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Proof Shares ‘Dashing Through the Snow’ Postvis Reel

Leading visualization studio helps create balance between magical wonder, grounded, convincing behaviors, and funny antics for Disney’s holiday adventure film, contributing to several sequences including the final reindeer battle.

Leading visualization studio, Proof, has shared with AWN its postvis reel for Disney’s film Dashing Through the Snow, a hilarious and touching story about a social worker for the Atlanta police department and the Christmas Eve journey that helps him to remember the joy and magic of the yuletide season. The holiday adventure, released last year, is now streaming on Disney+.

Proof’s postvis supervisor, Stuart Allan, worked on the film for two months under the direction of VFX supervisor, Susan Struger and VFX producer, Tom Rubendall. His team worked on sequences that revealed Santa’s magic, including his Humbug toys and his flying reindeer sleigh. The reindeer postvis included their flying pattern and habits, how they interacted with each other and other characters, and how they fought the bad guys.

The Proof team aimed to create a balance between magical wonder, grounded, convincing behaviors, and funny antics. To do this, they started with shot footage that had no creatures, toys, or effects, and then provided options by inserting different versions of CG elements into the shots. This assisted the post and editorial teams’ work in determining exactly how to best wrap up the story in a fun and satisfying way.

The Proof team contributed to several sequences over eight weeks with team members responsible for tracking, rigging, animation, compositing, and some lookdev. According to Allen, the team’s priority was the final reindeer battle.

“We worked closely with Cinesite, who did finals for our sequences,” explained Allen. “The reindeer blocking and actions would become the template for their work, so we used their scans of creatures, vehicles, and sets for consistency. We then rigged and down-rezed those models for more efficient visualization animation.”

Most sequences were keyframed because the majority involved interactions of actors with creature antics.

“One exception was an aurora borealis simulation,” added Allen, “which we used to visually demonstrate and plan out an effect based on some really beautiful concept art from production. We developed animated trails of energy flowing from the reindeer and sleigh in the air and incorporated it into our Maya-to-Nuke pipeline.”

Every job has its challenges, with this project’s most demanding work (and most fun), according to Allen, was adding and tweaking reindeer acting.

“When blocking was squared away, everyone on the team got a chance to delve further into the deer's personalities as they brawled with the movie's villains,” he shared. “Since it is visualization, these were broader strokes than the character work added later in finals. But hopefully our work helped sell the sequence as a whole and brought it that much closer to the director's vision.”

Dashing Through the Snow is now streaming on Disney+

Source: Proof Inc.

Debbie Diamond Sarto's picture

Debbie Diamond Sarto is news editor at Animation World Network.