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!

Things get “Hairy” in Sausage Party

In the hilarious new animated feature film, Sausage Party, things get a little “hairy” with the help of Yeti. Nitrogen Studios‘ Senior Lighting Supervisor, Laura Brousseau, was kind enough to chat with us about how and why they used Yeti for this project.

“All of the work on Sausage Party from storyboards to edit was done at Nitrogen Studios. We did not have any specific sequences that required hair but more a large group of very diverse assets that needed some kind of hair. We had hair that went from very short and simple to beards and moustaches to crazy curly masses of hair almost all of which needed some kind of interaction with other assets. On top of that, we had a variety of foliage including grass, hedges, flowers, plants and even hay that needed to be created. We focused on great design, sim to support the animation style and shading and lighting that balanced our creative aesthetic with our rendering budget.”

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When asked why they decided to use Yeti, Brousseau said, “Nitrogen Studios had previously used other hair systems and while each had its strength, we saw Yeti as potentially being better at supporting the needs of Sausage Party. The flexibility, available tools and integration with Pixar’s RenderMan allowed us to hit all the different looks we needed to and support the demands of a show with a stylistic approach to animation. To add to that, we had crew members that had used Yeti before and they were keen to work with it again.”

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Nitrogen also told us that, “Yeti allowed us to balance our creative goals with our schedule and budget. We had a fairly small amount of ramp-up time for our hair workflow but Yeti is intuitive and we had great support from Peregrine Labs, even getting a visit from Colin Doncaster, CEO, to help us get started. While we did have some challenges with some difficult simulations and a few shots with heavy rendering we were able to deliver the desired look. The crew really enjoyed working with Yeti and we hope to be able to use it again on future projects.”

Your work on this film is absolutely fantastic, Laura and the rest of the Nitrogen Studios team. Thank you for speaking with us and using Yeti!

Credits:

  • Nate Barnard – CG Supervisor
  • Ryan Bowers – CFX and Shot Finalist
  • Laura Brousseau – Senior Lighting Supervisor
  • Kevin Phibbs – Look Development Supervisor
  • Marie-Eve Kirkpatrick – Lead Texture Artist

Note: Discretion should be used when viewing the trailer for this R-rated film.  

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.