The Helio Collective uses MAXON CINEMA 4D for pulse-pounding opening titles for sports action film, The Art of Flight
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Two years in the making, The Art of Flight is a visually mind-blowing sports action film that takes audiences on an epic snowboarding journey. To capture the film’s adrenalin-producing action, director Curt Morgan (That’s It, That’s All), traveled with snowboarding superstar Travis Rice and his band of brothers as they navigated some of the wildest terrain on the planet, including stops in Jackson Hole, Aspen, Alaska, British Columbia and Patagonia.
The film’s electric tone is set right from the beginning with an unforgettable opening title sequence created by the Bozeman, Montana-based production company Helio Collective using MAXON’s CINEMA 4D. “We use CINEMA 4D on every project we work on because we like the way it easily becomes an extension of our creativity,” says Chris Murphy, Helio’s founder and creative director.
The Art of Flight begins with a sequence in which Travis Rice boards a plane. As he boards, his metallic-looking logo floats under the plane’s walkway. The model, which resembles metal water droplets, is an Extrude NURBS from a vector graphic. Textures were created to simulate the reflection of the surrounding structure. SynthEyes provided a precise track through the entire shot, and RealFlow was used for the dripping water effect.
Next, the location shifts to outer space where the flight of an asteroid shooting in from the far reaches of the solar system acts as a visual metaphor for the high-flying action about to come. Headed toward Earth, the asteroid flies past Mars and a series of sponsorship logos before honing in on the logo for Brain Farm Digital Cinema, the HD production house of the film’s director, Curt Morgan.
CINEMA 4D ’s Dynamics came in handy when animating the asteroid crashing into a few of the small rocks floating in space and splitting them apart. Nitro4D’s fracture plug-in Thrausi made it easy for the team to get cut cubes to create the chunks of rock. MoGraph was then used to turn the individual pieces into an entire debris field.
The planet was created on a separate pass and textured with an 8K surface map of Mars, as well as displacement and judicious use of Sub-Surface Scattering. A point light placed fairly far away gave them the look and control they wanted. One last pass using Advanced Render provided some needed atmosphere. “CINEMA 4D’s great integration with After Effects gave us complete control during compositing,” Murphy recalls. Available on DVD and iTunes, The Art of Flight is presently on tour worldwide for a special series of theater showings. A 3D theater release is expected soon.
Read the feature story on Art of Flight at Studio Daily: