As a reminder, the panel members for this conference were:
- Eamonn Buttler of Double Negative,
- Olivier Cauwet and Bastien Laurent of BUF,
- Dale Newton of Framestore and
- Gregory Fisher of The Moving Picture Company.
Moderator: Gilbert Kiner, ArtFx Director.
Panel members commented on the work created in certain sequences in the following films: “Wrath of the Titans” (MPC), “Sur la Piste du Marsupilami” (BUF), ‘The Tale of Three Brothers’ in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” (Framestore) and “John Carter” (Double Negative).
More realism concern
Whether it is live-action with VFX or animation, animators are doing whatever it takes to achieve more and more realism.
Concerning reference searches (for texturing, dynamics and fluids, etc.), animators are no longer happy with existing stock shots and are creating their own shots instead.
For example, in order to find skin references and create the ‘makhais’(the demons with two chests and two heads in the final sequence of the Titans), the MPC team filmed actual body injuries in a hospital, explained Gregory Fischer.
This realism ambition is revealing itself more arduously when the story evokes animated beings whose physical characteristics do not exist in the real world. And it has become more popular for animators to film themselves playing the monsters they will animate, in order to see viable physical concepts.
Eamonn Butler gives an example of the creation of a ‘woola’ (the monster-animal from John Carter) which presented the difficulty of resembling a canine but with six legs. In order to choose the dynamic which would be the most plausible on screen, the studio organized a casting session of animators, during which each animator went in front of the camera and demonstrated his or her vision of the movements for the creature.
Strong links between acting and animation
It is common practice these days to combine live-action footage or actors in front of green screens with motion capture and insert animation. This synergy is so good that it is becoming difficult to say if the animated sequence is from a live-action shot, or if the live-action shot is incrusted with an animated shot.
Gregory Fischer of MPC explains that during the sequence of ‘Perseus versus the chimera,’ the animators used live-action for certain shots then filmed Sam Worthington in front of a green screen to create an animated version of him and the chain he used to strangle the chimera for the others.
Eamonn Butler of Double Negative talks about how sessions were held to capture facial motion for animation of the ‘Tharks,’ the green giants with two tusks. The studio had the idea of placing cameras in the place of these tusks in order to capture facial close-ups.
This element also allowed the actors to integrate the facial “prostheses” in their acting, notably in the movement of their eyes.
This technique worked so well that these cameras were also integrated in the optical motion capture.
This is an interesting enough example of the acting complementing the animation and vice versa.
Find the complete summaries of the conferences on the Annecy Festival website.
Source : Annecy Festival, Stéphane Malagnac (Prop’Ose).
[small_button]English version by Danielle Harrell, English teacher for ArtFx[/small_button]