promotional video production, corporate video production

What Happens When You Need Robert Downey Jr. To Ride An Ostrich?

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU NEED ROBERT DOWNEY JR. TO RIDE AN OSTRICH?

HOW A DRIVABLE BUGGY WITH A GIMBALLED SADDLE, AND VFX, MADE IT POSSIBLE IN ‘DOLITTLE’.

When Stephen Gaghan’s Dolittle hit cinemas earlier this year, fun b-roll was released of its star, Robert Downey Jr., aboard some kind of mobile rig that was standing in for one of the animals.

It turned out this was a rig built for filming moments in which Dolittle rides the ostrich Plimpton (voiced by Kumail Nanjiani), a CG creation by MPC. Riding rigs and gimbals are common for when a live-action actor interacts with some kind of creature that will later be accomplished digitally, but I wanted to find out what the very particular challenges were in going from such a rig to the final visual effects shot in the film.

Enter visual effects supervisor Nicolas Aithadi, who shared production VFX duties on the film with John Dykstra. Here, Aithadi runs down how MPC handled the ostrich-riding shots, including the pre-production animation involved, the shoot with the gimballed rig, the meticulous matchmoving and the simulation of feathers – including what almost made him cry…

The toughest thing about making RDJ ride an ostrich

Nicolas Aithadi: The main difficulty with the riding shots is that we didn’t have any wide shots where we could use a CG ostrich and a CG Dolittle. We had quite a few shots, instead, in the Queen’s chamber and at Buckingham Palace, and in a couple of shots that didn’t make the final cut, where Dolittle was close-up riding the ostrich. So we had to find a way to have Robert Downey Jr. actually riding something on location or on stage that we could later replace with the CG ostrich.

RDJ’s ride

With special effects [Dominic Tuohy was the film’s SFX supervisor], we came up with two techniques. First, they devised a buggy with a driver and a saddle that Robert could sit on and hold some reins and pretend to be riding an ostrich. The saddle had a gimbal set-up that could actually be ‘animated’ (more on that below) and had some sway to it and some rolling to simulate the body of an ostrich.

The other rig was more akin to a swing. One side was the saddle on which RDJ was sitting and on the other side you had a couple of guys dressed in green rotating and animating that swing.

Pre-animating for the gimbal

Whenever you are using gimbals they can be very rigid systems, so it can be difficult later to replace them with a very organic creature. So what we tried to do in those cases was give a certain amount of information to special effects so they could devise a system that would give us the ‘beginning’ of some motion that was close to the motion of the animal itself.

That meant way before we even started to build Plimpton we actually created a lower resolution ostrich in pre-production that we could animate with walk cycles and run cycles and trot cycles that we could give to special effects. They could take some of those movements and interpret it mechanically on the gimbal.

Selling RDJ’s interaction with the CG ostrich

One thing that helps visual effects is always interaction and contact. In fact, I try to not avoid contact in any shot. If I actually can add contacts, I will. Psychologically it’s what makes things work together.

That meant whatever Robert Downey Jr was touching on the rig was tracked and was where we would we have the CG ostrich. We tracked his legs and his butt touching the saddle.

Because we had Dolittle fully CG in other shots, we used the digi-double of RDJ to help with tracking; we also had a lower resolution CG version of the gimbal that we would track onto the gimbal from the set. Then, we would take the CG Plimpton model and we would make sure that where the gimbal was contacting with RDJ that CG Plimpton’s body was also contacting with the digital double that was match-moved to RDJ. And if we had to change the model to accommodate that a little bit, we would, either by changing the model or by deforming the body rig.

The hardest thing was the hands. The gimbal didn’t have a neck, so we had to be creative sometimes with the arms and the hands of Dolittle. Sometimes we replaced an arm or lost an arm if it wasn’t vital, visually, and it was creating problems. At one point we just decided to put some reins on the ostrich. If we had Robert’s hands floating in mid-air in the shot, we would justify it by having this red and white rein he was holding.

Hiding behind feathers

The main advantage we had when it came to Plimpton was his feathers. We had a riding set up with the giraffe as well, but the giraffe has very short hair, so there was nowhere to hide there, whereas Plimpton has a fluffy body with very big feathers. So we could hide some of the issues in there because of the secondary animation of a feathers.

As long as you do running and trotting, it works pretty well. The most difficult thing was when Doolittle was on Plimpton and then coming off Plimpton. One thing that actually helped us is that RDJ, he did it in a very dramatic way where he was nearly falling off the ostrich with panache.

