Computer Graphics World

March 2011

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f CG Character n n n n Which character? “It could be anyone in the village,” Okun says coyly. Barbara Robertson, CGWWest Coast editor, asked Okun to tell us more about the werewolf and the other visual effects shots in the film. Does the werewolf transform from one of the characters in the village during the film? We specifically decided we didn’t want to Jeffrey Okun show a transformation. He shows up reason- ably formed every time. I was up for the challenge, but from the story point of view, it didn’t make sense, and the expense didn’t make sense. Even so, toward the end of the show, the studio asked us whether we’d again explore doing that. Instead, we used an old trick: When the wolf gets angry during a big fight scene in the daytime, we figure out who the wolf is because the eyes of the individual who is the wolf change. Reasonably formed? To economize, Catherine [Hardwicke] decided to introduce the wolf during an attack sequence with a series of blurs. Te concept was brilliant, and the execution was doubly brilliant because of the work by my editor, Neil Greenberg, and Craig Talmy, Derek Spears, and others at Rhythm & Hues. We were able to find places where you can begin to see the wolf. We ramped up the action beyond what we thought we could afford, yet stayed within the budget and schedule. We ended up with an exciting sequence that reveals the wolf bit by bit based on the actions. What does the werewolf look like? Our wolf doesn’t look like a wolf, exactly; it looks like our wolf. It has four paws, a snout, a tail, and short hair, almost like a greyhound. We discovered that we lost muscle definition with longer hair. Derek [Spears], the Rhythm & Hues supervisor, suggested porcupine quills on his shoulders to make the character look more lethal. Catherine didn’t like quills, but we used something like that—spikey hair that looks like it has a lot of product in it. Te face is based on a wolf’s face, but the nose is more lethal-looking, and the teeth and gums look like they haven’t been brushed in years. We added dried blood in the fur, and spittle and goo. Te wolf eats a lot of people. And we spent a lot of time on the eyes, especially because we had to figure out how to get human- ity into the eyes. Te wolf’s eyes are amber, and sometimes they glow. We could control the glow on a per-shot basis based on how menacing or kind he . . . or she . . . was. We studied a documentary about wolves that had phenomenal shots of the eyes. When the light’s right and you see the wolf in profile, the depth is visible. So we had to do 3D eyes and add glow on a 2.5D basis because the glows have to come from deep inside. For a couple shots, we made the eyes in 8k resolution. I doubt anyone will notice all this subtlety. But they’ll feel it. How did you come up with the design? Catherine did an amazing amount of research. She found every were- wolf from TV, film, and books. Digital Domain created a 3D wolf on a turntable from the concept art that Catherine and I presented to the studio to get approval. Once we got a green light on the film, Digital Domain wasn’t available, and we hired Rhythm & Hues to flesh out Image courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures. March 2011 33

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