I was DNEG's Creature Supervisor on Ant-Man and the Wasp

by Remi Cauzid

Last modification: 21 Aug, 2018
Duration
9 mins
My name is Remi Cauzid and I was the Creature Lead on Marvel's Ant-Man and the Wasp. At DNEG, the Creature Department is in charge of rigging and Creature Effects (CFX or technical Animation). My task was to improve the quality of the creature as much as possible and keep a consistent look across the show. Read on for how I worked with my team to make this happen.


Hi, I'm Remi Cauzid

I started at DNEG Singapore in 2012, then in 2015, I moved to DNEG Vancouver. As a Rigger, I worked on the first Ant-Man movie, and I also worked with Alessandro Ongaro, the VFX Supervisor for this project, on other shows. On past projects, I had to deal with many types of creatures, and this was the kind of experience required for Ant-Man and the Wasp. In the early stages, Alessandro and I had some conversations about the potential challenges the show would face, and I was eventually brought on the team.


“The team I managed was split into two distinct areas...The rigging team [and] the CFX artists."

 

My assets came from...

At DNEG, the Creature Department is in charge of rigging and Creature Effects (CFX or Technical Animation). My task was to improve the quality of the creature as much as possible and keep a consistent look across the show. 

The team I managed was split into two distinct areas. The rigging team had to get their assets from the Build department. It’s their role to turn the "static statues" into puppets that can be manipulated with controls, bones, and muscles. Meanwhile, the other part of the team, the CFX Artists, received the results of the animation department (geometry caches). They then added extra layers of detail such as cloth and hair simulation, muscle jiggle and skin shading.


“[The Creature Department] is a "service" department, and we split our production into multiple "down-streams."

 

And I passed my assets off to...

This is where things get interesting for Creature. We are a "service" department, and we split our production into multiple down-streams: position and collision geometry caches to the FX department for simulation; projections geometry caches for the compositing department to help them with their tasks, and finally, hi-resolution geometry caches and dynamics maps for the Lighting department, to render the creature. 

Before Maya: VFX before shot from Ant-Man and the Wasp, courtesy of DNEG


What I made sure of

Servicing multiple departments, Creature needs to ensure changes for one department do not adversely affect assets for other departments and that we maintain compatibility throughout different versions. As soon as downstream is provided with an asset, Creature artists need to protect them from destructive updates. This means we have to carefully design our workflow.

After Maya: final VFX shot from Ant-Man and the Wasp, courtesy of DNEG


I worked closely with our VFX Supe

As a Supervisor, you have to take artistic input from the VFX Supervisor and answer technical challenges from other Supes. The other side of that is your own department, and making sure no time is wasted and keeping motivation high. This requires a lot of communication, strategy, diplomacy and technical skills.

My favorite shot was Giant-Man stopping the flatbed truck

My favorite shot had to be when Giant-Man stops the flatbed truck. I particularly like the work done on the muscle jiggle, cloth simulation and sense of scale. 


Those pigeons challenged me the most

The pigeon was a great challenge. Birds are quite difficult because of the extreme deformation happening on the wings and the complexity of their feathers. In reality, a lot of contact combs the feathers into position and gives a smooth closed-wing appearance to the bird’s body surface. In CG, however, this is not the case and it was the most complex character of the show.

Before Maya: VFX before shot from Ant-Man and the Wasp, courtesy of DNEG
After Maya: Final VFX shot from Ant-Man and the Wasp, courtesy of DNEG 


I'm proud of all the work you don't see

This is the "curse" of Supervisors, I suppose, because I didn't directly produce much on the show. My role and aim were to make sure my team could work efficiently, without any technical issues. This isn’t visible on screen, but I am proud of what my team did.


I learned that a good team is everything

On a project of this size, you realize it's very important to have a good team. When the amount of work increases, good moral is the key to efficiency!


Variety is what made this project special

The variety of the assets was quite extreme. It included humans, animals, vehicles, hair, feathers, small and big scales, slow motion, destruction and multiples instances of Ghost. That was a lot to take care of!

Before Maya: VFX before shot from Ant-Man and the Wasp, courtesy of DNEG
After Maya: Final VFX shot from Ant-Man and the Wasp, courtesy of DNEG


I love seeing a project all the way through

There is a great satisfaction in seeing a project through from beginning to end. I particularly loved seeing all the individual artist’s hard work assembled together on the big screen! 


And being part of an extended team is pretty cool

The first time I saw the trailer, it was nice to finally see our character and get a chance to see the other vendors’ work on the show. It's easy to forget you are a team in one VFX company and that all the other VFX vendor companies collaborate for the show.



 

 


"Maya is an essential software. You need to know how to use it."
— DNEG VFX Supervisor on Ant-Man and the Wasp, Alessandro Ongaro
 

Get started with Maya now, FREE for 30 days

 

Who else made up the VFX team on Ant-Man and the Wasp and what exactly did they do? Hear from the other 3D artists who pushed themselves in big ways for Marvel's minute superhero:

Alessandro Ongaro, VFX Supervisor
Daniel Axelsson, Modeling Lead
Matchmove Supervisor, Kathir Manickam
Environment Lead, Matt Ivanov
Layout Lead, Rick Curts
Lead Animator, Evan Clover
Animator, Francois-Xavier Nhieu
Creature Lead, Dameon Oboyle

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