Red Planet/BBC1’s “Death In Paradise” continues to rate as one of the most popular shows on UK television and the team at DNegTV supplied the VFX for the latest series including “Harry” the lizard who maintains his role as one of the shows stars!

Hayden Jones, VFX Supervisor at DNegTV, who has supervised the show from it’s inception decided an update was needed for Harry the lizard and so a complete new model, displacement and texturing scheme was put in place using Maya and Zbrush to improve the fine detail and subtleties of Harry’s character. Mark Pascoe, Lead 3D artist at DNegTV, then re-rigged the model in DNeg’s proprietary animation system giving the animators greater freedom and feedback than ever before.

Producer, Tim Bradley, with his wealth of VFX experience also pushed the boundaries of the series allowing Harry to interact with new show lead Kris Marshall in a way not attempted previously. This included a shot where Harry actually leaps onto Kris, collapsing his hammock before escaping to the safety of a nearby tree, requiring SFX to provide clothing movement and rigging for Harry’s landing.

 

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As ever the challenge of making Harry photorealistic remains one of the biggest hurdles though. “The advantage of the CG lighting pipeline here at DNegTV is that we are able to get incredibly realistic looking shots very quickly using a quite limited amount of information from on set; which is necessary as we’re not able to get to the Caribbean to supervise shots first hand.” says Lead artist Mark Pascoe, “We’ve not had a situation yet in which Harry’s caused major issues to add to the scene when he’s been needed.” Double Negative’s own shaders are used in conjunction with Pixar’s Renderman to create Harry’s final images before being composited in The Foundry’s Nuke.

Apart from creating Harry for the show, the team also completed another 100 shots including complex composites of a storm hitting the Island where the show takes place, creating a lighthouse, an aircraft, tropical parrots, adding bullet wounds and altering wardrobe.

Meet Harry The Lizard

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGGv5FuB_yA