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PaulHellard
09-08-2009, 02:27 AM
Hey there,

Chatting with The Prime Focus guys while in New Orleans, they wanted to show me their process of using the many apps they produce in a production environment. Chris Bond's crew shows me their expertise in previz, plate creation and the mysteries of Digital Matte Painting a heap of visual effects shots for 'G.I. JOE: The Rise of Cobra.'

http://features.cgsociety.org//images/plugs/feature/gijoe_plug.jpg (http://features.cgsociety.org/story.php?story_id=5249)

ZacD
09-08-2009, 03:18 AM
I don't mean to be harsh, but for the amount of money spent on that film I wasn't impressed with the CG of it, any person could of picked out which cars on the street were from the original film and which ones were digitally added.

Bobo
09-08-2009, 03:23 AM
I don't mean to be harsh, but for the amount of money spent on that film I wasn't impressed with the CG of it, any person could of picked out which cars on the street were from the original film and which ones were digitally added.

Then I'm glad we didn't do any cars in this movie ;)

theotheo
09-08-2009, 08:44 AM
Then I'm glad we didn't do any cars in this movie ;)

touche :) Good one bobo.

^Lele^
09-08-2009, 10:40 AM
Then I'm glad we didn't do any cars in this movie ;)

Ups, was it not a car?
I thought the stuff sticking out of the front was a steering device...
And that the tracks were because it was an off-road model.
It was not? XD

AJ
09-08-2009, 12:12 PM
Well just as long as you didn't use v-ray Bobo - I've been hearing that it's not up to handling vfx work... :D

^Lele^
09-08-2009, 01:03 PM
Well just as long as you didn't use v-ray Bobo - I've been hearing that it's not up to handling vfx work... :D

Ditto.
The water, for instance, was flood surf, and then pencil rendered on top of the viewport preview XD

Gunnah
09-08-2009, 02:07 PM
shh, dont give away the secrets ;)

Ditto.
The water, for instance, was flood surf, and then pencil rendered on top of the viewport preview XD

TAVO
09-08-2009, 02:22 PM
really nice work guys, even most of the article was about cg enviroments projections, i really like it.

Any particles job in this one ? krakatoa for example ??

Bobo
09-08-2009, 03:06 PM
really nice work guys, even most of the article was about cg enviroments projections, i really like it.

Any particles job in this one ? krakatoa for example ??

Yes, as the article mentions.
Things we did in this movie:
*The opening sequence's iron mask,
*the following tank destruction demonstration (^Lele^ here spent lots of time on lighting that shot and I think it was worth it) - the nanomites in it were Krakatoa. Btw, the main nanomite scene in Paris was done by Digital Domain using their inhouse voxel renderer, while we used point rendering for ours. I think the looks matched pretty close regardless.
*CG nunchucks for the fight between Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow as kids (of course the actors did not hold real nunchucks, they could have killed each other).
*The CG snake in the venom extraction demonstration and the blood stream sequence after that - lots of Krakatoa particles there, although less obvious. I haven't heard anyone complaining about the CG snake, so I hope it wasn't too obviously CG.
*The Night Raven sequence (excluding the polar takeoff part) up until Ripcord lands on the lawn in front of the White House. Mostly VRay rendering, Krakatoa nanomites, Krakatoa rooster tail over the water, Krakatoa missile trail. Apropos trail - this was the main reason Krakatoa 1.5.x added support for direct FumeFX rendering. The plane and missile were animated at real world speeds, resulting in a FumeFX trail that actually stretched for miles. But since the missile was moving eratically to evade the plane, the required simulation grid was huge in all 3 dimensions, producing a large amount of empty voxels. Tests showed that we would need 64 GB of RAM to render that, but our farm does not have such machines just yet (the largest amount on a workstation right now is 32, mine has only 16). So we tried a proof of concept where we extracted the voxel data from Fume using MAXScript and fed the data into Krakatoa for Voxel rendering - it needed less than 600MB of RAM. The developers of FumeFX were very kind to provide us with the SDK and we finished those shots on the existing farm without having to upgrade memory. Now all Krakatoa users can benefit from the direct connection to FumeFX.
*As mentioned in the article, worked on most of the previs for the show.

If I have missed something, I am sure the other guys who worked on our sequences will correct me.

kage-maru
09-08-2009, 03:21 PM
*We also did some set extension shots in the Cobra base

The underwater one?

