Computer Graphics World

Edition 2 2020

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e d i t i o n 2 , 2 0 2 0 c g w 3 1 fire, air, earth, and water," says Gipson. "It's almost like a visual poem in a way. We harnessed 2D traditional animation from the artists here in the studio to be incorporated into this new medium." The stylized elemental characters in "Myth" project a duality that intertwines well with the music. The Nokk, a mythical water spirit that takes the form of a horse that harnesses the power of the ocean; the Nokk fiercely guards the secrets of the forest and those wanting to pass must earn its respect. Gale, the playful wind spirit whose presence can take the form of a so breeze or a raging tornado. The massive Earth Giants, spirits of the earth that take the form of rocky river- banks while sleeping, but when awake and on the move, are capable of massive destruc- tion. And, the fire spirit, a tiny fast-moving fire salamander named Bruni, whose emotions affect the intensity of its power. "I began thinking of these elemental characters as members of a band, and when they're all playing together, they help to keep the world in harmony," says Gipson. "When even one of these spirits gets out of sync, the harmony is broken." Like in Fantasia, each character has its own score, color palette, and language. "I wanted to bring that element of Disney heritage into the medium of VR. Just as there is a duality to each of the elemental spirits, there is a duality to the music, which runs the gamut from sweet to antagonistic," Gipson points out. The film's original score, which drives the storytelling experience, was composed by Joseph Trapanese (Tron: Legacy, Raid series). "Myth" producer Nicholas Russell, who had worked with Gipson on "Cycles," acknowledges the particular inspiration Fantasia had on the short. "We wanted to combine that type of filmmaking with our newest technological tools. We kept imag- ining what it would be like if you could stand next to Mickey Mouse as the Sorcerer's Apprentice when he's conducting the stars or battling the brooms," says Russell. Myth-ical Characters & Myth-ical Lands For planning the scenes, the artists used Oculus' Quill, a VR painting tool, to sketch out scenes for determining scale, the prox- imity of characters, and so forth. Of course, foremost, the stylized charac- ters and world of "Myth" had to work within virtual reality, which meant fleshing out the whole world and showing the viewer what is happening behind them, above them, and over there in the distance, all while telling the story. And that was no easy task consider- ing how rich the short film is with effects, which are essential to the narrative and the experience, Anderson notes. "It's a give-and- take. All that has a cost, and it's a really big challenge to balance all of the ideas and the cool work coming in, with the performance that we had to hit to make this viable," he says. "It was a constant battle." The group was intent on obtaining the same or close to the same quality as the feature film, and still maintain the necessary frame rate. "Real time is running at way fast- er speed than what we render in the studio, so there are limitations," Robbins empha- sizes. As a result, the team had to be very clever on how it preserved that quality. "For the most part, we preserved as much of the pipeline that made sense, and then whenever it didn't make sense, we filled that void with what we needed," Anderson says. The monolith at day (top) and at night (bottom).

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