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I wanted to look more into the use of subdivision surfacing in this short film, and it was actually quite interesting

Some highlights:

  • It was directed and written by Jan Pinkava, a man from Czechoslovakia who was inspired by Ji?í Trnka's stop motion puppet films, where the puppets often had very stylized body and face shapes. Geri's model was actually sculpted by Pinkava in clay after Pinkava would always make suggestions to then-sculptor Jerome Ranft, who finally handed Pinkava his sculpting tool, saying to him with a smile "You do it."

  • Previously, the dominant technique used for skin was Non-Uniform Rational B-Splines (NURBS), which was notably used for Woody's skin in Toy Story, but this had the downside that the seams of the subshapes would tear when the skin was deformed. Subdivision modeled the entire skin as a single large surface, which could be more easily and more naturally deformed.

  • Unfortunately, the team discovered that the jacket they modeled for Geri didn't behave naturally as Geri moved, so they actually had to develop/use a cloth simulator to simulate the behavior of his clothing over his body, which meant that they had to render his body 30 frames in advance and they had to render all of his body, even the off camera parts, or the simulator wouldn't accurately reflect the movement of his jacket.

  • When Steve Jobs heard about this, he offered to get Giorgio Armani to design Geri's outfit. Pinkava declined.


@jzhanson Nice. Fun to think about what "Giorgio's Game" might have looked like! :-)