ThallDesign
09-08-2009, 03:50 PM
Yes, as the article mentions.
Things we did in this movie:


That FumeFX workflow is incredible. Definitely outside the box thinking, pun intended. I read your PFlow site all the time, I can't believe you've been using Max since DOS. Thanks for all the inspiration!

Bobo
09-08-2009, 03:51 PM
The underwater one?

Oops, you are right, those set extensions I was thinking of were in another movie. Correcting my post. :)

EDIT: I am being told I did not dream it and we actually did some set extensions within the venom extraction demonstration sequence with the CG snake, but I don't think these were very important.

mustan9
09-08-2009, 03:56 PM
Those are cools shots. So happy to see stuff like this being done in Max. I wish Autodesk would change the product description for Max on their website to better reflect the film industry. Anyway, great article.

^Lele^
09-08-2009, 04:41 PM
shh, dont give away the secrets ;)
Says the pencil renderer ;)

From what i saw, it's definitely been worth the effort, Bobo, a hundred times over :)
By the way, Chris was also the one who did the hard work of matching the shot's lighting and figuring out the comping backbone, I merely fiddled to no end with it :P
From the Max perspective, the tank destruction has also been possible thanks to the ubiquitous Laszlo and his skills in coding procedural textures, and stunning reactor setups.
And i believe the insane amount of time Ansi spent on those particles :)

ShaneHudson
09-08-2009, 08:37 PM
Do you know what I find most impressive about posts like this? Not that it shows the awsome graphics of the film but it reminds us all that this forum has such a wide variety of people... active members that work on films that the rest of us watch... that is impressive!

kage-maru
09-08-2009, 08:49 PM
Oops, you are right, those set extensions I was thinking of were in another movie. Correcting my post. :)

EDIT: I am being told I did not dream it and we actually did some set extensions within the venom extraction demonstration sequence with the CG snake, but I don't think these were very important.

I see! I thought we did all the bg in the cobra base, but i was just curious to hear if anybody else worked on that sequence :)
Congrats to all guys from frantic!

MrPositive
09-08-2009, 10:28 PM
Weird, that I loved the CG effects of this film........the story, is another topic/thread. :)
Note to everyone: when you house 400,000 members, there is a good chance your unresearched post can work against you.

TAVO
09-08-2009, 10:37 PM
Yes, as the article mentions.
Things we did in this movie:
*The opening sequence's iron mask,
*the following tank destruction demonstration (^Lele^ here spent lots of time on lighting that shot and I think it was worth it) - the nanomites in it were Krakatoa. Btw, the main nanomite scene in Paris was done by Digital Domain using their inhouse voxel renderer, while we used point rendering for ours. I think the looks matched pretty close regardless.
*CG nunchucks for the fight between Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow as kids (of course the actors did not hold real nunchucks, they could have killed each other).
*The CG snake in the venom extraction demonstration and the blood stream sequence after that - lots of Krakatoa particles there, although less obvious. I haven't heard anyone complaining about the CG snake, so I hope it wasn't too obviously CG.
*The Night Raven sequence (excluding the polar takeoff part) up until Ripcord lands on the lawn in front of the White House. Mostly VRay rendering, Krakatoa nanomites, Krakatoa rooster tail over the water, Krakatoa missile trail. Apropos trail - this was the main reason Krakatoa 1.5.x added support for direct FumeFX rendering. The plane and missile were animated at real world speeds, resulting in a FumeFX trail that actually stretched for miles. But since the missile was moving eratically to evade the plane, the required simulation grid was huge in all 3 dimensions, producing a large amount of empty voxels. Tests showed that we would need 64 GB of RAM to render that, but our farm does not have such machines just yet (the largest amount on a workstation right now is 32, mine has only 16). So we tried a proof of concept where we extracted the voxel data from Fume using MAXScript and fed the data into Krakatoa for Voxel rendering - it needed less than 600MB of RAM. The developers of FumeFX were very kind to provide us with the SDK and we finished those shots on the existing farm without having to upgrade memory. Now all Krakatoa users can benefit from the direct connection to FumeFX.
*As mentioned in the article, worked on most of the previs for the show.

If I have missed something, I am sure the other guys who worked on our sequences will correct me.

Thanks Bobo, i didnīt pay attention to the particles part.

with such amount of work for a mostly 3ds Max pipeline (i think) , are you guys in a 64bits pipeline or 32 bits ? or some kind of a mix ??

