Poseidon: Introducing MPC's First PBR Shading Pipeline

Working on "Poseidon" was a notable experience in Sylvan's career, although some time ago, it marked his first significant project in the UK and at MPC (Moving Picture Company). His main task was to develop a new shading pipeline to meet the film's specific needs for integration into the Flowline fluid system from Scanline AG. 

The outcome was a shading system, DIGS (Diffuse, Improved Glossy, Specular), created using Mental Ray. This system, designed with Photoshop-style layered shader techniques and using PBR, was an early adaptation of these technologies in film production and was the first full PBR shading pipeline at MPC.

The project was challenging, pushing Sylvan to explore new solutions in rendering, including some fun hacking the Final Gather file format (thanks to Mental Images sending over the source code). The outcome was great, though, especially thanks to a lot of very talented artists who were able to quickly adjust.

The shading system he developed for "Poseidon" became a useful tool in his later work, including his tenure at Dneg, demonstrating its lasting utility. In fact, the system changed very little during those years and was simply extended in the Houdini sphere as a more generalised masking solution (3D vs 2D operations).

More than the technical achievements, "Poseidon" is remembered by Sylvan for the collaborative spirit and friendships formed during production. It was a period of professional growth and personal connections, contributing to his fond recollection of the project.