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Thread: The 'Brudders 2' Production Log (Well, sort of...)

  1. #1
    Eat your peas. Greenlaw's Avatar
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    The 'Brudders 2' Production Log (Well, sort of...)

    Hi,

    Now that Lightwave 11.5 is out, I'm going to use this thread to post some interesting production developments for our second Brudders movie. If you don't know what Brudders is, it's a webcomic I draw based on the lives of my three cats--um, I mean my two cats and my daughter. You can read the comic at our website but here's an example to save you the trip:

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    Brudders, of course, was adapted previously in the the short film Happy Box, which was created using Lightwave 10. It was a fairly simple movie designed and quickly produced to test our mocap system at Little Green Dog. Lightwave 11.5, however, is pushing us to try something much more advanced for the sequel.

    First let's take a look at what's new for Sister. Here's what Sister's hair looked like in the first movie:

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    And this is what we've been working on using FiberFX in Lightwave 11.5:

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    I'm very excited about the latest incarnation of FiberFX in 11.5. In the next few posts, we'll take a closer look at how it's being used for 'Brudders 2'.

    G.

  2. #2
    Eat your peas. Greenlaw's Avatar
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    Free Stylin'

    To style Sister's hair, I used ZBrush FiberMesh, which is fully compatible with FiberFX. In fact, in 11.5 FiberMesh guides are directly compatible with FiberFX because FiberFX and can now use curves from ZBrush as well as converted 2-point polygon chains. If you intend to use dynamics, however, you'll still want to convert the FiberMesh curves to polygon guides.

    Here's a look at how Sister's hair was groomed in ZBrush:

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    But can it move? Stay tuned.

    G.

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    More food!

    Thank you for sharing, really.
    Salut!,
    Allabulle.

  4. #4
    Eat your peas. Greenlaw's Avatar
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    Here's our first hair animation test using Bullet Dynamics in LightWave 11.5.



    Comments to follow. For now, I'm going bike riding at the beach!

    G.

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    Have a nice ride. I'll sit here while I wait for the next videos.
    Salut!,
    Allabulle.

  6. #6
    ------------------------- MrWyatt's Avatar
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    cool tests greenlaw. the only thing that seems funny to me is that at the beginning of the sim the hair seems to have either no mass at all or the gravity is to low as the hair seems to be floty like underwater movement. the head moves but the hair stays put for a couple of frames. I hope this behaviour can be tweaked.
    www.mrwyatt.de
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  7. #7
    What kind of advantages do you have when you use curves instead of polychains?

  8. #8
    I wonder if about the ways to improve the realism of the simulation so it move more like hair. Other then the 'floaty' thing that mrWyatt mentioned, the hair moves too much like each hair is completely independent. In reality, hair moves more like a group where you have thousands of hair fibers coming into contact with each other, you have resistance provided by the oil of the hair follicle.... I know you used self-collision but that seems like a minor first step. What about weighting the hair so that it's less resistant to movement at the roots and gradually becomes more affected by bullet along the length of the fiber?

  9. #9
    Eat your peas. Greenlaw's Avatar
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    Regarding 'floatiness', two things:

    1. I'm playing this through Layout's transport controls while recording at HD res, so it's playing much slower than realtime.

    2. Yeah, I agree, there could be a little more weight but that's just a matter of finding proper settings. This was literally my first pass so tweaking will definitely follow.

    Anyway, you couldn't do this at all in Lightwave prior to 11.5, so it's all good to me.

    G.

  10. #10
    Eat your peas. Greenlaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VermilionCat View Post
    What kind of advantages do you have when you use curves instead of polychains?
    Curves should require less memory than 2-point polygon chains. However, you can't weight curves so this is a limitation if you want to use dynamics. If you don't need dynamics, curves should be better though.

    G.

  11. #11
    Eat your peas. Greenlaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hrgiger View Post
    In reality, hair moves more like a group where you have thousands of hair fibers coming into contact with each other, you have resistance provided by the oil of the hair follicle...
    It really depends on the properties of the individual's hair and the hair style. But generally speaking, yes, long straight hair tends to move in locks rather than individual fibers. You can do this by using fewer guide chains and applying FiberFX as clusters to create 'locks' of hair. That should give you the look you're describing.

