alex hessler

Blood and Chocolate

Blood and Chocolate was my first feature film project. We were a small team of Houdini and Shake artists working at Framestore. Our primary work was all of the human to wolf transformations. We also did some eye glows, fire extensions, and paint work. The director, Katja von Garnier, wanted a double exposure type effect for the transformations. Unfortunately when this affect is animated, it’s merely a cross fade. So we added a lot of glows and vaporous effects on top.

I developed one of the primary effects, which I called multi release. It’s the streaming smokey trails that come off of the characters as they transform. To accomplish this I made a copy of the digital double for every frame that the effect took place. I then peeled each copy back into a softbody/velocity field simulation in Houdini. I offset each copy by one frame. So essentially there’s a floppy skin that peels off the characters at every frame. I developed a shader that added up each layer of polygons to generate a fire like affect. Some hue shifts and glows in shake finished it off. In the end, all of our work was art directed to look like a fancy glow and cross fade, but we did our best to make it pretty.

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