ILM's 'Work in Progress'

Discussion in 'Lucasfilm Ltd. In-Depth Discussion' started by EagleIFilms, Dec 28, 2001.

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  1. EagleIFilms Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 6, 2001
    star 5
    Here's a direct link:

    Work in Progress

    What do you think?

    Kinda puts fan film 3D to shame, but hey, it is ILM. I wonder if they'll show that on any film?
  2. Macho Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 21, 2001
    star 4
    Its a great short film but the animation wouldn't look too good in a film with live actors but yes it was made by ILM that has the second most powerful computering power to the US military(according to the director of PearlHarbor)
  3. malducin Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2001
    star 4
    Work in Progress is actually just a short film (much like Pixar, PDI and others make). It was directed by Tom Bertino who is one of the animation supervisors. It was done as an exercise in stylized animation and rendering. ILM has been trying to get into animated features lately.

    It premiered at SIGGRAPH 2001. It's being submitted to festivals, maybe they'll submit it for Oscar consideration. You can get it on the SIGGRAPH video/DVD review. It's not the first and only short film ILM has done. Theyt also had The Moving Pyramid also this SIGGRAPH, Synchronicity on SIGGRAPH 2000 (which you can see on the Bay Vista Productions website), and there was the ILMajan Project on SIGGRAPH 96. Many ILM artists work on personal projects. I wouldn't be surprised to see more short films in the future.
  4. Vonn Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2000
    star 4
    I think it puts a lot of what Pixar and PDI to shame.

    At the very least, it certainly shows that ILM can also do fur, and it also rubs the realistic human hair in the faces Squaresoft.

    Looks like Squaresoft wasn't better than ILM after all.
  5. malducin Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2001
    star 4
    Well ILM has been doing fur for quite a long time. They created their own hair renderer and used it since Jumanji. That was way before Pixar created RiCurves for PRMan. They actually have two methods called real fur and fake fur. Nowadays there is plenty other examples of their work, like CG hair in AI.

    Though I disagree it puts Pixar's and PDI's stuff to shame. They are different stylistic renderings.

    The problem with Square Pictures, which won't exists anymore, was not the technical, which was very immpresive, but the story IMHO. It's too bad because it could have signaled more adult oriented animation in North America.
  6. Vonn Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2000
    star 4
    But, there is a big difference between rendering fur and hair.

    I also thought it was clever how the writers put ILM's name into the short.

    Did you notice it?

    The short muscular guy was "industrial," for his mechanical contribution to creation.

    The scientist was "light," because he is the creative force (like in cartoons when a character gets an idea, you see a lightbulb above their heads), not to mention he moves fast like lightning.

    And the girl's contribution to creation is "magic," hence pulling the bunny out of the hat and using it to bring the mechanical monkey to life.

    I think the story is basically saying that "magic" is crucial to the creative process.
  7. malducin Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2001
    star 4
    Yes I did notice the way they used the symbolism of their name.

    My point was that the short doesn't demonstrate that ILM can do fur as you stated, because they have been doing fur for quite a while. They were actually one of the first CG houses to do some fur in Jumanji, along PDI and Rhythm and Hues. ILM developed 2 techniques, one called real fur, that actually generates hair geometry, and fake fur (used in 101 Dalmatians first) which gives the look of fur withg a shader. Dan Goldman published the paper for fake fur at SIGGRAPH 97. ILM developed their own hair renderer because there was no commercial solutions, RiCurves on RenderMan came a bit later. Probably the first good instance of long hair with dynamics for ILM was their work for Mighty Joe Young.

    You might want to know that ILM just won 2 Techinical Oscars, one of them for their Creature Dynamics Systems, which includes their hair system. John Anderson, Cary Phillips, Jim Hourihan and Sebastian Marino are the recepients.

    By the way you could also read on Square Pictures work on Aki's hair (which alone took more than 50% of rendering time alone) on the SIGGRAPH 2001 RenderMan course notes. Some previous notes include talk on Stuart Little hair also and ILM's use of RenderMan Procedurals.

    RenderMan SIGGRAPH Course Notes
  8. Vonn Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2000
    star 4
    I don't care about fur. As I said, there is a difference between fur (whether it be real fur or fake fur) and hair. And ILM has shown that they can do hair better than Square. I don't know why you keep talking about fur. Fur and hair do not have the same look, mainly because with hair there are less strands than fur yet they cover the same volume (sometime even more).

    To further illustrate the difference,
    for example, when you pet a cat, you don't say, "Oooo. It has soft hair."

    And also, when you touch your son or daughters hair, you don't say, "You've got soft fur."

    I don't why you keep talking about fur. I know ILM did SOME work on Mighty Joe Young ( they did NOT do all the fur work). I know about the fur work done on Stuart Little, and that's great (except for the work on the cat). Whenever a movie like Monsters Inc comes out, people tend to claim that Pixar is the master of fur or something, and constantly ILM has to come back and prove that they are the masters. So, you don't need to give those kinds of examples, because I'm familiar with ALL of them.

    However, I don't care about fur. Fur has been done. It is yesterday's news. I'm talking about hair. Previously, Square and PDI were the only ones to even attempt it (unless you consider Pixar's "Geri's game" an attempt at "realistic" human hair, which I don't). "Work in Progress" basically rubs it into both of those companies' faces, especially considering "Work in Progress" is just a short, not a full blown motion picture with the funding of Disney or Dreamworks behind it.
  9. malducin Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2001
    star 4
    Calm down dude. Three things: you are splittinh hairs here (pun intended), you are playing with semantics and you are the one that brought it up, though we are basicly talking about the same thing.

