Shot Production

We are now firmly into Shot Production, having built enough of our assets (models, landscapes, rigs and textures) to get us started. Shot Production is the stage of the process where focus falls on the needs of individual shots, rather than the broader aspects of design and asset construction.

Preparing the scene in the UNREAL inteface.

What is slightly different in UNREAL compared to a traditional film pipeline is the ability to see the final look early on and integrate that into earlier stages. For traditional VFX and animation films the process is usually very linear:

Script > Production Design > Asset Construction > Previz > Performance Capture & Animation > Rendering > Compositing.
For us, we decided to Previz as we go so we could get a fidelity as close to the final look of the film as the engine would allow. (Normally previz is very blocky and only an approximation of the final result). This allows us to be much more reactive to the needs of individual shots whilst previzing, allowing real time tweaking of light placement, tone, colour and texture. It allows us to use much more reactive and traditional cinematography approaches to compose the shot with full lighting and compositing tricks in-camera (like depth-of-field, and glows/flares) at an early stage. This also feeds back into colour choices that can directly feed into production design changes we can add in as we go. (Including the costumes below.)

Our clothes are being designed and simulated in Clo3d & Marvelous Designer. Some of our talented students Isaac Macheri and Mya Mistry have built the costume, with the simulations currently being run so we can export them into the UNREAL scene. (For nerds: We are using the alembic data format; this allows us to add frame-by-frame geometry animation of pretty much anything we want and although very heavy on storage seems to be working well so far.)

We are also now finalising our facial animation pipeline and are using FACEGOOD to help us translate our actors facial performances onto the facial rigs from our Metahuman characters:

Stage #1 – Facegood Retargeter

Stage #2 – Retargetting onto the Metahuman Face controls in Maya

Stage #3 – Importing into UNREAL

We are currently tackling the finger animation (This is done with hand-keying, as it’s was not captured with our orginal motion capture) and refining our assorted post effects and render settings to get the best render quality we can.  We have just taken delivery of a fancy new machine for the project (With a GTX4090 graphics card for the nerds out there!) so are hoping this will really help speed things up and allow us to ramp up the settings to get the best fidelity we can.

That’s all for now folks, more soon…

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Posted in Uncategorized.