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Rushes' Kick Ass Opening Title Sequence

Rushes were recently given the task of creating the opening title sequence for the new Michael Vaughn film, Kick Ass.

Press Release from Rushes

Rushes were recently given the task of creating the opening title sequence for the new Michael Vaughn film, Kick Ass.   Designed by Matt Curtis, the sequence opens with the camera flying lazily through a series of thick, white fluffy clouds.   Nestling in the clouds are a series of 3D titles which the camera races past eventually coming down to earth and settling behind a budding winged, superhero standing at the edge of a huge sky scraper.

Rushes worked collaboratively with Double Negative on this project being responsible for creating the opening shot of the film which the ‘cloud fly through sequence’ had to blend seamlessly with.   Double Negative supplied Rushes with the graded, composited live action of the opening shot along with a Maya scene containing a tracked camera for this footage, and a series of high resolution keyed cloud textures.   It was decided, early on in the process, to create the clouds using textures on a series of layered planes rather than fluids or other dynamic simulations.   Rushes’ 3D artist, Andy Hargreaves, explains: ‘Early tests had shown that pretty convincing effects could be achieved with this technique and meant that the whole process could be directed more closely and be much more interactive.   Although fluids do provide a more authentic look and give you an actual volumetric object, the time taken to create and simulate them as well as creating the right look and feel can often be counterproductive’.   

‘The trick with using textured planes is to layer them in such a way as to simulate the sense of volume without having to create a ridiculous number of planes in order to do so.  Careful consideration needs to be given to the placement of the clouds as well since you can't physically fly through them as they lack the volume, but you have to avoid the sense that there is a clear corridor in the clouds which the camera is passing through.   In essence therefore, although using textures is technically simpler than using fluids, it isn't without its difficulties and a lot of time was spent manually placing, layering, rotating and scaling the clouds in order to create the desired effect’.   Because of the length of the shot and distance travelled by the camera, the final scene ultimately consisted of over 400 textured planes, split into several layers in order to make the scene more manageable and minimise otherwise massive render times. Andy Hargreaves continues: ‘ Although individually textured planes are very fast to render, as soon as you begin to layer up this many semi-transparent objects on top of each other, the calculations involved at render time can quickly become immense.’

The 3D text was created from a series of EPS files supplied by Matt Curtis which were used to create quite simple, bevelled objects.   These were then textured to give them a solid, blue, glassy feel and multiple passes rendered using Pixar's Renderman.   This allowed for the reflections, refractions and highlights to all be individually balanced in Shake, a key factor in creating the desired look while retaining the legibility.

The text and clouds layers were then composited using Shake and the fly through was merged into Double Negative's opening shot to create a seamless opening sequence.

‘Kick Ass’ is released theatrically, 2 April 2010, in the UK.

Production Title: Kick AssProduction Company: Marv FilmsDirector: Matthew VaughnProducers: Matthew Vaughn, Brad Pitt, Kris Thykier, Adam Bohling, Tarquin Pack, David ReidFilm Editor: Jon Harris, Pietro Scalia, Eddie HamiltonTitle Design Company: AP DesignTitle Designer: Matt CurtisPost Production: RushesRushes Producers: Louise Hussey, Warwick Hewett3D Animation: Andy HargreavesVFX Supervisor: Jonathan Privett

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