Take one of the leading games franchises, mix in a four-week deadline, add the talented team at Blur, stir, and serve up a sizzling CG sequence.

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Table-top gaming fans everywhere know of the intricate, lead-model game that is Warhammer 40,000. It has bred as many legions of fans as it has miniature armies of orcs and space marines. So when Relic and THQ decided to move the property from the tabletop to the computer desktop, it needed a killer ingredient: a stunning CG intro movie to capture the atmosphere that is Warhammer.
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DAVE WILSON

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Blur used Brazil for rendering, with Discreet 3DS Max used for modelling the characters, says Wilson – and it resulted in creating numerous passes per shot.
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“We rendered out on average about 20-25 passes per shot (see image, above) – however, with an FX-heavy shot, it can jump to 35-40 rendered passes,” he says.
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“Broken down, it generally works out to five to six passes for the environment, comprising of a sky pass, ambient pass, light pass, shadow pass, distance fog pass, and volumetric fog pass,” Wilson explains. “For the characters, an ambient pass, key pass, shadow pass, and two or so environment/volume fog passes.
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“These character passes are rendered out for far background characters, background characters, and foreground characters, depending on how many characters we have in our scene, and how they interact with each other and the environment,” he adds.
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After rendering out all the passes, they are all pulled into Digital Fusion and composited. A core team of five worked on the key elements, modelling environments, characters and props, then adding lighting, rendering, and then onto compositing.
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One early move stood the team in good stead: Wilson took a single shot and finalized it, creating a style template for the rest of the team.
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Characters remaining: 335

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