The Chemical Brothers: “Wide Open”

Earlier this year at Tokyo Demo Fest 2016, we were honored with the presence of Solid Angle‘s founder, Marcos Fajardo, who did a long presentation of the Arnold renderer. Various examples of productions that involved Arnold were included, like captures from Iron Man or Elysium, but between those blockbusters one production in particular held my attention.

It was a long shot of a dancer turning limb after limb into a lattice body while performing. That film is in fact the music video of the song “Wide Open”, by the Chemical Brothers, and directed by Dom&Nic. It is a brilliant piece of technical and artistic work, that I can only recommend to watch.

Some of the details of the creation are shared in an article by the excellent fxguide, as well as in this interview for Solid Angle, like for example how they dealt with the challenges posed by a single long shot under varying natural light. Finally, there is this behind the scenes video from the studio, The Mill:

Making of the “spinning house” sequence in Twister (1996)

Earlier this year filmmaker Stu Maschwitz posted on Twitter a series of messages recounting the work he did, as a then junior visual effects artist, on the scene of the house crashing on the road in the 1996 summer blockbuster, Twister. He later copied them to his website: go read it there.

The story comes with a fair amount of detail, hacks and tricks to make the best of the technical limitations of the time, and gives an idea of the amount of work such a scene in a prominent Hollywood film entails.

The cinematography of The Incredibles

On his blog, director Ron Doucet presents a thorough analysis of the visual constructions in the Pixar animation film, The Incredibles. The articles include breakdowns of complete scenes in term of visual components. It is a great read on how the picture can be designed to support the storytelling.

SIGGRAPH 2013

More and more material and news are being released about the next edition of SIGGRAPH, so here is a short summary.

Technical papers

The video teaser of the technical papers has been published. It looks like there will be some really cool stuff to see. As every year Ke-Sen Huang maintains a page with the list of papers.


Real Time Live!

The Real Time Live! program looks very nice too, and it is good to see at least two demoscene related works will be presented there (the community GLSL tool ShaderToy by Beautypi, and some experiment by Still with a LEAP Motion controller on their production, Square).


Courses

Not much to say, it looks great and I want to see most of them… The Advances in Real-Time Rendering in Games and Physically Based Shading in Theory and Practice courses are a must see as usual. The Recent Advances in Light-Transport Simulation: Theory & Practice and Ray Tracing is the Future and Ever Will Be courses sound promising too.


Our work to be shown at SIGGRAPH

Lastly, we had some awesome news yesterday, when we were told our last released demoscene production, F – Felix’s workshop, has been selected to be shown as part of the Real-Time Live! demoscene reel event.

Released last year at Revision and ranking 2nd in its category, Felix’s workshop is a 64k intro: a real-time animation fitting entirely (music, meshes, textures…) within a 64kB binary file meant to run on a consumer level PC with a vanilla Windows and up to date drivers.

I was also told Eddie Lee‘s work, Artifacts, was selected as well. His outstanding demo won at Tokyo Demo Fest earlier this year.

Paperman, by Disney

I was delighted to discover the last Disney short film, Paperman, which was released to the public a few days ago. Almost completely in black and white, with a hint of red, this animation a small gem of directing.

If I may try myself at a analyzing the image, notice how the light is used to support the story.

The guy is lit according to his mood: a strong but soft rim light when he is happy, a dim and dull ambient light at work, a strong and harsh side light when the moment is intense. Notice for example how his face has soft shadows at the office, but strong shadows right before he runs. Notice too how the paper planes pull him from the shadow back into the light.

The woman is lit depending on how unreachable she gets: the more difficult she is to reach, the less lit she is. As she gets in her train, she is surrounded by shadow. Similarly, when she is seen from the window, the whole building is bright, drawing attention to her, but the room is still dark as she is unreachable. As the paper planes get closer, she gets more and more light. When she passes the door, she gets back in the shadow.

Of course when they reach each other and finally meet, they both are in the light.