VFX – Giving the Monster His Eyes

It’s the Friday before thanksgiving, so I thought I’d go out with a *bang*!This one’s from the summer. I had to wait a couple months before being able to show it off, to avoid conflict with the client’s own release schedule.

The following is a promotional bit my friend shot for a client to promote their open-office communications strategy. The monster was shot practically as an actor in a giant muppet costume, but the director felt it needed an added touch to make it more convincing.
I tracked the footage and replaced the costume eyes with more realistic, animated ones — as well as fixing the mouth to make it look scarier. The animation was achieved through multiple levels of mesh warp on the augmented facial features, and the wildly-flailing arms had to be rotoscoped and replaced in some of the shots where they pass in front of the face.
Artwork was done in Photoshop, and the tracking and compositing was done entirely in Nuke. Mocha was my first choice for matchmoving, but the tracking plane tended to drift because of the shaggy nature of the creature’s fur (Mocha tracks flat surfaces, but because the tufts of fur are constantly shifting around and changing orientation in respect to the camera, it confuses the program). I tentatively tried Nuke’s tracker and *BAM!* perfect results!

This video was first in a series of promos done for Open Box by Andrew DeVilliers (director of this excellent Archie parody¬†and this finalist for the Whistler 72hr Film Festival — both of which I also had the pleasure of doing VFX for).
Andrew has a penchant for quirky, character-driven stories, and his work is invariably entertaining. He’s a hell of a great guy too … and I’m not just saying that because he’s my roommate and I forgot to clean out the rice cooker and it got all mouldy. ‘Merciful Andrew’ – yep, that’s what we call him. Check out the rest of the *definitely worth watching* Open Box series here:

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