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Shrek 3 Adds Curly Hair

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    Posted: May 27 2007 at 8:27am

'Shrek': In living, breathing color
Marco R. Della Cava
USA Today
May. 25, 2007 12:00 AM

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. - Want to really make an ogre mad? Call him a cartoon.

But "Shrek the Third" shouldn't fear such slights. While the PDI/DreamWorks animation crew here made tweaks to virtually every character and setting, the tale's latest installment stands out for leaps in the rendition of hair, skin and clothing. "The tech breakthroughs gave us not only more range of motion, but more range in the performances themselves," says director Chris Miller.

Time was when all the nutty creatures in Shrek, save its balding star, were saddled with some fairly humdrum hair. But help rode to the rescue in the form of Strand Solver.

The computer program enables animators to strategically implant strands of digital hair into a character's head. The end result is a rasta look, where each large strand commands countless nearby hairs. So when Sleeping Beauty dozes off, some locks slide over her face, while others cascade off her shoulders, as opposed to shifting in a clump.
Understanding How Curly Hair Reacts To Gravity

"We're very proud," says effects supervisor Philippe Gluckman, who also cites Guinevere's gold ringlets, which bounce when she walks. "Getting a computer to understand how curly hair reacts to gravity isn't easy."

Another time-consuming bit of grooming was Merlin's floor-length carpet of white facial locks. "Long is challenging, because the computer simulation can get overloaded and explode," says technical director Larry Cutler.

He zooms his computer in on Merlin's mouth. "This part took forever," he says.

Cutler says that any PDI employee with a beard was hauled before animators for scrutiny. "We realized that when Merlin talked, his beard had to move around the mouth, but no farther, since that's what real beards do."

In fact, animator Gluckman jokes that his personal obsession with the way hair moves proved dangerous: "I got very dirty looks once for staring at a woman's braid too long."

If there's one moment in the film where the team's salon work really shines, it's when Prince Charming sends his golden locks flying in the finest of Breck Girl traditions.

"He's our diva," Gluckman says. "But we had to make sure (his hair) wasn't too real, too free. It had to have a weight that allowed it to always regain that trademark look."

To read more about the making of Shrek complete with making skin glow go to:
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