Photo-real digital characters and creatures have become an integral component of modern feature films. As audiences become more accustomed with visual effects, the demand for seamless reality is ever increasing. This in turn increases complexity of all aspects of character design, from the build phases: modelling, look development, and rigging; to the execution stages: animation, fx, and lighting. We sought to develop a vfx pipeline that was highly specialized in creature and character work, while maintaining maximum flexibility for the wide-ranging scope of work that accompanies it.
This paper explains the evolution of our creature pipeline, focusing on look development/lighting and asset management. We detail specific software design choices, highlight successful intra and inter-studio collaborations, and discuss our current development efforts towards scalable, maintainable tools for the ever increasing complexity involved in visual effects production.
Andrew Kaufman, John Haddon, Ivan Imanishi, and Lucio Moser. 2013. Developing a unified pipeline with character. From Proceedings of the Symposium on Digital Production (DigiPro ’13). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 37-43. DOI=10.1145/2491832.2491837