Dark Side of the Sun

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

fxguide - Robin Hood at MPC

In this article, fxguide interviews Richard Stammers, VFX Supervisor on Ridley Scott's Robin Hood, about the work we did for the movie at MPC:

fxguide - Robin Hood at MPC

It was really nice working with Richard, and I look forward to doing it again. It's also nice to read about the specifics of our work in this film, since in this case we take pride in having made invisible VFX that go completely undetected. As reported by a colleague, some media are saying that the final battle did not have a single CG element in it, and was fully practical. Isn't it nice... many of us have been payed during 6 months for doing nothing at all. :)

A couple of quotes about the work I was directly involved with:

"Finally there was also a lot of work creating the interaction of the horses' hooves with mud, grass and augmenting everything with live action dust elements."

There, Richard talks about the shot shown in the above image, where, besides creating some of the water elements of the disembarking army, I also created several particle elements of the mud and grass being kicked up by the CG horses in the front.

"Our effects team was responsible for creating all the wakes and splashes for the French armada. So we had 200 boats creating splashes, then landing craft with doors opening into the water and troops coming out into the water. They had to generate the footfall splashes for every single horse and soldier in the water as they got off the landing craft. Our crowd animation coming out of ALICE had to be matched up with these splashes in Maya and we had to write some custom additions to our pipeline, by pre-simulating lots of splash elements using Flowline. Those pre-cached simulations were placed at the feet positions of the ALICE crowd agents, so at render time we could get the line of water right and leave a trail of foam behind."

That paragraph sums it up pretty well. I created all the flowline splashes simulations for the horses and soldiers, as well as the interactions of oars going in and out of the water. I want to mention the great work of Rob Hopper (fx lead) in creating some nice tools to place all those splashes to match the cached ALICE crowds, with sometimes thousands of agents on screen. Also worth of mention is Nicola Danese's setup and scripts for the dozens of boats' interaction with the water surface and the foam they leave behind.

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