SyFlex in Hellboy, special effects by Tippett Studio

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Images courtesy of Revolution Studios/Tippett Studio


Special Effects


Client: Revolution Studios
Special Effects: Tippett Studio
Lead FX animator: Nathaniel Hunter


Tippett Studio used syFlex to simulate all of of hellboy's clothes, the goal objects for the spittle that flings from Sammaels mouth and the stringy slobber elements, and Sapien's shorts.


We have a special interview with Nathaniel Hunter, Lead FX animator at Tippett Studio, on Syflex's involvement in Revolution Studios motion picture, Hellboy.

Syflex spoke with Nathaniel shortly after the release of the film in theaters.

Syflex: Nat, Can you tell us where was Syflex used in Hellboy?

Nathaniel: We used Syflex for all the CG characters clothing. This included Hellboy's coat and pants, Abe Sapien's shorts, special agents coats and a security guards clothes.

Syflex: Wow... Every single CG character shot? How many shots in Hellboy were done by Tippett Studio?

Nathaniel: Around 130 shots in all.

Syflex: What was the most complicated shot to make?

Nathaniel: There were multiple shots that posed different problems cloth wise. One of the hardest of these was a shot in which a CG Hellboy is being thrown around a room, slammed into floors and tossed through the air by a large creature.

Syflex: We are interested of course to know more technical details about how Syflex was used in that shot...

Nathaniel: Syflex was used on Hellboy's coat and attached mud-flap. The cloth had to react to multiple collision surfaces, the creature, quickly changing directions and Hellboy's body. The shot involved multiple simulations to acquire the performances for different areas of the shot. We then used the Syflex cache blending to take these simulations and blend them into one seamless cloth solve.

Syflex: Would you go as far as saying that without Syflex, you couldn't have made this shot? : )

Nathaniel: Without hand animating the coat at every frame?? Yes. Syflex saved us time and headaches on many a shot in this film.

Syflex: What else can you share with us regarding your work with Syflex? Did you use it in other projects as well?

Nathaniel: The quality, speed and ease of use of the software made it very pleasurable to work with on Hellboy. It was easy enough to write custom scripts for setup and editing of Syflex's functions and we've since used it in, Stepford Wives, Son of the Mask and previously on The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

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