Rushes Film&TV create a CG lizard for the exciting new eight part drama from Red Planet Pictures.
Death in Paradise is an exciting new eight part drama from Red Planet Pictures starring Ben Miller as Detective Inspector Richard Poole, who is sent to the tiny Caribbean island of Saint-Marie to solve a mysterious murder.
Rushes Film&TV were approached to create a CG lizard that inhabits the Inspector’s house and
eventually forms a bond with the displaced policeman.
Hayden Jones, VFX Supervisor at Rushes used Mari in creating the look of the CG lizard that appears in the show. He comments “It is always tricky to create CG in a totally non VFX show – our mission was to make the Lizard as real as possible within the production constraints. Initially we attempted to purchase a lizard to use as a basis for texturing but this proved impossible as the desired type was not available. In the end we used the Foundry’s new Mari product to paint the lizard texture from photographic reference.’ He continues, ‘Using Mari to paint was a revelation! Immensely quick and intuitive. It allowed me to concentrate on the getting the artistic look right, without having to get bogged down in technicalities. I loved the ability to bring in animated meshes, so you can check how your texture looks in the most extreme poses. In TV productions of increasingly high standards and smaller timescales, MARI is a streamlined and truly innovative texturing environment for VFX artists.’
The critical bedding of the lizard into the scenes was done using Pixar’s Renderman and the
Foundry’s Nuke product. Animators Craig Travis and Chris Hutchison studied a huge number of natural history clips of lizards to perfect the nature of the motion and try to balance the conflict of the lizard having some character versus being totally realistic in behaviour.”
In all Rushes completed over 90 shots including 30 of the lizard itself.