Disney's Meander software

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D.T. Nethery
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Disney's Meander software

Post by D.T. Nethery » 21 Aug 2017, 17:28

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Re: Disney's Meander software

Post by Elodie » 23 Aug 2017, 08:48

Thanks for sharing David !
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Re: Disney's Meander software

Post by schwarzgrau » 23 Aug 2017, 09:33

I read a bit about meander for the theory part of my diploma thesis and I'm really not a big fan of it. I really like the idea of trying new ways to render CG animation and I really liked the look of Feast, but especially Paperman looked awful to me. At least for me hand drawn animation it's not about using lines, it's about varying shapes, some kind of flexibility which is really hard to achieve in CG animation. And Paperman did look like a cheap fake to me, nothing it's worth investing so much effort in.
But hopefully they'll use this really interesting technique to create something completely new with it, which doesn't look like a uncanny version of hand drawn/hand painted animation.
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Re: Disney's Meander software

Post by neonnoodle » 23 Aug 2017, 13:08

I agree with you, schwarzgrau. Knowing nothing much about the pipelines for CG films (or professional studio films, aside from what I've been able to glean from books), I wonder how much of these technologies are based on the goal of producing hand-drawn looks without worrying about hiring people who can draw?

Draftsmanship is a rarer and rarer skill, and CG models are perfectly consistent. If a hand-drawn look can be automated, then an animator with little drawing experience could still be useful in the production of a 2D/2.5D film.

Of course, this is not much different than the technological changes that led to the elimination of dedicated ink & paint departments, no? The Xerox process, and then later CAPS? David, you could speak to this. Ink and paint was once, like rough drawing, a particular skill with a limited population of masters. Now, the animator can use tools like the CTG layers in TVP and not need to hire an ink/paint specialist.

As a person who cares very much about drawing, technologies like Meander make me feel rather threatened. I don't like the thought of being replaced or reduced by technology. But isn't that the eventual fate of us all?

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Re: Disney's Meander software

Post by slowtiger » 23 Aug 2017, 13:29

I'm definitely not frightened of the prospect of this or similar software being used for a feature film. The animation of that will still be CGI, just the texture will be a bit different from what the audience is used to. It's just another option in production design. I even expect a bit more general acceptance for a really hand-drawn look, so this will benefit other 2D productions as well.

It's funny how much they sell their "vector lines will be inbetweened automatically" part while RETAS did that for a long time now. The only new elements, IMO, are the movement vector heat maps. That's some really slick piece of programming. But then again I believe this is already in use for adding motion blur in live action FX shots for some time.

All that other stuff, like mapping the texture following the 3D surfaces, is something I already expect from 3D software.
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Re: Disney's Meander software

Post by ematecki » 23 Aug 2017, 14:17

The motion field is generated by the 3D software, almost for free... really nothing here...
Much more harder to generate from 2D imagery (being it live action or drawn).
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Re: Disney's Meander software

Post by schwarzgrau » 23 Aug 2017, 14:19

I'm not really frightened by the aspect of getting replaced, I always welcome new technology, if it offers new possibilities to do stuff in a new way. And Meander has A LOT of possibilities to create something you've never seen before. But to me it seems like they only use it to do some lifeless 2D animation clone, which lacks everything handdrawn animation has in advantage to CG animation, except of the lines.
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Re: Disney's Meander software

Post by o0Ampy0o » 24 Aug 2017, 03:15

What is Disney's objective showing off Meander? These videos are directed at the general public not strictly industry people. If they were going to offer it for sale to the public all of this would make sense.

Tease level "making of" descriptions are what I am accustomed to whether it is software or human skilled labor. However, this material on Meander is more in depth than I have seen available for many products you can actually purchase.

