Double Negative's Joel Green, CG Supervisor, and Ben Wiggs, Animation Supervisor, share cool before and afters and talk magic, modeling, and collaboration on Wonder Woman.
Joel Green: We used Houdini for the simulations and Maya as a hub for our scene management and all the modeling work. We used some in-house tools on top of Maya, but the great thing about it is the artists' familiarity and flexibility with the software, which means that we always come back to Maya to manage these complex scenes and bring everything together.
Joel Green: The entire environment was put together as billions of polygons. We had about 25 different vehicles that were modeled to a very high spec, all these buildings, and the surrounding forest with all the trees. We had individual blades of grass that we could cover the countryside with if needed and super high-resolution ground geometry for some extreme close-ups. All that stuff is built and put together in Maya. It’s also used to layout entire sequences, to get all the cameras working together for continuity. All the rigging work, animation, match move and body tracking is done within Maya as well.
Joel Green: Our entire production workflow is based around ShotGrid. It's been a central part of our platform for quite a while and it’s continually developing and getting better. We've got sites in London and Vancouver and we also have a new facility in Mumbai, who, on this project, helped with some of the asset-builds in the beginning. They do the vast majority of rotating the match move work. An application like ShotGrid, where the notes are easily synced up between the different sites, means you can track the history of the shot, as well. We incorporated their notes very easily into our day-to-day and also provide them with our notes to keep them up to date.
Joel Green: It was really handy for everyone to use ShotGrid because it helped to manage the status of various builds or structures, where the latest iteration was not always the best one to use. We relied heavily on ShotGrid to handle that information. Ben Wiggs: As a supervisor, it helps to have your own pages and mock-ups to view, making ShotGrid ideal, because it’s so malleable. You can create spaces that meet your individual requirements while keeping an eye on what’s getting approved in the daily sessions. It’s as simple as setting the filters which block or allow the material that’s relevant to your workflow.
Joel Green: ShotGrid is heavily integrated into everything that we do; all of the show scheduling is done by the line producers in ShotGrid, we use it daily for setting up lists and taking notes and tracking statuses. Additionally, you can annotate, if you're trying to make notes for someone on the other side of the world.
Ben Wiggs: Our Animation team scaled up quite drastically for this project, from a core team of about 8 or 10, to 30. That brings its own set of challenges but at that stage of the show, we had pretty robust workflows for each aspect of what we were doing and a large percentage of that stability is based on the tools within Maya.
Joel Green: It stinks, but I think it was the first time in my career that I've worked with a female director, and it was fantastic to work with Patty. It was wonderful having her at the helm. She had a very strong vision for the project and a clear artistic direction for us. It was clear that she loved every bit of the journey. She led us to do our best and it paid off.
Ben Wiggs: It's the first film that my wife loved, that I've worked on. Suddenly it's like, "Oh, THAT'S what you do." Joel Green: I’m generally proud of the work that the whole team put together. It's such a huge team effort and everyone put in their best.