Krakatoa Creates CG Visualizations for Short Film Rebirth
The second scene of Rebirth is a time-lapse reminiscent of The Chapel, while the final scene shows live action footage of a dancer. Footage for each scene was captured using Canon DSLR cameras, a RED ONE camera and DitoGear motion control equipment. Between the second and third scene, a short transition visualizes the church collapsing, which was created using 3ds Max Particle Flow with help of Thinkbox Ember, a field manipulation toolkit, and Thinkbox Stoke, a particle reflow tool.
“In the transition, I’m trying to collapse a 200 million-point data cloud into smoke, then create the silhouette of a dancer as a light point from the ashes,” shared Kizny. “Even though it’s a short scene, I’m making use of a lot of technology. It’s not only rendering this point cloud data set again; it’s also collapsing it. I’m using the software in an atypical way, and Thinkbox has been incredibly helpful in troubleshooting the workflow so I could establish a solid pipeline.”
Collapsing the church proved to be a challenge for Kizny. Traditionally, when creating digital explosions, VFX artists are blowing up a solid, rigid object. Not only did Kizny need to collapse a point cloud – a daunting task in of itself – but he also had to do so in the hyper-realistic aesthetic he’d established, and in a way that would be both ethereal and physically believable. Using 3ds Max Particle Flow as a simulation environment, Kizny was able to generate a comprehensive vector field of high resolution that was more efficient and precisely controlled with Ember. Ember was also used to animate two angels appearing from the dust and smoke along with the dancer silhouette. The initial dataset of each of angels was pushed through a specific vector noise field that produced a smoke-like dissolve and then reversed thanks to retiming features in Krakatoa, Ember and Stoke, which was also used to add density.
“To create the smoke on the floor, I decided to go all the way with Thinkbox tools,” Kizny said. “All the smoke you see was created using Ember vector fields and simulated with Stoke. It was good and damn fast.”
Another obstacle was figuring out how to animate the dancer in the point clouds. Six cameras recorded a live performer with markerless motion capture tracking done using iPi Motion Capture Studio package. The data obtained from the dancer was then ported onto a virtual, rigged model in 3ds Max and used to emit particles for a Particle Flow simulation. Ember vector fields were used for all the smoke-like circulations and then everything was integrated and rendered using Thinkbox’s Deadline, a render management system, and Krakatoa – almost 900 frames and 3 TB of data caches only for particles. Deadline was also used to distribute high volume renders and allocate resources across Kizny’s render farm.
Though an innovative display of digitally artistry, Rebirth is also a preservation tool. Interest generated from The Chapel and continued with Rebirth has enticed a Polish foundation to begin restoration efforts on the run-down building. Additionally, the LIDAR scans of the chapel will be donated to CyArk, a non-profit dedicated to the digital preservation of cultural heritage sites, and made widely available online.
The film is currently securing funding to complete postproduction. Support the campaign and learn more about the project at the IndieGoGo campaign homepage at bit.ly/support-rebirth. For updates on the film’s progress, visit rebirth-film.com.
Source: Thinkbox Software