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.
“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!