Just in case you haven’t had a good cry today, please take a moment to watch this heartwarming animated spot for Disneyland Paris.  In it, the titular tiny duckling finds a surprise hero in an abandoned comic book, before…well, just watch it.  We’ll wait.

Created by the talented team at Unit Image, we reached out to the environment and rendering supervisor on “The Little Duck,” Mickael Riciotti, to learn how his team used SpeedTree to bring their project to life:

We’ve been using Speedtree at Unit Image for a few years now. The first time was on the “For Honor” cinematic we did in 2016. At the time, we loved the “wind” feature and how it added life to our scenes, so we decided to use it again on this project.


The idea was to go for a photorealistic look, pushing details, and that included adding wind motion to the vegetation. Although the foreground elements such as grass, clovers, and dead leaves were created inside 3ds Max, all of the trees, bushes, hedges, reeds, and taller grass come from SpeedTree!


What’s great about SpeedTree is that it’s very easy to get a realistic looking AND moving tree in no time. Our trees are based on assets from the SpeedTree store and needed very little tweaking to get the desired motion.


We exported 2 variations of the wind motion for each species: one with a slower wind for most of the shots, and one more stormy wind that we used for the storm field and fall shots.
We then imported them with the provided SpeedTree MaxScript, converted them to Vray’s Vrmesh objects, and used them in our Forest Pack scatters.


Because the SpeedTree assets moved so nicely, we could get away with a simple animated noise on the grass and clovers giving the illusion of a more complex wind pattern. The grass at the end when the ducks are hiding under a bush comes from SpeedTree too, because it needed a more complex wind motion.


Thanks again to Mickael Riciotti for providing us insight into the Unit Image production process (a process that included the talented efforts of Jean Michel Dreschler, Quentin Chaillet, and Florian Malchow).

Looking for similar assets? Here’s what we spied from this video!

Cherry Laurel: Field (Carolina)

Cherry Laurel Species Pack

Paper Birch Species Pack