Breaking Point

An abstract visualization of an accident for a thesis project: a completely different point of view, the visualization maintains its dramatic characteristics thanks to Cinema 4D.

November, 2010: A vehicle traveling at 90 km/h (56 mph) loses control in a slight left curve and hits a tree with a diameter of 25 cm (10 inches)! The car's front end practically wraps itself around the tree trunk, the car is completely destroyed and the driver suffers broken bones and internal injuries. In the course of this detailed yet impersonal accident visualization the human tragedy involved flashes through and, in the end, our own morbid curiosity for destruction prevents us from looking away. Viewing events from a completely different point of view and capturing the aesthetics of destruction in an entirely new way is what Christian Lerch wanted to achieve with his thesis project, ‘Oversights’.

Whether at fault or not, an accident is always a pivotal event in the lives of those involved. Himself being the 'victim' of several accidents, this visualization as an aesthetic and somewhat abstract symphony of destruction is surely part of Christian’s process of coming full circle with the events in his own life. His personal experience with accidents was most likely a catalyst for the successful visualization of the breathtaking imagery created in Cinema 4D.

He wanted to base his visualization on a real-world event. Christian searched an accident database and found an accident that contained the destructive elements he wanted. He selected an accident that involved injuries but no deaths or lasting injuries.

Christian made liberal use of particle effects to animate the large amount of debris, which were controlled using a combination of Dynamics, MoGraph and XPresso. His programming experience made it possible for him to create custom C.O.F.F.E.E. scripts to achieve the desired effects. Cinema 4D's Hair feature was also used in the creation of this project - albeit with a different purpose: Long hair was used to simulate dynamic wind currents or falling rain!

Sketch and Toon was used to render the visualization, whereby depth, shadow and specular elements were rendered to separate layers. The final compositing was done in After Effects. Since this 180 second short film produced a vast number of frames, NET Render was used to render across several computers.

Thanks to Cinema 4D's comprehensive feature set and reliability, Christian was able to complete the project to meet his own - very critical - standards. This was, after all, a thesis project! Christian knew he could depend on Cinema 4D since he had already worked with the application before: “I initially worked with other 3D applications but their steep learning curve caused me to waste my time with everything else except 3D work! About one year later a fellow student introduced me to Cinema 4D. It didn't take long before we had produced our very first animated film, 'Paste of Love'". While working on his newest project 'Oversights', Christian also relied on the power and dependability of Cinema 4D - and was rewarded with excellent results!

Christian Lerchs online portfolio:

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