Pixeldust Studios Visualizes Universe For PBS NOVA
Press Release from Pixeldust Studios
“NOVA” television series, The Fabric of the Cosmos
Bethesda, MD, Oct. 31, 2011 -- Pixeldust Studios, an Emmy Award-winning digital animation and visual design studio that creates innovative animations and motion graphics for major broadcast and cable television clients, has produced over one thousand animations and visual effects that will be featured in the upcoming, four-part “NOVA” television series, The Fabric of the Cosmos. Based on the best-selling book by author Brian Greene (The Elegant Universe), The Fabric of the Cosmos will air on PBS for four consecutive Wednesdays, beginning November 2nd.
For Ricardo Andrade, Pixeldust Studios’ Founder/Executive Creative Director, The Fabric of the Cosmos presented a unique opportunity to imagine the mysteries of the universe in visually engaging and accessible ways. “Without question, the animation work that viewers will be treated to during the course of four episodes of ‘The Fabric of the Cosmos’ represents the most ambitious project we’ve undertaken during the seven-year history of our company,” he said. “Our artists and producers have spent more than a year crafting these motion graphic sequences to ensure that they are not only visually arresting, but also scientifically accurate.”
For the past 19 months, Pixeldust worked on this project in close collaboration with The Fabric of the Cosmos Executive Producer Joe McMaster, Senior Producer and Creative Director Jonathan Sahula, and producers from “NOVA.” Said Paula Apsell, “NOVA” Senior Executive Producer, “In working on The Fabric of the Cosmos, Pixeldust had the very difficult task of creating visual metaphors that would explain extremely difficult to grasp concepts of physics. The animators were extremely collaborative. The outcome and the work done by the Pixeldust team was not just clear and explanatory, it was also very beautiful.”
Adds Sahula, “The ‘Fabric’ series was a true ‘partnership’ between NOVA and Pixeldust, in every sense of the word. From the earliest stages of brainstorming design and scientific analogies, to the last tweaks that refined the look and feel of each animation, the Pixeldust Team was committed to perfection. I’d estimate more that eighty percent of the shots in the series have some degree of animation, so Pixeldust had their hands in all aspects of NOVA’s workflow. I can’t say enough about Nick Jernigan’s willingness to collaborate, Ricardo Andrade’s ability to problem solve visual issues, and Pixeldust’s unrelenting focus on the end result, even when grappling with scientific concepts that make ‘rocket science’ seem like child’s play.”
Sahula continues, “Even during the many late nights and long weekends involved with this project, and the twenty plus animators and creative people Ricardo put to the task of working with us, it remained an absolute pleasure to work with Pixeldust. The ‘Fabric’ series is the outcome of a true collaboration between NOVA and Pixeldust, and we look forward to working with them again soon.”
In order for Pixeldust to visualize the complex physics concepts in The Fabric of the Cosmos script, every single shot was storyboarded first, then run by physicist/author Brian Greene for his feedback on accuracy. After this back and forth process, certain scenes were pre-visualized with animatics, and, in certain cases, such as the slicing of the “Space Time Loaf,” three or four different versions were created to find the best combination of beauty and accuracy. “Before our animators could even illustrate these concepts, they had to understand them, so that was our first challenge,” comments Andrade.