Innovative VFX Sequences in Life of Pi, Prometheus and Men in Black 3 Benefit from Cinema 4D and BodyPaint 3D Technology.
MAXON congratulates the many customers that won and were nominated by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Visual Effects Society (VES) and other prominent creative arts organizations for outstanding achievement in the visual effects and other categories who leveraged the company’s professional 3D solutions – Cinema 4D and Body Paint 3D – to create this year’s most proclaimed characters, backgrounds and environments.
Life of Pi, this year’s, Oscar® award-winning film for Best Visual Effects was made by MAXON customers who used MAXON Cinema 4D to create the stereoscopic shots of the tea tree fields, hills, towns and church featured in the Ang Lee-directed film. MAXON’s state-of-the-art 3D software solutions were also featured in two of the Best Visual Effects Oscar nominees – Prometheus and Marvel’s The Avengers. In addition, many of the film and video game projects honored by the VES also relied on MAXON products, including Men in Black™ 3, The Amazing Spider-Man and Halo 4.
MAXON technology played key roles in the complex on-screen and gadget display screen graphics seen throughout Marvel’s The Avengers and Men in Black 3, as well as the CG environments, creatures, costumes and spaceship designs that contributed to Prometheus’ futuristic tone.
[Editors‘ Note: For a complete listing of Academy Award nominations, please visit: http://oscar.go.com/nominees. For a complete listing of VES Awards winners, please visit: http://www.visualeffectssociety.com/11th-Annual-VES-Awards-Winners]
“Each year, celebrated visual effects, motion graphics and animation artists choose MAXON 3D solutions to help bring their creative visions to life,” Paul Babb, president/CEO MAXON USA said. “We congratulate all our customers, those who were nominated and won awards this season, who continue to set the industry standard in 3D artistry and inspire and entertain audiences around the world.”
Life of Pi – Oscar Winner for Best Visual Effects
Life of Pi, the magical film adventure about a 16-year-old Indian son of a zookeeper and his shipwreck with a tiger, won numerous awards from prestigious organizations around the world, including four Oscar wins for 'Best Visual Effects', 'Best Direction', 'Best Original Score' and 'Best Cinematography.' The film also received multiple VES Awards including the 'Visionary Award' for Lee; 'Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Feature Motion Picture'; and 'Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture'.
Acclaimed digital artist and long-time Cinema 4D user Steven Messing (Prometheus, Avatar, Alice in Wonderland, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Water for Elephants, and the upcoming film titles, Star Trek Into Darkness and Pirates of the Caribbean 5) served as visual effects art director on Life of Pi, working under Paul Graff, visual effects supervisor at Crazy Horse Effects, Venice, Calif. Messing used Cinema 4D mostly for the wide establishing stereoscopic shot of central character ‘Pi’ Patel’s rural hometown in Munnar, India and outlying areas that required the creation of very specific landmarks including a temple, mosque and church that still exist in some form today.
Messing explained that he art directed the landscape and buildings to be a bit more surreal in scale and scope.
“I created a wide over-scan matte painting that was projected in layers onto 3D geometry in Cinema 4D,” Messing says. “CG FX Supervisor Luke Mcdonald and Compositing Supervisor Josh Lacross were able to breathe life into the shot using Cinema 4D's powerful toolset. We rendered fully-lit and dynamic 3D tree elements, animated birds, people and animals, and moving clouds with interactive light rays casting shadows across the landscape. With Cinema 4D we had a very efficient stereoscopic pipeline that allowed us to render amazing results in a practical time frame."
Prometheus – Oscar Nominee for Best Visual Effects
Digital artist Steven Messing utilized Cinema 4D to conceptualize and design complex visual effects shots in the production of Twentieth Century FOX’s Prometheus, directed by Ridley Scott.
Messing served as Visual Effects Art Director, working under Prometheus Production Designer Arthur Max. He leveraged Cinema 4D’s speed, agility and intuitive processes to produce several physical set builds as well as CG environments, creatures, costumes and spaceship designs that contributed to the aesthetic and mythological visual tone of the film. He also worked through post-production, creating matte shots and additional designs, working under VFX Supervisor Richard Stammers and VFX Producer Allen Maris.
“Using Cinema 4D remains a top choice software that afforded us a highly flexible solution for pre-visualizing and experimenting with design elements such as intricate surface detail, textures and patterns that could be presented to Ridley Scott for approvals in a practical timeframe,” said Messing.
[Editors’ note: For additional details on Messing’s workflow in Prometheus, see MAXON press release: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20120613005456/en/Prometheus-VFX-Art-Director-Steven-Messing-Leverages]
Marvel’s The Avengers – Oscar Nominee for Best Visual Effects
Cantina Creative, a design and visual effects studio located in Culver City, Calif., was called on to realize numerous 2D and 3D elements that appear throughout the blockbuster superhero film, Marvel’s The Avengers. Stephen Lawes, Cantina co-founder and creative director, Sean Cushing, Cantina co-founder and VFX producer, and Venti Hristova, Cantina VFX supervisor, assembled a talented in-house VFX team that included Jayse Hansen, a film and television screen and UI designer/animator (2012, Rise of the Planet of the Apes and The Avengers), and Navarro Parker, an Emmy-winning motion graphics, 3D animation and visual effects artist (Iron Man, The Transformers and The Avengers) – both acclaimed Cinema 4D artists – for the job.
