HD Instance in movies

Mr Rid

Profesor Pixel Poo
http://www.pixelmagicfx.com/Gallery.htm

Click on the demo reel to see some shots using HD Instance- army advancing in Battle of Red Cliff (beginning), soldiers in 300, corpses for Exorcist: Beginning, penguins for Good Luck Chuck.

I worked on the Red Cliff and Exorcist instancing shots (and LXG and the spears for Red Cliff). There were other shots not seen here where I used HDI for a few thousand cavalry running over a hill in Battle of Red Cliff that were a particular challenge to integrate with live action plates.
 

GregMalick

New member
Really great stuff. :thumbsup:
Thanks for sharing.

I especially like the scenes from 300.
Some small hints about putting it together.
Is that going to be part of "extras" on the 300 DVD?
 

Mr Rid

Profesor Pixel Poo
Really great stuff. :thumbsup:
Thanks for sharing.

I especially like the scenes from 300.
Some small hints about putting it together.
Is that going to be part of "extras" on the 300 DVD?

Those 'progression' examples are just part of Pixel Magic's demo.

About schedule. Seven of these infantry/cavalry shots were done in 5 weeks, four shots integrated with plates and the other three were all CG. I completed five shots on my own of cavalry and some of the infantry, but also developed the HDI setup for all shots using meshes animated with morphs, bones and displacement. Clay Dale did all the sprite dust. Phil Ghiles and Keven Kipper did a lot of the infantry. I also lit, textured, tracked a shot in Boujou, animated the flags with ClothFX, animated fidgeting and matchmove run cycles for soldiers and horses. But it wouldnt have been possible to do such involved shots on a short schedule at all without HDI.

The one big obstacle that kept staring at me was lack of basic crowd simulation. If only some savvy programmer would figure out even some basic avoidance and flocking, or take thatto old Bugz thing to a practical conclusion. That individual would stand ot cash in with any alternative to the prohibitively expensive Massive that is overkill for simpler scenes like these (I dont need soldiers breaking into fights and BBQ sing-alongs). But the setups became rather complicated trying to get soldiers and horses running at varied speeds and directions without sliding or passing thru each other (they do, but it is not noticeable).

And its one thing to have them all running across flat ground as in the shots seen in the demo (the client wanted more uneven ground but wasnt time), but it was another challenge altogether to get them running over hills and valleys in a plate. Thats an involved tutorial.
 
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Netvudu

Senior Constrictor
That´s some great job. How has been your experience so far with HD Instance version 2? Are the offsetting animations working well, or are there any cave ats to be aware of?
 

Cageman

Almost newbie
I have to say I really like all the work, but the penguins are standing out imho. Were they animated in LW as well?
 

Mr Rid

Profesor Pixel Poo
HDM issues

That´s some great job. How has been your experience so far with HD Instance version 2? Are the offsetting animations working well, or are there any cave ats to be aware of?

There was a problem with offset animations that prevented us from using it much. It requires you to bake the motion using it's own file format. Unlike with MDDs, you cant move, rotate, scale, or parent the motion after. This was part of a surprisingly complicated problem in trying to get a flag to move with the hand of a running soldier with offset animations. Basically there was no way for this to work with offset animations. What is needed is a way to have separate options and offsets for a child item. Getting flags in the scene turned out to be the most difficult challenge.

But the bigger problem is when the scene is pulling the HDM motion file over a network and applied to an object with a high poly count (13,000 was too much). I dont know why, but the scene seems to access that file for every instance and calculation times were completely impractical. An F9 with even a handful of instances and no tracing would take several minutes to think about it. But if you move the HDM to a local drive, there was suddenly almost no slowdown at all. I didnt understand why that made such an enormous difference or how it worked exactly. But obviously that wont work for network renders. The only item we could use offset animation on were stationary flags since they had much lower polys. Moving flags required other workarounds.
 
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Mr Rid

Profesor Pixel Poo
I have to say I really like all the work, but the penguins are standing out imho. Were they animated in LW as well?

I believe the only thing on Pixel's demo that wasnt created in LW were the ghostly sheets in Elektra, that were probably Syflex but still rendered in LW.

