cebas takes part in Final Destination 5 most compelling bridge collapse scenes!
When it comes to total collapse, mayhem and destruction - tP never fails to deliver!
Jonathan Mitchell is an FX artist currently working at Scanline VFX in Vancouver, Canada. Originally from Halifax - Nova Scotia, he went to 3D animation school back in 2001, and started a small VFX company with his good friend, Joel Lelievre, called Delicate Machines.
He has been doing CG ever since, working on web spots, commercials, music videos and feature films.
cebas: It seems that Final Destination 5 was an important project for you (and your firm). Can you tell us how you were involved?
I was doing FX for Prime Focus VFX (formerly Frantic Films) on a sequence that involved a full cg bridge collapsing. I worked on RnD for the bridge collapse shots, and then carried through the work until the shots were final.
cebas: Which shots/images/sequences in particular were you involved in?
I was involved with the rigid body simulations of the main bridge collapse shots.
cebas: What cebas software did you use and why?
We used thinkingParticles 4 for all rigid body work, as it was extremely efficient at producing fast turn around for very large simulations.
cebas: How did you use our software to achieve the effects?
We started with a full animation rig of the bridge that we fed into a shape collision simulation in tP. We took the initial momentum of the hand animated bridge swinging and swaying from the animation rig and applied that to our pre fractured FX rig and let the sim take over while using tP to control certain beats that the client had wanted to see. My friend Brian Ritz used tP joints to set up all the snapping cables on the bridge as it came down.
cebas: What features in particular helped you achieve your goal and how?
We used shape collision extensively for our sims and added another layer of destruction with volumeBreaker on our pre-fractured asphalt and concrete. The amount of geo that tP would handle in these simulations was very impressive. We also used jointed car rigs in tP that we simmed on top of our initial bridge sim, and joint systems for all the cables. Layering sims in tP is very powerful.
cebas: What was the most difficult aspect of this project and how did you solve it?
At the beginning, I had some worries about turning around enough versions of some of the bigger shots where we see an entire section of bridge coming down. But tP handled these tremendously, as I had so much control to maintain a great balance between level of detail and sim time. We always faced some difficulty trying to find a ‘solve’ on more complex geo for hero shots, like some of the broken asphalt, but with tP, we had many options to find a working solution. My friend Manuel Tausch had one of these difficult hero shots of asphalt crumbling away under the actors' feet, which was very close to camera. What he accomplished using tP in this situation was very impressive.
cebas: What was a step-by-step breakdown of a typical shot/image/sequence?
The shots were prepped in tracking then fed to layout and animation. The lighting and rendering artists would look dev the shots while we started on FX RnD. Once we had a solid look and we received any initial animation from the animators, we would do final sims, which were then rendered and handed to the compositors for the final shots, and handed to the fluid artists for water sims.
cebas: How did the cebas tools perform for you and how was the experience of working with them like?
This was my second production using thinkingParticles, so I was still very much in a learning curve phase. But even then, with a small amount of knowledge in tP, you can achieve amazing results. I was amazed at how tP handled so much complex geo with ease and I was able to show off loads on RnD, which helped tremendously in achieving the look the client wanted for the collapse. The speed and efficiency for me was the best part about using thinkingParticles. Simulation is a difficult task, especially in an art directed form. tP let me create complex simulations while being able to art direct the sim to where it needed to go to hit the proper client notes.
cebas: How did it compare to other software you may have used?
I have used other rigid body tools before, but tP is my favorite just based on the control available for the artist to wield. Whether you are technical or more artistic, there are many ways to create great looking FX inside this package.
cebas: How did cebas software integrate into your production pipeline? How straightforward was it?
At the time, Prime Focus (formerly Frantic Films) was mostly a 3D Studio Max based studio, so for us, it was just plug and play!
cebas: What was the most fun or rewarding part of this project for you?
Working with such a great team was the best part. We had an amazing team of artists and some of the best TDs to help us when we were stuck. I learned so much on this project from fellow artists, especially about thinkingParticles. It was a wild time, as I am sure many can attest to.
cebas: What do you wish cebas software did that it's not currently doing for you?
The more control the better. There were a few areas; volumeBreaker especially, that I think could be more robust to help us achieve a higher level of detail. Different forms of fracturing would be great!
cebas: What new projects can we expect from you in the future (if you're able to tell us).
I can't talk about these right now, but I'll definitely be destroying some stuff in tP!
Thank you Jonathan! We can't wait to see more of your work destroying things in tP :)
Final Destination 5 is currently out on Dvd and Blu-Ray, so if you haven't had the chance yet... WATCH IT! It's crazy good to say the least =D