Morph-O-Matic played a key role in making Mickey Mouse in 3D for the first time by helping Blur Studio and Disney.

Morph-O-Matic played a key role in making Mickey Mouse in 3D for the first time by helping Blur Studio and Disney.

Morph-O-Matic played a key role in making Mickey Mouse in 3D for the first time by helping Blur Studio and Disney.

Morph-O-Matic played a key role in making Mickey Mouse in 3D for the first time by helping Blur Studio and Disney.

Morph-O-Matic played a key role in making Mickey Mouse in 3D for the first time by helping Blur Studio and Disney.

Morph-O-Matic played a key role in making Mickey Mouse in 3D for the first time by helping Blur Studio and Disney.

Morph-O-Matic played a key role in making Mickey Mouse in 3D for the first time by helping Blur Studio and Disney.

Morph-O-Matic played a key role in making Mickey Mouse in 3D for the first time by helping Blur Studio and Disney.

Morph-O-Matic played a key role in making Mickey Mouse in 3D for the first time by helping Blur Studio and Disney.

 Di-O-Matic.com > Press > Success Stories > Bringing 3D Mickey Mouse and friends to life  
         


Blur Studio turns 2D classic Disney's character to 3D with Morph-O-Matic
 

Situation

Blur Studio, based in Venice California, is one of the most productive studios at the moment. With their amazing CG short films it’s no wonder they received a call from Disney regarding “Mickey’s Twice Upon A Christmas”.  Blur answered the call with enthusiasm to do a first-time CG Mickey and went on to mark the debut of Mickey and his friends in the world of 3D.

Problems / Challenges

Of course, when Disney relies on you to produce nearly 40-minutes of original computer-generated animation you need to produce phenomenal work. The segments created by Blur include 3 short stories, Belles on Ice, Donald’s Gift and Mickey’s Dog-Gone Christmas as well as the interstitials that transition between each segment.

For Blur, it was a unique challenge to match the look of Disney’s classic characters and translate their essence into 3D computer generated characters. Traditionally, Disney 2D animators would use false perspective, line of action, squash and stretch, and asymmetrical drawing techniques to create and emphasize the three-dimensional effect.  Entering the world of 3D, the challenge was to preserve the look of this traditional technique and translate the essence of the Disney style quality into the film.

Solutions / Benefits

To help Blur with the enormous responsibility of bringing 3D Disney characters to life they turned to Discreet 3dStudio Max, Biped and once again Di-O-Matic’s Morph-O-Matic.  Blur has chosen to use Morph-O-Matic since “Sponge Bob Squarepants”, a 3D ride-film the studio produced several years ago. Based on the positive experience they had, they continued building and advancing their facial pipeline using Morph-O-Matic.

For “Mickey’s Twice Upon A Christmas” the challenge was even greater in order to achieve the goal of bringing traditionally 2D characters to life in 3D.  Key to this success was the ability to have extensive facial controls which ultimately resulted in some characters such as Minnie, Donald, Daisy and the Nephews each having more than 100 morph targets.

In order to handle the numerous amounts of channels used in the Disney project, we have divided the morph targets into this basic category:

* Basic sounds and shapes of mouth shapes
-Phonemes and vowels

* Extreme Expression
- Extreme emotions and exaggerated key facial poses.
- Modeled based on the aspect of the style, and look of the traditional 2D character sheets

* Secondary asymmetrical Morph (Left and Right)
- to add weight, volumes, balance to the character
- fine tunes and tweaks the line of action
- Targets specifically made for cheating false perspective, e.g. Mickey’s front view profile nose, Donald front view profile beak.

“Morph-O-Matic allowed us to push our facial pipeline to a whole new level. It gave us the ability to overcome the unique challenges that emerged in translating Disney’s classic characters into the world of 3D animation where they had never existed before,” explained Blur Studio Morph Target lead, Sze Chan.  “In order to achieve this, it was essential to develop an efficient facial system that enabled us to capture all the expressions needed to bring these traditionally 2D characters to life.”

Sze Chan considers Morph-O-Matic a very efficient tool for the animators. The display floater allows animators to navigate more than 40 channels at a time. Furthermore, it’s capable of displaying multiple floaters for various characters. Morph-O-Matic also allows organization of groups that contain assortments of morph targets, giving animators the ability to focus on sculpting a specific facial area. In addition, the group-selected and filter function permits streamline editing for animators. It displays only curves within filtered group in track view editor. Blur is able to utilize the save and load function within Morph-O-Matic whenever there is an update on the morph target. For them, it’s extremely helpful to remerge changes into the production pipeline.

Web Links
Morph-O-Matic is available at $249, for more info visit Morph-O-Matic's webpage or get the FREE trial here.

You can visit the Blur Studio Web site and see some of their amazing work at www.blur.com

 

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