Computer Graphics World

July/August 2014

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40 cgw j u ly . a u g u s t 2 0 1 4 rom the listless repose of the place, and the peculiar character of its inhabitants, who are descen- dants from the original Dutch settlers, this sequestered glen has long been known by name of Sleepy Hollow…. A drowsy, dreamy infl uence seems to hang over the land, and to pervade the very atmosphere. —Washington Irving, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" In Washington Irving's classic, Sleepy Hollow is haunted by spectre, including the Headless Horseman, believed to be the ghost of a Hessian soldier from Colonial times. In the Sleepy Hol- low television series launched last fall, the Headless Horse- man is resurrected in modern times, as is Ichabod Crane, in a re-imagining of the story. In this dark tale, Ichabod Crane is a Revolutionary War hero who was wounded in battle (but not before behead- ing the Hessian who dealt the battlefi eld blow). Crane awakes underground more than two centuries later in present-day Sleepy Hollow, as strange happenings start to occur. Crane and Detective Abbie Mills fi nd themselves battling other worldly forces, including the old adver- sary – one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. So, not surprising, one of the signature visual eff ects of this live-action drama is the removal of the Headless Horseman's noggin, which also requires the creation of a CG collar and digi- tal wardrobe fi xes resulting from occlusions by the stunt actor's head in the shots. Last year, work on the series was split among Pixomondo and Synaptic VFX, with some work by FuseFX, all tasked with pro- ducing feature-level eff ects on a television budget and timeframe. Currently, the show is posting its fi rst episodes for the fall season, with Pixomondo back on the horse, so to speak, and thus far Origin Digital Studios riding alongside. "We do a little bit of everything, and each week there is something we didn't do the week before," says Jason Zim- merman, overall visual eff ects supervisor for Sleepy Hollow. The number of VFX shots for a Sleepy Hollow episode varies: 30 to 40 at the low end, with the average being close to 100. Two particular episodes involving the capture and interrogation of the Horseman topped out at 700. The tool sets used to get the work done include Autodesk's 3ds Max and Maya, NewTek's LightWave, Thinkbox So ware's Krakatoa, Sitni Sati's FumeFX plug-in for the CG work, and The Foundry's Nuke and Adobe's A er Eff ects for compositing. The visual eff ects work in- cludes a good deal of roto/paint K Chapter 5 F Sleepy Hollow THE MAIN PROTAGONIST IN THE FOX SERIES SLEEPY HOLLOW IS THE HEADLESS HORSEMAN, A HESSIAN SOLDIER WHO REAPPEARS IN MODERN TIMES SEEKING THE ALSO-RESURRECTED ICHABOD CRANE, WHO IS THE KEY TO STOPPING THE HORSEMAN FROM ACHIEVING THE APOCALYPSE. P R I M E - T I M E E F F E C T S Images ©Fox/Sleepy Hollow

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