We are currently doing more LW penguins for another project. Again, I dont know why Newtek never promotes these particular points of interest.

I am sensing an unsaid moral issue with the content of movies like Sin City and Good Luck Chuck that may explain NT's oddly conservative marketing approach.
 

Cageman

Almost newbie
Well,

You guys deservers some proper treatment and spotlight... Most of the shots in the reel (those that were done as Visual Effects) were not obvious CG-shots. Your work with the weapons penetrating people looks very real (and gory). :) Good looking animations as well.

Ohh.. and by the way... there is a thread over at Gallery Finished that Jakkar started, about his involvement in several movies. Others have posted similar things in that thread; I suggest you add a link to this thread in that thread.

Ohh... and I wonder if you ever got to use the technique I figured out concerning merging different objects and animations into a single object with a single mdd?
 

Matt

Valiant NewTeKnight
Simply stunning work that _needs_ a profile page right slap bang on the front of the LightWave page!

Would help quell the naysayers of LightWave's abilities (in the hands of talented artists obviously!) ;)
 

Mr Rid

Profesor Pixel Poo
...

Ohh... and I wonder if you ever got to use the technique I figured out concerning merging different objects and animations into a single object with a single mdd?

I tried variations of your interesting suggestion that worked with simple objects, but I never got it to work with more complex geom for some reason.
 

Mr Rid

Profesor Pixel Poo
Simply stunning work that _needs_ a profile page right slap bang on the front of the LightWave page!

Am wondering, where else LW was ever used for creature animation in a studio feature, close up and photoreal... anyone? Bueller?
 

Cageman

Almost newbie
Hmm...

Didn't Rainmaker do alot of headreplacement shots for both Dr Doolittle as well as the Garfield movies? Using LightWave and Sasquatch... Some of those are quite stunning, imho.

Also, Eden did that lizard-thingy completely in LW (as far as Intuition said) for the show called Surface. I have just seen glimpses of it, but as far as I remember, it looked way above the norm for TV-series effects in terms of photorealism, integration and animation. Unfortunately, they don't have it in their reel anymore.. :/

I don't think a "profile" would do Pixel Magic justice... I want to see a case study... right here!
 

Cageman

Almost newbie
Thanks for the headsup! I'll have a look right away!

...and once again, I end up wondering if NT will ever link to this QT from their LW-page....
 

Lewis

Member # 777
Excellent stuff there at Pixel Magic, really top notch stuff. We need that kind of things up on front page of Newtek and Lightwave for promotion. That Kevin Kipper demonstration was excellent - that's how they (NT) should promote LW in future :).

cheers
 
Mr.Rid, did you try using dynamics for crowd simulation? For example using spheres with a null inside to avoid pass-throughs.

I didn't get what pitfalls you refered to reguarding bugz, (though of course it has several)
micro tutorial btw

aurora over at sq looked into making bugz for lightwave, but it might have ended up being to much to code.

I used an online program to translate the bugz sourcecode doc from german to english if some are interested in giving it a go.
http://erikalstad.com/cgtemp/DBACK.htm
http://erikalstad.com/cgtemp/DBACK-eng.html
 
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Mr Rid

Profesor Pixel Poo
Mr.Rid, did you try using dynamics for crowd simulation? For example using spheres with a null inside to avoid pass-throughs....[/url]

I tried one test pushing self-colliding particles over a sticky landscape which didnt allow for nearly enough control. Particles' speed would vary greatly, or go in odd directions, or slow too much or stop altogether against a little rise in the ground.

But more importantly there was no way to have the speed of an instanced animation of say a galloping horse running in place, to vary appropriately along with the velocity of a given particle so the horses would not appear to slide over the ground. There was no advantage in using unwieldy PFX to drive instances instead of using displacement and bones to more precisely deform and animate a mesh.

I think the hard part is getting say a walk cycle to not appear to slide over the ground as the particle moves, or to have it transition to a run cycle or come to a stop as the particle velocity changes- like how vidgame characters have been doing for years... then drive thousands of them with particles that avoid and flock with each other and objects. More elaborate behaviors are not usually needed.
 
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