Marza Animation Planet, the Japanese studio behind the upcoming cg Lupin III feature, recently released a real-time-rendered cg short called The Peak that is receiving a lot of attention for its water effects.

The creators of the short aimed for a hand-drawn approach to the water animation rather than relying on the commonly used cg solution of particle simulations. The challenge was to come up with a pipeline that not only created good-looking results, but was quick and efficient for a real-time Unity production and wouldn’t require hand-sculpting every frame. They explained how they did it during a talk last month at Unite Tokyo 2019:

The presenters at the event were director Satoshi Takahashi, technical director Brent Forrest, Unity pipeline supervisor Takamasa Matsunari, and lookdev/lighting supervisor Ashkan Zanjirian. In the video above, Forrest explains how they worked out the 2d animation design in Flash (aka Adobe Animate), and then exported the vector sequence as Illustrator files, and brought it into Maya.

“Once we’ve got those curves, we can turn that into mesh,” says Forrest, “and once we got the flat mesh, we can turn that into a deformed mesh, and once we have that, we can extrude and then do the handsculpting.” He then explains how they had to write custom sculpt deformers for the project.

Forrest has shared more behind-the-scenes videos on his Youtube channel:

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