Research Library

Property of DreamWorks Animation L.L.C.
2019
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Distributed Multi-Context Interactive Rendering

Talk, Digipro 2019

By enabling artists to work interactively with renders of multiple shots from a single application, new lighting and surfacing work-flows were made possible. This technique was implemented by replacing Katana’s interactive-render mechanism, and by leveraging Arras, DreamWorks’ in-house cloud computation system.

Research Paper for Distributed Multi-Context Interactive Rendering

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A Dynamically-Updating Hierarchical Stopping Condition for Monte Carlo Illumination

Talk, Siggraph 2019

An image-space hierarchy is introduced to reduce artifacts from prematurely stopping in adaptive sampling in a Monte Carlo ray tracing context, while maintaining good performance and fitting into an existing sampling architecture.

Research Paper for A Dynamically-Updating Hierarchical Stopping Condition for Monte Carlo Illumination

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InstaFalls: How To Train Your Waterfalls

Talk, SIGGRAPH 2019

The environments of How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World are immersed in waterfalls, from lush Nordic islands to mysterious, submerged kingdoms of lakes and crystals. Because of the variety and complexity of these sets (about 4000 waterfalls had to be created), a traditional approach would have consumed too many artistic and rendering resources. We decided to develop a collection of tools named InstaFalls with a few goals in mind: streamlining the creative process by minimizing the time spent on simulations, iterating faster thanks to real-time feedback, and managing the large quantity of generated data. Using this system, artists were able to create all the water elements of an environment set, from misty calderas to foamy, aerated ponds.

Research Paper for InstaFalls: How To Train Your Waterfalls

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Rigging with Constraints on How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

Talk, SIGGRAPH 2019

For How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, DreamWorks Animation made the decision to reuse the existing character assets from the preceding production, How to Train Your Dragon 2. Many resourceswere put into rigging the large quantity of characters , and the rigs went through intense scrutiny. This created an interesting suite of challenges for the rigging team, involving everything from adding secondary add-on deformation systems to legacy characters, creating characters that mixed and matched new faces with old bodies, and the development of a new ’simple dragon’ rig to help populate the world.

Research Paper for Rigging with Constraints on How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

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Grasshopper: DreamWorks Environmental Simulation System

Talk, SIGGRAPH 2019

This talk presents DreamWorks’ Grasshopper, an environmental simulation system for creating believable motion for grass, plants, and other vegetation. The system was used extensively on the complex and expansive sets in How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World and is currently being used on more productions at DreamWorks.

Research Paper for Grasshopper: DreamWorks Environmental Simulation System

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Hierarchy Models: Building Blocks for Procedural Rigging

Talk, SIGGRAPH 2019

Hierarchy Models provide an encapsulation mechanism for joint hierarchies that yield an essential building block for procedural rigging. With Hierarchy Models, joints travel through dependency graphs (DGs) as an atomic entity. Operation nodes in the DG can modify all aspects of input hierarchy and even perform topological modifications like adding or removing joints. The Hierarchy Model reduces complexity in character rigs, improves separation between
data and behavior, provides a clean interface, and simplifies understanding and debugging rigs. It offers geometric evaluation optimizations and promotes parallelism in the DG structure.

Research Paper for Hierarchy Models: Building Blocks for Procedural Rigging

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Hummingbird: DreamWorks Feather System

Talk, SIGGRAPH 2019

This talk presents DreamWorks’ Feather System Hummingbird, which is used for grooming body feathers and modeling scales interactively in real-time. It is also used for feather motion such as secondary motion or wind, for feather special effects such as ruffling or puffing up, and for feather finaling. The system has been used in several shows at DreamWorks including How to Train Your Dragon 2, Bilby, and How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.

Research Paper for Hummingbird: DreamWorks Feather System

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Flap Flap Away – Animation Cycle Multiplexing

Talk, SIGGRAPH 2019

The use of animation cycle multiplexing technique was first de-ployed on How to Train Your Dragon at DreamWorks to accomplish the ambitious task of animating many winged characters with limited resources. It has since been adopted through software platform changes, working with award-winning software Premo, to its current form in How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. It would not have been possible to accomplish the film with the level of visual complexity due to production budget and time constraints.

Research Paper for Flap Flap Away – Animation Cycle Multiplexing

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