The Lion King (almost makes me quit CG landscaping)

Started by Tangled-Universe, August 07, 2019, 04:36:49 pm

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Tangled-Universe

Strange no one started a discussion on the recent The Lion King movie, because from a CG landscape perspective this movie was nothing short of astounding.

Who has seen it? Who feels miserable about their TG work afterwards? I do!

However, as always, there were some minor weaknesses. Fluids, vegetation scaling (the shot where Pumbaa/Timon introduce Simba to their habitat) and the stampede canyon had some obvious parts where base sculpts were overlayed with displacement textures. But else, hot damn!

WAS

Quote from: Tangled-Universe on August 07, 2019, 04:36:49 pmStrange no one started a discussion on the recent The Lion King movie, because from a CG landscape perspective this movie was nothing short of astounding.

Who has seen it? Who feels miserable about their TG work afterwards? I do!

However, as always, there were some minor weaknesses. Fluids, vegetation scaling (the shot where Pumbaa/Timon introduce Simba to their habitat) and the stampede canyon had some obvious parts where base sculpts were overlayed with displacement textures. But else, hot damn!

What I've noticed a lot about landscapes in a lot of films, that have impressively complex canyon and cliff walls... they're sculpted or based on image based maps. This gives them a lot more control over where things are going, how they will look, and than they just layer up.

I haven't seen the new Lion King so not sure how it looks or what's going on, but this makes me want to.
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Dune

Haven't seen it yet, but I'd probably be blasted away too. BUT, it's better not to compare one's own work as as a single individual with the work done by a huge team with tons of software and money (and pre-photogrammed assets - which are the easy parts  :P ).
The things that often make me cringe are the movements of animals and birds, though it has improved greatly over time. Pretty hard to make them really natural, I'm sure. They should stick some trackers on some animals and record their movements, like they do in people, but that's hard to control too.

N-drju

Quote from: Dune on August 08, 2019, 02:31:56 am...it's better not to compare one's own work as as a single individual with the work done by a huge team with tons of software and money (and pre-photogrammed assets - which are the easy parts  :P ).

Just what I was going to say...

I think you are too harsh to yourself Tangled. It is absolutely wrong to compare one's own work to a movie team because these are completely two, distinct qualities. Do take a note of the fact that many people in said team were probably responsible just for single items like trees or pebbles on the ground. Heck - I can do a goddamn realistic, fully textured pebble in seconds! It does not take any elaborate skill whatsoever.


Now, consider this - there is a movie team making a myriad of small items that are relatively simple to conceive and produce. Twenty or so guys, doing little chores. You, are doing an entire image all by yourself. How does it make you feel?

What you see in the movie is a work done by multiple artists and compiled into one environment. If, say, four of us here teamed up together and tried to make an image by combining our assets and skills, I bet the effect would be just as stunning. Actually, we could organize a team challenge like that!
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cyphyr

August 08, 2019, 03:47:30 am #4 Last Edit: August 08, 2019, 03:49:18 am by cyphyr
Absolutely this.
I'm lucky enough to have worked on several movies now and it is very much a team effort. Lots of people in different departments all contributing to the final product.

Lighting, look-dev, environment, modelling, animation and comp (and there's plenty of cross-over between departments) just to name a few. There are also art directors and leads in each department with an overall concept of what is being created that pull together everything and keep everyone on track.
On top of that you may even have multiple studios working on the same shot.

With so many people involved it's easy for things to get missed and you will get times where an early temporary fix makes its way through to the final and is obvious to fresh eyes but is unseen by those who have been working on it for months or years.
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Tangled-Universe

I was rather sarcastic than dead serious about quitting CG landscaping after seeing The Lion King, no worries :)
As all of you rightfully mention it's the huge team effort of highly specialized skillful artists which makes it all possible. Comparing is completely irrational and yet some individual artists manage to produce things pretty close to it.

I'm somewhat surprised no one has seen it yet(?), as it is really something down our alley to watch. Very inspirational to, much on the contrary to thinking to quit fooling around with CG landscapes.

WAS

Quote from: cyphyr on August 08, 2019, 03:47:30 amAbsolutely this.
I'm lucky enough to have worked on several movies now and it is very much a team effort. Lots of people in different departments all contributing to the final product.

