CREATE YOUR OWN CREATURE EFFECTS
Ameen Abbas and Craig Healy of Absolute Post share pro tips for jaw-dropping creature effects
Gather strong references
Creature FX is not centred around reality, but it’s always useful to look at relevant references from the real world. For the horn meniscus build up and initial tear, for example, we looked at people with body modifications and piercings under the skin and analysed how the skin stretched and reacted. We also analysed liquid simulations, establishing how blood, a thicker liquid, might trickle out of incisions.
Concept is key
One of the main things we learnt was how important thoroughly designing the art is in advance. Having a well thought-out goal from the beginning will save the tedious process of hundreds of CG iterations and give you something concrete to work towards.
Approach with caution
Some of the more basic methods are usually the quickest at delivering a decent result, but don’t be fooled. Often, issues can arise when it comes to upping the resolution of the sims from simpler methods. Doing multiple rounds of research and development surrounding proven workflows will put a halt to continuing with an inefficient approach early on.
Always have clean topology
Getting your topology in order is a vital step before simulating. With animated geometry, intersections can often occur, so fixing this will alleviate potential errors or unpredictable behaviours from the Vellum Solver down the line.
Keep the base rotomation as tidy as possible
When it comes to this type of effect, it’s easy to over-work and over-craft the input geometry, which only ends up causing complications down the line. By using simpler input geometry, you can sculpt the more complex effects with more flexibility, which will help achieve the desired effects far more quickly.