The Smurfs is actually in theaters now, and being devoured by millions of kids around the world. The final results of all those months of hard work are really quite impressive, with an amazingly beautiful Smurf Village and some really cute 3D Smurfs to make people smile.
The film was a great learning experience for me at Sony, being my first time lighting shots in the Imageworks’ katana pipeline. I came out the other end with a lot of respect for the lighting teams and a deeper understanding of how to make the pipeline flow more fluidly from Layout to the end.
Our renderer is called Arnold, which is a true global illumination ray-tracer. Meaning that we could sample existing lighting from the real world in which the background plates were shot, and then apply that lighting information to our 3D geometry in the scene. Then allow virtual light rays to emit from the light sources and then bounce like real photons – thus describing an accurate relationship between surfaces, their materials, and the lights in the scene. It’s complicated but actually elegant and simple.