VIRGIN AIRLINES – Up Up and Away
Worked on this really fun commercial at MPC 2019.
I came on early on the project at the R&D stage to help come up with the hair system.
A few of the challenges were;
– A completely new custom groom workflow quite different from the traditional Houdini Groom process. It was meant to give the Groom Artist flexibilty and freedom but mase the simulation and render stages a bit awkward.
– Keep the character of “Wiggy” intact through animation but still keep the free flowing appearance of a toupee.
– Render the simulation in Arnold, which meant a system of generating final curves for lighting early in the process to reduce the dependence on FX. This would help reduce the bottleneck in the process to go from animation to render without delay.
I came up with vellum based solution that utilized a lot of the tools I had originally built for the fur workflow in “John Lewis Buster the Boxer”. I got the guide curves out of Maya as a keyframe animation and then processed them to generate a flowing sim of Toupee. There was a lot of back and forth with Animation, Rig and Groom at this stage to get a system up and running.
Once we had the workflow going I wrote a python command line tool “BARBER” which would automatically update the camera and animation caches to the latest version and output:
– Simulation Cache
– Simulation Render
– Lighting ASS publish.
Through a parser you could control the options you wanted which made the process of running the shots rather painless.
As always I worked with the Best Team of people in the Industry at MPC.