Elephant Tangles with Giraffe

Cirkus uses Yeti to help WWF remind us the fragility of fresh water

It’s always exciting to hear when Yeti is used for causes close to our heart, and Elephant vs. Giraffe created by the team at Cirkus for WWF doesn’t fall short.

In a poignant statement about the future of fresh water vs. global population growth Romain Borrel, the film’s director, came up with a concept where an elephant and giraffe end up in an altercation over a bottle of fresh water with many twists and turns (literally) along the way.

Giraffe inspects water

Romain told us Yeti was chosen by the team as it allowed them to achieve the level of realism and feature film quality required to create these two photorealistic animals.

A big but critical decision made part way through the project was to switch from their previous rendering engine to Redshift – with the tight integration offered between Yeti and Redshift the team felt both products worked incredibly well together resulting in five times the speed in per frame render times while still maintaining the same, high quality, result.

Elephant and Giraffe pretzels

Although many of the core crew were familiar with Yeti and happy using it due to its power and ease of use, the fact it is taught widely among New Zealand students provided an additional win for Cirkus who was able to scale their team with artists comfortable using it from day one.

Thank you to the team at Cirkus for reminding us our planet is fragile and supporting WWF and similar foundations who endeavor to improve life on Earth for all species is imperative to a long and sustainable future.

Below is the full video for you to enjoy.

Dinosaurs in the Wild

Milk created a ground-breaking range of CG Dinosaurs and their environment for ‘Dinosaurs In The Wild’ – an immersive, UK theatrical special venue experience which transports audiences 67 million years back in time to the Cretaceous period, to experience dinosaurs in their own environment!

 

The focus for the team was a digital ‘dinosaur safari’ – creating all of the external views of the dinosaurs seen through four ‘observatory windows’; and one windscreen-view for a ‘simulated drive’ sequence, all in Stereoscopic 3D.

 

“We created eight different species of Dinosaur for the show, which appear in every frame.” Explains Matt Bell, the lead grooming TD on the project – “Almost all of the Dinosaurs used Yeti to one extent or another and it was my responsibility to groom each one and help integrate the creature FX into our pipeline. Each dinosaur species had differing groom characteristics and each of these had multiple variations.”

©Dinosaurs in the Wild UK Ltd 2017 – Images supplied by Milk Visual Effects

This challenging workload was broken down into 4 X 12,000 frame continuous eight-minute shots and one x 6,000 frame, 4-minute drive sequence with Yeti being chosen for its ease of use and integration into the studios Maya/Renderman pipeline which was used for Dinosaurs in the Wild.

 

Matt continues “It was an incredibly challenging project given the large number of dinosaur variations and the length of the animation sequences. We rendered almost 80 million frames in the cloud using Google Cloud platform to accommodate the scale of the project. We are very happy with results we achieved.”

 

“Yeti achieves great results quickly and the flexibility allowed us to come up with workarounds to achieve specific looks, for example on the feathered Dakotaraptor we used a combination of heavily clumped fur blended with Yeti feathers which was layered into geometry feathers.”

 

“Yeti was perfect for such a complex and large-scale job such as Dinosaurs In The Wild.”

 

©Dinosaurs in the Wild UK Ltd 2017 – Images supplied by Milk Visual Effects

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!