Imageworks Library

  • Chardavoine-Kami Image
    • Kami Geometry Instancer: putting the "smurfy" in Smurf Village

    • SIGGRAPH TALK, François Chardavoine, Armin Bruderlin, 2011

    • The ability to populate an environment with natural-looking visual "clutter" such as complex vegetation is often instrumental in creating a believable CG world. For The Smurfs, where their well known Smurf Village would need to hold up to both wide and close-up shots, it would have been a nightmarish undertaking if every flower, leaf, mushroom, or blade of grass had to be hand placed. Our Kami Geometry Instancer empowers artists to procedurally generate art-directed geometry of any kind.

  • Kulla Importance Sampling Image
    • Importance Sampling of Area Lights in Participating Media

    • SIGGRAPH TALK, Christopher Kulla, Marcos Fajardo, 2011

    • We focus on the problem of single scattering in homogeneous volumes and develop a new importance sampling technique that avoids the singularity near point light sources. We then generalize our method to area lights of arbitrary shapes.

  • Kami Geometry Instancer: putting the 'smurfy' in Smurf Village Image
    • Decoupled Ray-marching of Heterogeneous Participating Media

    • SIGGRAPH TALK, Christopher Kulla, 2011

    • We describe the integration of heterogeneous participating media into our production ray tracer. We specifically focus on the problem of computing the lighting without incurring a quadratic number of shader evaluations.

  • Magnus Thin Smoke Image
    • Capturing Thin Features in Smoke Simulations

    • SIGGRAPH TALK, Magnus Wrenninge, Henrik F´┐Żlt, Chris Allen, Stephen Marshall, 2011

    • The perceived quality and realism of a fluid simulation is directly related to a few technical and measurable parameters: the resolution of the simulation, and the numerical diffusion of the algorithm used. A high resolution simulation can resolve fine details and vortices well, and low numerical diffusion ensures that the energy in the simulation and the sharpness of the features are not lost as the simulation progresses. The simplest fluid simulation is concerned only with the velocity of the fluid and considers fluids that fill the entire domain (gas simulation).

  • Tangles Cloth Image
    • Preventing Tangled Cloth

    • SIGGRAPH ASIA, David Tonnesen, 2009

    • Geometric pinching can result in cloth simulation output that is a tangle of cloth. We present a technique that eliminates pinching problems prior to simulation. The subsequently solved cloth simulations are cleaner, less tangled, and execute faster when compared to the no preprocessing case.

  • Hair Effects Image
    • Hair Effects Factory within a Digital Hair Production Pipeline

    • SIGGRAPH ASIA, Armin Bruderlin, François Chardavoine, 2009

    • Digital humans, animals, and imaginary creatures are increasingly being incorporated into movies, both live-action and computer animated. In order to make them believable, many of these characters need persuasive hair or fur. Our proprietary hair pipeline works much like other systems: the artist interacts with a small number of "control" hairs that are used to interpolate the shape of possibly millions of final rendered hair strands.

  • Hair Motion Compositor Image
    • The Hair Motion Compositor: Compositing Dynamic Hair Animations in a Production Environment

    • SIGGRAPH TALKS, Armin Bruderlin, François Chardavoine, 2009

    • Digital characters can appear in both live action and computer animated movies. Most of them involve some form of dynamic hair or fur, often having to be both believable and heavily art directed. No matter which dynamic hair solver a facility relies on, there's only so much that can be achieved with a physically realistic model, and most of the artist's time is spent fixing or fine tuning hair simulations to satisfy a Director or supervisor. To address this, Sony Pictures Imageworks developed the Hair Motion Compositor: a powerful hair animation framework that allows artists to direct, combine, offset and override hair animations that go in or come out of a dynamics solver.

  • Gloss Image
    • Toward a Perceptual Space for Gloss

    • TRANSACTIONS ON GRAPHICS (TOG) - Volume 28 Issue 4, Josh Wills, Sameer Agarwal, David Kriegman, Serge Belongie, 2009

    • We design and implement a comprehensive study of the perception of gloss. This is the largest study of its kind to date, and the first to use real material measurements. In addition, we develop a novel multi-dimensional scaling (MDS) algorithm for analyzing pairwise comparisons. The data from the psychophysics study and the MDS algorithm is used to construct a low dimensional perceptual embedding of these bidirectional reflectance distribution functions (BRDFs). The embedding is validated by correlating it with nine gloss dimensions, fitted parameters of seven analytical BRDF models, and a perceptual parameterization of Ward's model.