    While there's a bit of tweaking to follow, we are actually thinking Sister's hair should look like plastic doll hair, not 'real' human hair. In an earlier version, we tried to make her hair look like black threads--which sounded good in theory but it really didn't look that nice.

    G.

  12. #12
    Eat your peas. Greenlaw's Avatar
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    Regarding weighting at the roots: that is being done here. The main goal of this test was to agitate the hair thoroughly but have if fall back to it's original shape with minimal messiness. This is critical for the character as she is 'rocking out' in segments the film.

  13. #13
    Eat your peas. Greenlaw's Avatar
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    So, we have been toying with the idea of using FiberFX fur for the cats. Originally, we only wanted fiber hair for Sister but we did a few tests using the new Edit Guides system and decided to give it a shot. Anybody who used FiberFX Edit Guides in 11.0 and earlier releases knows that, while Edit Guides could be fun to style it was also very unstable. So how does it measure up in the latest release?

    In Lightwave 11.5, I'm happy to say, Edit Guide's stability has been greatly improved.

    The biggest improvement is probably the decision to embed the Edit Guides data with the object instead of the scene file. This makes it more reliable to move objects with styled FiberFX hair and fur from one scene to another. You can now have more than one style embedded in an object but I'm not sure how well this feature works yet--use with caution. Of course, if you use Edit Guides, you must remember to save your object after creating the guides.

    One more thing: note that you need to set your Edge resolution before activating Edit Guides--this becomes locked once you enable it. This is actually unchanged from 11.0 SP3 but at least now you have the option to 'do over' by creating a new style.

    To start off, we kept our test case very simple. Here's what a 'carpet' using Edit Guides fibers looks like in motion using the new Bullet cloth dynamics:



    Results look pretty stable here. In this test, we were also testing Bullet's new Kinematics with Bones feature. Additionally, we were successful in moving this object between scenes using Load Items from Scene and preserving the physical style of the fibers.

    We're not 100% certain we want to put fur on the cats yet because we actually like the 'sculpey' look we developed for 'Happy Box' very much...

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    ...but the promising result of this test is enough to keep us exploring the option.

    G.

  14. #14
    Eat your peas. Greenlaw's Avatar
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    Oh, and if anybody is curious, here's some previous FiberFX work I did using LightWave 11.0.3:



    This was a theatrical cinematic the Box did last summer but we only recently got clearance to say we created it. Part of my job was to develop hairstyles for all the characters. I used a variety of methods for the guides, including FiberFX Strand Modeler and Modo, but most of it was done using Rail Cloning in Lightwave Modeler and surface based fibers with weights and gradients. I did use Edit guides for four of the pedestrians but it wasn't stable enough at the time to use extensively on this project. Towards the end of production, I started experimenting with ZBrush FiberMesh for guides but, at that stage, it was too late to use this tool for the job.

    Naturally, Dante was the most fun to work on--I used two layers of FiberFX for him, a surface based layer for the short stuff and long guide chains for the spiky bits on top. I didn't have the bandwidth to also do hair dynamics on this job so another artist picked that up for me using Houdini. (Of course, Bullet cloth was not available in Lightwave at the time.) The 'twins' had a lot of work put into their hair but unfortunately it's hard to see much of that. The little girl turned out okay but I had to perform a lot of mesh warping on her hair in comp to make it look right. The 'fat man' was definitely the most complicated to work on--I think I had to use five or six layers of FiberFX for him because of the variety of fiber properties that had to co-exist.

    Anyway, it was a lot of work in very short time and very educational!

    Next time, we return to more 'Brudders 2' stuff.

  15. #15
    Hiya, GL.
    I'm curious how you deal with FFX.
    Do you render FFX pass separately? If so, how do you obtain shadow casted from fibers?
    I used polychain guides for this purpose (disabled in LW11.5 btw) but if there's a better way I'd love to know.

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