Bulldog Drool: "Rio" (2011)


Copyright Blue Sky Studios.

The directors wanted a lot of sloppy drool coming from George the bulldog. I designed this effect to reflect the same visual qualities found in classic 2D, with plenty of handles for animators to tweak. It employs a modular array of spheres to build shape and is entirely procedural, i.e. non-dynamic.

The primary components are:

1) The drool lining the lips. A series of randomly scaled spheres is created to line the lips, as well as to mesh into the hanging strands, thereby diminishing the appearance of being "tacked-on".

2) The drool strands hanging from the mouth. Their position on the lips and default scale was decided during initial testing. They are positioned procedurally & follow the anchor point, stretching and wobbling in time according to user-defined handles.

3) Droplets being cast from the strands. The user defines which strand casts droplets & when the event should occur. An expression then calculates a velocity vector for the end of the strand at that particular frame, creates a ballistic trajectory and emits the droplet(s) accordingly. If the procedural result is deemed undesirable, the velocity vector can be overridden and assigned manually. Because the effect is completely non-dynamic, the user can step in reverse, "flipping & rolling" with repeatable results. The timing of the droplet event can be changed via slideable values in the Channel Editor and the velocity vector will be recalculated on the fly.

The video is composed of 3 sections:
1) Initial tests
2) Production shots - test renders
3) Final frames

I executed several of the shots personally- Otherwise, I supervised and supported the effect across the department. Many of the shots were executed by Jamie Lloyd.