Capital One: "Family Reunion"                                                        QuickTime Player Required

Maya and Joe Alter's "Shave & Hair Cut" Used to Create a Comedic Viking Beard Growing Contest.

 "The Mill" Commercial Work in Culver City                                                                                                         February  5th, 2013

Their Flame Guy was unable to fake the hair growth gag in 2D, so there was apparently not much of a budget left to finish this project.  I was called in at the 11th hour to help put out the fire-- and make some believable, growing Viking Hair for this spot, in a limited amount of time.

Using Maya, I used pre-tracked 3D scenes of the actor's faces and painted Density Maps directly on the geometry's UVs, to quickly recreate the patchy growth of the physical makeup used in the ending shot.  "Shave and a Haircut" was used to simulate hair fibers that matched Maya's scene scale and the physical look of the actors and their makeup / natural hair.  I spent some time adjusting Shave's parameters to control the render hair geometry, to achieve this.

After initial looks were approved, I broke out each of these Master Density Maps for both characters in Photoshop, and made 4 different maps per Master, to precisely control the independently  animated hair systems I would need, for the growth gag.  A total of 8 hair systems with Identical Combing Guides / Settings, with offset animation timings to control length, were created.

In just three days of Fire-Fighting: both hair styles were created, shaded, lit, and animated; with render hairs cached out for The Mill's render farm in their own proprietary format.  Conversion to another format and stripping any Shave references in the render version of the scenes, seemed to solve their licensing issues with Shave on their Farm.  Meng Yang Lu set up render scenes, and we experimented together on their Arnold Shader.   We soon discovered that caching a single hair system was not a problem-- but doing 4 at the same time and in the same scene, exponentially slowed down writing out the hair curves.   As a workaround, we tag-teamed exporting the curves between us as separate processes, which went much faster.  Lu versioned up the render scenes to read multiple caches, and we were good to go!

Everyone seemed happy with the assets I had R&D'd when I wrapped up.  Final lighting & shading tweaks were performed based on my work, by Meng Yang Lu after I finished.  He's a cool guy and as a VFX Supervisor, was great to work for.


Both Vikings Grow Splotchy Beards,
Two goofy Vikings showing off their beard growing powers for Alec Baldwin.

Thanks to "The Mill" for providing me this opportunity to assist them on this creative project.