Mettle just posted part 3 of a series of behind the scenes interviews with John and I about the “Vegas:Alter Your Reality” project (part 1 here, part 2 here). This time it’s a close-up on our process for bringing Signal Noise‘s vision of Las Vegas to life in “Vegas Rising”. This immersive film features the most artwork directly from its featured artist due to James’ ability to create most of the buildings using his normal weapon of choice: Adobe Illustrator. We converted his 2D illustrations to 3D models using the Cineversity Art Smart plugin for C4D, a tool we also leveraged heavily for Adhemas Batista’s buildings. The mirrors that turn into portals required the creation of multi-plane animations, so we took James’ Illustrator files into After Effects for animation and then into C4D to render with the rest of the scene. “Vegas Rising” also required the largest number of 3D references in C4D, every single building, palm tree, and vehicle was created in its own C4D file and referenced into the main scene for animation and rendering. This led to a fantastic moment during production, as recounted by John in the Mettle interview:
Mettle: Any high point in production?
John: Yes – We worked on the Signal Noise film with gray-shaded proxies for over a month to keep the files as responsive as possible. The full rez models were textured and ready to go, but we stayed on the proxies for such a long time to maximize the iterations we could do as we laid out the buildings and fine tuned their animation. Then one night, we swapped out the proxies and rendered in color – the next morning the entire team was in headsets shouting across the room at each other to check out specific details, it was pandemonium. It’s rare to see such a significant jump, it went from what felt like 25% done to 80% in a single overnight render.
The ending of “Vegas Rising” also features an impressive effect thanks to Mettle’s Mantra VR plugin for After Effects – a little planet rendering that works in a VR headset! This effect is not new in 2D, but this is the first time that such an effect has been possible in stereo 360º. Signal Noise’s film also features some of the only intentional easter eggs in the “Vegas: Alter Your Reality” series, with several nods to the r/outrun community that James is an active member of, and frequent contributor to.