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George the Spider


Stefano SottoZen writes:

Hi guys,

in this video i made, clearly inspired to the Famous "Lucas the Spider", i put myself into some challenging (for me at least) CGI situations. The idea came to me reading all those funny comments of people suddenly loving spiders after watching the video. So i thought about George, a CGI spider in search of some tenderness from humans.

So i put down a quick storyboard and i took the shots using my friend Alberto as actor. Once i had all the footage i started by 3D tracking all the scenes in Blender. Nothing fancy here, i followed regular procedure and basic knowledge. All went right even though some part of the camera solving and reconstrction process in Blender are so mysterious to me :)

btw, with all my scene ready to go i start to put the spider ( the model was bought on Turbosquid, a cheap one to say it all, so i have to model it again to have some more effect) into the scene and i start building a rig for animation. I start to get confortable using Blender animation tools, i came from Softimage (RIP) and at first was so difficoult to me get into Blender's logic about skeleton, rigs, constraints and animation. The rig i made allow me to animate his 8 legs, head, body and fangs!

This was the hardest part, didn't imagine it would took so long to animate only a minute long video! The few seconds where the spider is attached to my friend's face took me two days :)
I made frame by frame, moving each leg following the skin part of Alberto's face.

I found interesting using object with the "hold out" material to mask parts of the video, the result is almost like using masks inside After Effects. When the spider crawl over the sofa, i used an "hold out" object to hide only the legs that was behind the sofa, allowing to render the front legs. Without this little trick i think would be a nightmare masking it in After Effects.

I hope you guys can find this info interesting, i am preparing a BTS about this video.

Have a great day :)

SottoZen team


    • Nicole Romeo on

      So, I am incredibly arachnophobic. My kids love Lucas though, and thats how I found the link to George - and I have a story that... you might find ...well, relevant. When I was 19 I moved from my home in Northern B.C. to Vancouver Island - where any native will tell you that the spiders are plentiful and very large. I moved into my parents basement suite, which had concrete walls. There was a crack in the top of the concrete right beside where I laid down each night - the concrete only went about 2 feet up the wall - so I had a good view of this crack when I sat down each night. After a few weeks of living there, the tiniest spider Id ever seen in my life moved into it. If I blew on it, he would scurry back into the crack. He was always out though in the morning when I woke up. I named him George.
      After about two weeks, George disappeared. I figured he'd gone hunting.
      Nope - later that day my dad told me how he had bravely and nobly killed a spider by my bed.
      I cried.
      Every spider Ive ever seen since, I have named George. I kill them, but all spiders are George.
      If I ever found one as small though, Id probably be tempted to let him live - just out of rememberance.
      Thank You for reminding me of George.

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