Sunday, 23 June 2013

Water Simulation in CGI Animated Films

Earlier in the year we did not have a solid vision for how the water should look in the film. We still don't despite having various art styles worked up. During production the core team had a big debate/ argument as to how the water should look because of the rendered image of water below. At one point everyone wanted to go with the look of this water mostly because it looks so good/ real.

The water was made by 2nd year Josh Bainbridge using Houdini using a plugin for Maya. I would soon learn it was never intended to have photorealistic water but this is this is how it looks strait ouf of the render. It would need to be post processed in the Nuke composite to look stylised. The problems with Josh's water is that we can't have any collisions with the boat and water as it is from

Once I showed the team the render pretty much everyone except me felt we should go with it. I thought they were all captivated by how good it it looked not weather it would fit in visually with the rest of the film. At this time we were still trying to nail the look of the film so a lot was up in the air.


As a test I though I would examine animated movies that feature water to see how they look. The movies I took screenshots from were; Tangled, Kung Fu Panda 2, How To Train Your Dragon and Brave. What I found was that the look of the water is pretty much realistic where they pull away from realism in in terms of lighting and how they are coloured to sit in the scene. In some  KungFu Panda 2 there is little to no collision with the boat and the water causing foam or spray. Its funny you don't really notice unless you look for it. So do we really need this?

As a result of this I think we should adopt realistic water for Hook, Line & Stinker. The reason being is that the water itself needs to look "texturally" accurate much like the rest of the objects in the film. The catch is there is virtually no specularity on any of the objects in Hook, Line & Stinker. All of the shaders are lambert with the look for the film achieved in the textures painted by Phoebe Herring. The only specularity is on the Murman and this was a mix of painted texture with anistropic shader specularity on top.

Screen Shot 2013-06-04 at 18.21.43

Screen Shot 2013-06-04 at 18.15.08

Screen Shot 2013-06-04 at 18.13.52
Realistic looking water with stylised specularity (post production)
Screen Shot 2013-06-04 at 18.12.39

Screen Shot 2013-06-04 at 18.06.52

Screen Shot 2013-06-04 at 18.04.34

Kung Fu Panda 2:
Screen Shot 2013-06-04 at 17.48.34

Screen Shot 2013-06-04 at 17.48.10

Screen Shot 2013-06-04 at 17.45.22

Screen Shot 2013-06-04 at 17.33.10

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