June 29, 2012 · 11 min read

Hair Today, Gone to Lunch

Written by:  Matthew Perrin
Resident Ghost Writer

As previously noted, we at Ghost Productions command certain secrets of immortality.  One of the many benefits of those secrets is the ability to grow “long in the tooth” while still retaining a full and functional set of them.  And what better way to celebrate our ever-lengthening lives than by shortening our workday and sharpening our ivories for an occasional birthday banquet?  Experience yields us no better alternative.  So we’ve stopped seeking alternatives—replacing freedom of festivity with freedom of feast!  Gho Pro animator Jas Bajric was our most recent feast master.  This Yugoslavia-born Canadian-turned-Minnesotan vis-wiz commonly prefers: his playlists filled with European trance, his garage housing a Dodge Viper, and his plate filled with grilled meat.  Not surprisingly, he chose to stage his lunchtime birthday break at the Minnesota-based BBQ house Famous Dave’s.

With the notable exception of free food and company field trips, few enticements can lure Jas away from his office desk.  Like many of our other animators, he arrived at the company with a general 3D background but quickly exhibited a unique talent and preference for a production niche: texturing and lighting.  Having developed an interest in this specialty while conducting earlier work in commercial advertising, Jas now devotes large portions of his time in the Gho Pro office to researching and developing new and innovative approaches to 3D texturing and lighting.  The results are often (and literally) quite visible.  For instance, Jas recently spent several days exploring and experimenting with the new FiberMesh features in version 4R3 of the popular Pixologic 3D design application ZBrush.  Attempting to describe this feature runs the risk of over-simplifying its complexity and significance.  But, in essence, FiberMesh creates myriad tiny filaments that can be colored, lit, and shaded to photo-realistically mimic natural filamentous phenomena like hair and grass.  Prior to the new fiber option, the most common approach to simulating filaments was by pasting painted strands onto flat-surfaced polygons that mimicked the shape of the naturally existing object(s).  This difference can be clearly seen in the views of Heal protagonist “Leo” below.  The left image shows Leo with hair created using the FiberMesh feature in ZBrush 4R3.  The right image shows Leo with hair created using a traditional approach of texture-mapping polygons.

Anyone working in 3D visual design will recognize the revolutionary potential of FiberMesh and its related features.  But even without such an industry connection, anyone with average vision can see the differences.  Those differences are already being utilized in the character animations that we are currently creating for our clients.  The above comparison of Leo shows but a glimpse of our studio’s earliest foray into the future of fiber geometry.  Since Ghost Productions specializes in character-focused medical animation, Jas will undoubtedly become an expert hairstylist in no time.  Perhaps the company might even consider paying for him to attend night classes in cosmetology.  What better way for Jas to perfect his coiffures?  Okay, that would never happen but it makes for a funny mental image, no?

You can look forward to more updates about our staff, style, and sorties here on the Gho Pro blog.  But if you’d rather just skip straight to stalking us, you might start by memorizing the info contained in our personal bios on the Ghost Productions websiteOn the other hand, maybe you aren’t interested in getting to know we Ghosties better.  We don’t blame you.  Our awesomeness can be intimidating to strangers.  But we still recommend that you check out our primary haunt (a.k.a. homepage).