A good example is when they arrive in the Queen’s chamber and Plimpton does this circular movement while Dolittle is coming off of him. I was very concerned when I saw the material when we shot it because I was thinking, ‘Oh my God, I don’t know how Plimpton’s going to be moving in there.’ But then when we did it, it actually was surprisingly very successful. Again, using feathers to aid with contacts was a great help.

The animation approach

To get Plimpton’s overall animation, we first obviously looked at a reference. We did look to see if there were actually people riding ostriches. We realized that in the Emirates, they have an ostrich race with jockeys.

But we were looking at them and they didn’t look very cool. They actually look silly when they’re riding the ostriches. They’re very much on the back of the butt of the ostrich and they’re leaning forward a little bit, it’s not a really elegant position. But Dolittle needed to look like a British gentleman, so it needed to look more like he was riding a horse.

The other thing that we were trying to convey was that Dolittle wasn’t forcing the animal, that it wasn’t a life of servitude for Plimpton. And when we were looking at the races, it doesn’t feel natural. It feels like maybe these guys shouldn’t be on those ostriches…

Rendering those feathers

Oh man…the feathers. That really was a nightmare. MPC has done fur for a long time, back to 10,000 B.C. where Furtility was developed. Feathers were made on a CG quill on which we grew a single hair that accumulated pieces to look like a feather. A feather is really a bunch of hairs lined up next to each other.

The challenge was that ostriches have these really weird feathers where they’re all very loose. It almost looks like a quill with very loose hair with no structure. It’s a very confusing object in real life. So to try to do that in the computer was a bit of a struggle – we had to use the Furtility system and hack it a little bit to try and deform the feathers way more than you would when you do a normal animal.

Rendering was great – it rendered very well in RenderMan and we’ve got some really nice shading on the black feathers. We got some very nice anisotropic reflections, too.

The feathers took quite a lot of time, but then, the worst thing happened is that we had to do Plimpton in the water! That made me cry a little bit…

Because of the work that had been done on Jungle Book and Lion King, Furtility interacts with water really well. But again, the same issue that we had with dry Plimpton, we had it with Plimpton in the water. It’s like when someone puts their hair in the water, it goes in every direction, it’s very loose. We had the same problem with a dry Plimpton, but it became 10 times more complicated underwater.

It was very difficult, but we had a group of amazing tech animators working on that issue and they managed to do a great job. The shading team also did an amazing job to deal with the wet look of the feathers.

In summary, feathers on ostriches: they’re not the easiest.

Source : https://beforesandafters.com/2020/04/23/what-happens-when-you-need-robert-downey-jr-to-ride-an-ostrich/

  • cheap flights

    I’ve been surfing online more than three hours today, yet I
    never found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty
    worth enough for me. In my view, if all website owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the internet will be a lot more useful than ever
    before.

  • cheap flights

    Hello very cool blog!! Guy .. Beautiful ..
    Superb .. I’ll bookmark your web site and take the feeds also?
    I am happy to find a lot of useful information here
    in the post, we want develop more strategies in this regard, thanks for
    sharing. . . . . .

  • cheap flights

    An intriguing discussion is definitely worth comment.
    I do think that you need to publish more on this subject matter, it may not be a taboo subject but generally people do not talk
    about these topics. To the next! Best wishes!!

  • tinyurl.com

    Hi! I just wish to offer you a big thumbs up for your great information you
    have right here on this post. I’ll be coming back to your web site
    for more soon.

  • cheap flights

    Have you ever considered writing an ebook or guest authoring on other websites?
    I have a blog based on the same information you discuss and would
    love to have you share some stories/information.
    I know my audience would appreciate your work. If you are even remotely interested,
    feel free to send me an email.

  • http://tinyurl.com/y53xo2jf

    Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew
    of any widgets I could add to my blog that automatically tweet my newest twitter updates.
    I’ve been looking for a plug-in like this for quite some time and was hoping maybe you would have some experience with something like this.
    Please let me know if you run into anything. I truly
    enjoy reading your blog and I look forward to your new updates.

  • tinyurl.com

    Hello, this weekend is fastidious for me, for the reason that this point in time i am reading this wonderful informative article here at my
    residence.

  • vreyro linomit

    Wow, wonderful blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your website is excellent, as well as the content!

