Was initially brought on to supervise a film project but due to production timetables shifted to setting up the VR services at Milk. Supervised their first few projects and took them through the initial talks with clients and investors on various strategies and solutions for various project types.
Tree is a multi sensory project that first showed at the Sundance film festival and then at Tribeca, you take on the perspective of a growing Kapok tree in the rainforest. You start under the ground and grow to a full size adult tree above the canopy as part of the experience, the tree changes through it’s life stages and grows branches and such while the forest surrounds you. The installation features haptic feedback with subwoofer chest plates and platform and there is heat, moisture and forest smell triggers as well giving a full sensory experience.
The project posed some significant challenges with realtime l-system plant growth and a full few minutes of one long continuous smooth morph as the tree grows through various life stages.
This was a major project for Milk that ran for quite some time, I looked after an installation involving two dinosaur heads that patrons were able to stick their heads inside and look around. This would enable them to see the view that two different type of dinosaur would see as if through their eyes, one being a thescelosaurus and the other a dakotaraptor. You would get to hunt out other dinosaurs or look for predators, that sort of thing.
This work was done with a small team and primarily through the use of pre-rendered footage and the Unity engine. For this job I built some tools for stereo reprojection of mono 360 scene captures and did some stereo 360 HDR matte painting along with lighting and comping all the final shots.
Some in-house content custom built for major clients as demos (NDA)
For some of Milk’s bigger clients we decided to create some demo work to show what is capable in VR with some of the latest techniques and some new in-house development, unfortunately I’m not able to give any details but they went down very well, VR and AR will certainly have a large role to play in storytelling going forward.
While doing the above projects I developed a number of tools for the overall VR pipelines and developed a set of procedures scaled to the facility size for transfer of assets from the standard pipe to realtime representations in Unity and Unreal.
Was the lead (and often sole) R&D developer for all core Houdini lighting and shading at the company for the last two years.
Part of core R&D department working on rendering technology, shader library development and artist tools for Houdini and Mantra for use on all shows.
Wrote and maintained all of the light rig and light transfer API and tools for all packages (Maya, Houdini etc) and all light shaders, tools and in-scene gizmos for Houdini lighting.
Mentored a number of staff in various workflows and techniques for general lighting and shading pipelines and fx work (primarily fluids).
Consulted and advised on the site HDR pipeline.
Developed a complete shading framework for Houdini for use across all shows called ‘Cuttlefish’, comprised of a full set of cross package compatible matching materials, supporting VOP node library, two APIs, large python toolset and VOPfx menus.
Developed a lightweight framework for managing configuration and general data at a site/show/user level (integrated into Cuttlefish).
Developed a masking system for context and package consistent 2d/3d interchange and operations.
Wrote multiple customised versions of the Mantra pathtracer for use on shows (Interstellar and Heart Of The Sea) and one for in house default use for all rendering with a number of added features.
Cuttlefish and previous incarnations of the materials, shading and lighting tools are used across Dneg for shows as the standard toolset, was used on ;
Captain America : Civil War
Fantastic Beats And Where To Find Them
Alice Through The Looking Glass
Batman Vs Superman
Also provided full R&D support for all Houdini lighting and shading for all facilities at the company on top of the development work schedule.
Was the core lead Houdini R&D developer for the show, responsible for :
DNGR Team Renderer development, part of the team for integration of Kip Thorne’s wormhole mathematics to create a relativistic pathtracer.
Light shaders and tools development
Volume shaders with a novel level set rendering method for massive geometry data sets
A custom pathtracer written for full integration of the DNGR renderer into Houdini and Mantra
FX tools for vast to small integration of ocean surfaces
Ocean and water shading materials and displace sculpting
Foam and bubble cluster simulation and rendering tools
The DNGR work was done with a small team comprised of Oliver James (Team lead), Kip Thorne, myself, Simon Pabst and Paul-George Roberts. The work itself was quite difficult with a number of problems to address, mostly comprising of alias elimination for such high frequency information. Since the data sets involved were exceedingly large I developed a novel method for rendering level sets as volumes (with minimal extra sampling), this allowed a large reduction in ray marching samples and consequent image quality improvements.
For the tidal wave and water work I wrote a set of tools for artists to sculpt ocean surfaces at widely varying continuous scales and fx tools for simulating bubbles and foam at the small scales for close work. These included associated materials and shaders. Also as per standard handled all the lighting shaders and lighting tools for Houdini and the light rig tools and transfer for all the other 3d packages.
I was the lead for the Philadelphia sequence of World War Z at Cinesite. The sequence consisted mainly of open environmental work with street scenes with packed traffic and crowd work with digi zombies chasing predominantly real people.
Mentored the team in setting up the pipelines
Advised the shader R&D department on optimal methods for lighting with spherical harmonics.. …
Researched and built pipelines around VRay and PRman
Built a number of lighting rigs for the artists to use for the street lighting,
I was sequence supervisor for the Bellatrix Death sequence and handled a number of other shots from the film. Performed a wide variety of roles for this project as well as looking after others which I rather enjoyed, it’s not often I get to use most of my skill set.
DMP and texture painting, painted environmental extensions for a bunch of shots in the boat house scene
Comp’d the chat between Voldemort and Snape in the boathouse at Snape’s death scene
Painted full length extensions of all the characters for the ‘apparation at the beach’ shot
Concept art for an alternate version of the Bellatrix death, the stunt work that was shot was not wanted so I knocked up 6 options
Modeled the digi double of Bellatrix
Tracking, lighting, shading and animation of Bellatrix
Did some fluid FX work for Bellatrix and for the boathouse
Lookdev for the Snitch floating in the hand shot
I was very hands on for this project, it’s not that often I’m able to show concept work and such from production but here are a couple of bits from the Bellatrix sequence..
Top one is the original frame, bottom is the fully emaciated end result concept art, a bit rough but it was about 40 mins work, just painted out the old carter and painted in a new one.
Bashed out a double pixel matched to the plate in ZBrush, about 6 hours.
This is the emaciated version, sculpted with exactly the same topology as the one above so we can do a very simple attribute mapped blend transition between them for the spell effect, derived from the first model it was only about 20mins.