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Monday, February 7, 2011

Alpha and Omega

Alpha and Omega, Alpha and Omega movie poster
Alpha and Omega, a Lionsgate and Crest Animation Studio (Co- Producers) release, is a big achievement for Indian Animation Industry as for the first time such a high quality feature stereoscopic film is produced by an Indian Production house.

In an exclusive interview with the core members of Alpha and Omega, we share their experience this project.
Alpha and Omega,Alpha and Omega and duck, Alpha and Omega movie still

Mehul Hirani, Creative Director Crest Animation shares, "It was big challenge for us, till now we have worked and delivered for TV productions, for such projects we had very specific inputs and rigid guidelines, but with Alpha & Omega, things were completely different."

Mehul along with Modeling Supervisor Madhu Nair, Hair and Fur Supervisor Dibyalochan Choudhury spoke to on the process and practices that the team at Crest adopted in delivering the visually stunning and technically challenging feature film.

According to Mehul in production the three most difficult part for delivering on the international standard were dealing with the fur, we were using it for the first time at this quality, scale of the background was another challenging job, it was on the huge scale and optimization was quite a task for us and Facials for wolf characters were something that took a lot of RnD and hard work to make them unbelievable. Rendering as byproduct was also a difficult part, Mehul added. 

Alpha and Omega, Alpha and Omega movie still

On research and development for the film, Mehul shares, “we first made it sure that we can make such a feature film, so first thing we did was a 30 sec Teaser on the required quality for delivering a feature film. RnD was more involved towards understanding the complexity and creating procedures to make the production practically possible. We started developing a different pipeline 4 years back, an asset management system to ensure a smooth work flow from modeling till rendering.

Dibyalochan Choudhury says, doing fur for a single frame and for a feature is completely a different thing, we did a lot of RnD for fur, the challenge was to create the realistic looking fur for wolves. This feature was on 3D stereoscopic pipeline so we had to perfect every single shot, because there is no scope of compositing tweaking with two stereo cameras.

For crowd scenes where 20-30 characters with the fur were in same scene, we used a lot of caching to deliver a huge quantum of work. Fur is interacting with rain, snow and other characters fur, animators and FX artists get characters without fur so to make it sure that they work with right volume of character we created a proxy fur volume that we replaced perfectly with the real fur on our stage.

Alpha and Omega, Alpha and Omega movie still

Madhu Nair Shares, before finalizing a character model on an average 10-15 versions were created to please our Directors from Crest and LA . Internal to and fro with rigging department is a usual procedure to make it best possible for animators to play with.

One of the difficult parts for this project “Facial expressions” Madhu added, unlike characters meant for TV series where generally we have 50 to 60 prefixed expressions, every character in Alpha and Omega had more than 110 expressions along with complex facial rigs that enabled artists to make believable, smooth and exaggerated expressions where needed. The facial rigs were in addition to the blend shapes which were created by modeling team; it gave a lot of freedom to Animators to show their creativity.

Alpha and Omega is already a super hit in USA with massive 45 million box office collection till date.    

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