(New York City, New York--December 11, 2007) Rhinofx recently showcased its broad reach across long form CG animation, with a HD backdrop for Radio City Music Hall's upcoming Christmas Spectacular, running from November 9th to December 30th.
The animated creation will be displayed behind the legendary Rockettes, on the nation's largest LED HD output, lighting up the stage on a screen that stretches 90 x 60 ft. The show, produced by Batwin and Robin, is celebrating its 75th anniversary and originally contacted rhinofx seeking a heightened quality and realism of the effects for the live experience. As the most-watched live show in the nation, Radio City's Christmas Spectacular attracts more than 2.1 million spectators each year.
The piece takes viewers on a bigger-than-life 3D bus journey through the wintry streets of New York City, with the world-famous Rockettes as tour guides, showcasing the Big Apple in all its glory, with the snow-topped trees and glistening bright lights of a holiday night. In the more than twelve minutes of fully original animated effects, rhinofx creates a dreamy trip through Manhattan, from Radio City Music Hall to Rockefeller Center up 5th Avenue, through Central Park, passing Columbus Circle down Broadway to Times Square. The sequence was created entirely in CG, with every landmark carefully brought to life. The interactive journey truly captures the essence and tradition a Christmas in New York.
Creative Director Natasha Saenko led rhinofx in creating a constantly changing and swiveling camera POV of the many buildings, complex street scenes, cars, and people. Commenting on the intricacies of the job, Saenko notes, "The length of the piece and the tremendous amount of detail involved pre-vis for just about every component. Each of the key landmarks and every scene were carefully laid out. This also included lo-res and hi-res modeling and texturing for every element. Each component really required a huge team effort and tremendous communication between the modelers, animators, lighters, compositors, technical directors and programmers who have really stepped up to understanding the needs of the artists, and made sure that workflow is efficient and delivery smooth."
Working in HD and supplying the unique swiveling POV motion animation and architecture really pushed technological and artistic limits. Artists used still shots for texture mapping to replicate building types, showing meticulous attention to every detail, from stones to wreaths to store front window displays. The effect was the creation of a rich and beautiful hyper-realism, injecting life into this fantastic depiction of winter in New York. Describing the process, SVP Camille Geier adds, "One of the biggest challenges was synchronizing our animation with the choreography, music, sets, and performers of the show. This is truly interactive live performance art and involved a tremendous amount of manipulation of the timing, angles, and speed of the animation to make it work so effectively."
The enormous scope represents new territory for rhinofx. The six-month in-house project also involved a significant hardware ramp-up, helping to widen the company's bandwidth, technology, and production management capabilities to create extensive long form digital pieces, from video game cinematics to animated film sequences, as well as traditional to feature film effects. Similar to their work on Perfect Stranger, the development of the Christmas Spectacular piece involved the build-out of several proprietary tools and custom software programs that all can be leveraged across film and long form and interactive projects. In addition to a long line of commercial projects and music videos, Rhinofx also recently worked on the extensive effects sequences for The Weinstein Company.s recently released feature film, .
Tech Developments Resulting From Project
- Maya 7.0.1 for modeling/texturing/animation
- Renderman/Air 5.17/MayaMan for lighting and rendering
- Fusion 5.0.1 for compositing
- Syflex plugins
- After Effects (rendering quicktimes and checking specific timings)
- Photoshop for texturing and design
- Ambient occlusion caching and cache visualization
- Size of render farm increased threefold: from 40 to 120 nodes
- Render farm simulation and visualization tools: can see when renders will pick up and how long they'll take
- Storing shaders inside the model and auto-assigning later
- Rush (edit RUSH priorities) - a tool, written to juggle render priorities
- Update Loader Versions: automatically versions up every pass
- 3d to 2D - converts 3d point cloud or animated locater data to 2d tracking data
- Switch Shot - replaces all passes in one shot to the corresponding passes in another shot
Additional Key Talent
- Modeling w/ particles - spread them evenly over a surface (for xmas trees)
- Increased our model and texture libraries with five New York City locations.
- Created scripts for automation and simulation of running lights for Times Square sequence.
- Programming: John Alex
- Lighting TD: Tom Bardwell
- Compositor: Nitant Karnik
- Modeler: Bogdan Mihajlovic
Natasha Saenko/Creative Director,Vico Sharabani/Creative Director, Karen Bianca Bisignano/Producer, Bogdan Mihajlovic/Modeling, Piotr Glabinski/Modeling, Sean Curran/Animation, TomBardwell/Lighting, Veronica Skogberg/Lighting, Nitant Karnik/Compositor, Kirstin Hall/Compositor, SoheeSohn/Compositor, John Alex/Programmer, Grace Hwang/Lighting, Paul Tsung/Systems Engineer, Gerta Xhelo/ Production Coordinator, Ivan Guerrero/Simulations, Brian DiNoto/Modeling, Rodrigo De La Parra/Designer, Neo Afan/Designer, Chris Difiore/Designer
Since its launch in 2000, rhinofx has created award-winning visual effects, design, and animation for commercials, VFX for feature films, episodic television, webisodic mini-series, and videogame cinematics. The company’s principals and artists have also led the industry’s exploration into the boundless potential of branded digital content. By cultivating extensive relationships with key brands, advertising agencies, and film/TV studios, rhinofx utilizes its creative directors and artists to develop and execute powerful branded entertainment to build both identity and awareness. The company’s principals include: Partner/CD/Director: Vico Sharabani, CD/Director: Harry Dorrington, CD/Director: Arman Matin, CD/Director: Natasha Saenko, SVP: Camille Geier, and Partner/Managing Director: Rick Wagonheim.