Rising Sun Pictures raises Hel for Thor: Ragnarok

We had so much fun watching Marvel’s latest release, Thor: Ragnarok, with a plethora of amazing visual effects executed by a world-wide roster of vendors.

Rising Sun Pictures, based in Adelaide, Australia, worked on a number of sequences for the film where Yeti was used as a primary grooming package to achieve the realistic looks/hairstyles needed for their digital characters and creatures.

We spoke with Dilen Shah who worked as a Lead Character FX TD at RSP on Thor: Ragnarok and shared the teams experience on two of the sequences.

HEL SEQUENCE

“The first sequence we worked on that made extensive use of Yeti was the flashback Valkyrie sequence where the Valkyries were entering the battle to fight the God of Death, Hela. It was a particularly interesting and challenging sequence, shot completely in slow motion with an abundance of digital characters and horses, which had to be highly detailed to maintain realism up-close to the camera.”

“We went through an extensive amount of reference for the horses, especially race horses, as their features were the closest match to the battle horse look we were going for. Yeti’s procedural workflow helped us achieve a realistic overall look, with the neck and tail hair making use of guides to allow per shot control to meet the art direction needs of the production.”

“This sequence also had over 140 Valkyrie digital characters, each with their own hairstyles and grooms. We created a library of generic female grooms, and were able to randomize them using custom variables in Yeti, to achieve a unique look for each one.”

“Lastly, many shots in this sequence required a fully digital version of Cate Blanchett, also using Yeti for her hair, which was a fun challenge for the team.”

 

TRAILER ALLEYWAY AND HKS (BIFROST) SEQUENCE

“The Bifrost sequence, where Thor and Loki are both escaping Hela after she had destroyed Thor’s hammer, required a lot of intensive grooming.  For most of the shots Thor and Loki are completely digital characters and thus we had to closely match their hairstyles as they were in the rest of the movie, with both offering up their own challenges.”

“Loki had thick clumpy hair that was straight and wavy at the same time, this was made possible using the groom paint attributes in Yeti which allowed us to differentiate parts of his hair in a selective way.”

“Thor, on the other hand, had really long hair passing down his shoulders with a very recognizable pony tail and we had to maintain the textural quality which was a mix between clumpy/thick and smooth/thin which varied across the groom. Care was taken to also match the little details like loose fly away hairs mixed with small pony tails that framed his face. These were handled via Yeti’s guide sets by carefully controlling the radius of influence of each for finer control over the look.”

“As with Loki, Thor’s eyebrows and beard were also completely created in Yeti.”

“As a whole, we found Yeti to be a solid grooming package – we were able to achieve the look and feel we needed for the range of characters and creature this project demanded. We also appreciated the flexibility it gave us to easily make changes at the shot level itself, if necessary. Unfortunately, we did have to go away from Yeti for hair simulation (which we hope will be tackled in future versions) but as a grooming package Yeti was amazing and provided us with what we needed.”

 

Thank you for the insight Dilen and congratulations to the whole Rising Sun Pictures on the fantastic work!

Yeti 2.2 is now available

We are extremely happy to announce that Yeti 2.2 is now available from Yeti Central for all of our customers marking our first official release that supports Maya 2018.

A lot of effort has been put into re-writing the underlying evaluation engine to make much better use of resources by evaluating nodes in parallel as much as possible and lay the foundation for upcoming features in Yeti 3.0.

Please visit Yeti Central for a complete list of changes and also note that due to API changes and VP2.0 requirements this release only supports Maya 2017 and above.

Thank you for your continued support!

Yeti Tutorials by Antepost Studio

We are pleased to share a series of four Yeti tutorials by Antepost Studio who specializes in asset development and grooming and frequently uses our software.

We asked Francesco and Sofia, freelance artists who together form Antepost, to tell us about their experience using Yeti and why they created the tutorials. Here’s what they had to say:

“Our service is focused in character development for VFX and games, and our main expertise is grooming. We use Yeti as a plugin and it’s our first choice when dealing with groom projects. Its nodes system give us creative freedom and a higher control with a procedural and flexible workflow. By working with Yeti we can offer our clients a fast and high quality result and fulfil their needs.”

“We decided to record this first series of tutorials because apart from some great advanced tutorials, we felt the web was missing a proper introduction to basics of Yeti and grooming. Grooming is a complex subject, due to its technical and artistic aspects, we think a beginner could be easily scared to start if the fundamental topics are not provided and explained.  We hope this new resource can be helpful to students and experienced VFX artists that want to venture in the grooming world.”

Below is the first tutorial and the rest are available on Antepost’s YouTube channel.

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!