at the same time, so the animators were working on one thing, the previs person would be working on another thing, while the lighting and texture people were working on another element, all at the same time. And once we were all happy with it, we could put them together with Pipeline. It would create the file on the fly and we were able to go back and forth with various versions. It kept a log of versions every time we saved it. The programmers were able to see where mistakes were made, where there was a problem or an error, and allocate the problem exactly to the person who did it, and why it was done."
For ATI, THE DOUBLECROSS represents the first step in a process of building brand equity, explained Smith, so we can expect to see more adventures of Ruby with future product launches.
* Harry Dorrington (director)
* Rick Wagonheim (senior exec producer/partner)
* Camille Geier (senior exec producer)
* Karen Bianca (senior producer)
* Harry Dorrington & Daivd Zung (story and concepts)
* David Zung & Ji Yoon (storyboarding/visualization)
*Jeff Guerrero (lead animator)
* David Barosin (technical consultant & animation)
* Dan Vislocky (animation/modeler)
* Joe Burrascano (lead lighter and project lead)
*Chimin Yang (texture artists/lighter)
* Ido Kalir (texture artist/lighter)
* Natalia Senko (lighter)
*Dylan Maxwell (shader/texture artist)
* Martin Boksar (texture artist)
* Paul Liaw (modeler)
* John Velazquez (modeler)
* Shin Kull (modeler)
* Michael Ware (3D artist)