  • http://ebmelectronics.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=214271

    Thanks in favor of sharing such a nice opinion, article is
    nice, thats why i have read it entirely

  • web hosting

    Thank you for sharing your info. I truly appreciate your efforts and I am waiting
    for your further post thank you once again.

  • tinyurl.com

    I have read so many articles or reviews on the topic of the blogger
    lovers except this article is actually a fastidious
    article, keep it up.

  • bit.ly

    Hello, i think that i saw you visited my website thus i came to “return the favor”.I’m attempting
    to find things to enhance my site!I suppose its ok to use a few of your ideas!!
    ps4 games 185413490784 ps4 games

  • tinyurl.com

    Hello! I know this is kinda off topic but
    I’d figured I’d ask. Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest writing a blog post or vice-versa?

    My site discusses a lot of the same subjects as yours and I feel we could greatly benefit from each other.
    If you might be interested feel free to send me an email.
    I look forward to hearing from you! Great blog by the way!

    games ps4 185413490784 games ps4

  • coconut oil

    Somebody essentially help to make severely posts I might state.
    This is the very first time I frequented your website page and thus far?
    I amazed with the research you made to create this actual post extraordinary.

    Great task! ps4 games 185413490784 ps4 games

  • ps4 games

    Hi, I do think this is an excellent site. I stumbledupon it ;
    ) I am going to revisit yet again since I saved as
    a favorite it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich
    and continue to guide others.

  • http://bit.ly/3cLS6FQ

    Thank you for another fantastic article. Where else may just anyone get that kind of information in such an ideal approach of writing?
    I have a presentation subsequent week, and I’m at the look for such information.

  • ps4 games

    What a data of un-ambiguity and preserveness of valuable know-how regarding unexpected
    emotions.

  • http://tinyurl.com/

    I love what you guys are usually up too. This type of clever work
    and exposure! Keep up the wonderful works guys I’ve incorporated
    you guys to my personal blogroll.

  • tinyurl.com

    I’m now not positive the place you’re getting your information, but great topic.

    I must spend some time studying much more or figuring out more.

    Thanks for excellent info I used to be searching for this information for my mission.

  • tinyurl.com

    I’d like to thank you for the efforts you’ve put in penning this blog.
    I’m hoping to see the same high-grade content
    from you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my
    very own website now 😉

  • web hosting

    A fascinating discussion is definitely worth comment.
    There’s no doubt that that you ought to write more about this subject,
    it may not be a taboo matter but typically folks don’t talk
    about such issues. To the next! Cheers!!

  • tinyurl.com

    continuously i used to read smaller content
    that as well clear their motive, and that is also happening with this piece of writing which I am reading at
    this time.

  • http://tinyurl.com/

    I was recommended this website by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by
    him as nobody else know such detailed about my problem.

    You’re wonderful! Thanks!

  • frolep rotrem

    Keep functioning ,impressive job!

  • http://tinyurl.com/yguejdox

    certainly like your web-site but you need to test the spelling on quite a few of your posts.
    Several of them are rife with spelling problems and I in finding it very
    bothersome to tell the truth however I will surely come again again.

  • tinyurl.com

    Its like you read my mind! You seem to know a lot about this, like
    you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you
    could do with some pics to drive the message home a bit, but other
    than that, this is great blog. An excellent read. I will definitely be back.

  • 0mniartist

    Its like you read my mind! You seem to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something.

    I think that you could do with a few pics to
    drive the message home a bit, but instead of that, this is magnificent
    blog. A great read. I’ll certainly be back. 0mniartist asmr

  • asmr https://0mniartist.tumblr.com

    Hmm it seems like your site ate my first comment (it
    was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it
    up what I submitted and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your
    blog. I too am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to
    the whole thing. Do you have any recommendations for beginner blog writers?
    I’d genuinely appreciate it. asmr 0mniartist

  • asmr https://0mniartist.tumblr.com

    After I originally left a comment I appear to have
    clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now
    each time a comment is added I get four emails with
    the exact same comment. Perhaps there is an easy method you can remove me from that service?
    Many thanks! asmr 0mniartist

  • bitly.com

    Why people still make use of to read news papers when in this technological
    globe all is accessible on web? 0mniartist asmr

  • bitly.com

    My partner and I stumbled over here by a different web address and
    thought I may as well check things out. I like what I see so now
    i am following you. Look forward to looking at your web page
    for a second time. asmr 0mniartist

  • zortilonrel

    Hello, Neat post. There’s an issue together with your site in internet explorer, would test thisK IE nonetheless is the marketplace leader and a good section of other folks will omit your great writing due to this problem.

