October 8, 2012

Smurfy Adventure

Cinema 4D and BodyPaint 3D were used to create the Smurfs' first feature film!

Academy Award®-winning visual effects and animation studioSony Pictures Imageworks (SPI), long recognized as pioneers in live-action visual effects and character animation, all-CG animation, and stereoscopic 3D imagery in feature films, introduced Cinema 4D and BodyPaint 3D into the production pipeline ten years ago and it has since played a pivotal role in creating some of the studio’s most celebrated movies, including The Smurfs™ Arthur Christmas, Green Lantern, Alice in Wonderland, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Spider-Man 3, Beowulf, Watchmen, Monster House, Open Season, Surfs Up, and the upcoming, Men in Black III and The Amazing Spider-Man.

Texture and matte painting are both critical components to the SPI pipeline which allow us to achieve the highest quality imagery in a cost-effective manner," comments Erik Strauss, Executive Director of Software Development at Sony Pictures Imageworks. "Our texture painters work iteratively with modelers and look dev artists to create the necessary layers and variations, which provide the perfect integration, or the appropriate stylized artistic flair to a CG character seamlessly integrating them into an environment. Our matte painters use deeply stacked layers and 3D projections to reproduce environments that would be either too costly or time-prohibitive to build on set or model in CG. These approaches are critical to the success of our work and our bottom line.

Lead matte painter on The Smurfs, Adil Mustafabekov, a veteran Cinema 4D artist at SPI the past 7 years, notes the software’s BodyPaint 3D texture painting toolset was used throughout the film and managed some heavy lifting on the most demanding technical matte painting challenges at the very beginning of the film – a wide sweeping shot that allows viewers to travel through the Smurf's village. 

The village shot had over 2000 frames that required the use of multiple standalone as well as multiple camera projections and was rendered in three different parts that were later composited together,” said Mustafabekov. “We relied on BodyPaint 3D to texture paint and create elements such as leaves, grass, sides of buildings, found objects and more to create a heightened level of photorealism and credibility.
“Cinema 4D is hands down the best package for quickly tackling matte painting hurdles,” he adds. “Its ease of use and performance allows us to practically recreate as well as enhance any scene digitally. I can’t imagine working on a matte painting without it.

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