THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW (2004)
Character Technical Director
As a character TD on The Day After Tomorrow, I was responsible for co-developing the crowd system and creation kit for the character department of the project. This included setup work on a level-of-detail rig that could accept retargeted motion capture data as well as keyframed offset animation which was applied to various shapes and sizes of human character meshes. These meshes could be published from a character construction interface that allowed the animator to interactively adjust attributes to spawn different human characters with multiple outfits and colors.
I developed advanced systems for populating scenes with upwards of 100,000 crowd characters in addition to dynamically assigning selective and random clips to characters based on particular events in the scene (such as impact/collision from walls of water and tornadoes). I worked on a system for generating and reading delayed-read rib archives along with intelligent material assignment to enable arbitrary output value rendering directly from an animation scene.
This crowd system, principally co-developed by Erick Miller, Manny Wong, and myself (under the supervision of David Prescott, Dave Hodgins, and Darren Hendler), was later used for work in Looney Tunes: Back in Action, and then further developed for iRobot by Leonardo Szew, Adam Sidwell, and Spencer Alexander. A special publication was prepared and published for SIGGRAPH 2004 as a sketch, and is available to view here.
20th Century Fox