Realistic Conan was created with Yeti by Black Studios

Earlier this year, Bläck Studios was tasked with executing a cinematic trailer for Conan Exiles, Funcom’s new multiplayer online game to be released this summer. The realistic Conan was created with Yeti and the results are stunning.

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We recently caught up with Henrik Eklundh, VFX Supervisor at Bläck to talk about how and why they used our software for this project.

“The trailer features Conan and he had to look iconic and cinematic. So to reach that level we needed the hair, brows, lashes, beard and ‘peach fuzz’ to look stunning. Our brilliant character artist, Jonas Skoog, took a turn in zbrush with fibremesh to place out the hair which I took and refined using Yeti tools. We converted the hair back and forth from guide curves to grooms to get the look we needed.”

Eklundh went on to tell us, “We are very comfortable using Yeti and have a great pipeline written by Erik Johansson for it. We can go back and forth with guide curves/grooms and simulate the hair in either Yeti’s simulation tools or other programs. We trust Yeti to give us what we need in terms of hair and fur, therefore, it was the obvious choice.”

When we asked Eklundh if Yeti was able to achieve the desired results and accommodate the project’s needs, he responded that, “The results were great and it’s easy to get clumping on clumps using procedural setups in the Yeti graph. We can take setups from different characters and apply them to get a good start. The new viewport rendering of the hair helped out a lot. It’s much easier now to see the result you are getting with the width of the hair, clumping and density etc.”.

Thank you for taking the time to speak with us, Henrik, and congratulations to the entire team – the trailer is terrific!  Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEIcftl0OZk

Yeti used extensively by nWave Digital on Robinson Crusoe

Robinson Crusoe, the classic tale of a castaway who spends thirty years on a tropical island, is set to hit theatres this spring as a full-length feature. Produced by nWave Digital, a state-of-the-art animation studio in Brussels, this 3D animated film is told from the perspective of a bold parrot named Tuesday. We were very excited to learn that nWave Digital used Yeti extensively in Robinson Crusoe for fur, feathers and hair. 

We recently spoke with Carlo Giesa, Character FX Supervisor of nWave Digital, about how they used Yeti for this project.    

“Yeti was used for the first time on our most recent production, a full length animated feature film, Robinson Crusoe. Because we used it for all hair, fur, feathers and also some environment tasks, it is visible in almost every shot of the movie.”

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“One of my roles as a Character FX supervisor was to make sure that our groomers and character FX artists had all they needed to fulfil the requests of the art department and the director. Together with my leads, we tested the package intensively, integrated Yeti into our pipeline, set up the work flow and conventions and provided any additional tools that could help improve the results.”

We asked Carlo why they chose Yeti, and he told us, “On our previous shows, we felt pretty limited with the tools we used. Robinson Crusoe turned out to be a much more challenging project than what we had before. A lot of special character effects were needed and the grooming required much more detail in terms of the amount of asset, amount of hair as well as control of hair color and style. From the beginning, the director insisted that this movie was to have a different look. Advanced wet and wind effects were desired along with better control of hair variations that evolved throughout the story.”

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“Yeti, with its nodal workflow, gave us the flexibility that we were looking for. Once you get into the logic of Yeti it provides all the necessary tools to achieve any kind of fur/hair/feather effect you want. Expressions and user attributes were heavily used on this show to control different kinds of modifications on existing grooms. All this combined with textures, animated or static, satisfied most of our expectations. We really enjoyed the way Yeti handles the clumping. Creating multiple layers of clumping was just a question of plugging a few nodes together and with a small amount of parameters, we were able to achieve very complex grooms. The pipeline integration was pretty straight forward. Its caching system allowed us to go further in terms of detail. Hair and segment count was much less constraining. Our existing LOD system needed only a few modifications to be able to work with Yeti.”

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Finally, Carlo added, “It’s really fun to play with Yeti and to test things out that you never thought of trying to do with a hair tool. Due to its procedural work flow, it can be handy in many more situations than just grooming.”

This film is sure to be a hit with adults and children alike thanks to the great work with Yeti.  Stay tuned to see the trailer soon. Congratulations on a job well done nWave Digital!   

4th Creative Party chose Yeti to create Realistic Tigers

When tasked with creating realistic tigers for their latest project, 4th Creative Party chose Yeti to achieve the desired result. We were blown away with their work and recently spoke with the team about how and why they used our product.

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“The Tiger: An Old Hunter’s Tale”, is a film about the last tiger and a hunter of the Joseon Dynasty period in Korea. The main character of the film features the “King of Joseon’s Tigers”, his family of five, and a pack of wolves.

“We started to study and research fur which is essential to convey characters such as tigers and wolves realistically. To achieve this we needed to divide the texture of fur, movement of muscle and the surface area of characters into several parts. Yeti was just right for this work method and way of expression. Yeti is easy to work with, so even someone who uses it for the first time can learn it easily and quickly.  Also, the node-based workflow enabled us to control many parts and groom more details with only basic and simple node.”

