The Mill has put out a Behind the Scenes video of the Angry Birds 2 Launch Film, which was created to promote the new game. The action short features CG pigs in the surreal Piggy Island paradise, which comes under a vicious attack by the Angry Birds with whom they share the island. For this the VFX team created pigs, palm trees, ocean, clouds and explosions using Maya, ZBrush, Mari and Houdini, as well as some in-house tools for fur.
The CG pigs were based on extensive research from Big Major Cay in the Bahamas, an uninhabited island which is home to actual swimming pigs that approach passing boats looking for food. These pigs, which are larger than their standard farm relatives, were modeled in Maya and then taken into Zbrush for detailing the skin.
Textures for four different versions were made in Mari, ranging from the traditional pink to a dirtier brown spotty version, before the models were back in Maya for rigging and animation. Special attention went into making sure the ears had the correct dynamic to add secondary movement as the pigs ran around on the beach.
Houdini was used for grooming the long body hairs, which were then exported to Maya for rendering with The Mill's in-house fur tools, which allowed for extra details such as individual grains of sand added to the fur to create an additional layer of texture.
Angry Birds is a Finnish video game franchise, originally inspired by a sketch of wingless birds, which was first released for Apple's iOS in late 2009. Its popularity led to new versions of the game being developed, and it has since been downloaded over three billion times across all platforms, making it the most downloaded freemium series of games of all times and the largest mobile app success. A feature film is currently in development with Sony Pictures Imageworks and scheduled for release in May, 2016.