    First of all fur and hair are about the same type of tissue in all mammals. Semanticly speaking we call it fur in animals (and usually it's short in length) and call it hair in humans and primates. Speaking correctly yeah you refer to you cats covering as hair, and the one on top of your head as hair, but biologically they are similar and are one characteristic of mammals. Yes, hair and fur varies across species, lust like the specific petals in flowering plants, but their function is similar and have a common origin.

    Second, you brought that brought the point about fur, and I quote from your message:


    ...At the very least, it certainly shows that ILM can also do fur...


    I just mentioned that ILM had done fur successfully previously, your post seemed to imply that this was their first real good showcase of fur. Maybe I misunderstood you, maybe you didn't explain right but that's how I took it.

    I do agree that handling hair is more difficult than fur, among the reasons is that because of its length hair can become tangled but also it's reaction to dynamics (gravity, being springy or stiff, etc) is noticeable as opposed most fur (being short and very stiff it would bounce very little). Rendering wise they would b very similar since the are very thin in comparison to their lenghth, but the implementation might be the same. PRMan RiCurves could ce used for both hair and fur, you just give them different shaders to achieve their particular looks. Hech, even a hair system can be used for other things: Disney used the hair system for grass in Dinosaur and ILM I think used theirs for also the grass in Work in Progress. I'm sure ILM has been capable of doing hair since they developed it, but most of their projects have been creatures, not humans. Square Pictures is a much more recent endeavor, and PDI was not the only one doing hair before that. If people mention Pixar is because they made available the first highend, commercially available hair primitive (PRMan 3.7 maybe?). By the way Geri's Game is not the best example, besides they do much more stylized film, and Geri was basicly bald. Geri's Game was more a showcase for subdivision surfaces but that's another story. A much better example would have been Al from toy Story 2.

    I do agree that the hair in Work in Progress is fantastic, and you are only seeing it in a tiny little Quicktime video. Isa w it on the big screen at the premiere at SIGGRAPH (I also went to the Pixar, Imageworks and Square talks where they explained their hair use and implementation). Though you never fully explain why you feel it's better, no supporting statements. Maybe it looks batter to your eye, maybe there are technical reasons, you don't say. Not totally disagreeing with you but I don't really think it rubs on anyones faces or puts to shame any of those fine facilties. ILM's hair use is so good that most people don't know there is CG hair on AI for example. That scene with the nanny mecha coming out of the woods and turning around (featured in the trailer), her her on the back was CG hair.

    Besides much of the work done FX and CG facilties is project based. They operate in paper thin margins so new technology is developed only where there is need for it. If anything I invite you to read the RenderMan SIGGRAPH course notes from 2000 and 2001 from the link I posted. Also if you want to learn more about Work in Progress director, the great Tom bertino, check his portrait video:

    Tom Bertino Portrait

    Peace.
  10. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    Vonn, you should re-read Malducin's post. He made an effort to explain things,which he did well. No need to get pithy. ;)
  11. Ardens_Furore Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 14, 2001
    star 4
    Hair and fur plugins are one and the same for Lightwave; this to me says that the technology is similar. Indeed, a realistic fur simulator must be able to handle all the interactions of real hair, because even fur has to interact with itself. If you're going to be realistic for fur, it should reflect reality and since hair in reality is like fur and interacts with itself the same way, but is longer, then the system should be accurate for both long and short hair. I think existence of hair and fur plugins as the same product demonstrate that it should be a similar process.
  12. JohnWilliams00 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 29, 2002
    star 4
    I'm amazed how realistic it looks. Though the human characters are exaggerated caricatures of the real thing, they still look real. It makes Shrek look like a wimpy juvenile attempt in comparison.
  13. malducin Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2001
    star 4
    Ardens_Furorre:

    Yes, Lightwave's implementation in Sasquatch is very immpressive. If you know details of the implementation I would love to hear them. It seems to generate geometry, but I wonder exactly what type and how it's rendered.

    Indeed hair and fur are quite similar. The advantage of ILM and other places which build their own tools is that they can pick up the best tool for the job. For example short fur, especially on objects that are in far or mid shots could be done by shading techniques (like the Fake Fur in Dalmatians) instead of generating geometry. For long hair there is probably noeasy way to fake them except for really long shots.

    As far as Shrek the humans were done that way (except Fiona and the king) in part because they simboliza the homogenous crowds.
  14. Ardens_Furore Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 14, 2001
    star 4
    I don't know the specifics, but I think Sasquatch uses volumetric rendering techniques rather than straight geometry to do the rendering. It's like a different, hair version of Hypervoxels. There must be some geometry, but its not actually made on the model. The render pipeline adds in the hair last (AFAIK, since I've never actually used Sasquatch). I think Worley published a paper about it (or was it the people who made Shave and a Haircut??)
  15. malducin Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2001
    star 4
    Ardens_Furore:

    Thanks for the info, I'll go looking around Worley's site. If not maybe someone at SIGGRAPH might now.
  16. Ardens_Furore Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 14, 2001
    star 4
    SIGGRAPH would definitely have it, because it was a paper published at SIGGRAPH that I remember, even though I can't remember who published it.
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