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TTT: EE Appendices Discussion -- WETA Digital: Part Two

Arwen's daughter
Half-elven


Oct 29 2010, 2:09am

Post #1 of 3 (626 views)
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TTT: EE Appendices Discussion -- WETA Digital: Part Two Can't Post

Treebeard & the Ents
-When Jim Rygiel first arrived, he took a look through the film and came across the blue screen shots of M&P on the Treebeard puppet, with men in blue suits moving the puppet. He called it one of those horrifying moments.
-WETA Digital had to animate the face to give him the expressiveness he needed. They decided very early on that just moving the mouth wasn't going to be enough.
-They used as much of the puppet as possible, because the actors atop it were touching and wiggling things and they wanted to preserve that. The face was the only part replaced with digital effects.
-They took a laser scan of the puppet so that it was as detailed as possible, down to every cranny in the bark.
-Matt Aiken called Treebeard the most complex thing they rendered in film two, even more so than Gollum. Gollum took 8 minutes a frame while Treebeard could take 48 hours per frame.
-They gave him a stop-motion feel in the first few scenes to make him feel like he hadn't moved in a while.
-They had to create fully CG character for the wide shots, and taking that from a computer screen to a 60-foot screen would show off any flaws.
-The other Ents were one of the last things designed for TTT.
-Sketches from Alan Lee set up the different species. A program called Growth was created to put foliage on them all without having to render each leaf individually.
-The Ents' attack on Isengard was addressed rather late in the process. The animation team were asked to create vignettes of various Ents beating up on the orcs. Some of them were really out there (twisting orc heads off like bottle tops), but they're all in there.

Questions:
1. Did Treebeard's expressions work for you?
2. Do you have a favorite orc/ent vignette during the Isengard scenes?

Massive
-Massive dates back to 1996, when PJ thought he'd be making King Kong. He wanted a way to create large crowd scenes and started talking to Steve Regelous, the software designer. He originally wanted a system to show tens of thousands of people in battle.
-Massive uses artificial intelligence to add unique characteristics to each individual "agent" being created. The idea is to simulate the reactions of each person in the scene and simulate their reactions to each other.
-You can pick an "agent" and see their POV. They react to the sight of other characters and to sound, or a visual representation of sound anyway.
-One of the later tests was called the "brain man" test, which was a little guy who could understand and navigate the terrain around him.
-The most convenient way to get information into Massive is by motion capturing hundreds of people. They were able to give them a library of fighting moves this way.
-The first battle test was 1000 silver guys vs. 1000 golden guys. In the background were some guys running away, which made them think they'd written a pretty intelligent program! Unfortunately, it was just a fluke of the program that if they didn't have an enemy in sight they'd just run in a straight line and those guys happened to be pointed the wrong direction.
-Massive allows them to put 1000s of people on a battle field without having to choreograph them all.
-They wanted no two guys to look the same. The program allows them to randomize things like leg length and arm length on each orc.
-The Massive soldiers were originally just to be background soldiers, with 300 or 400 real people on screen in front. This didn't last. Massive soldiers filled the shot on several occasions and eventually they reached the point where they'd just try Massive and see if they were satisfied with it instead of filming the live action actors.
-If they could get believable movement on the Massive creatures up front, then they could sell the shot.

Question: 1. What did you think of LOTR's crowd shots?



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Alcarcalime
Tol Eressea


Oct 31 2010, 11:55pm

Post #2 of 3 (617 views)
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Hmm, [In reply to] Can't Post

1. Did Treebeard's expressions work for you? I guess so. Treebeard wasn't one of my favorite characters -- not at all the way I pictured him.

2. Do you have a favorite orc/ent vignette during the Isengard scenes? I liked Treebeard coming up behind the orc trying to stab Merry and stomping on him.

1. What did you think of LOTR's crowd shots? I was impressed with the massive shots. I particularly liked the extra's scene when Peter thought the agents were smart enough to run away from the battle.




weaver
Half-elven

Nov 1 2010, 5:14pm

Post #3 of 3 (533 views)
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Treebeard was harder to depict than Gollum? [In reply to] Can't Post

Wow, I had not heard that before...having a human being to work off of, rather than a puppet, made it easier in some ways? They totally fooled me with the way they animated his expressions -- I guess I thought that was a puppeteering thing, kind of like the original Yoda or Jabba the Hut in Star Wars. In those cases, the puppet versions of the characters, rather than the later Digital versions, seem more real to me...

The Massive crowd shots have always worked for me, but I haven't watched them in Blu-Ray yet. I wonder if they will hold up in that format as well...

Oh, and my favorite Ent part has always been the guy who douses his on-fire-head in the water...I look for him everytime!

Weaver



 
 

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