The introduction to Buck pays homage to the famous scene in Apocalypse Now when Martin Sheens’ character rises silently from the water, his fur (Buck, not Martin Sheen’s) soaked and plastered. “In the past,” said Garfield, “we haven’t actually been able to get the fur to look wet. We’ve had wet grooms for the fur, but there was never a good way to move a sheen or highlight texture through the fur, and put fluid effects on top of the fur, drips and things, to make it look right.” In this movie, Blue Sky took the time to develop better techniques, combining the best of both worlds of hand animated FX and procedural or simulation based effects.
Blue Sky found that neither using strictly procedural or simulation methods nor manual methods give the style that director Carlos Saldanha wanted, or the control or directability they needed, especially for a scene requiring the water to drip and run off in sheets, utilizing four water drip systems, each with a different resolution and noise water bump seamlessly integrated together. “We combined a lot of different techniques. We had one of our FX animators use a rig to make hand animated drips on his nose, over his lips, drips along the knife he’s holding in his teeth. Those were animated off the character and his props, and through the water."
"What we would do is take a pruned selection of those hand animated particles and apply them to a 2D fluid sim using Realflow's Realwave surfaces (Next Limit) which gave us control over the ripples made from the droplets” The fact that this wass a close-up shot meant the detail had to be high res and accurate, employing the use of secondary splashes too. “Because we combined hand animated FX with both procedural and simulated effects, we were able to really control it. After two or three iterations the director loved it. That was a nice way to work.”