It was interesting to learn that Moana was done with the same technology as Paperman. I have been impressed with the lighting and color in that film.
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Re: Disney's Meander software

Post by schwarzgrau » 24 Aug 2017, 07:19

Moana was done using Meander? If I remember correctly they planned to use Meander on Moana, but then opt out, since the whole Meander workflow was in a too early stage to rely on. At least for a feature film.
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Re: Disney's Meander software

Post by Elodie » 24 Aug 2017, 07:29

I think they used it only for the tattooed character, not for the whole film.
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Re: Disney's Meander software

Post by schwarzgrau » 24 Aug 2017, 08:12

Oh my bad! I didn't watched the movie, I just saw the trailer
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Re: Disney's Meander software

Post by o0Ampy0o » 24 Aug 2017, 08:42

I was reading other material on Meander and did not pursue the details of Moana.

"The hand-drawn opening was made with the program, along with the other two-dimensional elements of the film, like the living tattoos in Maui's grand musical number, "You're Welcome."" ~ SOURCE

"It was used extensively by effects to do shot planning, and during the hand-drawn prologue, and on everything that was hand-drawn during the [Lin-Manuel Miranda] song, ‘You’re Welcome,'” Brian Whited, Disney’s senior software engineer, told IndieWire. He designed and developed Meander and will receive the Academy’s Sci-Tech Award on February 11th at the Beverly Wilshire."~ SOURCE

Again, I wish they were releasing it to the public but I think this just means they can outfit various departments with Meander including mobile set crews.

"Meander Kit runs on Linux, MacOS, and IOS, so we can develop apps for iPads.” ~ SOURCE


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Re: Disney's Meander software

Post by D.T. Nethery » 24 Aug 2017, 13:53

The drawn animation of the tattoo character "Mini-Maui" and the other drawn characters in one of the song sequences were animated traditionally on paper by Eric Goldberg, Mark Henn, and Randy Haycock . Then the pencil drawings were digitized and mapped to the CG Maui character (with subtle distortions to make the character appear to conform to the contours of Maui's skin) . Meander was used to do the final clean-up and enhance the stylization of the line .

Goldberg: "When we were animating the "You're Welcome" song, a lot of it was supposed to look like painted tapas that had torn edges around them. That's what Ian Gooding, our production designer wanted. Our cleanup lead, Rachel Bibb, used Meander that had been developed on "Paperman" , to do the clean up to make it look like paint strokes for those particular sections."

http://www.laughingplace.com/w/articles ... animation/
Drawn animation in Moana.jpg
Mini_Maui_Model_sheet.jpg
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Re: Disney's Meander software

Post by Elodie » 24 Aug 2017, 14:24

Thank you for your science David, it is much appreciated !
D.T. Nethery wrote:
24 Aug 2017, 13:53
the other drawn characters in one of the song sequences were animated traditionally on paper
I wish someday I could know how and for what TVPaint licenses owned by Disney are used. Each time I see 2D stuff in a Disney movie, I'm like : "eh ? is that TVPaint, finally ?!"

"Nope".

:cry:

(Well actually I know it was sued for the short film Inner Workings, but is that all ?)
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Re: Disney's Meander software

Post by D.T. Nethery » 24 Aug 2017, 18:47

Elodie wrote:
24 Aug 2017, 14:24
Thank you for your science David, it is much appreciated !
D.T. Nethery wrote:
24 Aug 2017, 13:53
the other drawn characters in one of the song sequences were animated traditionally on paper
I wish someday I could know how and for what TVPaint licenses owned by Disney are used. Each time I see 2D stuff in a Disney movie, I'm like : "eh ? is that TVPaint, finally ?!"

"Nope".

:cry:

(Well actually I know it was used for the short film Inner Workings, but is that all ?)
The Disney Co. is very secretive about what software is used for what purpose except when they are promoting their own software like Meander or some of the other development projects they have posted here: https://www.disneyanimation.com/technology/publications .

For example, this paper : https://disney-animation.s3.amazonaws.c ... 14-TOG.pdf which covers some of the same things that were being discussed in that thread about the software Lumo, for generating shadows and highlights .

I did read that they used TVPaint on the short 'Inner Workings' as you mentioned , and I believe a friend told me one year at CTN that some storyboard artists were using it , too. When I worked there we were always strongly cautioned not to ever discuss details about any of the production processes (like CAPS) because the company wanted to control whatever information was released about production processes . It's still that way .
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