Moana: Geometry Based Disco Ball Lighting for Tamatoa’s Lair
Since the disco ball light patterns were a very crucial component for making the bizarre and ludicrous atmosphere of the Tamatoa's lair sequence of Moana, we needed to art-direct the motion, the size, the shapes, the density, the height, and the composition of the patterns. More importantly, since the patterns were the reflection from the character's body, we had to decide how much the motion should follow the character's animation. We established a system to procedurally animate the lighted patterns, and to reproduce the process of how the a cucalorus(stencil) applied point light would work, with the geometry pieces. The geometry pieces were lightly manipulated in the viewports, and we could apply any kind of procedural animation controls as we want, like the height distribution, the speed of movement, the rotation, the scaling, the color controls, the number of patterns, the grouping of patterns and the constraint weights on the character body. All of these controls were interactive and gave us a lot of choreography freedom. The intuitiveness of this system allowed us to have very fast approval process for the motion and the composition of patterns with the viewport renders. Once we got the approval of the pattern animation, our pipe-lined system generated the 4K animated sphere map which would be used as the cucalorus of point light in the rendering process. The map were passed to lighting department and when it was used as the light source, we could see exactly matched shapes and motions of patterns in the rendered outputs, as we designed them with the geometry in the viewports. Our approach would be a very optimized and novel solution to produce the lighting effects where we need art-directed design of motion, shapes and composition of light pattern effects.