  • Skeletan Animation Image
    • Offset Curve Deformation from Skeletal Animation

    • SIGGRAPH TALKS, Arthur Gregory, Dan Weston, 2008

    • Skin deformation based on an underlying skeleton is a critical part of the modern animation pipeline. Linear blend skinning is fast but suffers volume loss at a bend and "candy wrapper" pinching under twist.

  • Beach Break Image
    • Surf's Up Beach Break

    • SIGGRAPH SKETCHES, Tom Kluyskens, 2007

    • When joining the SURF'S UP team, we were asked to develop a solution for shore break - or beach break - for the 2 beaches featured in the movie. It soon became clear that the beach break would be visible in many shots (about 70). For that reason we envisioned a highly procedural setup, ideally allowing a TD to generate beach break for a shot in less than an hour.

  • Displacement Effects Image
    • Wave Displacement Effects for Surf's Up

    • SIGGRAPH SKETCHES, Deborah Carlson, 2007

    • For SURF'S UP, our challenge was to create realistic waves for an all-CG surfing mockumentary. The surfing waves were designed to be character animated, and it was the job of the effects animation team to ensure that the rest of the water effects combined seamlessly with the surfing waves. These included ocean surface displacement effects as well as particle effects for spray, splashes, drips, and white water.

  • Levelsets Image
    • Levelsets in Production: Spider-Man 3

    • SIGGRAPH SKETCHES, Chris Allen, Jonathan M. Cohen, Doug Bloom, Daniel P. Ferreira, Sho Hasegawa, Cory McMahon, 2007

    • Levelsets are a flexible implicit surface representation that have many applications in production. A levelset represents a surface as a signed distance function (SDF) on a regularly sampled grid. For Spider-Man 3, we created a toolset called Sandstorm which included a rich set of levelset-based modeling and animation tools. This included methods for converting geometry into SDF fields and vice versa, methods for transferring surface attributes into these fields, tools for looking up values in an SDF, and many other flexible surface editing operators.

  • Making Waves Image
    • Making Waves for Surf's Up

    • SIGGRAPH SKETCHES, Erick Miller, Rob Bredow, Daniel Kramer, Matt Hausman, Peter Shinners, Deborah Carlson, John Clark, 2007

    • For the Sony Pictures Animation feature film, Surf's Up, Imageworks needed to create a realistic hero CG ocean and wave system. To create approximately half of the shots in our film, we required the look and feel of real masses of curling, breaking water, all the dynamic aspects of crashing breaking whitewater and turbulent surface ripples, foam across and over the face of the wave - yet still it needed to be interactively used in animation to compose camera angles, define shot lengths and allow 100% interaction with fully animated surfing characters.

  • Moving Sand Image
    • How to Build a Sixty Foot Man of Moving Sand

    • SIGGRAPH SKETCHES, Jamie Pilgrim, Terrance Tornberg, 2007

    • In the final battle sequence of SPIDER-MAN 3, the Sandman character forms himself at a construction site. Pulling foreign materials such as dirt and construction debris into himself, he forms into a monstrous, 60 foot tall version of himself which we referred to simply as "Big". Big presented a number of challenges separate from the other incarnations of the character in the film.

  • Sandman Image
    • The Birth of Sandman

    • SIGGRAPH SKETCHES, Christoph Ammann, Doug Bloom, Jonathan M. Cohen, John Courte, Lucio Flores, Sho Hasegawa, Nikos Kalaitzidis, Terrance Tornberg, Laurence Treweek, Bob Winter, Chris Yang, 2007

    • The BIRTH OF SANDMAN sequence in SPIDER-MAN 3 involved creating a human-sized character who emerges from a pile of sand in full view under a well-lit environment. The scale of the shot ranges from macro close up views of single sand grains to distant views of the entire sand pile as Sandman emerges.

  • Rendering Sand Image
    • Rendering Tons of Sand

    • SIGGRAPH SKETCHES, Chris Allen, Doug Bloom, Jonathan M. Cohen, Laurence Treweek, 2007

    • On Spider-Man 3, one of the villains is the Sandman, a character composed of sand. Sony Pictures Imageworks needed to render Sandman both as a solid form and as flowing sand grains, which in some scenes consisted of hundreds of millions of grains, and in some scenes the grains were close enough to the camera to see fine detail. This sketch describes our tools and workflow for rendering so many grains with RenderMan and controlling the level of detail for a consistent look.

