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Spinning Visual Effects for Spider-Man™ 3

By Guest Columnist Shelby Swatek






 


 

The
highly anticipated third chapter of the popular Spider-Man™ series sees
Peter and Mary Jane finally together, and introduces new enemies to the
series: Sandman, Venom, and Goblin. We had the opportunity to sit down
with Elbert Yen, the lead texture painter on Spider-Man™ 3 at Sony
Pictures Imageworks and learn some of the behind-the-scenes techniques
and strategies that go into creating a mega-hit movie, including the
extensive use of MAXON’s BodyPaint 3D and CINEMA 4D software.

“I've
been a visual effects artist for feature films for 12 years, and a
texture artist for most of that time. I got my start in the business at
Boss Film Studios as a technical assistant on Multiplicity in 1995. In
1997 I joined the Viewpaint texture department at Industrial Light
& Magic, where I had the good fortune to work on the visual effects
for high profile films including Minority Report, A.I. Artificial
Intelligence, War of the Worlds, The Perfect Storm, Terminator 3, and
the Star Wars prequels. In 2005 I came aboard at Sony Pictures
Imageworks to supervise texture paint on another high profile project,
Spider-Man 3,” says Yen.

“As a child growing up I
always loved movies and I loved to draw, but it never dawned on me when
choosing a career field in my college years that there existed a
profession that would allow me to indulge both passions. But shortly
after graduating from U.C. Berkeley with a degree in Landscape
Architecture, I found my true calling when I saw visual effects artists
profiled on the television show Movie Magic on The Discovery Channel. I
knew immediately that it was the career for me. I'm constantly driven
to make the best looking imagery for movies that I, as a movie fan,
want to see.”

According to Yen, in the Imageworks
pipeline the modeler provides the texture artist with a digital model
complete with UV layout information. The texture artist applies all the
textural detail to the model, including color, specular, bump,
displacement, alpha, ambient occlusion, and a variety of control maps.
Then the artist works closely with a look-development technical
director (TD) to get all the texture maps and material settings so that
they achieve the necessary look for that asset on the show.

 



Imageworks used BodyPaint 3D to texture the Spider-Man suit.

 

“Spider-Man
3 was my first project at Sony Pictures Imageworks, and I really
enjoyed working with a new group of super-talented artists:
look-development TDs, modelers, and supervisors, but above all, the
texture crew. Every member of the texture team did such great work and
contributed so much to the final product. It made for a very rewarding
experience all around. The texture work on Spider-Man 3 encompassed an
array of characters (Black-suited Spider-Man, Peter Parker, Venom,
Flint Marko/Sandman, Harry Osborn, and Mary Jane) vast environments
(dozens of highly detailed New York skyscrapers, buildings, street and
cityscapes, and an enormous subway cavern), costumes, vehicles,
weapons, construction props, alien goo, even detailed individual grains
of sand. For digital matte paintings, Joe DiCesare (who did double-duty
on Spider-Man 3 as texture painter and matte painter), painted many sky
replacements, from the stormy skies during the bell-tower sequence, to
the night sky during the Peter/Harry aerial battle through the city, to
the richly colored sunrise sky featured at the culmination of the
climactic battle royale sequence. As a fan of the first two Spider-Man
films, it was very rewarding for me to be able to contribute to the
Spider-Man universe in the form of textures for new characters such as
Sandman and Venom.”

 



Interesting effects and compelling new characters like Sandman keep

Spider-Man fans coming back for more.

