Connect with us

Technology

How the ‘Spider-Verse’ Animators Created That Trippy Look

Published

on

[ad_1]

“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” follows the adventures of an Afro-Latino teenager, Miles Morales, who has been bitten by a radioactive spider in Brooklyn and joins forces with other Spideys from alternate dimensions. It’s one of the animation surprises of the season: both a box office hit and a critical favorite (certified 97 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes) that has been collecting awards, even winning best picture from the Utah Film Critics Association.

One reason is the fresh animation style that sets it apart from the year’s other releases. “Spider-Verse” celebrates its print origins with bold graphics and mainstays of comic-book style, including thought balloons, printed words and wavy lines to indicate a tingling Spidey Sense. A.O. Scott, in his review for The Times, wrote that “the characters feel liberated by animation, and the audience will, too.”

[Read our review of “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.”]

Many recent American animated features look homogenized. More powerful computers and sophisticated software have made it possible to produce intricately detailed backgrounds and characters: You can see every leaf on every tree and every stitch in a sweater. But characters of all shapes and sizes seem to have very similar walks and runs and expressions.

“Spider-Verse’s” three directors — Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman — wanted to move away from that sameness, in part because Miles is so unlike the Spider-Man fans know from the live-action movies. “That made it doubly important for the film to look new, so viewers would feel like they’re seeing Spider-Man for the first time,” Ramsey said. “We couldn’t rest on the conventions of animated films as we’ve known them.”

Many of those conventions are built into the systems that produce computer-generated imagery. “In C.G.I. films, many things you see onscreen are the result of the desire to automate the process: simulations for hair, cloth, wind, rain, etc.,” Persichetti explained. The decision to forgo tradition “was incredibly daunting — but also incredibly freeing.”

Initially, there was skepticism from the crew at Sony Pictures Imageworks, the studio’s visual effects and animation unit, Rothman said. “We were asking people to break the production pipeline they’d spent decades building,” he added. But Imageworks ultimately “embraced what Bob proposed and came up with crazy solutions for how to do things.”

One of the first decisions they made was to eliminate motion blur. In live action, some movements are so fast the images appear smeared in individual frames of film. Computer animation can simulate the effect, giving the imagery a smoother feel; eliminating the blur produced more staccato accents.

“When we decided to strip out motion blur, the people at Imageworks said, ‘That’s not going to work, you won’t be happy,’” Persichetti recalled. “We said, ‘No, that’s the goal: Make us unhappy. Then figure out a new way to make us happy.’ We’re creating incredible images in this movie and we want to see them as clearly as possible, so let’s not soften them.”

The artists made a bigger decision to break with the way most computer-animated motion is achieved. Usually movements are created by advancing the image — say, a character raising his arm — in each frame, 24 times per second. It’s called “animating on one’s.” The resulting motion is fluid and smooth, but it can look too regular, even stolid.

Having worked at Disney with the Oscar-winning animator Glen Keane (whose characters include Aladdin, Beast and Tarzan), Persichetti wanted to borrow ideas from hand-drawn techniques. In traditional animation, much of the movement is done “on two’s”: A new drawing is made or the image shifted every second frame. Using animation on two’s gave the artists more control over the speed and power of the movements. Much of the animation in classic Disney features and Warner Bros. cartoons was done on two’s.

Working on one’s and two’s let the artists vary the rhythms of movements. When a scared Miles dashes through a snowy forest, his run is animated on one’s to emphasize his speed. When he stumbles and falls, he rises on two’s as he slowly pushes against gravity to get back on his feet. And when he leaps from skyscraper to skyscraper, the animation crackles with an energy it might otherwise lack. The motions themselves become exciting to watch.

The animation also allows the filmmakers to stress dynamic poses that telegraph how Miles is leaping and spinning through Manhattan. The screenwriter-producer Phil Lord explained: “Telling stories in sequential art is all about the key pose and going from pose to pose and frame to frame. Stan Lee laid it out in ‘How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way.’”

But even the most exciting movements become empty exercises if they don’t contribute to our understanding of the characters. As he learns to control his newly acquired powers, Miles moves with more skill and confidence. He’s growing into the role of Spider-Man, but he’s also growing as an individual. The joy of his increasing strength and new friendships are balanced against the sorrow he experiences in his adventures. His movements and expressions reflect a new maturity.

