Bringing Ted To Life
Australian VFX studio, Iloura, was instrumental in creating the furry, foul-mouthed titular star of ‘Ted’.
The release of the much anticipated Ted later this week sees the completion of a labour of love for Australian VFX studio Iloura, whose efforts were instrumental in bringing the lovably lewd bear to life.
The eponymous teddy bear, a childhood toy magically brought to life, was also given a creative birth by the Melbourne-based special effects studio, who, after impressing with an initial animation test, were assigned half of the character animation scenes in the film. Their preliminary vision proved so influential that it established the look of Ted for the entirety of the film.
Iloura, who have previously worked on special-effects laden features such as Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance and Charlotte's Web, held a creative team of 75 artists to produce and deliver over 500 shots for the final film, working in conjunction with San Francisco based Tippet Studios.
The process was painstaking, with the most minor of logistics requiring extensive thought and planning. Even the fur that coats the entirety of Ted's body needed to communicate little intricacies, with the look of wear and tear needing to be just right.
One of the most challenging aspects Iloura faced was bestowing the appropriate level of liveliness upon the animation. "It was really important for us to make Ted look like a teddy bear brought to life, and not an animal or a cartoon character," CG Supervisor Avi Goodman explained. "We solved this by running a cloth simulation to replicate how fabric would fold or crease, rather than using muscles and skin."
The animation experience of the film's director, Seth MacFarlane, stemming from his pioneering Family Guy, also proved invaluable for the Iloura team. It was MacFarlane's expertise and vision that permitted Iloura a degree of creative license when approaching the task.
"He was really encouraging of our work," remarked VFX supervisor Glenn Melenhorst, "and he trusted us and gave us latitude in the staging of the performance and timing of the gags. We thoroughly enjoyed the process. It was a great lesson for all of us to learn from Seth and his years of experience."
MacFarlane, who also provides the voice of the surly Ted, contributed to the realism of the creation by donning a Moven suit on-set, which captured his motions and upper-body movements to align with his character. It imbued new life in the animation, and gave a "really fresh performance," according to Goodman.
"It got us more into the real world, which is what he was looking for, instead of Ted looking like an animated cartoon character. We were also always looking to match Ted with Seth's natural gestures and vibe so that the performance looked natural," he said.
Ted opened in top spot at the US Box Office last week, taking $US54.1 million, and is expected to do big business in Australian cinemas.