This Little Piggy

“People know what a pig’s supposed to look like,” Smith said, so the job didn’t involve much in the way of conceptual design. “We built a model, a puppet, and then it was down to the animators and lighters, hair groomers.”

As well as the usual CG creation suspects, Maya for example, Weta has a large suite of its own proprietary software. That suite includes Tissue, a linear-elastic finite-element system to build muscles, skin, and fat for creatures, of which there’s a brief demo below.

Weta also developed Barbershop, which does pretty much what it says on the box – anything to do with hair. FXGuide has a good explanation of it here. Naturally, for Wilderpeople’s bush pig, that wasn’t anything pretty, but several years’ worth of grit and grime and matted fur.

Both Tissue and Barbershop were awarded Scientific and Engineering Plaques by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

“Once Weta came on board Wilderpeople they were a juggernaut,” Neal said. “It was very impressive to watch.”

“It’s nice to be able to contribute,” Smith said, who also noted that, unlike with many of the larger projects Weta services, he’d been able to go to the cinema and enjoy Hunt for the Wilderpeople without having already seen the whole film many times over.


Hunt for the Wilderpeople is currently on release.


Written by Keith Barclay

Keith is the editor of SCREENZ, and the co-creator and founding editor of CREWED.


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