FABLEfx used Yeti for Orangutang in Kids’ Cancer Research Spot

When tasked with creating a new version of Rynke the Orangutang, FABLEfx used Yeti to bring the primate to life in a recent kids’ cancer research commercial.  We were fortunate to speak with Janak Thakker, Animation Supervisor at FABLEfx about their experience using Yeti.  Here’s what he had to say.

“My name is Janak Thakker and I’m the Animation Supervisor (dabbling as VFX Supervisor too) and co-founder at FABLEfx, a VFX boutique started a couple of years ago with a firm focus on characters and creatures. On this project Kaj Steveman (CEO/Creative director) and I tag-teamed as VFX Sup’s. We undertake most of our projects like this – a collaborative effort helping us getting as much creativeness as possible into the mix.”

“In this touching spot from Rynkeby Foods promoting kids’ cancer research, we see the boy, Bertil, and his (imaginary) best friend, Rynke the orangutang, who’s keeping him company in the hospital. They play around, Rynke gets a little naughty and ruins Bertil’s card house, but above all, they are best buds taking care of each other.”

“Creatively it was an exciting and equally scary challenge creating a CG character in demanding shots like this. Not only did we need to make sure that we created a believable living creature to help tell this emotional story but it’s obviously also quite a technical challenge as well. This is where Yeti comes into play as part of the solution.”

“We’ve been using Yeti for our furry and feathery creatures since we opened our doors. Yeti is what we prefer to use both artistically and technically so it was a no-brainer to use it for this creature as well. With Yeti we get the creative control needed to create believable grooms and rendering pretty pictures.”

“Digging around in the Yeti toolbox, the groom itself was meticulously crafted and tweaked into submission based on references from the clients as well as our own references to make sure we got to a level of fidelity everyone would be happy with. For fur dynamics we use an nHair approach with simulated curves driving the converted Yeti groom”

“If we had more responsive viewport feedback for grooming and better built in simulation tools I think we would have been able to push this even further which is something that goes for all our projects using Yeti.”

“All in all I think Yeti is a really groundbreaking tool as it allows small studios like ours to create high end fur with reasonable resources. It’s also pretty straight forward integrating it into custom pipelines like ours which is great.”

Thank you for your kind words and for taking time to speak with us about Yeti, Janak. Keep up the incredible work!

Important Looking Pirates knew Yeti was the Right Tool for Westworld

Important Looking Pirates knew Yeti was the right tool to use when tasked with creating various characters for Westworld, an HBO drama set where the near future and the reimagined past meet.

We’re grateful to to ILP’s Executive Producer, Måns Björklund, for speaking with us about how and why they worked with Yeti on this and other projects.

“The work we did for Westworld included a wide range of different assets and effects, from characters to vehicles to set extensions. In total we delivered about 65 shots for 8 different episodes. We used Yeti for three characters in Westworld: young Dr. Ford, the robot boy and a little bit on Dolores.”

“First, we created a digital version of Anthony Hopkins as “Young Dr. Ford”. Yeti was used to create eyebrows, eyelashes, stubble and other facial hair.”

“To create the effect of the robot boy opening his face to show his mechanical skeleton we had to create digital hair to interact with the rest of the animation. We used a guide curve approach to style the hair to match the look of the actor. The guide curves where then simulated with Maya nHair and plugged back into the Yeti graph. Additionally we used it for eyelashes and other facial hair.”

 

 

“For the character, Dolores, we used Yeti to create a layer of “peach fuzz” on the parts we had to replace with CG. This included an extension of the neck and her arm.”

“At ILP we don’t want to limit ourselves to a certain tool set; we always try to find the tools that best suit the project. We have been using Yeti on a lot of different projects over the last few years and so it has become one of our go-to tools when working with characters that need fur or hair. We have mainly been using it for characters and creatures but for some projects we have used Yeti as a scattering tool for environments and other assets.”

“Yeti is a great tool and worked well for when creating these assets. We were able to reuse parts of a set up from one character to another which sped up the process when starting on new assets. The procedural workflow makes it quite easy to adjust and tweak a set up at any point in the process.”

Keep up the incredible work, Important Looking Pirates, and thank you for your continued support of Yeti!

 

Antepost used Yeti with Incredibly Realistic Results

When grooming artist duo Francesco Di Luisi and Sofia Oliveira, of Antepost, were called upon by Spellwork to groom a CG rabbit for a commercial they used Yeti with incredibly realistic results.

Francesco and Sofia were kind enough to share their work with us and told us a bit about how and why they use Yeti.

“We were contacted by Sermed Darah from Spellwork Pictures to groom the rabbit for a REWE commercial, a supermarket chain in Germany. The story is based on a funny rabbit playing tricks on his owner who is eating the rabbit’s carrots. We agreed with Spellwork to use Yeti as the grooming tool as it is our first choice when dealing with groom projects and also provides an efficient and fast solution for fur work.”

