Computer Graphics World

Edition 1 2018

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e d i t i o n 1 , 2 0 1 8 | c g w 4 3 by a number of vendors, including Cray Apes, Mammal Studios, Iloura, Rodeo FX, and Moving Picture Company, among others. Among Rodeo FX's contributions were a hun- gry hippo, a very focused snake, and creepy crawlers. Iloura craed a horde of albino rhi- nos and a complex particle effect when the players enter and exit the game (they each have three lives in the game world). Visual effects crews were given a number of tasks, including wrangling the CG animals that run amok in the movie. For Chen, whose past credits include Suicide Squad and The Amazing Spider-Man, photorealistic CG animals stretched into new territory. As Chen explains, it was necessary to have photoreal animals in order to sell other aspects of the film inspired by the video game setting. "Jake [Kasdan] really wanted to ground the effects – the movement, tex- ture, and feeling of them all had to be real. Because of that, we could push their size – the elephants and rhinos are one-and-a- half times the size that they are in real life," he says. "The jaguars that guard the peak at the end of the film are twice the size of normal jaguars. They are larger than life, more ferocious." MPC completed 160 shots for the movie, including some animals, over 12 months. Bob Winter, MPC VFX supervisor, oversaw the studio's work from Montreal and interfaced with the team there as well as with those in MPC's London and Bangalore, India, locales. In fact, it was the team at MPC that created the CG jaguars, along with a CG elephant, a den of CG black mambas, and a swarm of insects and vermin for the film's antagonist, the big-game hunter Van Pelt, who can manipulate Jumanji's animals by possessing a special jewel, the Jaguar's Eye. The teens, in their adult avatar bodies, must locate and return the jewel to an enormous jaguar statue. "Our direction was to create realistic performances for all our animals," says Winter. "They, of course, needed to hit specific performance beats to tell the story, but their motion was modeled aer their real-world counterparts." The MPC artists used Autodesk's Maya to rig and animate the animals they were responsible for in the film. The skin (physi- cally accurate muscle deformation) and fur dynamics were also done using Maya as well as MPC's own proprietary tools. Creature lookdev and lighting, meanwhile, were done in Foundry's Katana and rendered with Pix- ar's RenderMan. Meanwhile, Foundry's Nuke was used for shot compositing. As Winter explains, each animal posed its own unique creation challenges, although animating the den of black mambas was es- pecially difficult. "The scene called for a den of a couple thousand black mambas, and we knew we could not keyframe that many snakes, and our crowd tools weren't created for the unique challenges of dealing with en- tangled creatures with long, thin anatomy," he says. To resolve this issue, the animators divided the den into smaller groups called "pods" and used keyframe animation to create the complex motion and interaction of the snakes within each pod. Then they fed that into their crowd system to add variation and higher-level swarm behavior. In addition to MPC, Rodeo FX contributed 96 shots, also including some iconic crea- tures. But while realism was essential, they also had to fit within the story's magic. "Director Jake Kasdan wanted the crea- tures to feel cursed, so our team held back from making them too realistic," says Rodeo FX's VFX Supervisor Alexandre Lafortune. "The hippo is a great example of a creature that would have appeared scary if we had made it look real, so we made it bigger and faster, and changed the pink flesh in its mouth to black. These changes make the hippo fit in with the comedy." Aside from the hippo, Rodeo FX's other work included the black mamba snake that engages Bethany in a staring contest. The snake was created by Rodeo FX based on a puppet used on set by the actors. Rodeo FX used a 3D scan of the prop and brought it to life in CG, making key adjustments to its appearance, including coloring and mouth shape. The VFX studio also delivered shots of a scorpion, crocodiles, and of a tarantula and centipede that complement the sinister tone of the film's villain. Performance Plus In addition to the animals, MPC created digital doubles for three of the main char- acters used in some of the intense action sequences. To highlight the characters' video game powers and weaknesses, a good deal of wirework and gimbals were used on set, complemented by visual effects. For instance, when Spencer (Dwayne Johnson) punches someone, he flies 30 feet into the air; Martha (Karen Gillan) can leap 30 feet – all accomplished by practical and digital effects. Added debris helped sell the scenes. But the "crown jewel" of MPC's work in- volved CG jungle environments for the film's finale, including a CG extension to the jaguar statue set piece. The revered jaguar statue is a hybrid comprising a practical 120-foot- high section with a CG build of the midsec- tion to the base, which was a massive rock formation in Hawaii. The 40-foot head was a combination of sculpted foam and concrete. "We also created the CG background for Spencer's dirt bike ride up the jaguar statue," says Winter. In addition, MPC generated the curse effects at the start and end of the film, including transitioning Van Pelt from a human into a swarm of insects and vermin, plus the green energy effects that surround the jewel and the CG environment extensions for the cut-scene as the players enter the game. Indeed, history oen repeats itself, and to a large extent it did so in the world of Ju- manji with this latest edition. But the adven- ture may not be over, as there is discussion circulating about a possible Jumanji 3. Are you ready to play again? Karen Moltenbrey is the chief editor of CGW.

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