Digital character has come a long way in getting its spotlight from movies to advertisement for various industries with passing years. It is a specialized area of animation process, which involves bringing animated characters to life. They are made to breathe life in their characters, creating the illusion of thought, emotion and personality which involves bringing photo-realistic animals and creatures to life.
GUY HENRY WEARING PERFORMANCE-CAPTURE EQUIPMENT DURING THE FILMING OF ROGUE ONE
The trend of digital character is gaining popularity among the audiences as visual effects is crafting a photorealistic CG human, which makes it hard for the audience to tell the difference between real and a digital character. Its creation makes the audience forget its digital is true from human to animal, and this year, it looks like Digital characters are finally getting their moments in the spotlight. It will be going on a whole new level altogether with new possibilities of techniques and technology trending in the animation industry.
THE LARGEST POSTER FOR THE FILM WAS RECORDED IN THE GUINNESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS
There is a huge need for building digital characters since they bring in characters that needs to be created and inserting a believable CG character is expensive, though the software is becoming increasingly accessible to relatively small productions. If we take an instant the film industry that needs a sequel, the technology now has the power to bring great actors from the dead and make living ones immortal.
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From cardboard cutouts to CGI, resurrecting dead actors could become a growth industry. Just imagine what filmmakers could do today if the technology to capture dead characters in digital form if it had existed back in the 70’s.
There are a lot of techniques to adopt while planning a character setup for a project, the overall style must be analyzed and a manner of motion be planned out. The characters often contain an underlying structure that mimics the skeletal and muscular need if that character actually existed, no matter how fantastic.
It starts with a pre-production process where we make a conceptual character, followed by the modeling process involving modeling of the character in 3D. Then, texture and coloring of the character is done in different software. Once, the character is created, it needs to go through rigging which is an anatomy process of the character. We are now left with animating the character and lighting them for focus. The final stage now takes place with rendering which is the final stage to set up the character. Post-production takes the next process for touchup, comp, editing for final product.
Recently, we worked for a big hit Bollywood movie “OK Jaanu”, where we developed a game as per the story of the movie. We made the game digitally with digital characters portrayed from the cast. There were three digital characters we build for the game with this process that follows below:
- Camera Rig (3 cams) triggered together for cost effective
- Actors were evenly lit and shot from all directions and a 3D point cloud was created by analyzing the images
The process in which you have a pre-existing high density detailed mesh, and on top of that mesh you build a new mesh with clean geometry.
- Shading and look development:
- Texturing the character from the references
- Making the renders look as close to real ref as possible
- Adding hair and fur to the character
- Blend Shapes:
Expressions captured during scanning process were used to create a set of blend shapes
A character rig is essentially a digital skeleton bound to the 3D mesh such as:
- Placing the Skeleton
- Forward Kinematics
- Inverse Kinematics
- Squash and Stretch
- Facial Rigging
During the making of the digital characters for “OK Jaanu”, apart from the success of the process, we had also gone through a few learning, techniques, problems, and solutions such as:
- Even lighting during scanning process in order to eliminate all the shine and reflection from faces and capture details and texture evenly
- We should have taken many more images to get better representation of the characters’ face in 3D
- Experiment with a lot more cameras to reduce the scanning time
- Try and capture the expression as 3d scan instead of just references
- Automate the whole process from scanning to look development and standardize the process
- Better rigging pipeline including use of motion capture to make animations more believable
This is one of the many references we have on the maker of digital characters, and we plan to take the trend of building digital character to a whole new level for any industry with our new and improved software and technology. Our work has been recognized across a wide spectrum of genres including factual programming, documentaries, reality, drama, sports, lifestyle etc. The works on digital character have made emotional connections, cause reactions and inspire actions to the audience as success is our habit and we make sure that it remains so.