3D World


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.

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