Directed by Sandwich, we composed each CG shot in this piece. Character assets were created by a broad range of artists, with various workflows, making for a challenge in outputting harmonious renders. We invented several new techniques and compositing ideas to make it happen.
It truly took a village. This project is the result of the creative efforts of artists on 5 different continents.
As it’s revealed in the video, the room where everything takes place is actually a huge 0x logo. We designed a set of materials and means of lighting that was fairly flat and diffuse, highlighting the curved walls of the environment, without casting any harsh shadows, or drawing too much attention away from the characters.
Alembic files are amazing, and proved to be a reliable means of transferring work between artists and software packages. However, they are not without their troubles. A huge part of our pipeline was re-texturing, creating polygon selections, and exporting tracking data and luma mattes for compositing.... tricky, but not impossible.
The main CG character of the story,
The evil and heartless “Middleman”
The wood-carved “Real Estate Man” and hipster inspired “CEO” and “CTO”
Your friendly neighborhood “Bitcoin Bot”
Most of the alembics we were working with used point level animation to move geometry from point A to point B. That is especially problematic when exporting data for 2D compositing, due to the need for position, scale, and rotation data. We overcame this obstacle by cloning a cube onto the specific vertex we wanted to track. Using an Xpresso rig, we were able to translate that clone’s properties to a single parametric object, which was then baked down to keyframes and used for external compositing.
An especially tricky scene to extract compositing data from. Each individual screen required a centered tracking point. The computer grid was built from clones of clones, and the screen was buried in a hierarchy several levels deep. The cloned object also contained animation that was powered by a series of falloffs and a Time Effector.
All the live action plates were provided with a secondary render containing a stand-in character for scale and placement of the main actor’s green screen footage.