SyFlex in The Tale of Despereaux
The Tale of Despereaux
A strikingly beautiful adaptation of Kate DiCamillo's 2004 novel "The Tale of Despereaux".
Framestore Feature Animation
Universal Pictures in association with Relativity Media and Larger Than Life Productions.
Syflex talked with Sylvain Degrotte, Cloth Supervisor on "The Tale of Despereaux" at Framestore CFC.
Who was in the cloth team?
Cloth Team :
Nicolas Scapel - Rigging Supervisor
Sylvain Degrotte - Cloth Supervisor
Luca Zappala - Cloth TD
Emanuel Druckman - Cloth TD
Radford Hurn - Cloth TD
John Martin - Cloth TD
Daniel Warder - Cloth TD
David Lipman - Executive Producer
Tripp Hudson - Line Producer
Rebecca Barbour - Senior Production Supervisor
Lizi Bedford - Production Supervisor
Which characters are dressed with Syflex?
We've used Syflex to dress various type of characters: mice, rats and humans.
We've created a simulation rig for each of the 25 hero characters and 12 secondary characters.
Was there a special process to make clothes look good on different scales: on humans and mice?
In general, we didn't want the motion of the clothes to obscure the character.
The design of the fabric had to match with its environment, we needed to adapt
its complexity details for crowds and props.
Mice and rats wore clothes made of human fabric, therefore,
their wrinkles were bigger and the fabric looked stiffer compared to human clothes.
Also we wanted to control the look of wrinkles, so we developed tools
that allowed us to bake Syflex's simulation result into the rig.
What was the most difficult scene?
There were a few, one of them was the coliseum scene:
Pea was tied up on the floor by rats. Coliseum ropes, pea's skirt, hairs
and pea's chest ropes collided altogether.
Can you share any special tricks you came up with to tackle difficult challenges, or for an original effect?
The artistic look of the movie was mainly inspired from 16th Century Flemish paintings.
Based on references we were given, wrinkles looked sharp.
We've done extensive research consisting of: shaders, deformers and simulation.
On the simulation side, we tried to build a patchwork of rigid fabrics tied together
using Syflex's constraint parameters, very similar to the principles used for articulated toys.
The result was interesting but the main drawback was that setups were difficult
to manage in a feature animation movie with hundreds of shots.
Despereaux had a strong artistic direction, we needed to be flexible and address
any kind of artistic comments, so we used Syflex's powerful constraints
in the simulation rig to be able to influence/control the garment's motion and look.
We called it hybrid sims : animation driven cloth sim.
This technique enabled us to run simulations only for difficult shots,
while maintaining look continuity.
It produced stylized cloth results, with the "good" properties of cloth, ie no stretch,
no intersections and feeling of mass.
Was Syflex used for things other than clothes?
We used it to simulate some props as well, such as flags and curtains.
Do you know how many shots used Syflex?
With Syflex, we have produced 409 simulated shots.
Framestore CFC is one of the world's leading visual effects and computer animation studios.
They have already used Syflex in numerous blockbusters like Xmen 3, The Golden Compass,
Superman returns, Underdog, Nanny McPhee, Troy, and several Harry Potter movies.
Wild about movies:
To create this mouse utopia, the mice were dressed in spotless clothing and fitted in little costumes...