Zoic teams with Fusion CI Studios to Create ‘Epic’ CG Paint for Mischievous Mickey’s Brush!
When the world’s most famous mouse needs mesmerizing cg paint to sling from his digital brush for the “Epic Mickey” game debut, who ya gonna call?
For an awe-inspiring teaser that would launch the eagerly anticipated Epic Mickey game, the Ant Farm and Disney Animation Studios relied on the creativity and expertise of Zoic Studios. As Mickey, the gamer is propelled into an alternate world - “Wasteland”- a dark & brooding place where Disney’s misfit characters have been abandoned. Wielding paint and paint thinner, Mickey dynamically changes this world while forging his path to becoming an epic hero. The teaser for such a journey would have to evoke a sense of mystery and suspense in the gaming audience.
Inspired by Japanese artist, Shinichi Murayama, who builds mid-air fluid sculptures with high-speed photography, Zoic developed the idea of creating deep, saturated throws of cg paint as “mirrors,” reflecting distorted images of the game. Disney wanted something that would surprise their audience -- bold, beautiful, and just a little bit brooding.
But to create such realistic, elegant paint throws that could be sculpted and controlled as the artistic director required, Zoic turned to the expertise of fluid effects specialists, Fusion CI Studios in Santa Monica. Fusion has an international reputation for creating outstanding fluid & dynamic effects in film and commercial work and no one could match the level of experience and skill this studio has developed.
Working closely and interactively, both Fusion & Zoic teams experimented in virtual space with hundreds of extremely high resolution, slow motion CG splashes to find just the right forms and motions to tell Mickey's story.
To devise the fluid simulations, Fusion extended its current “Smorganic” technology, developing extreme control on smoothness, shape, and the distribution and behavior of each of the paint tendrils. The breakup of the paint flows and the tendrils, plus the details of splash impacts with geometry were controlled with smorganic as well (smorganic was developed at Fusion to eliminate the unsightly holes that appear in cg fluids, resulting in smooth, thin, elegant splashes). Each splash was simmed out to 600-800 frames of animation and delivered to Zoic as high res meshes (resulting in more than 4 Tb of data), where they were positioned, textured, lit, and after render re-timed to get the extreme time-ramping effects. The RealFlow data alone for this project amounted to more than 4 Tb.
Fusion developed the realistic looking fluid simulations and Zoic handled all other aspects of the spot.
Fusion's team included Mike Wallner, Dan Novy, Mark Stasiuk and Lauren Millar.
Zoic's team included Derich Wittliff, Miles Dinsmoor, Beth Elder, Adam Reeb, Andy Wilkoff, Aaron Sternlicht, Amol Parulekar, and Chris Irving.