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!   

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