 

Yen’s
first introduction to MAXON software was when he joined Imageworks in
2005, for which MAXON’s CINEMA 4D and BodyPaint 3D are the exclusive 3D
texturing and digital matte-painting applications. Imageworks artists
use MAXON BodyPaint 3D and CINEMA 4D in concert with Adobe Photoshop
extensively in the actual painting of textures and matte paintings. Yen
explains: “I do the bulk of my texture work inside Photoshop, but
others in the texture department prefer to do much of their texture
painting using BodyPaint 3D’s painting tools, which feature some
fantastic brush and texturing options. I really like BodyPaint 3D’s
feature of loading each texture as a Photoshop document (psd), keeping
discreet layers for each texture map and allowing the texture artist to
paint on and map to individual layers separately. Previous
methodologies I’ve had to use were to keep Photoshop master files with
all my separate working layers, but to flatten them to a .tif or
similar file format to map on the geometry in the 3D software. By
keeping the texture maps in multi-layer psd files, BodyPaint 3D is more
flexible and robust than many other 3D texturing programs I’ve tried.”

 



Texture artists used MAXON’s BodyPaint 3D to bring characters like Black

Suited Spider-Man to life.

 

Early
in Spider-Man 3 production, MAXON implemented the Freeze 3D
functionality, which Yen reports was the answer to his prayers. It
allows the texture painter to save out essentially large screen grabs
from BodyPaint 3D, do texture work in Photoshop, and map back onto the
model in BodyPaint 3D. Given the options to paint on a multilayer 3D
view or 2D texture map, in either BodyPaint 3D or Photoshop, the
texture artists are liberated to texture their models according to
their own preferred way of working.

 



Texture work on Spider-Man 3 included vast New York cityscapes, detailed

skyscrapers, and sizable monsters.

 

Regarding
the process, Yen explains: “MAXON BodyPaint 3D integrates into our
pipeline very well. With some custom Imageworks BodyPaint plug-ins that
we have at our employ, we've been able to work very smoothly and
efficiently from the initial loading in of the model, to texturing it,
to publishing the maps for use down the line. Many of our largest
skyscraper models, as well as the subway cavern on Spider-Man 3,
utilized multi-layered texture maps as large as 8K square (8192 x 8192
pixels), really pushing the software to its limits. MAXON BodyPaint 3D,
used in conjunction with Adobe Photoshop, gave us the complete tools we
required for all our texture needs on Spider-Man 3.”



All supporting images are copyright Sony Pictures Imageworks, and cannot be

copied, printed, or reproduced in any manner without written permission.
  • profile
    이단비 2007.09.19 00:33
    바디 얘기는 아닙니다만...갑자기 생각이 안나서 그러는데 스파이더맨 인트로도 시포디로 하고 또 뭔가가 인트로할때 시포디 썻던가요?
  • profile
    길동 2007.09.19 00:33
    데어데블~ 또 뭐더라..
  • ?
    하얀강 2007.09.19 00:33
    이미지너리 포스 에서 거의 대부분 인트로 작업은 시네마를 쓰는것으로 알고 있습니다
    http://www.imaginaryforces.com/ 이회사 자체가 많이 쓰지 않나 싶습니다.
  • ?
    P. 2007.09.19 00:33
    Ghost라이더도 있습니다.
  • ?
    P. 2007.09.19 00:33
    오홋..꽤나 많네요
  • profile
    길동 2007.09.19 00:33
    MAXON products have been used for and in all three Spider-Man films, Surf's Up, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Ghost Rider, Open Season, all three Pirates of the Caribbean films, Monster House, Eragon, Superman Returns, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Serenity, War of the Worlds, Polar Express, The Flight of the Phoenix, Van Helsing, King Arthur, Star Wars: Episode II - The Attack of the Clones, the On-Air Packages for Comedy Central, Monday Night Football, Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, ESPN, NFL Network, TiVO, NBC, DirecTV, CBS NFL, Smart House, Fox and many more.
  • ?
    정수석 2007.09.19 00:33
    사용하는곳이 엄청 많군요. 우리나라는 아직이내요...?
  • ?
    유재남 2007.09.19 00:33
    'imagenaryforces' 원래 유명하군요 ^^
    가끔 시간날때 마다 웹사이트 들어가서 눈팅 잘 하고 있습니다 ^^
  • ?
    홍종욱 2010.09.13 11:38
    감사합니다

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