Crea­ture tales: How MPC Crafts its Char­ac­ters

how MPC Crafts its Char­ac­ters

3D World - - CONTENTS -

The in­dus­try pros at MPC re­veal their ex­pert takes on mod­el­ling, groom­ing, rig­ging and lookdev from some of the stu­dio’s big­gest films

In­dus­try pros at VFX pow­er­house MPC share their ap­proaches to mod­el­ling, rig­ging, groom­ing and lookdev se­crets from some of the stu­dio’s lat­est films

With films such as The Jun­gle Book, Alien: Covenant and Blade

Run­ner 2049, MPC has es­tab­lished it­self as one of the lead­ing stu­dios for de­liv­er­ing pho­to­real char­ac­ters. Help­ing the stu­dio achieve that sta­tus is a spe­cialised group in­side MPC called The Char­ac­ter Lab that’s be­hind so many of those pho­to­real as­sets.

3D World asked sev­eral members of The Char­ac­ter Lab for their ex­pert takes on mod­el­ling, rig­ging, groom­ing and lookdev from spe­cific as­sets made for those re­cent films. Here they talk about the tools and tech­niques be­hind their work, and pro­vide their prac­ti­cal tips for de­liv­er­ing the most pho­to­real crea­tures and char­ac­ters pos­si­ble.

Re-imag­in­ing an iconic species

MPC se­nior modeller Damien Gui­moneau was re­spon­si­ble for the high-res­o­lu­tion sculpt of the ter­ri­fy­ing CG Xenomorph that ap­peared in Ri­d­ley Scott’s Alien:

Covenant. It was a re-imag­in­ing of the char­ac­ter as it had ap­peared in the pre­vi­ous Alien films, al­though with the ad­di­tion of many new fea­tures, some of which came from the prac­ti­cal on-set puppet.

“We started with scans of the ma­que­ttes to cre­ate a con­cept model,” ex­plains Gui­moneau. “Th­ese were used to cre­ate the first pass of rigs for an­i­ma­tion tests. Th­ese helped us to re­alise the pro­por­tion of the fi­nal Xenomorph anatomy for my friends Fed­erico Scarbini and Hen­ning San­den, who did the big­gest part of the topol­ogy. I then started the sculpt of the full crea­ture, part by part, us­ing tons of ref­er­ences such as ecorchés, anatomy, an­i­mals, fi­bres and bones.”

Zbrush was the main tool used to sculpt and ex­tract maps. An in­cred­i­ble level of de­tail was re­quired for the crea­ture, so MPC split the as­sets into mul­ti­ple sec­tions. For tex­tur­ing, Gui­moneau says mod­el­ling lead Sean Mills es­tab­lished a work­flow for

shere Khan, the vil­lain in The Jun­gle Book. His fur was made pos­si­ble with mpc’s pro­pri­etary groom­ing tool Fur­til­ity

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