Welcome, To The Future: Cost effective pixel creation

Pocket

Director Joddy Eric Matthews has teamed with Writer/Director Steve Lidrbauch to produce a provocative music video for indie music group, Seconds Before Landing. The song, Welcome, To The Future is the first release off their new album, The Great Deception, melds a combination of viral videos, 3D CG, particle animation and stock footage.

“I tried to write a visionary story, that would fit with the Producer’s vision of what the song was really about. They have a huge following in Europe and I tried to use that knowledge to aid in delivering the message they wanted to tell” says Lidrbauch.

The initial draft of the song contained about 25 HD stock images of a man or people in a gas mask or surrounded by smoke. “The budget wouldn’t support it, and as much as we loved the concept, some of the imagery was over $400 per clip! We needed other options.” stated Producer John Cristino.

See the video here: Welcome, To The Future

Creating cost effective pixels

Co-Director Joddy Eric Matthews decided to create the various imagery of a person with a mask in 3D. “It allowed us to mimic most of what Steve envisioned at a smaller budget”, quipped Matthews. We always wanted to show a human emitting smoke or material from the mask instead of filtering it as it entered the body, doing a fully CG environment allowed us to control the situation more fully”.

Finished Playground and Jail Cell

Animation Lead Chris Kennedy oversaw concept of the videos jail cell and playground of desolation, both of which were modeled in Maya by Matthews over the course of a few days. The human skeletons and a lounge chair, last minute additions by Matthews, were the only stock models added to the design. The mask was quickly modeled and UV’d by Kennedy in 3D Max and sent to Maya for shading. Texturing was also handled in Maya via Mental Ray’s Mia Material shaders. “We had some thoughts about using Arnold, but since time was short we decided to stick with a more proven workflow” says Kennedy.  Lighting was accomplished using Final Gather, Mental Ray’s Portal Light solution and several Area Lights using CIE Blackbody using Quadratic decay rates. Each Camera used the Mental Ray lens shader, mia_exposure_photographic in order to get the closest exposure match to a real camera as possible. “The initial render is really dark. We under lit the scene at 800 ASA and 5.6 since we knew we would be adding a ton of atmospheric layers in post.” stated Matthews.

CG Breakdown

Modeling – 3D Max/Maya
Animation – Maya
Lighting – Area Lights/CIE Blackbody/Portal Lights/Final Gather (100 rays)
Camera – MR Lens Shader/Mia_Exposure (800 ASA/F5.6)
Render – Mental Ray

A custom Trapcode Particular particles script that allowed for the creation of a hundred thousand particles per frame allowed for the emitter to be set up and designed in a day. Three emitters, each sync’d to the Bass, Treble and midrange of the song, generated between 8,000 to 120,000 particle per frame. Turbulence and Physics were added to influence direction. The final composites were sent to Adobe Premiere CC for editorial.

Welcome To The Future has logged over 30 Thousand views worldwide since it was releases a day ago.

Title: Welcome, To The Future
Artist: Seconds Before Landing
Producer: John Cristino
Directed by Steve Lidrbauch and Joddy Eric Matthews
Creative Director: Joddy Eric Matthews
Animation Lead: Christopher Kennedy
Particle Animation: Joddy Eric Matthews
Editor/Colorist: Joddy Eric Matthews

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