We completed the music video project in which I was the VFX Supervisor at the start of March. In early December Artino Ahmadi approached me to see if I would be interested in doing a music video which had some VFX in it. I liked the story and song from the start, and then he mentioned that it would need a CG dragon. Based on the budget ($0) and the time scale approx 1 months of post I told him no way!
Sure there are plenty of artists who can do it, but most of those don't work for free. After toying around with some ideas of shooting around it, or replacing it with a shadow we both decided that a CG dragon was going to be the only real solution.
My concerns were many, but it was the animation that was hanging over my head. We already had a 3D modeler on board, Dallas Harvey who was doing the prosthetic of the unicorn horn and he is also a 3D sculpturist in CG and IRL. Having a 3D was great but I wanted to have a more complete solution to the project.
I looked around and found many 3D dragon models, but few were rigged, and even less had any canned animations. Then I found Mixamo.com. Luckily they had some dragon models I liked, and had a selection different animations that would work perfectly for the story. The nice thing is you can string together animations and have you model run through the series of animations without having to do them all by hand, this is a huge time saver. I contact the nice people a Mixamo and begged for some freebies to help with the video. They were nice enough to offer a generous discount, that helped a lot.
Dallas was able to touch up the skins on the models to make them look more professional and by this point we were ready to shoot the video.
VFX Supervision was done over 2 days. The first was shooting the bedroom interior stuff for the shadows on the blanket wall, this was done in studio.
The 2nd day of shooting was at the end of January in the snow near Pemberton, BC. This is when we realized that the white bridle that would hold the Horn on the horse wasn't going to blend as well as we hoped., what with the horse being grey and all.
We did our best to shoot around the bridle or trying to frame out the horse wrangler. By the end of the day, (into the darkness) we got everything VFX was going to need for the video and I got to go home, while everyone else stayed to film the rest of it.
I had amassed (through favors, friends, word of mouth, and begging) a decent team of artists. Some new and some ready to try something different.
My lead artists Robin Dutta was coming of animated feature work, we wanted to get some experience doing live action VFX so this was a perfect gig to put some cool stuff on the reel. We took on the roll of implementing the dragon model, animations and lighting. He did a great job using Maya.
We did over 50 VFX shots for this 4 minutes video. Maybe I'll do a blog post about our post process, pipeline and delivery.