VFX Showreel 2008 Breakdowns
E.T.A. Marvin Sleeps
The first shot really shows what you can do with a locked off camera and a talented matte artist like Michael. All of the elements were already built in 3D but the additional details added in the paintover pass gives a dimension beyond the often stale CG look. Note that while the pilot is slowly breathing and slightly moving his upper body, his legs are left completely still in order to paint in extra details into the fabric and on his shoes. Building details to this extent into the models would have been a waste of time as his lower legs are only shown in two shots during the entire film.
E.T.A. Floating Coffee Cup
The fluid in the zero gravity shot is an example of what you can get away with when designing a shot with depth of field in mind (use sparingly). The pure element of the fluid may not be convincing when in focus, but by boosting highlights and having the shader pass light visibly through the liquid, it sells the effect quite nicely when blurred. The fluid was done using a simple particle emitter pointing out of the cup just inside of it with a deflector keeping anything from passing through before reaching the edge of the container.
Never tiring of scifi stuff and having failed miserably at creating detailed asteroids for some time, it finally dawned on me that the best approach to working with many dense non-deforming objects is to use proxies with all
the detail baked into the mesh. In my case this was achieved using ZBrush and VRay. The asteroid movement was done using Particle Flow and a script to subject the proxy objects to the position/rotation of the particle system. The shimmering effect of the sun was made using an animated fractal noise layer combined with the alpha channels of the two asteroid/rock passes obscuring the flare when things move in front of it.
E.T.A. Coffee Dispenser
All of the smoke elements in final shot (and in E.T.A.) are sprites with animated noise rendered out from 3ds max. The big columns of smoke used in this shot, and others, are actually the same 500 frames of smoke which is offset in time, mirrored, scaled and moved around in After Effects for each shot. The light was controlled using opacity animation on a solid in After Effects and exported as a framestack for use in 3ds max. This way I could light Søren's beautiful alien model and not have to worry about how to get the light in sync when adding fog and other layers in compositing.
Equinox - Subkha
Extract from the album Eclipse
Written & produced by Sheldon Isaacs, Simon Posford & Raja Ram