Dream of Anhui

    Tippett Studio, 2016

    VFX Supervisor: Chris Morley
    Art Director: Nate Fredenburg
    My Role: Environments Supervisor and Environments Art Director
    Sequence Environment Leads: Ben Von Zastrow, Brad Fox, Howard Campbell, Steven Bevins and myself
    Sequence Environment Artists: Erik Shepherd, Ray Sena, Anthony Shafer, Rob Meyers

    2016 VES finalist Outstanding Visual Effects in a Special Venue Project

    'Dream of Anhui' is a Special Venue ride project. With my co department supervisor at Tippett Studio, Ben Von Zastrow, we built a team and designed a pipeline that allowed us to create 15 full 3d environments for the ride project "Dream of Anhui". Ben took the lead on technical efforts while I handled design and look direction.

    My early role ranged from initial research & designs to shot planning, which meant building early versions of the terrain and buildings for previs & discovery efforts along with initial in depth research efforts into each of the locations. This involved working with DEM data and textures to allow an early sense of the locations, and working with Layout Supervisor Chris Piazus each of the locations was roughed in and early camera moves were set for the previs and starter presentations. Once the locations were determined we sent out a crew to each of the locations in China to scan them using drones. Once our site scanning crews returned it meant working with the drone scans and photgrammetry to incorporate them into the master layouts.

    Each location was divided into multiple 'sub-sections' which were to be split among a team of artists. A Lead Artist was assigned for each location who was responsible for collecting and managing and rendering their location. Each of these 'sub-sections' could be worked separately and in unison.

    As this was a massive 3d fly over, some shots traveled kilometers over the terrain there was no way to fake anything, it was entirely a 3d asset based project. To facilitate this Ben and I bult upon the pipeline we had developed for The Crossing and working with our development team created a full asset management system that allowed us to place and manage hundreds of assets for each shot.

    My responsibilities at this point were focused on identifying and designing the assets required for each section and to manage and balance the asset team's desire for detail over keeping the geometry light and simple. Keyart was created and reworked, and various look direction cards and sheets were created and adjusted to keep the asset production in line.

    The assets were built almost entirely by a team of dedicated modelers and texture painters, though some were done by me and the other TDs. We wanted to keep things as tight as possible within the pipeline but also allow the freedom to be somewhat flexible in creating assets that were needed. The assets were arranged into into various categories from natural vegetation to vehicles to buildings, etc. A large part of the asset build was also the Hero location items, the temples, buildings, dams and bridges for each location. These were built entirely by the asset team. The process was to build them roughly, almost blocking level detail and get them into the asset management system so that the layout could begin, and then refine them as production began.

    Once the assets were ready for a shot the production began by working with the terrain and scans that were used in the previs, and each team was given leeway to develop the terrain and layout as best they saw fit. Some locations were all natural while others were almost entirely cityscapes so each location had to be treated differently within the basic scope of the shot design.

    In addition to Leading three of the locations my duties at this point were on art direction and quality control - so much of the personality of these shots was conveyed through subtle lighting and placement decisions...

    Production Stills
    A selection of images from the sequences. These images are cropped from the full final delivery resolution of 6k 180 degree field if view.