Ready For It?
In 2017, I had the chance to work on Taylor Swift's "Ready For It?" music video. I worked on several elements, but here I'll break down the cyborg horse.
The semi-translucent horse has circuitry pulsing through it's skin and a metallic musculature. The final look is subtle, composited on top of the real horse on set. Here is a look at what's happening underneath.
I started with a CG model of a horse and re-shaped it to match the proportions of the horse on set. I also matched the lighting to the plate, using a warm key and blue bounce light.
I imported this model into Substance Painter and hand painted the circuit board lines. Sometimes painting by hand is the best way.
I modeled the musculature of the cyborg horse by kit-bashing together individual pieces from models of pipes and machinery. There was not a clear concept before I started, so it was like making a collage out of nuts and bolts. In VFX, everything is done on a tight deadline and kit-bashing is a very fast way to work.
When I overlayed the circuit lines on top of the musculature, I wanted the lines to emit light, so I also rendered the glow and reflection from the lines onto the musculature. Details like this help to add realism.
Each of these layers was rendered as a separate pass. Put together, they look like this (sorry, this one isn't animated):
In the end, my CG work was blended with the live-action plate to create the final look. You can watch the final music video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIft-t-MQuE