Thumbs Up for Janimations
Spy Kids 2 Effects
Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost
Dreams features wildly imaginative visual effects, including
a sea creature that rises up to menace the films heroes. That
sequence is just one of the feats of digital wizardry brought to
the screen by Janimation for Robert Rodriguezs comedic fantasy.
The Janimation owner Steve Gaçonnier
and his team were tickled to read Roger Eberts review in the
Chicago Sun Times, in which he notes, "I liked the special
effects, especially a green-and-gold sea monster that was kind of
beautiful in its own way."
Working on a tight schedule, Janimation
created a series of two-headed sea serpent designs based on the
animatic created by Chris Olivia at Troublemaker Digital.
Janimations 3D supervisor,
Greg Punchatz states that the coolest thing about animating the
monster was the use of the "Isner Spine," a spine originally
created by Michael Isner of Softimages special projects group.
"It gave us a fantastic way of animating the long necks of
the creature, which were much easier to use than a traditional bones
setup," he says. "Using the Isner Spine, we were able
to animate the neck with only four control objects and get much
quicker results than traditional techniques." Punchatz developed
the sea creature animation with Lead Animator, John McInnis.
To integrate the sea creature into
the water plates, Visual Effects Coordinator Keefe Boerner and Post
Supervisor Brian McNulty determined that Janimation would need to
shoot water practicals to make the scene more realistic. The practicals
were shot in HD under the supervision of Gaçonnier and Lyn
Caudle. A 70-foot high crane was used to lift 55-gallon drums and
drop them into the water. Air cannons and a waverunner placed beneath
the water provided other water elements, as did CG particle effects
created by Caudle and FX Animator, Jason Stambolian.
The 2D team was charged with a few
additional miles of ocean by removing the land behind the floating
spy kids. Under Lead Compositor Alex Neuman, the team also integrated
the splash and wake water effects into the shots and composited
the monster behind the kids through tedious rotoscoping. Additional
compositing credits go to Gary Walker, Jenni Hudgens, Fran Gaçonnier,
Jana Oleksinski and Ben Hoffman.