Behind the Magic

Making of Cartier Winter Tale 2013 by Dwarf Labs

Dwarf Labs is the creative studio who brings the “Cartier’s Winter Tale” 2013 to life. Dwarf Labs is an animation and vfx studio specializing in high end computer-generated content for commercials and feature films. For ‘Winter Tale’, Dwarf Labs responded to the artistic vision of Bibo Bergeron, director of animated feature ‘Monster in Paris’, to create the fourth episode of Cartier’s prestigious series. The studio was involved from the very beginning of the project’s development, working on storyboards, character and environment design, colour scripts, storymatic previsualisation, rigging and animation, through to colour and lighting design, and finally, compositing. Dwarf Labs used its in-house tools, allowing the artists to use advanced shaders which gave the commercial its unique look. This is particularly evident for the panther’s fur which mimics real fur behaviour on a stylised design. Olivier Pinol, Directory of Photography, drawing on his years of experience at DreamWorks and Weta Digital, tied together the different levels of stylisation of the environments, the panther and the grooms, and this service of lighting to storytelling is central to the studio’s philosophy.

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Pixar RenderMan Studio 18 Released

Pixar Animation Studios announced the release of RenderMan Studio 18, incorporating all of the performance and feature advantages of RenderMan Pro Server 18 within an intuitive suite of tools designed for the creation of the highest quality 3D animation and visual effects. Major features in RenderMan Studio 18 include new controls for lighting, geometric area lights, and accelerated re-rendering, powered by RenderMan’s state-of-the-art path tracer. The standard shading library has also been expanded with features such as advanced subsurface scattering and support for per-light AOVs. In addition, the image tool, “it,” has been totally rewritten from the ground up, providing improved performance and usability for shading and lighting. Through these new and productive workflows, the outstanding power of Pixar’s RenderMan is accessible to visual effects creators everywhere. “We are hugely impressed with the ease of use and out-of-the-box performance of the physically based shading and lighting system, and we love the geometric area lights and awesome features that come with them,” said Laura Brousseau, Lighting Supervisor at Nitrogen Studios. “The new Lighting Panel makes handling and editing multiple lights a lot easier, and the rebuild of “it” has some great new features that we never thought to ask for. The re-renderer has been helpful in speeding up certain areas of our look development and we are excited to see continued advancements with this feature. We believe that it has never been easier to create truly impressive renders so quickly in RenderMan Studio.” “The new unified sampling and path tracing system has substantially decreased setup times for artists and is a huge leap in re-rendering performance. Add to this the new ray tracing speedups, at times over 50%, the UI improvements, and geometric lights, and you have got the best version of RenderMan Studio yet,” said Leif Pedersen, Senior CG Artist at Univision Network. RenderMan Studio 18 is designed to provide every user of Autodesk’s Maya with fast and easy access to Pixar’s Academy Award®-winning rendering technology, and is the gateway to the many stunning visual effects seen in the majority of today’s feature films. Read more about RenderMan Studio 18.

What’s New

RenderMan Studio 18

RenderMan Studio delivers powerful features and tools for creating photorealistic CGI, while at the same time streamlining workflows for artists, so using RenderMan is now easier than ever before. With this release, RenderMan Studio’s version is now 18 to better match the version of RenderMan Pro Server which it is intended to compliment. The previous version was RenderMan Studio 4.0. RenderMan Studio is Pixar’s suite of shading and lighting tools for Maya Artists, and includes the following components:       1.  RenderMan for Maya – Brings the power of RenderMan to the Maya workflow       2.  Slim – Powerful visual shader authoring and management tool       3.  “it” – Image viewer and scriptable compositor       4.  Pixar’s RenderMan – An embedded renderer based on the latest technology       5.  LocalQueue – Local render management       6.  Tractor – Job management solution for render farms.

Support for RPS 18

Most importantly, RenderMan Studio now supports the feature set of RenderMan Pro Server 18. This includes significant performance gains for polygons and volumes. RenderMan Studio has new lights, shaders, and tools to take full advantage of the latest features.