Lighting, look-dev, environment, modelling, animation and comp (and there's plenty of cross-over between departments) just to name a few. There are also art directors and leads in each department with an overall concept of what is being created that pull together everything and keep everyone on track.
On top of that you may even have multiple studios working on the same shot.

With so many people involved it's easy for things to get missed and you will get times where an early temporary fix makes its way through to the final and is obvious to fresh eyes but is unseen by those who have been working on it for months or years.

That's a good summary description of them production process. And hey, it's fun to learn from everyones input, and mistakes.
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René

I felt miserable about my TG work after seeing The Lion King, but I always feel miserable when I see something I can't make myself when I really want to. That was already true when I saw Walt Disney cartoons in the fifties. However, it's also inspiring because I get new ideas, or because it encourages me to try to make something similar.
Of course I enjoyed The Lion King but honestly I liked The Jungle Book better; because of the story and the humour but mostly because of the little boy who played Mowgli.
Here are some beautiful images and just below the middle of the story in discussion about the creation of the landscapes.
https://www.artofvfx.com/the-lion-king-elliot-newman-vfx-supervisor-mpc/


cyphyr

This sky ...
LionKingSky.jpg
I mean it's probably a photo ... right?
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DocCharly65

Quote from: Dune on August 08, 2019, 02:31:56 amHaven't seen it yet, but I'd probably be blasted away too. BUT, it's better not to compare one's own work as as a single individual with the work done by a huge team with tons of software and money (and pre-photogrammed assets - which are the easy parts  :P ).
The things that often make me cringe are the movements of animals and birds, though it has improved greatly over time. Pretty hard to make them really natural, I'm sure. They should stick some trackers on some animals and record their movements, like they do in people, but that's hard to control too.
I agree in every detail!

When I see some creations in that quality, I would like to give up my film - but then I see things like a Starbucks coffee cup in a Game of Thrones episode and I say to my self: They are a big well payed team with a thousand time bigger budget and better equipment and skills than me but obviously only humans as well... let's go on as good as I can... :)

archonforest

Quote from: René on August 09, 2019, 04:54:00 amI felt miserable about my TG work after seeing The Lion King, but I always feel miserable when I see something I can't make myself when I really want to. That was already true when I saw Walt Disney cartoons in the fifties. However, it's also inspiring because I get new ideas, or because it encourages me to try to make something similar.
Of course I enjoyed The Lion King but honestly I liked The Jungle Book better; because of the story and the humour but mostly because of the little boy who played Mowgli.
Here are some beautiful images and just below the middle of the story in discussion about the creation of the landscapes.
https://www.artofvfx.com/the-lion-king-elliot-newman-vfx-supervisor-mpc/


Thanks for the link! Amazing stuff there!!
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bobbystahr

Quote from: cyphyr on August 09, 2019, 05:23:21 amThis sky ...
LionKingSky.jpg
I mean it's probably a photo ... right?

Dunno Richard, I have accidentally made similar in TG4...suspect you have as well heh heh heh
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WAS

Quote from: bobbystahr on August 11, 2019, 01:56:32 pm
Quote from: cyphyr on August 09, 2019, 05:23:21 amThis sky ...
LionKingSky.jpg
I mean it's probably a photo ... right?

Dunno Richard, I have accidentally made similar in TG4...suspect you have as well heh heh heh

Yeah I see the potential in TG4. A far away background low hanging clouds peak blocking light for foreground clouds.
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Tangled-Universe

I'm pretty much 100% sure they used photo-plates for their atmospheres. Some scenes, about a handful, contain (time lapsed) moving clouds and were definitely a composite. All other scenes contain stills of photographed skies which were comped in.
Strange I didn't mention it in my OP, since the lack of CG atmospheres is actually the first thing I mention to people when talking about what ground still needs to be covered in the world of CG/VFX.

Oshyan

Interesting. I had heard that there was "a single" photographed element in there, but it's possible they meant only one entire shot or one non-sky element. Somehow the sky always seems to be a place where it's OK to cheat. ;) (I kid, of course; either it's all cheating or... none of it is, the results are what counts!)

- Oshyan