LightWave Helps Boost VFX for Syfy’s Defiance
Besides fast rendering, LightWave’s Viewport Preview Renderer (VPR) was critical to evaluating CG effects and lighting setups before committing to them in the rendering process. “Lighting is critical to matching the CG scene with live-action plates and making the viewer believe the illusion is real,” Jackson said. Besides LightWave’s lighting and radiosity tools, the team used 3D modeling, Fiber FX for hair and fur, soft body dynamics, Instancing, and HyperVoxels for volumetric fluid effects like slime cascading off the matron Hellbug.
Fine detail and textures were added to creatures in Pixologic’s ZBrush and that data was output directly into the LightWave content directory, ready for animators to use. In addition, hundreds of live action plates and LightWave 3D objects were combined in After Effects for 2D enhancements and/or compositing.
“The speed and versatility of LightWave was indispensable throughout this entire process, but especially when we needed to revise or change anything we created,” said Jackson. “For a CG scene known as the Glyph Chamber, I went through 14 revisions of that asset within a week and a half. Sometimes changes are minor, but at other times, they can be drastic. Either way, they need to be turned around quickly and that’s what LightWave enables us to do.”
Defiance is currently in production on a second season slated for June 2014.