Director Joss Whedon wanted new visual concepts for the heads-up-display (HUD) in the new Iron Man Mark VII suit and challenged the Cantina team to design and animate a massive amount of computer screen displays for both Tony Stark and S.H.I.E.L.D. – the fictional espionage and law enforcement agency in the film that deals with superhuman threats. Most of these screen displays were featured on the 'Helicarrier', the aircraft carrier that travels on water and in the air.
“Cinema 4D played a vital role in designing 3D elements during various phases of the design process, from early draft screenshots to final delivery,” said Hansen. “We used the software to provide 3D volumetric representations of the Iron Man suit, and also for designing several HUD widgets in the new modes for Diagnostic, Battle and Flight.
“For the various scenes, in particular the ones where a missile threatens Stark Tower and all of New York City, Cinema 4D’s tight integration with Adobe After Effects and the City Kit plug-in from Greyscalegorilla was the creative advantage that let us quickly deliver changes and pull off the final stereo shots,” Hansen said.
Parker explained that Cinema 4D was also instrumental in visualizing a multi-dimensional city-map HUD widget that allowed Tony Stark to track his location, the location of the other Avengers, and incoming threats. “Cinema 4D's Cel Renderer helped the team create extremely fast and exceptionally clean razor-thin wireframe renders,” Parker said.
Men in Black 3 – VES Award Nominee “Outstanding Models in a Feature Motion Picture”
Visual effects artists at New York-based Perception teamed with Columbia Pictures Men in Black 3 Director Barry Sonnenfeld, Production Designer Bo Welch and VFX Supervisor Ken Ralston to create various interface effects and design elements seen throughout the film. Utilizing an early iteration of Cinema 4D's stereo camera rig, the Perception team created stereo interface animations with the MIB headquarters, as well as the plot-pivotal time-jump device.
“Cinema 4D became a crucial part of our workflow on Men In Black 3, allowing us to add layers of dimensionality to otherwise flat imagery, making the MIB technology and gadgets far more advanced than we have seen in past films,” said John Lepore, creative director, Perception.
Sony Pictures Imageworks
Multiple Oscar-winning visual effects and animation studio Sony Pictures Imageworks (SPI) is nominated again this year by the Visual Effects Society for its feature film contributions on Men in Black 3, The Amazing Spider-Man and Hotel Transylvania. For Men in Black 3, visual effects legends Ken Ralston and Jay Redd lead a team in creating extensive, stylized and otherworldly visual effects sequences. MAXON's BodyPaint 3D was used to texture paint numerous assets in the film, including several of the main characters, Jay, Kay and Boris, the monocycle, Shea Stadium, Lunar Prison, Saturn V rocket, Chinatown, Bogladite (alien ships), pterodactyls, satellite and others.
“The most challenging aspect of working on Men in Black 3 was the sheer number and numerous layers of assets that required painting,” commented Tom Quach, senior texture painter, Sony Pictures Imageworks. “But luckily for me, I was very familiar with BodyPaint 3D and its tight integration with Adobe Photoshop allowed me to work very efficiently without affecting quality. I managed to paint all assigned assets on time and contributed in keeping our texture department under budget. I wouldn't have been able to work so quickly without the BodyPaint 3D toolset.”
Halo 4 - VES Award Nominee “Outstanding Real-Time Visuals in a Video Game”
The recently released hit video game Halo 4, one of the most successful franchises in game history, was nominated for a VES award for 'Outstanding Real-Time Visuals in a Video Game'. The Sequence Group, the Vancouver, British-Columbia-based creative studio, in partnership with the Halo franchise team at 343 Industries, Redmond, Washington, relied on Cinema 4D to build, texture, animate and render scenes that produced over twenty minutes of original animated content in the game, including eight “Terminal” animations – hidden content within the game that players can access providing detailed backstory about the characters and the new Halo world.
Ian Kirby, Sequence Group director, outlined that Cinema 4D proved essential to scenes requiring dynamic camera moves, lip animation, particles and dynamics such as cloth. “Relying on Cinema 4D allowed us to work quite easily with animation and compositing artists of various skill sets, while being able to easily export and import our scene information for a more seamless workflow,” said Kirby. “Creating our main characters in Cinema 4D was an advantage as we could reuse them for an entire scene without having an artist paint a new character for every scene, while the seamless integration of the Cinema 4D MoGraph toolset with Adobe After Effects allowed us to achieve a painterly look for all the 3D renders and create complex and dynamic animations without having to spend countless hours coding.”
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