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September 2018

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Page 33 of 43 32 POST SEPTEMBER 2018 cohesive look for the cloth simulation. Making their debut in Hotel Transylvania 3 are Ericka and her great-great-grandfather, the legend- ary monster hunter Abraham Van Helsing. "When Ericka is in deception mode — when we don't know that she's evil — she is very sweet and all her dialog sounds very pleasant, and we animat- ed her as softly and warmly as possible. We kept her very calm and smooth, in a way that characters don't usually move in the Hotel Transylvania world," says animation supervisor Alan Hawkins. "When you are first introduced to her on the boat, you see her move in a way that's a little outside of the style of these films. But when she gets into her evil reveal, she starts moving a lot more sharply and quickly, her lines are less soft and rounded, and she gets a lot more straights in her posing." Hawkins continues: "It was important to Genndy to create a character that's a match for Dracula, not just emotionally, but physically. Dracula is our most pushed character — he can do almost anything — and so with Ericka, we had to find a way to do that as well. When she's being really evil, she's doing some pretty extreme stuff that is on par with what Dracula can do." According to Ford, the most challenging char- acter, however, was Van Helsing. Times two. The team had to build both a young and old version. The younger character has a very distinctive hairstyle that resembles horns, and that iconic shape had to carry over in the older gent, despite his thin, fine hair. The character's face changed quite a bit in the aged version, too; therefore, two different models were built. Creating further complication was the old- er man's mustache. "Mustaches in general are hard to control because they move based on what the skin is doing underneath," explains Ford. "Genndy's animation style really pushed this character into extreme poses, and this had an adverse effect on the mustache. And our CFX team had to figure out how to get this mustache to look appropriate." Old Van Helsing is also Ford's favorite character in the movie. "He's not an attractive man, but he has so much detail and so much personality. He's got skin that feels old and weathered, and then there's that scraggly mustache," says Ford. "I love the per- formances that the animators got out of him. He's not scary; he's almost endearing in a way." Also new is a huge kraken which appears in a battle sequence near the end of the film that high- lights work by all the teams. "Like all things in Hotel Transylvania, Genndy didn't want it to be scary; it had to have some humor to it," says Ford of the character. "So, there's this giant creature with all these tentacles slamming to the ground and basically destroying this arena. The animation is moving at incredible speeds, but that is the speed Genndy wanted. And all the de- partments that were downstream from that anima- tion, especially effects, had to contend with things that weren't necessarily real in terms of the physics." When the tentacles hit the water, one of the ef- fects animators pointed out that it was traveling at Mach 4, so the effects team had to slow down and manipulate time on the tentacle in order to get a water sim and any associated debris to work. "The sequence shows how animation drives the way things are going to look, even what's coming out of the departments downstream," says Ford. "All the teams rose to the occasion of making sure it looked and felt real, in a Hotel Transylvania way." Exotic Destinations In Hotel Transylvania 3, Tartakovsky, co-writer on the film, continues with the hotel jokes since, after all, a cruise ship is basically a hotel on water. And, there are a lot of new environments – "more than any other movie I've worked on, especially in the Hotel Transylvania series," says Ford. One of the more complex is an underwater vol- cano, complete with a simulation, as it was always erupting. "When Genndy first told us, you could hear a pin drop in the room," says Ford. The volcano had to fit into the Hotel Transylvania world, which is bright and colorful. But, underwater volcanoes are actually the opposite: dark and scary. Production designer Scott Willis added a red underlight that was pretty and bright, and Ford and his team dressed the location with coral and kelp, adding details that made the locale seem real. Also challenging was the Bermuda Triangle, from its waterfalls to the tower of wrecked ships. "It is a literal triangle in the middle of the ocean, with thousand-foot waterfalls into an abyss," Ford explains. "How do you create a thousand-foot-tall waterfall that's cascading into a big hole in the Animators used a new tool called Pose Stamp to help achieve a speed-blur effect.

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