Look! Effects, a Hollywood, California digital effects and 3Danimation company, has completed a 5-minute 3D computer animationsequence for Metaphor Films and Gotham Entertainment's independentfeature FIRST WATCH. Featuring detailed models of planets, stars,their surfaces and movements that were based on some of the latestastronomical imaging and scientific data available, the sequenceconsists of a single, extended pull back where the camera lifts outof an aerial view of the Earth, travels through the Solar System,leaves the Milky Way and arrives in another galaxy millions of lightyears away. Before beginning the project, visual effects supervisorHenrik Fett spent several weeks doing research, including visitingthe Rose Center at the American Museum of Natural History in NewYork, where he obtained the latest photographic images of the sun,the planets and their moons, as well as celestial bodies outside thesolar system. He also gathered data on the size, mass and compositionof the planets, their rotation and orbital patterns, and their ringstructures. Working with this information, the Look! animators builtdetailed models, placed them in their correct relative positions anddefined a realistic flight plan for the camera. "The camera passesquite close to some of the planets, within a few hundred miles, so wehad to put a lot of detail in the models, especially as this wasbeing done at film resolution and will be projected onto a bigscreen," explained Fett. "Our texture maps were very big; each frameof the sun took 12 hours to render." Fett added that before thesequence was finalized, the filmmakers had it scrutinized by anastronomer for accuracy. Mark Driscoll served as executive producerfor Look! Effects. Fett was assisted by animators Don Campbell andTefft Smith. Look! Effects is managed by four partners, presidentMark Driscoll, visual effects supervisors Henrik Fett and Max Ivinsand art director Danny Kim. The company provides digital effectssolutions for feature film, entertainment television and commercialprojects with its services including digital effects design,supervision and production; 3D animation, including full 3D characteranimation; and compositing services. For more information, call (323)469-4230.
Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.