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“What we especially liked about Yeti was that it’s really easy to move fur between each model. We made many kinds of tigers (with varied ages and appearances) based on a single tiger model by modifying its shape. Yeti helped us save tons of time because it’s easy to convert fur between different-shaped models with the same topology.”

“Lastly, we are very satisfied with your Technical Support Team’s quick and kind feedback on Yeti Central. We will continue using Yeti for future projects.”

Thank you for your kind words and for choosing Yeti, 4th Creative Party! We can’t wait to see what comes out of your studio next!

Watch the trailer here. Warning: contains graphic content.

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Media Design School chooses Yeti for Short Film

At Peregrine Labs we believe it is important to foster creativity and innovation in educational institutes around the globe. That’s why we are pleased to offer a significant discount on permanent Yeti and Bokeh licenses to qualifying schools. One such institution who recently used Yeti for a short film is Media Design School, New Zealand’s most awarded tertiary institution for creative and digital technology qualifications.

We spoke with James Cunningham who wrote, produced and directed the short film titled, “Accidents, Blunders and Calamities” that looks at all the perilous ways humans inadvertently bring death to animals. Thirty-one creatures were developed, 11 of which had fur or feathers and were created using Yeti.  Inspired by the Edward Gorey classic, “The Gashlycrumb Tinies”, James created an alphabet storybook that a concerned father possum reads to his kids.

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In total, 44 students were involved in this project and all visual effects were completed by those in their final (third) year of their degree. The team included 3-D generalists for model, texture and light, animators and compositors. Some students were set up to be fur specialists and groomers but in some cases, strong students would complete a creature in its entirety, including adding the fur.

We asked why Media Design School chose Yeti and James told us, “We had been wanting to play with Yeti for a while and finally had a project that screamed out for the control and complexity that Yeti could achieve for us. One of our more precocious students was also mad keen on Yeti. He ended up being the lead fur designer on the possums. Yeti also fed well into our Maya and Vray pipeline. Peregrine were very supportive of the project and donated the licenses we needed for this educational production.”

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He went on to explain that, “With the quails, we attempted to not use Yeti as we didn’t have that many artists trained up and interactive licenses. However the texture-only approach was just not selling it. We got an extra seat and very quickly another student got up to speed on Yeti and it turned out much better doing the feathers properly. The rendering of the close ups of the possum shots were very heavy in memory usage but once we nailed the culprit we were able to keep even these hero close shots in reasonable render times.”

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James also told us that he is “no longer intimidated by creating creatures with fur. And the audiences love watching cute furry creatures.”

We are so glad Yeti could help you get over your fear, James. Fantastic work!

Watch the trailer here.

A CGI Dog from Finish using Yeti and Bokeh

When Finish CG Supervisor Harin Hirani was tasked with creating a realistic dog for UK Life Insurance company, Beagle Street, he chose to use both Yeti and Bokeh to get the desired result. We recently spoke with Harin and asked about his experience using both of our products together – here’s what he had to say.

“The job required a photo realistic CGI dog which consisted of multiple fur elements such as the main body, whiskers, eyelashes and eyebrows.  I was responsible for all look development of the dog which included modelling, texturing, shading and the fur grooming. The dog appears in the majority of shots ranging from full body wide shots to extreme facial close ups.”

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“We were exploring a number of fur solutions for this particular job as we needed something that could give us more control and flexibility than what we currently had.  We quickly fell in love with Yeti’s node based workflow and the power it gave us to create and layer up multiple complicated fur systems. The dog has very specific fur characteristics that change over different parts of the body so we knew we would need to have the ability to match this easily.”

He went on to tell us that, “The advert itself was shot with very narrow depth of field so we knew we would need to match the defocus and with the render times being expensive, rendering the depth of field in the renderer wasn’t an option.  That’s when we looked into rendering this job in deep and using post Bokeh as it gave us very clean artifact free blur and natural lens defects like chromatic aberration and the ability to make adjustments to these at the compositing stage.”

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When asked, if he was able to achieve all of his goals for the project and if Yeti and Bokeh accommodated all of his needs, Harin told us that, “We had a very good system in place using Yeti whereby we could carry on working with the model and the groom in parallel and know that we could update everything accordingly before sending things off to render. Yeti made it very easy to accommodate changes in the pipeline. Using Bokeh allowed us to achieve a natural defocus on the dog which meant he sat in quite convincingly on the live action plates.”  We’d have to agree with him on this!

Harin also added, “We were really impressed with the speed of the viewport previews; this helped us massively when we were creating the look of the fur.  It was nice having the confidence of knowing what we see in the viewport is a good representation of what we would get at render time!”

We think this spot is great and love that both Yeti and Bokeh were used together.  Well done, Harin and the team at Finish!

View the full spot here.

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