A Bigger and Badder Wrath of the Titans
As if a clash of the Titans wasn’t difficult enough to create, an epic battle involving Kronos and an assortment of mythological creatures was an even more “titanic” undertaking. Sorry. Couldn’t help myself.
MPC VFX Supervisor Gary Brozenich and Producer Oliver Money were up to the task, leading MPC’s team that delivered 280 shots that included the opening Dream Sequence, the Chimera attack, the final battle with Kronos, the Makhai warriors and Pegasus, as well as the Gods dying and dissolving. The team also worked on full CG temples, set extensions and a number of stunning DMPs throughout. Here’s a breakdown of some the main sequences:
Kronos, King of the Titans
One of the first challenges the team faced was to bring to life Kronos, father to Zeus, Hades and Poseidon and feared King of the Titans. Starting with a clean conceptual slate, MPC's art department decided to go back and explore Kronos within Greek mythology.
Understanding that Kronos was the Titan God of Time and Ages, the team chose this direction as a starting point and began to collect references and produce exploratory sketches based on this concept.
Through a number of initial images, the team explored various concepts, from a more elemental creature to a more human-like giant. Ultimately it was decided that Kronos should have a more human form to help reiterate the connection between him and his sons rather just being seen as a monstrous titan. The concept art team then expanded on some of their original ideas of using volcanic rock as a base, which provided needed context to how something could develop and grow over a long period of time. This concept formed the base of Kronos’ evolution.
Once the conceptual direction had been decided, a texture reference was created and used as a base for the 3D modeling and texturing pipeline, which could then be used as a point of reference for the rest of the team.
A variety of clay mixtures were created and painted onto the face and body of an actor which were then used as reference points by MPC's modeling team to help artists understand how magma and volcanic rock might move and fall around a moving object. The textures were also used for creating believable crack and displacement maps.
The task of creating such an important vfx-driven creature was formidable. MPC’s team was faced with the huge challenge of creating various behavioral effects elements, including spraying and flowing molten lava, crashing and cracking solid rock as well as atmospheric elements such as smoke and dust. As Kronos lays waste to the battlefield, two plumes of dense smoke trail behind him. One is connected to Kronos’ body with another following him. These were placed and layered to emulate Kronos’ movement stirring up a thick, dense eruption of smoke both from the titan and through the volcanic rock. Finally, live action smoke was incorporated to give an even denser and more realistic feel to the sequence. Scanline’s Flowline was used to simulate the smoke simulations. In order to handle the huge amount of data per frame, a new set of volume tools was created. In addition to the smoke plumes, Kronos also oozes and sprays different forms of lava from his surface. MPC’s artists created molten-to-cool lava streams using Flowline fluid particle simulations. Solid rock lava was made using MPC’s proprietary rigid-body solver, PAPI. Kali, MPC's finite element-based destruction tool, allows artists to shatter and destroy objects at render time. The program was used to handle the cracking and breaking of rocks, the trailing particles and to create fluid dust simulations and particles. The compositing team enhanced the sequences by adding further layers of dust elements on top of those.