Charlotte's Web is a book enjoyed by many generations of children.
It was previously made into a cartoon in 1973, to date I still havent seen this movie
Rising Sun was awarded the job of creating the spider Charlotte who is meant to be frightening yet endearing. A big call from a computer generated character.
I was hired by Rising Sun when I intercepted a call to my boss looking for people to help out on Charlotte's Web.
This job was a huge step up for myself personally and Rising Sun as a company.
The company grew in size by about 5 fold during the production of this movie, there were associated growing pains involved.
The shot count was about 250, some of just the web, some of Charlotte and some composting only shots using animatronic and live blue screen elements.
The design of Charlotte was critical from the outset.
We went through about 30 character iteractions, which meant a lot of modelling/rigging/grooming/animation updates.
Also during the production XSI was used as the animation package, and the renderer 3delight was chosen, but there was no Renderman translator for XSI on the market, so an OpenSource solution Affogato was written in house by Moritz Moellor.
A new renderfarm manager was installed call Sun Grid Engine
Needless to say some effort was spent in getting a hairy spider to render with all new technology
The software development cycle, Renderman and high end film production were all new to me.
It was a fantastic oppourtunity to grow with the company
I started out rigging and on animation support and then moved onto shading/lighting/rendering
Toward the end of the show the team structure was changed and I was on a team of technical ninjas called "Team 5" who would try to write tools on the spot to firefight problems as well as help out artists
Some of the things I did on this show include
The Character Rendering Pipe: caching, fur dump, occlusion and rendering rewrite