Terra Nova: A New Breed of Dinosaur
Pixomondo uses Maya for rigging but have added in the dynamics to help make the dinos believable. Overlap of tail, bouncing of feathers, or jiggle of skin are built right into the rig. "It's creatively fun but also a shortcut to bypassing an entire department and providing the efficiency that we need," Brady adds. Individual muscle controls are also done in animation.
Rendering and lighting are done in LightWave 10.1: "We found LightWave 10.1 invaluable for our custom pipeline that was developed for the Terra Nova two-hour premiere," adds Pixomondo supervisor, Eric Hance. "We used LightWave in nearly 200 shots, including all of the dinosaur creature renders, many of the environments, and several of the futuristic earth cityscapes. NewTek was responsive to our needs, and we look forward to working closely with them [throughout the series]."
Speaking of environments, the time portal, described as "light rapids," was done in After Effects, with all kinds of lens flares and then displacements and fractals added as they venture deeper. And the Terra Nova mountainous regions were done in Terragen 2, and the waterfalls in RealFlow.
But in the end, the VFX all comes down to the dinos: "They're not the villains of the show but they're obstacles and they're very likable adversaries," Blank concludes.
Bill Desowitz is former senior editor of AWN and editor of VFXWorld. He has a new blog, Immersed in Movies (www.billdesowitz.com), and is currently writing a book about the evolution of James Bond from Connery to Craig, scheduled for publication next year, which is the 50th anniversary of the franchise.