SyFlex in "Yes-Oscar"

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Clips courtesy of Broadcast Video


TV Teasers


Client: Yes satelite TV
Design company: Promoteus
Production: Broadcast Video, Tel Aviv
Completion: January 2004
Head of 3D department: Oz Adi


Oz used Softimage|XSI and SyFlex to create the glittery red and yellow satins in the Yes-Oscar series of teasers.


A special interview with Oz Adi, Head of 3D department at Broadcast Video, a leading Israeli post production house located in downtown Tel Aviv:

Syflex: Oz, can you tell us more about how the idea of using cloth in the teasers came about?

Oz: Promotheus decided to use smooth shinny cloths as the main motif for the teasers. They then showed me references of satin and velvet fabrics, and asked me if it's possible to achieve such look in 3D within the tight deadline they were facing.

Syflex: How did you find the answer to their question?

Oz: I did a few tests with Softimage|XSI cloth, but it was too slow, not accurate enough, and gave unpredictable results. I've seen some work done with SyFlex on Maya, asked for people's opinion on XSI's mailing list, and realized that Syflex was the solution I was looking for.

Syflex: So, you learned SyFlex especially for that project. How was the learning curve?

Oz: I had an extremely tight deadline, and never used Syflex before.. I asked for two days to learn Syflex, but after one day of learning, and doing some tests, I was more than ready to tackle the project!

I found Syflex to be very easy to learn and the tutorials and html documentation that comes with it to be very informative.

Syflex: What was the most complicated movement to create?

Oz: The hardest thing was to lay the cloth down on the Oscar statue, for the initial state. I had to use some long grid models to cover the statue and the ring around it, and plan out their fall\rest positions on the statue to the liking of the designer.

Syflex: We are interested of course to know more technical details about how did you go about this challenge...

Oz: ... I used very long, medium densed polygon grids that had just enough resolution to result with good folds and detail in the cloth, then just upped their smoothness for the rendering. (in XSI, Polygons and Subdivision Surfaces, are basically the same thing.)

I used geometry ranging from 100,000 to 300,000 Triangles, and I must say Syflex really surprised me with it's speed! I ran simulations of 600 frames, with collisions and self collisions, went to make myself a cup of coffee, and by the time I was back, Syflex was almost done!

I found the caching system to be very handy. I ran a simulation, If I liked it I would make all the cached files READ ONLY, then I would try to change some settings, and run the simulation again.. (on a different caching name) If I didnāt like it, I could always go back to previous result, without calculating it all over again.

Another trick I found, was that SyFlex didnāt "lock" the XSI geometry, so after I had a good simulation, I could select the polygons on both sides, extrude them a bit, and give my cloth a thicker edge, or even stitches. The additional geometry would be weighted in the SyFlex simulation, and there was no need to re-compute it.

Syflex: Would you go as far as saying that without SyFlex, you couldn't have made those teasers? : )

Oz: Defiantly! after testing the cloth engine we had, and figuring out what level of complexity the client wanted, I said to my supervisor that I cannot do this one using the tools we have. The only solution I could think of was using Syflex, and we were not disappointed.

Syflex: Anything else you want to tell us today so that we feel really great about our product?

Oz: SyFlex is very predictable. It does exactly what you expect it to do, and it does it very fast. It is very stable, the collisions are very accurate, it was a breeze to learn it, and feel confident enough to start a tight project.

I must add that we had very little time between taking this project, and actually starting working on it. We needed to have it installed and working the next day. The guys at Syflex were very helpful and fast, and in less then 24 hours after we purchased the license, I was already running it on my computer :)


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