Monday, March 17, 2008

More Monster Details

Computer Graphics World Magazine has an interview with Tippett Studio's Eric Leven who served as one of Cloverfield's visual effects supervisors. Some select excerpts from the interview:

Q: What was so unique about the monster?

A: The large creature has a couple unique features. One is his skin, which has a translucent, pale quality. Gus Dizon was responsible for the actual creature paint work for us and was constantly looking at creepy reference pictures of translucent sea creatures. The monster also has a huge ape index, meaning his arms are much longer than he is tall, giving him a long reach (the better to destroy stuff with). We also had fun with his feeder arms, which are limbs near his center of mass, which, in theory, he uses to scoop things up and eat with. We used them primarily to bust up his profile and make sure he didn't look like a guy in a suit with just four limbs.

Q: In terms of modeling, what was the most difficult part?

A: The creature designer, Neville Page, built hi-res models in Pixologic's Zbrush. Modelers John Koester and JJ Kang treated it as scanned data, and our first step was to rebuild them as low-res models and displacement maps. When then changed the design slightly here and there for animation purposes, making knuckles larger or hips smaller, for example, so we could get the monster to move the way we needed him to move.

Source: Meyemind (.pdf).

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