“Yeti gave us all the tools we needed to achieve a realistic rabbit with a very flexible workflow to fulfil the specifications and requests from the client. In the lookdev stage, we used the power of the attributes and expression based on the requests of the lookdev artist Sebastian Greese, to have full control on colour variation in the fur.”

“We have been using Yeti for our professional and personal projects for several years and we will continue to groom with it!”

Take a look at this video with great shots of the rabbit in action.

Thank you for speaking with us, Antepost!

Triggerfish Animation Studios chose Yeti for Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes

When tasked with building a variety of characters for two short films based on much-loved author Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes stories, Triggerfish Animation Studios chose Yeti to create fur and hair. Produced by Magic Light Pictures, the films premiered on BBC One in December 2016 and will be doing the festival circuit as well as TV and DVD releases this month.

We caught up with Mike Buckland, Head of Production at Triggerfish, to learn more about their process and how the artists used Yeti.

“The Revolting Rhymes films are divided into two ‘worlds’ – the Main Story, where the fairytales are visualized, and the Frame Story, where the narrator exists. The Main Story world is very stylized, with hair and fur treated with a sculpted approach, whereas the Frame Story world is done in a more realistic style, and for this we used Yeti for the hair and fur. In this Frame Story there were five characters with human hair, two human characters who wore fur coats, and three versions of the Narrator Wolf (two with different outfits and one unclothed). Because these all looked vastly different, and needed different functionality, we used different approaches for the different Yeti nodes.”

© Magic Light Pictures Limited 2016

“For the Narrator Wolf, we used Yeti grooms for the areas with short fur, namely the face, ears, and limbs. However, the directors wanted a very specific stylized, clumpy look for the head, neck and tail fur, and for this we used curves exported from Zbrush, and used them as guide curves. We had to build some custom tools to be able to change the Yeti attributes for a number of selected curves at once, and to make it easier to “brush” the curves in Maya, although this remained tricky and unintuitive. We did eventually get exactly the look the directors wanted, styling each clump’s guide curve individually by brushing it and adjusting its Yeti attributes. The guide curves were a bit tricky to use in the animated shots because we didn’t have a chance to rig them, so we had to adjust them at the origin, instead of on the posed character. The clumps under the neck tended to crash through one another when the Wolf moved his head, so there was a lot of brushing to be done per shot. The Yeti grooms behaved very well in the shots though, and we had to make very little use of corrective grooms.”

“For the fur coats the directors wanted a messy, uneven look, so we again used guide curves, some created in ZBrush and others brushed in Softimage. We were very happy with the final look, but the large number of curves needed for the entire surface of each fur coat made scenes with the coats very slow and heavy. Luckily they featured in far fewer shots than the Wolf.”

© Magic Light Pictures Limited 2016

“We used curves for the human hair as the characters have very styled hair: the Babysitter has tight pin curls, Red Riding Hood has impeccable 50’s waves, Snow White has very defined clumps in her fringe, and the little girl has has two pigtail chignon buns. The curves were created in Softimage and converted to Yeti strands. For the most part the curves were static, but some of them had to be rigged in order to prevent long hair from crashing into the character’s geometry.”

“We are very happy with the final result and have been overwhelmed by positive feedback.”

Fur/hair credits:

Hair artist and technical lead: Sue Sauer

Fur artist: Liesbeth Gouws

Additional shot-based artists: Sam Hillebrand and Jarryd Muir

ZBrush and texturing artist: Danie Malan

Shading artist: Kevin Van Den Oever

TD: James Bihl

 

Platige Image chose Yeti to create CG Bisons

Our long time customer, Platige Image once again chose Yeti to create CG bisons in the most recent Zubr beer commercial and used it for the fur, snow instances and simulations with amazing results.  We were fortunate to speak with one of their artists, Grzegorz Jankowski, who told us about his experience working with Yeti for this spot and others.

“We chose Yeti for this project as we have been using it for Żubr beer commercials for a couple of years now.  Yeti is really fast to groom with and easy to add custom attributes. We have some experience with Yeti instances and we even did some plant simulations combining Yeti with Maya nHair for other projects.”

He went on to tell us that, “In this commercial, we decided to add snow on the fur with Yeti instances. I ran some tests with simple planes, later with boxes and when we were happy with the result, our artist created some snow chunks and scattered them on the fur using an additional density map. While this work was underway, I did some fur simulations and when I was happy with them I used the same setup to simulate snow chunk instances. The bisons and snow chunks were rendered with Arnold.”

Thank you for taking the time to speak with us and for continuing to use our tool, Platige!

Log into Facebook to view the final spot here and enjoy this fantastic breakdown.