Tuesday, 31 July 2012

"Wrath of the Titans" Cyclops Sequence

Cyclops from Paul Chung on Vimeo.


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  2. This is the Cyclops sequence from “Wrath of the Titans” which I supervised.
    It was my first gig in London after spending 12 years at Dreamworks. I was working with a great team at Framestore. There were some very talented people in the studio and everyone was working really hard on the show.
    The movement of the Cyclops was done in a combination of motion capture and key framed animation.
    I noticed that a lot of giants we see in movies tend to move like gorillas in slow motion, due to the fact that gorillas do look like oversized humans and we sometimes associate weight with speed- the heavier it is, the slower it moves. All makes senses except that if a giant is in human proportions, we would still expect him to move like a human. Also, if we artificially change the speed evenly; the timing of the weight shift will be compromised. You can retime the animation by hand, no problem. Once you let the computer do the time wrap, the problems start. From the very beginning I was determined to make sure that we didn’t fall into that trap.
    Another challenge for us was to make sure that the three Cyclops act and move differently from each other. In order to set some guidelines, we came up with a few back stories for this family of Cyclops: The younger brother is athletic, hot headed and always gets himself into trouble; his older, out of shape brother often has to bail him out; the father is like an old Indian chief and demands respect from his sons. Based on these character descriptions we started doing a lot of research and shot tons of live action reference footage. A few body builders had stood in front of our cameras during that time! The difficult one was the father- we couldn’t find any older actors (about 80years old!) to help us define the movements and personality of the Cyclops father, until someone pointed out that there was an old gentleman named Barry working at Framestore who did help providing some references for Harry Potter. I looked at the footage and it seemed that he was very uncomfortable in front of the camera (don’t blame him as I would be exactly the same). I decided to invite him over one Saturday afternoon to have a cup of coffee so we could get to know each other better. It turned out that Barry was a Hi Fi nerd just like me! He lived on his own in a small flat with a £30,000 stereo system! We spent the whole afternoon talking about his Quad speakers. By the time it came to the real shoot, Barry was all relaxed and we got some great footage from him which became the base of the old Cyclops’ facial rig and animation reference.