  • Pipeline Tools Image
    • Developing Efficient Pipeline Tools for Animation Production

    • ACM-SE 44: Proceedings of the 44th Annual Southeast Regional Conference, Edward Siomacco, John L. Kundert-Gibbs, Timothy A. Davis, 2006

    • Building and animating virtual humans and creatures has become an important part of a production pipeline for the visual effects industry. Every production has different challenges in the development of these characters, and each production strives to create a character setup pipeline that is efficient and flexible.

  • Spider-Man Faces Image
    • Reflectance field rendering of human faces for "Spider-Man 2"

    • SIGGRAPH SKETCHES, Mark Sagar, 2005

    • The creation of convincing computer generated human faces which can withstand close-up scrutiny under arbitrary lighting has been notoriously difficult to achieve, especially for well known actors. For the film "Spider-Man 2" it was decided to try recent experimental computer graphics research that looked promising but that had never been production tested.

  • Starship Troopers Image
    • Starship Troopers

    • SIGGRAPH CONFERANCE ABSTRACTS AND APPLICATIONS, Mark Sagar, 1998

    • Director Paul Verhoeven presented a formidable task when he described the fleet battles and space settings for Starship Troopers. His vision was one we are all familiar with: something he had never seen before. He wanted a stage to balance the bug wars on the ground, one that would bring epic scope to the film.

  • BSSRDF Sampling Image
    • BSSRDF Importance Sampling

    • SIGGRAPH TALK, Chris Kulla, Alejandro Conty, 2013

    • Light propagation within translucent materials can be described by a BSSRDF [Jensen et al. 2001]. The main difficulty in integrating this effect lies in the generation of well-distributed samples on the surface within the support of the rapidly decaying BSSRDF profile.

  • Physically Based Shading Image
    • Physically Based Shading in Theory and Practice

    • SIGGRAPH COURSE NOTES, Adam Martinez, 2013

    • Physically based shading is transforming the way we approach production rendering, and simplifying the lives of artists in the process. By adhering to physically based, energy-conserving models, one can easily create realistic materials that maintain their properties under a variety of lighting conditions. In contrast, traditional "ad-hoc" models have required extensive tweaking to achieve the same result.

  • Cienematic Color Image
    • Cinematic Color. From Your Monitor to the Big Screen

    • SIGGRAPH TALK, Jeremy Selen, 2012

    • Color affects many areas of the computer-graphics pipeline. From texture painting to lighting, rendering, compositing, image display, and the theater, handling color is a tricky problem. Tired of getting your images right on the monitor only to have them fall apart later on? This course presents the best practices used in modern visual-effects and animation-color pipelines, and how to adapt/apply these concepts for home use.

  • Physically Based Shading Image
    • Practical Physically-based Shading in Film and Game Production

    • SIGGRAPH TALK, Adam, Martinez, Stephen McAuley, Stephen Hill, Naty Hoffman, Yoshiharu Gotanda, Brian Smits, Brent Burley, 2012

    • Physically based shading is increasingly important in both film and game production. By adhering to physically based, energy-conserving shading models, one can easily create high-quality, realistic materials that maintain that quality under a variety of lighting environments. Traditional "ad-hoc" models require extensive tweaking to achieve the same result, so it is no surprise that physically based models have increased in popularity in film and game production, particularly because they are often no more difficult to implement or evaluate.

  • Volumetric Methods Image
    • Faster Photorealism in Wonderland: Physically based shading and lighting at Sony Pictures Imageworks

    • SIGGRAPH COURSE NOTES, Adam Martinez, 2010

    • Films such as CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS, 2012 and ALICE IN WONDERLAND (ALICE) have represented dramatic changes in the way Sony Pictures Imageworks produces imagery. We have moved away from the traditional biased, multi-pass rendering system to a largely single-pass, global illumination system incorporating modern ray-tracing and physically based shading techniques. We will discuss how these changes applied to our work on ALICE, and look at specific examples from the film.

