mercredi 8 août 2012

Zbrushing the Parrot

The Parrot was definitely one of the most time-consuming elements of the film. The first hurdle was finding reference shots of "nude" birds, since some form of believability relied on it looking anatomically correct once it had it's feathers on (I subsequently trawled through a large number of shots of ancient and/or trichomaniac parrots - a sad sight indeed). Similarly, finding the equivalent of a t-pose for an armless creature was a bit hypothetical. The next task was zbrushing it, which was lots of fun, since a parrot has so many different skin textures, from it's papery head, to it's almost crackled beak, and scaly feet. In terms of feathers, I only dealt with the ones on it's head, since the others were organised on a complex rigg. As such, I used hairfarm and hair instances with three different types of feathers and three different maps, so that the limit between the feathers and the skin was not too abrupt. The perch was another affair altogether. The idea was that during the final sequence, a sculpted crocodile materialized on the wood, opening it's jaw and setting the bird free. Unfortunately, in the chaos of the final sequence, and the growing darkness "on set", this detail is quite lost, but the process of setting up the effect was no less interesting (or time-consuming...). I first zbrushed the top bar of the perch, then created, in 3dsmax, a series of morphers so that a very basic crocodile shape could be brought up out of the wood. Finally, I zbrushed the sculpted crocodile into the final morpher, exported the displacement map, and from there, using the animation tool in Photoshop, created a series of animated maps so that onto the initial wood texture, appeared waves, then the head of the crocodile, then it's teeth, and finally the complete open jaw.

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