And finally since i didnīt fully understand Leleīs post: the water was rendered with Vray ?? i think he refers to that, i just canīt understand the pencil joke (if it is a joke hehe, my english is not that far yet). Thanks.

Bobo
09-08-2009, 11:07 PM
Thanks Bobo, i didnīt pay attention to the particles part.

with such amount of work for a mostly 3ds Max pipeline (i think) , are you guys in a 64bits pipeline or 32 bits ? or some kind of a mix ??

And finally since i didnīt fully understand Leleīs post: the water was rendered with Vray ?? i think he refers to that, i just canīt understand the pencil joke (if it is a joke hehe, my english is not that far yet). Thanks.

Lele is one of the biggest V-Ray fans out there, we hired him specifically as a V-Ray Lighting TD. I guess he has read the thread on this forum where people not using V-Ray in movie production were explaining how it cannot be used in movie production and wanted to make a joke how we had to paint every pixel with a pencil because "V-Ray cannot do it" ;)
We rendered everything in V-Ray except the clouds (which came from Maya, although now we can do some AMAZING clouds with Krakatoa, I wish I could show you examples but I may not) and of course the nanomites which were Krakatoa.

Max was the backbone of the general pipeline (in fact, my screen credit for G.I.Joe is "Senior Pipeline Developer"). At Siggraph we explained a bit more about it, but the overal idea was: We split all shots into several levels of assets - project, sequence and shot. The scene description was a file containing the list of assets and the rules how to connect them, not a Max file. An asset could be a Max file, a Render Preset, a MAXScript (both general and "managed" MAXScripts), animation files (XAF or our own), and so on. Since the sequence contained similar assets (for example the plane was in almost every shot), the asset representing its various geometry parts including high-res and low-res version could be defined at the sequence level and pulled from the same location for each shot, while the animation data was obviously a shot-specific asset. This way, if the client would have come and said "we changed our mind, we want an F-22 instead of the Night Raven", we could have opened the Sequence Level Assembly List file in our editor, swapped the model and hit a button to resubmit all shots to Deadline. Instead of sending the Max files for rendering, this would send the shots' assembly lists referencing the sequence-level list with the new plane in it. A slave on Deadline would read these assembly lists, build a Max file on the fly, send it to render and then discard it. This way we could re-render the whole sequence with all changes at a press of a button.
The artists did not use a dedicated Max scene file for the shot, but would instead open the pipeline tool, press a button to assemble the current state of their specific task (for example the Lighting guy would get the full mesh and the lights, while an Animator would get just a proxy of the plane and so on). Then they would make edits to the scene and press a button to publish these changes back - every part of the scene would produce a new iteration of the source file it came from (meshes would go back to MAX files with incremented number, animation data would be saved to a new version of the XAF file etc.) and all dependencies would be recorded to be restored in the next assembly process, so you could constrain object a from file A to an object b from file B and this relationship would not be lost after reassembly. This also allowed us to prevent animators from changing materials or lighting/rendering guys from accidentally breaking the animation - the Lighting assembly would have the animation assets set to non-publishable.
The other cool thing about this was that every asset could be rolled back to any previous version, or an approved asset could be set to Approved state so once the client liked it, nobody would accidentally use an older version.

We also implemented a simplified form of a Render Pass Manager which, other than Grant's RPM, does not store the data in the scene but dumps MAXScript files (similar to my BFF exporter) that describe all relevant changes to be made to the scene to produce a certain state. We are using it on two more projects right now and it works quite well since it allows us to see and even hand-edit the data if something goes wrong.

We switched to 64 bit right after WinXP 64 bit became available since we had to render many layers of 50M particles in Superman using 32 bit machines and longed for more memory. We generally use 64 bit, but there were some issues with 64 bit related to the above pipeline - for one, DotNet controls become painfully slow when Max reaches 4GB of RAM usage which was very common in the project. (This appears to be a Microsoft issue, like some 32 bit components in DotNet causing severe paging). Also some portions of Max (specifically the XAF saving which is not available via the SDK so we could not tweak it) were rather unstable in 64 bit. Thus we had to use 32 bit to assemble and 64 bit to render.

TAVO
09-08-2009, 11:59 PM
Wow Bobo, i will have to read that article 2 or 3 times to fully understand it or at least try to, iīm always fascinated with pipeline workflows, although you rarelly read this well explained. Thank you so much.

I guess the title "Senior Pipeline Developer" fits you perfectly with this explanation.