  • gamefly of

    Wonderful beat ! I would like to apprentice while you amend your site,
    how could i subscribe for a blog site? The account
    aided me a acceptable deal. I had been tiny bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered bright clear
    concept

  • gamefly why

    Hi to all, how is everything, I think every one is getting more from this web page, and your views
    are pleasant for new visitors.

  • asmr their

    I’m truly enjoying the design and layout of your website.
    It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more
    enjoyable for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire
    out a developer to create your theme? Outstanding work!

  • their asmr

    Hello there! This post could not be written any better!
    Looking at this article reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He always kept preaching about this. I will forward this post to him.
    Fairly certain he’s going to have a very good read. Thanks for
    sharing!

  • asmr and

    Hurrah, that’s what I was seeking for, what a material!
    existing here at this webpage, thanks admin of this site.

  • or asmr

    Hi! Do you know if they make any plugins to safeguard against hackers?

    I’m kinda paranoid about losing everything I’ve
    worked hard on. Any tips?

  • or asmr

    Just desire to say your article is as amazing.
    The clearness in your post is just excellent and i can assume you’re an expert on this subject.
    Well with your permission let me to grab your RSS feed to keep
    up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please continue the gratifying work.

  • my asmr

    Do you mind if I quote a couple of your articles as long as I provide credit and sources back to your
    weblog? My blog site is in the very same area of interest
    as yours and my visitors would certainly benefit from
    some of the information you provide here. Please let me know if
    this okay with you. Thanks!

  • my gamefly

    Great article! This is the kind of information that are meant to be shared around the internet.
    Shame on the search engines for no longer positioning this publish higher!
    Come on over and discuss with my site . Thanks =)

  • when gamefly

    Good day! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was
    wondering which blog platform are you using for this website?
    I’m getting sick and tired of WordPress because I’ve had issues
    with hackers and I’m looking at alternatives for another platform.

    I would be great if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

  • asmr an

    Howdy! I simply wish to give you a huge thumbs up for your excellent information you’ve got right here on this post.
    I’ll be coming back to your site for more soon.

  • asmr there

    Good way of explaining, and good post to get information about my presentation subject, which
    i am going to present in school.

  • http://bit.ly

    You need to be a part of a contest for one of the highest quality websites
    on the web. I most certainly will recommend this web site!

  • bitly.com

    Your style is unique in comparison to other people I’ve read stuff from.
    Many thanks for posting when you’ve got the opportunity, Guess I’ll just book mark this site.

  • asmr why

    Do you have a spam issue on this site; I also am a blogger, and I
    was wanting to know your situation; many of us have created some
    nice procedures and we are looking to swap strategies with other folks,
    please shoot me an e-mail if interested.

  • asmr that

    I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme.
    Did you make this website yourself or did you hire
    someone to do it for you? Plz reply as I’m looking to
    construct my own blog and would like to find out where u got this from.
    thanks

  • asmr their

    Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Many thanks, However I am experiencing issues with your RSS.
    I don’t understand the reason why I am unable to subscribe to it.
    Is there anybody getting similar RSS issues? Anyone who knows the answer can you kindly respond?
    Thanx!!

  • asmr it

    Hmm is anyone else having problems with the images on this blog loading?
    I’m trying to determine if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog.
    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  • bit.ly

    scoliosis
    Howdy! This post could not be written any better!
    Reading this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always
    kept chatting about this. I will forward this write-up to him.
    Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing!
    scoliosis

  • bit.ly

    scoliosis
    In fact when someone doesn’t know then its up to other users that they will help, so here it takes
    place. scoliosis

  • http://euryka.rdi.uoc.edu

    scoliosis
    I know this if off topic but I’m looking
    into starting my own weblog and was wondering what all is required to get set up?
    I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny?
    I’m not very web smart so I’m not 100% certain. Any tips
    or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks scoliosis

  • storno brzinol

    Thanks for any other informative website. The place else may just I get that kind of information written in such an ideal method? I’ve a challenge that I am just now operating on, and I’ve been at the glance out for such info.

