Production Previsualization Played Key Role in Early Design and Visualization of Film’s Captivating Disaster Sequences
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HOLLYWOOD, CA and SANTA CLARA, CA – May 28, 2004 — Deadly twisters. Massive snowstorms. Devastating tidal waves. These are just a few of the visually-intense scenes from the special effects-packed Twentieth Century Fox film “The Day After Tomorrow,” which opens this week around the world.
The cataclysmic events depicted in the film come alive with the help of Hollywood, CA-based Crack Creative, a recently-launched production design and effects company (www.crackcreative.com), and Santa Clara, CA-based NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ: NVDA), the worldwide leader in visual processing solutions, who teamed up to help the filmmakers design and visualize the spectacular sequences in Hollywood’s first disaster movie of the summer.
Crack Creative artists, working with the NVIDIA Digital Film group and computer systems driven by state-of-the-art NVIDIA Quadro® FX graphics boards, provided the filmmakers with the ability to design, view, and select scenes early on in the creative process. Crack Creative’s designs included the Los Angeles twisters, the Manhattan tidal surge, views of the storms from outer space, images of wolves scavenging for food, and other key scenes.
Roland Emmerich, the film’s award-winning director, explained, “Working with Crack Creative allowed us to see how sequences worked before shooting, to communicate with the actors and departments during production, and to aid continuity during the edit when shots were not yet available. It was a big advantage to the film to visually explore new ideas at any point throughout production.”
Joshua Kolden, president, Crack Creative, added, “Most of these sequences went through many versions before the final version was chosen. In a normal visual effects pipeline, the sheer volume of shots would not have been possible in the time we had. The film makers challenged Crack Creative to create sequences that included a detailed model of Manhattan, as well as massive particle simulations of storms -- while remaining interactive. This is called ‘photo-realistic real-time’ and it was made possible by NVIDIA graphics technology. It meant we were able to send more scenes through the pipe more quickly, saving money and time, and perhaps more importantly, giving the filmmakers the flexibility to tell a more compelling story.”
Previsualization – referred to as ‘pre-viz’-- is a process that makes the visual effects production process more accessible to directors earlier in production. It involves computer generating proposed shots for a movie more quickly but in lower quality. In today's productions, sequences and even individual shots are becoming so complex that storyboards, the traditional visualization tool, are having a difficult time representing them. Often it is necessary to see the actual motion of the shot, or even the entire scene. Pre-viz is becoming more common and cost effective. Until recently, however, there was only one choice of quality in pre-viz, which was low.
Crack Creative’s pre-viz approach uses the latest professional-grade graphics and video hardware from NVIDIA as well as custom shaders, textures, and rendering techniques to provide a full spectrum of image quality so that even very subtle effects can be visualized while maintaining interactive performance. Crack Creative provided the majority of the previsualization work done for “The Day After Tomorrow,” most of which was utilized in the film with no change at all to the original design or structure.
Crack Creative’s ability to successfully integrate this process into the production pipeline bodes well for the continued use of advanced previsualization technologies as film visual effects continue to push the bounds of creativity in film. The NVIDIA Digital Film group is working with leading studios and visual effects companies to ensure they have the hardware and software tools to make this a reality.
NVIDIA Corporation is a market leader in visual computing technology dedicated to creating products that enhance the interactive experience on consumer and professional computing platforms. Its graphics and communications processors have broad market reach and are incorporated into a wide variety of computing platforms, including consumer PCs, enterprise PCs, notebook PCs, professional workstations, handhelds, and video game consoles. NVIDIA is headquartered in Santa Clara, California and employs more than 1,900 people worldwide. For more information, visit the Company’s Web site at www.nvidia.com.
About Crack Creative
Crack Creative is a new kind of company in Hollywood that brings extensive experience in visual effects and the latest video game technology together with talented traditional artists to provide high speed interaction to computer graphics. This allows clients to explore ideas faster and easier than ever before. The Crack team of artists is free from the technical difficulties of delivering final visual effects to focus on telling a better story. For more information, visit the Company’s Web site at www.crackcreative.com.
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