DF: In a small studio like yours, sometimes you have to do more than one task, beside been VFX Supervisor, what else did you do Janak?

JT: Yes there is usually a lot of responsibilites to balance during a production like this. What I enjoy the most is animation, and for this show I was also the Lead Animator. I also did most of the human facial rigging as well and handled the rigging of two digital stunt doubles. The VFX Supervisor role I had also meant that I had the responsibilite for making sure that we had a plan on how to practically solve the shots we were going to do within our current pipe-line. And of course, that we would be able to deliver them on time. I also did the lighting and rendering for one shot as well as the compositing for it.

DF: Could you tell us about the process of one of your shots?

JT: Sure, lets talke about the shot with the full CG head (the old guy leaning towards the fence).

On set we make sure that we have just enough tracking markers on the actors face, MatchMover which is our weapon of choice for tracking needs 7 visible markers at all times to keep a consistent track of things. Once the director was happy with the actors performance we shot a clean plate of the background.

Back at Fido Film our modeler, Magnus Eriksson, built a digital replica of the actor wearing the prostethic make-up in Maya based on photographs. This base cage were then imported into Zbrush for additional sculpting and deatailing. Once the digital sculpting was done displacement maps were extracted and applied in Maya. Using photographic reference as a starting point one of our texturing and rendering artists, Johan Gabrielsson, painted color maps as well as additional bump and specular maps to be used with the misss_fastSkin shader in Mental Ray.

As the digital sculpting and texturing came along I was also doing the facial rigging simultaneously and as soon as the rig was done I moved on to animate the shot. To make sure that our digital version matched the practical one seen in previous shots some additional sculpting were done even after the animation was approved, this was possible thanks to our use of Zbrush for a lot of the definition and detailing of our models.

Mattias Forsstr?m, who also did a lot of the texturing and lighting for the show, made some truly wonderful CG-hair in a ridicously short amount of time using Shave and Haircut for the shot. He also animated the hair being pulled back into the creatures head as it transforms.

For rendering we used Mental Ray standalone on our Linux based renderfarm.

Once all the elements were rendered out in different passes one of our compositors for the show, Fredrik Pihl, put it all together in Shake. The entire process was supervised by our Creative Director Kaj Steveman to make sure that it matched his visions and original design of the creature.

Digital Head Replacement | Original Plate

Digital Head Replacement | Wireframe mesh

Digital Head Replacement | Final Shot

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