Vanguard Taps Maya Pipeline for Valiant
To make the animation processes easy and fast, Vanguard developed one highly sophisticated, stand-alone character rig in Maya, which could be adapted as required to other bird characters in the movie. This ensured that every animator would be familiar with any characters controls, allowing them to work with any character on any shot. In addition, a custom-developed Maya plug-in called Chanko enabled the animation team to create a library of poses and clips, which could then be shared between the character animators, ensuring shot-to-shot continuity.
To maximize rendering speed and efficiency, Vanguard harnessed the full range of Mayas native, mental ray and RenderMan rendering options.
RenderMan was the chosen rendering tool for most of the characters, sets and props. Optimizing the RIB output in Maya meant characters could be output quickly, with the advantage that the animation team was able to deepen the visual experience by adding wardrobe and military regalia over the feathers.
Using mental ray, Vanguards technical directors were able to light scenes and produce global illumination renders, then bake the lighting information into the color textures. This did away with the need to render the sets using multiple shadow-casting lights, and which ultimately made rendering much faster. The Maya native renderer was used to render visual effects passes, such as smoke, steam, atmospheric dust, fires and explosions.
Delivering a CG film production like VALIANT would not have been so fast and efficient five years ago, and Maya played a pivotal role, added Curtis Augspurger.
VALIANT is a Vanguard Animation Production in association with Ealing Studios. The movie will be distributed internationally by Odyssey Ent., and in the U.S. by Buena Vista Pictures. Gary Chapman is the director. Exec producers are Barnaby Thompson for Ealing Studios, Ralph Kamp for Odyssey Ent, Neil Braun for Vanguard Animation, Robert Jones for the UK Film Council and Keith Evans from Baker Street Media Finance. Co-Producers are Eric M. Bennett, Curtis Augspurger and Buckley Collum for Vanguard Animation.
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