  • http://tinyurl.com

    scoliosis
    I loved as much as you’ll receive carried out
    right here. The sketch is attractive, your authored subject matter stylish.
    nonetheless, you command get bought an shakiness over that
    you wish be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably
    come further formerly again as exactly the same nearly very often inside case you shield this hike.
    scoliosis

  • http://bitly.com

    scoliosis
    Hi Dear, are you truly visiting this site daily,
    if so afterward you will definitely take good know-how.
    scoliosis

  • https://785days.tumblr.com/

    free dating sites
    Your mode of telling all in this piece of writing is in fact pleasant, every
    one be able to effortlessly be aware of it, Thanks
    a lot. dating sites https://785days.tumblr.com/

  • https://6869milesoflove.tumblr.com/

    free dating sites
    What’s up it’s me, I am also visiting this web page daily, this web
    page is truly good and the visitors are actually sharing
    nice thoughts. dating sites

  • your asmr

    I blog frequently and I really appreciate your information. The article has truly peaked my interest.
    I am going to take a note of your site and keep checking for new information about once a week.
    I subscribed to your Feed as well.

  • is asmr

    Wow! At last I got a weblog from where I be able to truly obtain valuable facts regarding my study and knowledge.

  • in dating sites

    Hello, I check your blogs regularly. Your story-telling style is witty, keep up the good work!

  • there dating sites

    Good day! This post could not be written any better!
    Reading through this post reminds me of my previous room mate!
    He always kept talking about this. I will forward this post to him.
    Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing!

  • my dating sites

    Everyone loves what you guys tend to be up too. Such clever work and reporting!
    Keep up the terrific works guys I’ve added you guys to blogroll.

  • with free dating sites

    I’d like to find out more? I’d like to find out
    more details.

  • but dating sites

    Magnificent beat ! I would like to apprentice while you amend your website, how could i subscribe for a blog site?

    The account aided me a acceptable deal. I had been a
    little bit acquainted of this your broadcast provided bright clear concept

  • surgery scoliosis an

    Thanks to my father who informed me about this webpage, this blog
    is really awesome.

  • was surgery scoliosis

    Hello, I would like to subscribe for this weblog to take latest updates, therefore
    where can i do it please assist.

  • scoliosis are

    Hi everybody, here every one is sharing these kinds of experience, therefore it’s nice to read this webpage, and I
    used to visit this webpage all the time.

  • an scoliosis surgery

    After looking into a few of the blog posts on your web page, I truly like your technique of writing
    a blog. I saved as a favorite it to my bookmark site list and will be checking
    back in the near future. Please check out my web site as well and tell me your opinion.

  • free dating sites where

    Wonderful blog! I found it while searching on Yahoo News.
    Do you have any tips on how to get listed in Yahoo News?
    I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there!

    Thank you

  • free dating sites is

    Nice post. I used to be checking continuously this weblog
    and I am inspired! Very helpful information specifically the
    closing phase 🙂 I deal with such information a lot. I used to be looking
    for this particular information for a very
    lengthy time. Thank you and good luck.

  • dating sites there

    Wonderful blog! I found it while searching on Yahoo News.
    Do you have any tips on how to get listed in Yahoo News?
    I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there!
    Thank you

  • http://tinyurl.com/

    It’s genuinely very complex in this full of activity life to listen news on TV, therefore I only use web for that reason, and take the hottest information.

  • tinyurl.com

    What’s Happening i’m new to this, I stumbled
    upon this I’ve discovered It positively helpful and it has helped me out
    loads. I hope to contribute & help other customers
    like its aided me. Great job.

  • tinyurl.com

    For most recent news you have to visit world-wide-web and on world-wide-web I found this
    web page as a most excellent web page for most
    recent updates.

  • http://tinyurl.com

    I absolutely love your blog and find the majority of your post’s to
    be exactly I’m looking for. Does one offer guest writers to
    write content available for you? I wouldn’t
    mind creating a post or elaborating on a few of the subjects you write
    about here. Again, awesome site!

  • how to use elementor in wordpress

    I went over this site and I believe you have a lot of superb information, bookmarked (:.

  • Kathryn

    I have been surfing on-line greater than three hours these
    days, but I never discovered any attention-grabbing article like yours.

    It is lovely worth sufficient for me. In my
    opinion, if all webmasters and bloggers made good
    content material as you probably did, the web will be much more helpful than ever before.

  • frun-test.sakura.ne.jp

    My developer is trying to convince me to move to .net from PHP.
    I have always disliked the idea because of the expenses. But
    he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using Movable-type on several
    websites for about a year and am worried about switching to another platform.
    I have heard great things about blogengine.net. Is
    there a way I can import all my wordpress posts into it? Any help would be really appreciated!

    My blog frun-test.sakura.ne.jp