3D Tutorials: How to Make Dogs in Togo (2)
The Dogfaces System for Sled Dog Facial Capture
In order to produce the final version of the sled dog animation, DNEG also explored the dog's motion capture and spent time developing the Facial Action Coding System (FACS) system specifically for the face of the sled dog.
1. Research and development of sled dog motion capture
In the early stages of production, DNEG used well-trained sled dogs for motion capture in Animatrix Studios. We usually see actors wearing professional clothing for motion capture. This time the same process happened on sled dogs. The way the equipment is worn and how to set tracking marks on the fur is very technically challenging. Although these motion capture data were not used in actual production, it was still a good learning experience for the production team in the future.
2. Research and development: dogFACS system
In order to have a detailed understanding of the facial muscles of sled dogs, and to clarify the working direction of facial binding as soon as possible, DNEG also started dogFACS research very early. Since there is a human face-catching system, there can also be sled dogs. The researchers categorized all sled dog expressions, and drew facial expressions based on the dogfaces system, including "mouth raised" and "wrinkled nose". For example, a growl is "upper lip lift", "wrinkle nose", "wrinkle lips" "The expression of these three actions combined together. Facial control schemes based on these expressions can enable animators to activate or counteract individual expressions, thereby creating more detailed and believable animations.
DNEG’s binding department has re-developed the entire four-legged binding system to simulate higher standards of real performance, including a new front leg module, which has the function of “fixing limbs” so that animators can imitate most animals. The fixed state of the front leg when the weight is on the leg; the reconstructed spine setting is also included to improve the realism and function of the animation. In general, the binding process requires a lot of effort. It is necessary to work closely with the animation department to develop and improve the four-legged binding standard, and always draw inspiration and direction from research references.
3. Roaring time
There is a scene where a little partner named Ilsa in the sled team roars at Togo, and Togo immediately subdues Ilsa. Please note that the seemingly real performance here is actually a CG shot.
In the actual shooting, the dog handler used a "snarling device", which uses a rubber band and a prosthesis to open the sled dog's mouth. It is said that the sled dog who plays Ilsa is very docile and very coordinating with the whole process, but its eyes and constantly wagging tail reveals its extremely happy state, and it doesn't look angry at all.
Real shot material
The effect after replacing the CG head
The production team decided to use a real shot of the body + CG head to solve it, and designed some conceptual images of the sled dogs being angry and fierce. This production process is very challenging for riggers, modelers, and animators. They need to accurately grasp the subtle facial animations of sled dogs, and Ilsa's head production is more detailed and precise than Togo. After all, the lens is mainly In performance Ilsa.
Real shot material
The most useful part of the dogfaces system is this close-up shot of Ilsa's rant. FACS expressions and mixed expressions are linear, while the sled dog's mouth and nose can be moved at will. In order to have the authenticity of proper micro-motion, the production team added many small details next to its nose. It is said that when the roaring scene animation test was shown for the first time, it was played side by side with the real shot material, and most viewers could not see that it was fake.
Real shot material
4. Sled dogs skating on ice
There is a plot in the film. The sled dog team braved the snow and cold to cross the unstable frozen lake under the leadership of Togo. When they returned, the ice surface was torn apart, and the sled dogs were moving forward quickly while their feet were slipping.
The DNEG team also began to find some materials on the Internet about sled dogs slipping or falling, to provide a reference for finding the unstable feeling of sled dogs standing on the ice. These materials will be put into the rough cut of the animation processed with Time Editor to create a suitable effect for the overall shot like building blocks, and also help them determine the performance of the sled dog in some specific shots. From the perspective of animation quality and details, this method should belong to a relatively advanced blocking.
5. Animate multiple sled dogs
The above-mentioned ice skiing. In addition, there are 11 sled dogs in Togo. The behavior of the sled dogs in the team is different from individual performance. For this reason, DNEG has developed a binding system to determine each The distance between the sled dogs in the team, if the distance is too far, part of the system will be displayed in red. Although this system is not super accurate, it can still provide the team with an approximate range.
The production team carried out some layout development work when processing the animation, set up many different cycles and different speeds for the state of the sled dog action, and input them into the binding system so that the layout effect can be freely switched and loaded before loading The method of setting animation after binding is much more convenient.
The Layout department can set up the sled animation according to the selected sled dog sport Cycles and speed while ensuring the work efficiency while achieving the authenticity of the effect as much as possible. It seems that this part of their work is also very convenient.
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