Crafting wings for Good Omens

We are huge fans of both Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett here at Peregrine HQ, so were thrilled when Amazon / BBC announced that a new Good Omens mini series was coming to their respective platforms.

The fine artists at Milk Visual Effects were involved in bringing the the authors prose to life on screen – including the wings for the leading characters.

The teams CG Supervisor, Adrian Williams and Senior Groom Artist, Matt Bell kindly shared details on how Yeti was used in the design and creation of these digital supernatural plumages.

“Demon Crowley (David Tennant) and angel Aziraphale (Micheal Sheen) both have large and impressive black and white wings (respectively) when seen in their real forms in the Amazon /BBC’s new comedy-drama Good Omens adapted for the screen and helmed by Neil Gaiman. Initially, our concept artist Grant Bonser designed bat-style wings for Crowley but Neil Gaiman preferred to have feathers for both the demons and angels.”

“We built each feather based on swan wings – which was most appropriate to the concept. We started building the feathers in geometry so that we had a map for our groom team to develop each feather. The wings were laid out in an anatomically correct way, with primary feathers (the long finger like feathers that feature at ends of wings); secondaries (above those on the ends of the wings) and coverts (top wings / fluffier wings). The wings were then re-groomed into feathers using Yeti. We modelled in a swan’s wing bone structure and this was then all passed to the rigging team to ensure the feathers folded correctly and worked well together. Working together, the groom, modelling and rigging and animation teams refined the wings, referencing heavily the way a swan’s wing physically folds and behaves to ensure that when doing our wing simulations, everything behaved realistically.”

“To help with rigging we extracted curves down the centre of each of the geometry feathers and converted these to fibres. The feathers were instanced to these fibres and scale determined by the curves length. A duplicate of the wing curves was then incorporated into the rig and our groom curves blended to these so as to match our animation. We created over 20 separate feather variations so as to give realism to the groom and feather orientation controlled by using the geometry’s surface normal as our up vector in conjunction with curves Yeti twist attribute.”

“We decided to create the wing texturing in the look development phase. It was all shader based so that we could have complete control over colour variants and no one feather was the same hue, to break up the overall look making it more realistic.”

“Getting the right balance of iridescence on the black feathers and then ensuring the white feathers had enough detail and variation to stand out was challenging. We spent time in the look development stages tweaking the shaders and then when we got to actual shot production we were working very closely with Neil and our groom and creature effects team so that we were able to get a look that he and Douglas were really happy with.”

“Some of the shots needed to have a bespoke groom set up as we soon realised that when the animators were posing the wings at some angles they would not capture the correct shape or volume that was required for that specific shot, but this gave us the freedom to sculpt the groom and make sure that none of the detail was lost and so the wings looked and felt a part of the actors as they progressed thought the scene.”

Yeti was also used for the digital neck and head extension of Adam’s lovable pet, the Hell Hound.  A big thank you to the Milk team and you can watch Good Omens on Amazon’s Prime Video now.

Yeti Summer Sale

July is fast approaching and with it comes many great incentives (besides the beautiful weather) for a Yeti Summer Sale.

Canada Day lands on the 1st of the month pairing cold beer, Muskoka chairs and the Tragically Hip on the radio with more than a few pick up games of basketball expected.  (#WeTheNorth)

And now that all of our products are available to our southern neighbour it is only fair that we get to join in their Independence Day fun and send a few rockets into the skies!

During the month of July

%15 off all new Yeti purchases!

 

To celebrate the plethora of goodness we are offering %15 off all new Yeti purchases for the whole month of July!  Use the following code, GLOBALGROOMING, when checking out from our online store to take advantage of this discount.

 

Fine print: The discount is only applicable to new Yeti Studio and/or Indie licenses purchased between 12am (EST) July 1st and Midnight (EST) July 31st and can not be combined with other offers.  The discount code must be applied at the time of purchase. 

TeamTO’s Mighty Mike and the Wild Bunch

TeamTO is a full featured producer and independent animation studio in France who handles 100% of their own CGI production process across two studios, one located in Paris and the other Bourg-lès-Valence. This strategy enables them to closely control every stage of production and guarantees the consistent quality of every show while maintaining a flexible, reliable and high-performing environment which encourages artistic talents to flourish.