During production, one of their directives was that “if it looks and feels like something from an animated film, it’s not our movie,” Persichetti said. “I think audiences are responding to that because it’s something they haven’t seen.”

One of the producers, Chris Miller (who directed “The Lego Movie” with Lord), explained that “we tried to avoid anything that felt like stock animation.”

“We looked at a lot of reference material and a lot of animators studied themselves in mirrors to figure how a kid like Miles would behave in that moment,” Miller said. “How can we make his movements specific to him instead of doing a standard take?”

If following Miles’s emotional journey wasn’t challenging enough, the animators also had to deal with a supporting cast of Spider-Men and Women from parallel dimensions. “Not only are they going to look different, their style of animation has to be different,” Ramsey said.

[Read about other alterna-Spideys that appear in the comics.]

Looking back over the production, Miller concluded: “The technical challenges ended up being much more complicated than just doing the animation on two’s. But the techniques gave the film a signature look that emphasized the individual images.”

“From the beginning,” Miller said, “we wanted someone to be able to freeze any frame of the movie and have it look so good, they’d want to frame it and hang it on the wall.”

[ad_2]

Source link

قالب وردپرس

Technology

More groups join in support of women in STEM program at Carleton

Published

on

By

OTTAWA — Major companies and government partners are lending their support to Carleton University’s newly established Women in Engineering and Information Technology Program.

The list of supporters includes Mississauga-based construction company EllisDon.

The latest to announce their support for the program also include BlackBerry QNX, CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority), Ericsson, Nokia, Solace, Trend Micro, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, CGI, Gastops, Leonardo DRS, Lockheed Martin Canada, Amdocs and Ross.

The program is officially set to launch this September.

It is being led by Carleton’s Faculty of Engineering and Design with the goal of establishing meaningful partnerships in support of women in STEM.  

The program will host events for women students to build relationships with industry and government partners, create mentorship opportunities, as well as establish a special fund to support allies at Carleton in meeting equity, diversity and inclusion goals.

Continue Reading

Technology

VR tech to revolutionize commercial driver training

Published

on

By

Serious Labs seems to have found a way from tragedy to triumph? The Edmonton-based firm designs and manufactures virtual reality simulators to standardize training programs for operators of heavy equipment such as aerial lifts, cranes, forklifts, and commercial trucks. These simulators enable operators to acquire and practice operational skills for the job safety and efficiency in a risk-free virtual environment so they can work more safely and efficiently.

The 2018 Humboldt bus catastrophe sent shock waves across the industry. The tragedy highlighted the need for standardized commercial driver training and testing. It also contributed to the acceleration of the federal government implementing a Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) program for Class 1 & 2 drivers currently being adopted across Canada. MELT is a much more rigorous standard that promotes safety and in-depth practice for new drivers.

Enter Serious Labs. By proposing to harness the power of virtual reality (VR), Serious Labs has earned considerable funding to develop a VR commercial truck driving simulator.

The Government of Alberta has awarded $1 million, and Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) is contributing an additional $2 million for the simulator development. Commercial deployment is estimated to begin in 2024, with the simulator to be made available across Canada and the United States, and with the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) helping to provide simulator tests to certify that driver trainees have attained the appropriate standard. West Tech Report recently took the opportunity to chat with Serious Labs CEO, Jim Colvin, about the environmental and labour benefits of VR Driver Training, as well as the unique way that Colvin went from angel investor to CEO of the company.

Continue Reading

Technology

Next-Gen Tech Company Pops on New Cover Detection Test

Published

on

By

While the world comes out of the initial stages of the pandemic, COVID-19 will be continue to be a threat for some time to come. Companies, such as Zen Graphene, are working on ways to detect the virus and its variants and are on the forefronts of technology.

Nanotechnology firm ZEN Graphene Solutions Ltd. (TSX-Venture:ZEN) (OTCPK:ZENYF), is working to develop technology to help detect the COVID-19 virus and its variants. The firm signed an exclusive agreement with McMaster University to be the global commercializing partner for a newly developed aptamer-based, SARS-CoV-2 rapid detection technology.

This patent-pending technology uses clinical samples from patients and was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The test is considered extremely accurate, scalable, saliva-based, affordable, and provides results in under 10 minutes.

Shares were trading up over 5% to $3.07 in early afternoon trade.

Continue Reading

Chat

Trending