Maattrraan Film VFX – Conjoined Twins

Posted: February 28, 2013 in Uncategorized
Twice the effect

When Indian actor Suriya was cast to play conjoined twins in K.V Anand’s Maattrraan, visual effects became crucial to realizing the story. Srinivas Mohan, looked to several solutions, including digital head replacement and multi-camera re-projections, to craft shots of the twins dancing, fighting and acting together.

On the Light Stage. IBL lighting pioneer Paul Debevec assisted Srinivas Mohan with the production and scanning for Maattrraan.

Face render.

Principal photography relied on Suriya acting with a body double whose head would later be replaced. Action and dance shots that required fast movements were generally achieved with a digital version of Suriya. Facial scans were taken of the actor on a Light Stage in Los Angeles (with extra assistance provided by Paul Debevec). Wider shots made use of Image Metrics facial animation tech. Suriya’s on-set facial performance was recorded via a helmet rig made up of LED strips, a CCD cam and an iPhone 4s. The digital head model was modeled in Maya and Jupiter Jazz’s Jupiter Skin.

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Watch a breakdown of the digital head replacement work.

More static shots of the conjoined twins were achieved by replacing the body double’s head with Suriya’s performance captured separately on greenscreen. But to solve perspective issues, the visual effects team recorded the greenscreen performance from multiple angles using five cameras. A 3D mesh of Suriya was tracked onto the body double that matched the greenscreen performance, before the five camera textures were projected onto the 3D head using Nuke. To calibrate the five-camera setup to the live cameras, an Xbox Kinect sensor helped capture camera placements on location.

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See how the head re-projection shots were accomplished.

An interesting approach was also used to properly time Suriya’s performance with the body double’s head and body movements. The body double’s performance was recorded with numbered beats (1,2,3,4 etc) – which Suriya observed and remembered as reference.

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