We had the chance to speak with TeamTO’s CTO, Jean-Baptiste Spieser, about how Yeti helped them deliver their most recent endeavour – Mighty Mike and the Wild Bunch.

Mighty Mike and the Wild Bunch, Courtesy of TeamTO

“When we decided to launch our new show, Mighty Mike and the Wild Bunch, in 2018; we hadn’t experimented extensively with fur in a TV series production. Of course we’ve used Yeti previously on a feature film (“Yellowbird” directed by Chirstian de Vita) but our experience told us that feature films and TV series are so different in terms of flow and pipeline – the quality-budget-shedule equilibrium is very specific to each typology of production.”

“Our artistic requirements were high with Mighty Mike and we didn’t want the presence of fur to bring limitations to our directors and artists (close-ups on characters, cartoon deformation, number of characters in the same shots, environment and FX interactions ). That was quite an ambition to deal with and the choice of Yeti was definitely one of the good ones!”

“The 5 main characters were animals with fur and there is an average of two of them in each of our 10,608 shots. Once they were groomed and our pipeline stabilized, everything went so smooth on the farm or, as we say in French, au poil!

Mighty Mike and the Wild Bunch, Courtesy of TeamTO

“With a powerful toolset and open graph we were able to easily integrate Yeti in our pipeline. This freed us up to deal with the derivate characters while allowing the development of our dedicated collision-tools to deal with all the interactions the animals had with the sets, props or themselves – with the characters spending so much time chasing, fighting and hugging each other.”

“In total 1,697,280 cache files were exported with 8000 furry images being rendered each day enabling us deliver 3 episodes per week at cruising speed.”

“Peregrine definitely provided us a powerful tool to serve our artistic ambition.”

GDC, TED and FMX – our spring conference season!

We are entering spring conference season again, in fact – we’ve already enjoyed a visit to San Fransisco for the Game Developers Conference. With the release of Nvidia’s RTX cards and support from the major graphics API’s there was a lot of realtime raytracing coverage – including Epic’s release of Unreal Engine 4.22.

More recently I was lucky enough to attend the TED conference in Vancouver this last week – a very humbling experience to step outside of our usual thinking and enjoy exploring the world through the TED ecosystem. There was much to reflect on, which I will leave for another post, but a highlight was Doug Roble’s presentation of Digital Doug to the wonderment of the audience.

Doug Roble speaks at TED2019: Bigger Than Us. April 15 – 19, 2019, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Photo: Marla Aufmuth / TED

Back at the studio I’ve had just over a week to breath before heading to the beautiful city of Stuttgart for FMX. The program this year looks solid and we’re very happy to highlight a few of the presentations our talented customers are involved with:

Mackevision – Best Friend, Tuesday April 30th @ 3:15pm
Check out the studios page to watch the spot and hear more about how it was made.

Method – Welcome To Marwen, Wednesday May 1st @ 4:30pm
In the Virtual Production track, don’t miss Kevin Baillie’s talk on some of the techniques used to deliver these stunning digital performances.

Goodbye Kansas – Overkill’s The Walking Dead, Thursday May 2nd @ 9:30am
GBK produced these stunning trailers for Overkill’s The Walking Dead, listen to a few of the team members discuss the challenges involved in bringing them to life. Watch Maya, Grant and Aidan on their website.

Ilion – Wonder Park, Thursday May 2nd @ 2:00pm
Head behind the scenes with the crew from Ilion to discuss production details of the animated feature Wonder Park.

Trixter – Captain Marvel, Friday May 3rd @ 3:15pm
Hear about Trixter’s involvement in Captain Marvel from Dominik Zimmerie including the stunning alien cat “Goose” (we’re biased) along with the wonderful Janelle Croshaw Ralla – this one can’t be missed!

Additionally there will be a Matrix Retrospective, Digital Doug talk with Doug Roble from Digital Domain, a look at the visual effects of Avengers: Endgame and many more exciting talks – check out the full schedule here.

If you’re going to be there reach out and say hi, and enjoy the week!

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.