The Seeker Dark is Rising is based an a childrens book that a number of my friends had read and have fond childhood memories of the book. But the movie never lived up to reader's expectations. It was mostly shot on site in Romania. The visual effect that we produced hold up very well but the movie doesnt live up to the standard set by other fantasy films released.
We did work on a few sequences : Manor Ice, Church Snakes and Manor Flood. Which relate to the Water and Fire Signs.
The Manor Ice was a number of icicles threating the sleeping victims below
Church Snakes was a sequence where an albino python takes centre stage for a few shots before and elderly woman explodes creating thousands of snakes
The Manor Flood the seeker sees the water sign in the atrium and smashes it the manor flood with water and the seeker gets the water sign from the murky depths.
My role on the film initially was to retire our old rendering pipeline which was based around XSI and OpenSource Renderman Translator named Affogato. This technology was replaced by a Renderman translator for Maya made by DNASoft, via soho vfx called 3Delight for Maya. Traditionally another OpenSource project called Liquid was used as a Renderman translator for Maya.
3dfm (3delight for Maya) proved to be a good choice and has been used on a number of project since its initial implementation on the seeker. During this transition phase rigging and animation was still done in XSI meaning that a cache format needed to be used to bring animation into a renderable format for Maya. This was done using a good old Wavefront OBJ along with an inhouse computer graphics toolkit. This caching pipeline was used for all the shots except the crowd of snakes.
The snakes took a good deal of look development and used a "one size fits all" shader that made use of subsurface scattering.
Along with that there was a fair bit of development for simulating and rendering large numbers of snakes, this work was undertaken by Phil Barrenger and Brian Ward.
Along with this there was hero snake animation and hero icicle animation and simulation.
Once the tools were up and running, my role was to do all the effects and lighting on the 16 water sign shots. This was a big intoduction into raytracing in Renderman