Framestore Creates Main Title Sequence for Skyfall
Not only was it a difficult task to procedurally animate and simulate all the blood veins, the volumetric nature of the shots and the interactive lighting also posed a huge rendering challenge to the team. We chose Houdini and its renderer Mantra due to its fantastic volumetric rendering capacities. Its physically based render engine combined with our best artists’ creative input really pushed the quality of the images.
The 2D and 3D teams collaborated extensively on many of the most complex sequences. One uses live-action footage, beautiful dancing women, to drive a 3D fluid simulation adding to the atmosphere of a classic Bond element, a black and white sequence reminiscent of looking through a kaleidoscope.
There was also a massive amount of 2D work to get through. Nuke was the 2D tool chosen for the job and was used in some way by every artist on the job. One of the first, and most important, tasks to be carried out was creating the 3D cameras to join together the almost continuous forward camera movement. William Bartlett took charge of this from the beginning.
“From experience of working on this type of job over the years I have found that getting an overall sense of timing and movement is key to the job’s success.” Says Bartlett. “ As soon as we received an early version of the title song we concentrated on finding visual ways to complement the ebb and flow of the music. To do this, scenes were blocked out in Nuke, incorporating the live action footage, and cameras and basic geometry for many of the key scene were exported to the 3D team for development and execution”
“We are also lucky to have a 3D team with considerable Nuke skills” says Dodgson “often the 3D team develop scenes to very near final, in fact one of the pieces most visually stunning scenes – a journey through a graveyard of falling knives and guns – was entirely rendered and composited by our Head of 3D.”
Evolving right to the last minute, the piece closes with a dramatic sequence, which sees blood raining from the sky and bleeding gravestones crumble to the sound of Adele's powerful voice. A classic Bond moment, and a piece that Framestore is proud to have been part of.