Creature tales: How MPC Crafts its Characters
how MPC Crafts its Characters
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