|Making Jimmy Neutron
DMN: How many polygons is Jimmy Neutron?
Davis: Well, he’s rezable, he’s subdivision surfaced, so you can rez him up and down. So it kind of depends on the purpose. But we had many, many scenes that were like a million and a half polygons all totalled. DMN: How will you evolve Jimmy as new tools come out?
Davis: We’ll be incorporating other toolsets and improving his ability to be expressive and emotive and he’ll evolve slightly. He’ll always have the things that set him apart, his hairdo, and so on, but we’ll just provide little subtle changes that will improve the way he can express himself.
DMN: Did you use a lot of plug-ins for this?
Davis: Yeah, a lot of plug-ins for the TD side and the texturing side. I can’t even remember them all. I used to be the 3D department for a long time. But now I can’t remember what they were using. A lot of shader plug-ins and texturing, and the TDs used not as many plug-ins as we once did because LightWave really has incorporated a lot. There’s a really neat particle system in LightWave now that we used a lot, and HyperVoxels and things like that we took advantage of.
In fact, we did some really cool stuff with HyperVoxels, where we created a lot of the huge shots of the Yokian arena where there’s like 5,000 Yokians. They were all built with particle replacement with HyperVoxel sprites so that they weren’t geometry, they were just little 2D mapped images on the polygons that replaced particles so they were easier to control.
DMN: What did you do to make the egg yolk inside the shells?
Davis: Those were actually hand-animated, with deformation controls, until they spilled, and then when they spilled we used particle fluid dynamics and stuff.
DMN: How many animators were there for Jimmy Neutron?
Davis: I think we had about 30 animators at our peak, and a similar number of TDs, about 25, for lighting and effects.
DMN: Did you work with people virutally in different parts of the country or the world?
Davis: To do modeling and character rigging we did, but not for animation or anything like that.
DMN: Is that because you want to be able confer with people more regularly?
Davis: Yeah, it’s too hard to do the animation portion of it remotely. With modeling, it’s easy. That’s a real nice thing you can break out. But not with animation or lighting or anything like that.
DMN: Especially on a tight deadline, where you have to constantly collaborate.
Davis: Yes, and I got extremely involved, probably too involved. Like, I literally laid out every shot in the arena and I was doing lighting comps, hundreds of them.
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