  • Volumetric Methods Image
    • Volumetric Methods in Visual Effects

    • SIGGRAPH TALK, Magnus Wrenninge, Nafees Bin Zafar, Jeff Clifford, Gavin Graham, Devon Penney, Janne Kontkanen, Jerry Tessendorf, Andrew Clinton, 2010

    • Computer generated volumetric elements such as clouds, fire, and whitewater, are becoming commonplace in movie production. The goal of this course is to familiarize attendees with the technology behind these effects. In addition to learning the basics of the technology, attendees will also be exposed to the rationales behind the sometimes drastically different development choices taken and solutions employed by the presenters, who have experience with and have authored proprietary and commercial volumetrics tools.

  • Production Volume Image
    • Production Volume Rendering 1

    • SIGGRAPH TALK, Magnus Wrenninge, Nafees Bin Zafar, 2011

    • Computer generated volumetric elements such as clouds, fire, and whitewater, are becoming commonplace in movie production. The goal of this course is to familiarize attendees with the technology behind these effects. The presenters in this course have experience with and have authored proprietary volumetrics systems.

  • Production Volume 2 Image
    • Production Volume Rendering 2

    • SIGGRAPH TALK, Magnus Wrenninge, Andrew Clinton, Ollie Harding, Gavin Graham, Jerry Tessendorf, Victor Grant, Antoine Bouthors, 2011

    • Computer generated volumetric elements such as clouds, fire, and whitewater, are becoming commonplace in movie production. The goal of this course is to familiarize attendees with the technology behind these effects. The presenters in this course have experience with and have authored proprietary volumetrics systems.

  • Compiler Techniques Image
    • Compiler Techniques for Rendering

    • SIGGRAPH TALK, Larry Gritz, 2011

    • Open Shading Language (OSL) is designed for physically-based GI and scales to production use.

  • Zookeeper Image
    • Zookeeper

    • SIGGRAPH COMPUTER ANIMATION FESTIVAL, Don Levy, 2011

    • For "Zookeeper", a Sony Pictures Imageworks team applied creative visual effects and animation techniques to produce convincing, talking zoo animals. Over 700 shots involved extensive facial animation, intricate motion control, and detailed compositing.

  • Computer Job Image
    • Get the Job You Want in Computer Graphics

    • SIGGRAPH CLASSES, Pamela Kleibrink Thompson, Fran R. Zandonella, Stan Szymanski, 2008

    • What does it take to get a job at a visual effects, computer animation or interactive company? This course shows how to open the door to interviews, put your life on a one-page resume, and showcase your talent in a three-minute-or-less demo reel. Getting you an interview with someone who can hire you is the purpose of the resume, portfolio and demo reel. Prepare them with care. Ask others for feedback before you send them out.

  • Car Flip Image
    • Speed Racer: Car Flip

    • SIGGRAPH ASIA COMPUTER ANIMATION FESTIVAL, Carlye Archibeque, 2008

    • Sony Pictures Imageworks was one of a few, select studios contributing to the ground-breaking VFX of "Speed Racer." Led by Senior Visual Effects Supervisor Kevin Mack, Imageworks completed three exhilarating racing sequences: Desert Flats, Mountain Rally, and Mountain Switchback. In Desert Flats, Imageworks' Marco Marenghi and his animation team added a sense of weight and realistic speed to all the elaborate cars and their exotic drivers. Patrick Witting's complex fluid-dust simulations and Theo Vandernoot's rigid-body simulations of debris and dirt further enhanced the realistic motion of the sequence. Imageworks' skilled lighters and compositors combined all the layers of these particular shots, ensuring the consistency of the pop-art/saturated look that Warner Bros. Visual Effects Supervisors John Gaeta and Dan Glass had envisioned from the beginning.

  • Alternate Ending Image
    • "I Am Legend": Making an Alternate Ending

    • SIGGRAPH ASIA COMPUTER ANIMATION FESTIVAL, Carlye Archibeque, 2008

    • In this alternate ending of the motion picture "I Am Legend," the full CG-infected characters interact with our hero, played by Will Smith. Probably the most significant animation challenge was the creation of the infected human characters. The characters' bodies were rigged for both animation and motion capture, and performances were a combination of both.

  • Birth of Sandman Image
    • Spider-Man 3: Birth of Sandman

    • SIGGRAPH COMPUTER ANIMATION FESTIVAL, Rebecca Aghakhan-Mooshiabad, 2007

    • Columbia Pictures' "Spider-Man 3" reunites the cast and filmmakers from the first two blockbuster adventures for a web of vengeance, love, and forgiveness. In the "Birth of Sandman" sequence, visual effects supervisor Scott Stokdyk, animation director Spencer Cook, and the team at Sony Pictures Imageworks show the creation of the Sandman villain. Starting with the movement of individual grains, the first 2,672-frame shot takes us through the gathering of sand to form a sand creature.

