In the first of three behind the scenes articles, Mettle has pulled back the curtain on the work that we did to bring Adhemas Batista’s vision to life for the recent “Vegas: Alter Your Reality” project. The article dives deeper into the ways that we used Mettle’s brand new VR tool MantraVR and the Skybox plugins that Mettle developed which are now part of the core of Adobe’s After Effects and Premiere. Of particular note is this breakdown of one of my favorite effects in all five films, which used Unity, After Effects, and Cinema 4D to make some very cool illustrated-looking smoke:
The 2D smoke seen in the portal near the end of Batista’s film had by far the most convoluted pipeline of any piece of these five films. We started in Unity using the Cucuy 2D smoke asset to get the desired look, then ran a custom script to slow down time during playback in Unity so that we could do a series of 4k screenshots. The resulting image sequences were run through After Effects to create a more posterized look with less of a fade to the alpha. We then used the resulting image sequences as textures in Cinema 4D, applying color in our shaders based on the grayscale values of the smoke elements. The end result is almost exactly what Batista created as a styleframe in Illustrator, but with a natural smokey movement that would have been impossible to hand animate.
Check it out, and stay tuned for more articles about our work for Signal Noise and Fafi, coming soon!