“X-Men Days of Future Past: Directing a Highly Complex Shape-Shifting Sentinel”

  • ©Tony Micilotta, Sam Berry, and Thomas Stevenson



Entry Number: 39


    X-Men Days of Future Past: Directing a Highly Complex Shape-Shifting Sentinel



    Engineered from the DNA of the shape-shifter Mystique, the Sentinel is a ten foot fully CG mutant slayer covered with approximately 100,000 independent blades, the movement of which had to be directed artistically rather than driven by simulation. Existing workflows supported a maximum of 15,000 blades so an entirely new approach was required. We introduced the concept of a follicle that approximated the shape and size of the final blade model. These were combined into per body part follicle-meshes and could be manipulated using standard deformers. This not only provided requisite visualization for animators, but doubled up as primitives from which transforms could be derived using trigonometric methods. These transforms were cached as particles and were subsequently ingested by a bespoke Katana Scene Graph Generator (SGG) that instanced the complex blade models accordingly.


    Many thanks to Sheldon Stopsack, Chris Elmer and Giles Davies for their input, innovation and enthusiasm.


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