Also i want to congratulate all the RnD team, it seems that Krakatoa is growing so much fast in production.

Airflow
09-09-2009, 12:15 AM
Thanks Bobo and Lele.
Does a happy 3dsmax/Vray "I told you so dance"
Sits down dizzy. :)

ronaldomiranda
09-09-2009, 03:11 AM
other interesting link about the use of Houdini by Digital Domain in this movie:

http://www.sidefx.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1572&Itemid=68

mushtools
09-09-2009, 03:42 AM
amazing movie! thanks for share this

Quatermass
09-10-2009, 12:34 AM
Ahem,

http://www.jimbrooks.org/web/aviation/full/firefox2.jpg
Firefox 1982

http://features.cgsociety.org/stories/2009_09/gijoe/banner01.jpg


file:///C:/DOCUME%7E1/kupschj/LOCALS%7E1/Temp/moz-screenshot.jpgfile:///D:/Downloads/firefox2.jpg

slime
09-10-2009, 07:44 AM
great work, guys!

Gunnah
09-10-2009, 12:17 PM
Ahem,


heh, well... this would explain that :) ('85)

LOTK
09-10-2009, 07:47 PM
Nice thread, I haven't seen the movie yet but it's been really interesting to read Bobo's comments about the pipeline and all the background config;)

SM2011
09-10-2009, 08:13 PM
Very nice artical, thanks for sharing, pepole have done very nice jog i guess

Ravenslayer
09-11-2009, 08:49 AM
you guys did a great job on this movie :)
the only thing that bothers me wa sinking ice which usually tends to float :p but i guess you guys didn't do those scenes

Bobo
09-11-2009, 01:14 PM
you guys did a great job on this movie :)
the only thing that bothers me wa sinking ice which usually tends to float :p but i guess you guys didn't do those scenes

Oh the movie physics :)
No, we did no do those, but it does not matter - first, it is up to the client to decide what you see. Any VFX studio will have to do whatever the script says - we are hired guns after all.
Second, the ice above the base contained corridors and other installations which were part of the complex, so let's assume it wasn't "just ice" but a mixture of metal and ice - not sure how that swims...

kage-maru
09-11-2009, 01:28 PM
I think i could say it wasn't our idea at all... you should have seen my face when i saw the previz the first time.

Djampa
09-11-2009, 04:19 PM
Ahem,


Firefox 1982





ahaha, how the hell did you remembered that so well ? That Eastwood movie was deep hidden in my memory... *lol* :D

Nice reading the article.

Bobo, thanks for chatting here and sharing, nice reading :)
Great advices as well from Ken Nakada and Rob Ward.

Congratulations on the movie.

Cheers

playmesumch00ns
09-12-2009, 05:16 PM
Oh the movie physics :)
No, we did no do those, but it does not matter - first, it is up to the client to decide what you see. Any VFX studio will have to do whatever the script says - we are hired guns after all.
Second, the ice above the base contained corridors and other installations which were part of the complex, so let's assume it wasn't "just ice" but a mixture of metal and ice - not sure how that swims...

Yes if you look closely there are metal structures embedded in the ice (you can also see them in the tunnel chase sequence and the 'sonar' xray view of the ice cap when the joes are discussing their attack plan). We stuck those in to try and make some sense of what, as has been pointed out, is a pretty retarded script direction. At the end of the day - it's a GI Joe movie, do expect it to make sense? :)

As Bobo said - VFX studios have little to no influence over choices like that. If it's in the script, or if the director or studio wants it, we do it, no matter how stupid it might appear to us. It's their movie and their money after all.

PsychoSilence
09-14-2009, 10:47 PM
Says the pencil renderer ;)

From what i saw, it's definitely been worth the effort, Bobo, a hundred times over :)
By the way, Chris was also the one who did the hard work of matching the shot's lighting and figuring out the comping backbone, I merely fiddled to no end with it :P
From the Max perspective, the tank destruction has also been possible thanks to the ubiquitous Laszlo and his skills in coding procedural textures, and stunning reactor setups.
And i believe the insane amount of time Ansi spent on those particles :)

oh, some correction needed here :) Ansi spent and insane amount of time on some of the close up night raven shots not the tank, that was our inhouse super hero laszlo!

kind regards,
Anselm

^Lele^
09-14-2009, 11:22 PM
Eheh, i stand corrected XD
It's after all the first time i see it with the particles on, and guessed you did that too :P

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