Accelerated Re-Rendering with Path Tracing

The Re-Rendering system in RenderMan Studio now provides full support for path tracing for accelerated look development. With new workflows for shading and lighting, RenderMan Studio continues to make the process of lighting scenes faster and more intuitive.

Geometric Area Lights

RMS 18 allows you to turn any geometric primitive into a light source with Geometric Area Lights. These lights are not only highly realistic and capable of creating incredibly complicated lighting effects, but geometric area lights are much easier for lighters to control with a feature called “unified sampling” … and compared to standard area lights, they’re simply faster. RenderMan Studio now ships with a library of Geometric Area Lights for both RFM and Slim. Supported Features: 1. All light types: Distant, Spot, Rectangular, Disk, Sphere, Cylinder 2. Emissive geometry: Now any piece of geometric can be an area light. 3. Blockers for Geometric Area Lights 4. Unified Sampling for easier light setup and accelerated rendering

Pixar RenderMan Studio 18 (2)

Master Lighting Panel

A new lighting panel provides easy control over the lights in any scene, and is especially useful for re-rendering sessions. With this panel multiple lights can be modified at once, bookmarks can be created to store light settings, and the influence of individual lights can be quickly displayed.

Per-Light AOVs

To aid compositing workflows, AOVs can now be written out per light, with arbitrary outputs per each light. This new feature also supports “Light Groups” and represents a major overhaul of the light system in RenderMan Studio.

Better Subsurface Scattering

Creating realistic human skin is hard, and the quality of the final result really depends how the subsurface scattering is being calculated. With RPS 18 there’s a better way to create realistic skin with Beam Diffusion Subsurface Scattering. This new model is only slightly more expensive than standard SSS, but it produces much more satisfying results (results similar to “quantized diffusion,” but that are numerically stable for animation). Now your humans can look real, and not waxy. Shader libraries in RFM and Slim now support the improved beam diffusion subsurface scattering technology for the creation of better looking skin and other eff

ects.

Image converted using ifftoany

Object Instancing

Now RenderMan Studio supports Object Instancing through the normal Maya Instancing workflows, for more efficient rendering of heavily ray traced scenes.

Enhanced Volumes

RenderMan’s ability to process volumes has been optimized with hybrid sampling techniques. Because volumes near the camera don’t need to be sampled as much as other elements in the scene, the REYES hider has been leveraged to deliver outstanding speed-ups whenever you need to fly a camera through a few explosions, a tornado, or whatever volumetric hijinks a shot demands.

More Efficient Polygons

Polygonal meshes have been overhauled, reducing memory requirements significantly. Depending on the scene, users can expect anywhere from a 4x to 10x overall memory reduction when rendering complex polygonal meshes. The new implementation ray traces complex polygonal meshes up to 2 to 3 times faster with displacement and 20% to 35% faster when there is no displacement. Pixar RenderMan Studio 18 (1)

Additional Features

1) Dramatic Memory Enhancements for Polygonal Meshes 2) Support for Layered Glass 3) New Ocean Shader 4) New “HoldOut Shader” for catching shadows for compositing 5) The image tool, “it,” has been completely rewritten from the ground up, and is faster and more feature rich than before. 6) Use the new “loosely bound co-shaders” to apply a single material over multiple materials. For instance, cover a car with snow with one co-shader attachment.

Pixar RenderMan Studio 18 (2)

Availability

RenderMan Studio 18 is compatible with the following 64-bit operating systems, Mac OS 10.8 and 10.7,Windows 8, 7, and Vista, and Linux. Autodesk Maya compatibility is with versions 2013, 2013.5, and 2014. For render farm dispatch, a license of Tractor 1.7 is included and additional licenses are available as a standalone product. For local workstation dispatch a free LocalQueue utility is supplied as standard. Pixar’s annual maintenance program benefits customers with access to ongoing support and free upgrades. For more information please visit www.renderman.pixar.com or contact rendermansales@pixar.comPixar RenderMan Studio 18

Images from Hugo (Behind the Scenes)

When building Paris on a computer, the smallest “bricks” the company used were called “polygons.” The train station totaled 35 million polygons and each train came in at 2 million polygons.

   

One scene alone would have taken 19.5 years to render if just a single computer had been used.

Video References

 
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