In The Heart Of The Sea

Sylvan's role as Lead Engineer at Dneg involved working as the sole engineer in charge of all Houdini rendering code, material tools, and lighting tools, focusing on pathtracing and PBR. As a veteran in Houdini and PBR rendering, his expertise in these areas was important in maintaining the high standard of visual effects at Dneg.

For the film "In the Heart of the Sea," Sylvan rewrote the Mantra pathtracer for intricate ocean and water scenes. This work entailed adding several features for artistic flexibility in water visuals while ensuring physical realism and highly optimised rendering. The entire film utilised the Mantra renderer, relying heavily on the shading code and lighting tools that Sylvan developed.

In addition to his work on In the Heart of the Sea, Sylvan worked on the fluid FX team at Dneg. He developed tools that integrated fluid simulations with ocean environments, enhancing scenes with realistic foams, bubbles, and other water effects. His innovations in ocean rendering not only served "In the Heart of the Sea" but also found application in "Interstellar" for the giant wave scene, and were incorporated into Dneg's core toolset for various other projects.