Computer Graphics World

September / October 2017

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24 cgw s e p t e m b e r . o c t o b e r 2 0 1 7 fire," says Smith. "To make it related to the other worlds, we made the firewall out of voxels, three-dimensional pixels, running up and down and through it." The character rigging hurdles, no matter how difficult, were minor compared to the lighting challenges, which Muir contends were harder and more complex than anything else on the show. "The art de- partment wanted everything in the emoji world – the characters, the environments, everything – to be translucent so a lot of the light would pass through, and that pre- sented some challenges on the rendering side with all the extra subsurface scatter- ing and translucency," he notes. "Even con- crete in the emoji world was translucent. "Not only did our lighting artists have to pay attention to the lighting details on the surfaces, but also the transmitted light through the surfaces, which added a whole new layer of complexity to the shots, especially on the main characters. With some, you can even see through their bodies," Muir continues. With multiple layers to the characters, lighters had to pay particular attention to all the subtle details right under the surface of the light being transmitted to the various internal body layers. "As you watch the movie, at first glance you might not notice the little details in the bodies, but aer awhile, you start to notice them," Muir adds. For instance, Gene's exterior is a translucent surface, very smooth with a microtexture. The interior has a pixelated surface made of voxels to give him a subtle digitized look. He was also given an extra layer of sparkles, or glints that look like glit- ter inside his body that could be turned on and off as needed to express his emotion in the story – more glowy when he's happy and less visible when he's sad. According to Muir, the crew leveraged some of its newer shading models, such as a new brute-force subsurface scatter- ing technique, which treats objects as a volume as well as traces internal struc- tures within that volume, as opposed to the traditional subsurface techniques that only diffuse the transmitted light at the object's surface. All the rendering was done with SPI's proprietary in-house version of Arnold, making the process more effective and ef- ficient. More light passing through objects and characters meant more calculations for the computer. And more calculations meant more time that was needed to render those assets. At the peak of production, the crew utilized 73,000 computer cores on any given day. Over the course of the film, Muir estimates 136 million clock hours were used. That translates into 50,000 years if a single computer were used to render the film. To put those numbers into perspec- tive, that is almost double what the group used for 2015's Hotel Transylvania 2. "All because of the addition light trans- mission and subsurface scattering in the lighting," Muir says. ADDING EMPHASIS We know emojis as simple icons. But in The Emoji Movie, they are anything but. "We spent many hours trying to get this film out. We put a lot of heart and soul into it. And, it is a fun, creative film," says Muir. In the US, the most popular emoji is the eggplant, followed by others like the poultry leg, birthday cake, and others. In Canada, it is the smiling poop. With such a large cast of characters in The Emoji Movie, which was Muir's favorite? "Smiler. She is chipper and always has a huge grin but is always trying to hide her evil intentions," he says. Everyone has their favorite go-to emoji, and with so many characters in the movie, it's likely you will find yours among the cast. Or you might find a new favorite in the to . Karen Moltenbrey is the chief editor of CGW. TRANSLUCENCY IN THE EMOJI WORLD MADE RENDERING ARDUOUS. ARTISTS CREATED SEVERAL ENVIRONMENTS, SUCH AS THE HUMAN WORLD.

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