An organic aesthetic was adopted for the forest. “The tricky part was conveying the proper size and scale,” remarks Denis. “The grass was technically challenging because you want to make sure that you get the shape you want, with it still looking believable. Initially, when we started to run those simulations with the characters creating angels in the grass, the grass was popping up left and right. It was fairly striking. We had to simplify that to get the intent of the visual without pulling you out of the movie. Barney and Ron jumping in the river came late in the process. At one point you start to manage your world to budget. We still have some white water, but decided to have them jump in where it wasn’t too crazy. We also had to get interaction between the water and the set. That was probably our biggest effects simulation in the movie.”

“J.P. Vine wanted to have graphic and stylized characters,” remarks Predal. “Our main character designer was Julien Bizat. From his 2D designs, another artist, Michel Gillemain, did CG sculpts of the characters. Once we had the characters moving, we realized with DNEG that the art was fighting with the realism of the cloth simulation, so we had to find the middle ground.” An example of this is the bully named Rich. “He has a fairly skinny body with a big jacket,” remarks Denis. “As soon as you push him against walls, or when Ron is chasing him in the park,  you end up with weird shapes. You could not run just a simulation on that because you have bad folding and shapes. You want to drive that with some rigging constraints, put it into shape, and run a simulation on top of that to make it physically correct.” Some fun was had with the woolen hat worn by Ron. “I always love to work with an animator,” adds Denis. “I want to make sure that the intent of the shot is there. The hat worked like an exclamation point for his animation. Sometimes it was right on with the physics, while in other cases we added a little bit of simulation on top to make it livelier.”

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