DigiPro '21: The Digital Production Symposium

Full Citation in the ACM Digital Library

Building up the Bikini Bottom population - The Crowd challenges for “SpongeBob The Movie: Sponge on the Run”

From the original TV show to the feature film adaptations, the universe of SpongeBob is very well-known for its unique characters, whether lead or secondary. To deliver dynamic and directable crowds for “SpongeBob the Movie: Sponge on the Run”, the teams at Mikros Animation had to think of a new approach from the ground up for the Crowd department to populate hundreds of shots as quickly and effectively as possible. Several challenges were faced: the crowd population was made of dozens of unique morphologies of cartoon characters instead of a generic and classical bipedal one; the locations to populate were huge and diverse; the resulting animation had to remain faithful to the 2D-stylized original show.

In this paper, we detail the array of techniques and tools which were developed to tackle these challenges. First, a rig creation automation tool was developed to process any hero character rig from the movie and retarget any cycle done by the Animation department. Then, a generic behavior tree and simulation templates which can be instantiated for thousands of entities in any location were created.

FIRA - Portable Realtime Rig Deformation

Framestore has been producing award winning creature effects for over 20 years, with complex rigs and realistic animation being crucial elements of these creatures’ visual fidelity. The studio has a long history of building bespoke tools and technology. In this talk, we present FIRA, a machine learning based pipeline which allows for the extension of a largely proprietary stack of simulation and rigging tools into an emerging domain of realtime workflows. FIRA allows for fully simulated render resolution rigs to be used in previs and virtual production workflows and provides a portable, high performance representation of a VFX deformation rig that can easily be used in different DCCs and applications.

A.C.M.E. Multilimb System

Animating with multiples and smears is a technique of 2D animation dating roughly back to the 1940s, most notably on the Looney Tunes cartoons. We have seen an increase in the use of multiples and smear geometry as some 3D animation becomes more stylized and the computed motion blur is not enough to convey a more exaggerated motion or speed. DreamWorks first began the exploration starting with Peabody and Sherman and has since used different methods throughout the years. For The Boss Baby: Family Business, the DreamWorks A.C.M.E. Multilimb System is an end-to-end pipeline solution for achieving the traditional 2D multiples and smears that puts the control back into the hands of Animation.

Rust for Visual Effects

In this talk we examine how the Rust programming language’s unique features can be used to write more stable, performant software for visual effects production, and describe the ASWF Rust Working Group’s efforts to provide high-quality C and Rust bindings to the existing C++ VFX software stack using an automated conversion tool.

How The Rig Design Impacts The Animation Process

In computer graphics, animation as it is done for feature films and TV series is now a mature field, relying on animation software and techniques designed over more than two decades. In a context where budget and time constraints increase with each project, it has never been more important to understand and modernize the animation process.

Rumba is a software dedicated to animators working on entertainment productions, providing excellent performance and modern animation tools.

In this paper, we would like to share our vision of the character animation process, with a focus on how the rig design impacts that process. We will then present how we have designed Rumba to modernize this.

The Mitchells vs. The Machines Look of Picture Development

One of the biggest concepts behind The Mitchells vs. The Machines is the idea that humanity is connected to our flaws and this theme really drove the visual style for the film.

To achieve this goal we needed to make every frame feel like a hand drawn illustration with organic shapes, hand drawn lines and watercolour textures. We needed to deconstruct highly detailed images to create simplified clear forms.

Having just completed Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse we were able to learn from those experiences and challenges. Even though the look of ”Spider-Verse” was completely different, lacking motion blur and with different production design goals, we were still able to take tools built for that film and bend them to work for the illustrative style of The Mitchells vs. The Machines.