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Zoic Studios Creates Reverse Explosion Effect for The X Factor

Fox’s new show The X Factor had a dramatic introduction during the Super Bowl as thousands of Xs came together to form the show’s host Simon Cowell.

The X Factor spot

Press Release from Zoic Studios

Fox’s new show The X Factor had a dramatic introduction during the Super Bowl as thousands of Xs came together to form the show’s host Simon Cowell. The reverse explosion of Cowell was produced by Fox, Three (One) O, Park Village Productions in collaboration with effects powerhouse Zoic Studios.

To create the effect, a variety of plaster forms simulating Simon Cowell’s legs, torso and head were detonated at high speed (1000-1500 fps) and shot on the Zoic Studios Stage. A week later on a London sound stage, high-speed principal photography captured multiple angles of Simon Cowell, both static and spinning on a turntable, against an all-black environment with heavy backlight. Additionally, Simon Cowell was 3D scanned to provide high-resolution textures for the eventual 3D model of his full body. Autodesk’s Maya was then used to fracture and explode the 3D model. The compositing challenge was to integrate all the live-action elements from the explosion shoot, principal photography, and CG passes of Simon’s fracturing shell, individual body parts, and various “X” shapes, to create the illusion of Simon being formed from the ground up.

Tools:Autodesk Maya & FlameAutodesk’s Fracture-FX Plug-InThe Foundry’s Nuke

Client: FOX Broadcasting CompanyJoe Earley, President, Marketing & CommunicationsMichael Vamosy, SVP, DesignBrian Dollenmayer, SVP, On Air Promo CreativeDean Norris, SVP, Marketing & Special Projects, Special Ops.Barry Alexander, VP, On Air Promo CreativeJustin Owens, VP, Broadcast DesignJulio Cabral, Creative Director, On Air Promo CreativeGolareh Safarian, Director, Special Projects & Production, Special Ops.

Production Company (US): Three (ONE) OExecutive Producer: Elaine R. SibertDirector: Norry Niven

Production Company (UK): Park Village ProductionsExecutive Producer: Nikki ChapmanSenior Producer: Kate PhillipsLine Producer: Mikey Levelle

Visual Effects: Zoic StudiosCreative Director: Andrew OrloffVFX supervisor: Doug LudwigCG Supervisor: Andy WilkoffExecutive Producer: Gina FioreHead of Production: Barbara GenicoffVFX Producer: Erin HickeCompositing Supervisor/Flame compositor: Chris IrvingLead Compositor: Jon ChessonCompositor: Johnny Renzulli, Rodrigo Dorsch3D team: Lochlon Johnston, Chris Barischoff, Eric RosenthalVFX coordinator: Andrew GilsonZoic Stage - Production manager: James TurekZoic Stage Special Effects Supervisor: John StirberZoic Stage - Director of Photography: Barry WaltonZoic Engineering and Render Support: Saker Klippsten, Mike Romey, Paul Ghezzo, An Dang, Jason Bueno, Ramzi Daouk and Marshall Huffman3D scanning Company: 4Dmax3D fracture software provided by Fracture-FX

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