  • Facial Animation Image
    • Performance Driven Facial Animation

    • SIGGRAPH COURSE, Parag Havaldar, 2006

    • A performance, in most cases, is understood to be a visual capture of an actor face talking and emoting either individually or in a group with other actors. This is often done by capturing a video performance of the actor and using video frames either purely for reference by an animator or further processing them to extract point samples and even deforming 3D surfaces which are then used to retarget onto a digital character. There are of course a variety of technological hurdles to overcome before the 2D or 3D reconstructed data can be used - camera calibration, tracking points, and reconstructed 3D information.

  • Making of Polar Express Image
    • From Mocap to Movie: The Making of "The Polar Express"

    • SIGGRAPH COURSES, Rob Bredow, David Schaub, Rob Engle, Daniel Kramer, Albert Hastings, 2006

    • These course notes cover new tools, processes and pipelines that were developed to make THE POLAR EXPRESS a reality. These course notes are intended to serve as a reference for some of the more unique aspects of THE POLAR EXPRESS production pipeline.

  • XYZ Color Space Image
    • Visualizing the XYZ Color Space

    • SIGGRAPH ELECTRONIC ART AND ANIMATION CATALOG, Jeremy Selan, George Joblove, 2005

    • Development of the standard for digital-cinema colorimetry presents the problem of how to represent color in a manner that will accommodate future developments in display technology. Unfortunately, RGB coordinates tied to a physical display device are not ideal, as they intrinsically limit the gamut to only a fraction of colors visible in the real world.

  • Behind the Mask Spider-Man Image
    • Spider-Man: Behind the Mask

    • SIGGRAPH CONFERENCE ABSTRACTS AND APPLICATIONS, Mary Reardon, 2002

    • Sony Pictures Imageworks takes you for a spin through the virtual world of Spider-Man. Scott Stokdyk and his team reveal how the effects, buildings, and characters were created in the computer and integrated with the live action. CG Supervisor Ken Hahn discusses the complexities involved in creating the buildings of New York City. CG Supervisor Peter Nofz explains the challenges of setting up characters for animation, and Character look Lead Greg Anderson shows us the process of look development for character lighting.

  • Behind the Mask Spider-Man Image
    • Anaconda

    • SIGGRAPH VISUAL PROCEEDINGS: THE ART AND DISCIPLINE PROGRAMS OF SIGGRAPH '97, Don Levy, 1997

    • Sony Pictures Imageworks digitally created two photo-realistic giant Anacondas which would believably attack, coil, eat, and regurgitate their prey. A digital actor is also featured in the waterfall sequence. This vivid CG imagery interacts with live action elements and actors on a level never seen before.

  • Contact Image
    • Contact

    • SIGGRAPH VISUAL PROCEEDINGS: THE ART AND DISCIPLINE PROGRAMS OF SIGGRAPH '97, Ken Ralston, Steve Rosenbaum, 1997

    • This sequence begins with a NASA-like view of the Earth. The camera then pulls back through our solar system, the Ort cloud and various galaxies and nebulae to the end of the Universe. It continues through a computer-generated eye that blends into the face of our young heroine.

  • Animated Penguins Image
    • Surf's Up: The Making of an Animated Documentary

    • ACM SIGGRAPH COURSES, Rob Bredow, David Schaub, Daniel Kramer, Matthew Hausman, Danny Dimian, R. Stirling Duguid, 2007

    • These course notes cover new tools, processes and pipelines that were developed to make SURF'S UP a reality. These course notes are intended to serve as a reference for some of the more unique aspects of the SURF'S UP production pipeline.

  • Feathers Image
    • STUART LITTLE 2: Let the Feathers Fly

    • SIGGRAPH TALK, Rob Engle, Eric Armstrong, Rob Bredow, Jerome Chen, Bob Peitzman, Jay K. Redd, Debra Kaufman, 2002

    • "Stuart Little 2" not only dispels that criticism but blazes a path in the new genre of the hybrid CG/live-action film with its three digital main characters paired with a very real Manhattan. To plot "Stuart Little 2," once again, the writers went back to the original, beloved E.B. White book.