Futuristic, sci-fi short promotes Danish VFX school

Director Henrik Bjerregaard Clausen and a group of students team up to create a futuristic promotional trailer for the 3D College Denmark.

To challenge current students and to attract prospective new ones, 3D College thought a new type of student project to create a promotional trailer for the college was in order.

“3D College contacted me and asked me if I could come up with a cool idea that would suit the students’ skill set as well as attract new students to the school once it was completed,” says director Henrik Bjerregaard Clausen.

“We used 3ds Max, V-Ray and After Effects - a wonderful combination for me. I have used 3ds Max for over a decade and feel very comfortable coming up with solutions to any challenge using it in conjunction with V-Ray. After Effects is my compositing package of choice with a few added plug-ins - such as Frischluft Lenscare, which makes adding depth of field in post a breeze with predictable, fast results.

The students and director Henrik Bjerregaard Clausen used 3ds Max, V-Ray and After Effects to create the teaser trailer

“For the students I believe ZBrush was the most powerful tool in their arsenal: it leaves you free to not worry too much about the technical aspects of modelling, but focus on what we needed for the film - details, lots and lots of details.

“Our scene files became increasingly heavy due to the massive amounts of polygons on all objects. Especially the third opening shot where the huge trail leading up to the pile of skulls is revealed. We used a combination of V-Ray proxies and MultiScatter to be able to manage and render the scene. Even with a lot of optimisation, the scene file for that shot ended up in excess of 2GB.

"For the students I believe ZBrush was the most powerful tool in their arsenal," says Bjerregaard Clausen

“Another challenge was simulating the pile of skulls. This was achieved by exporting a heavily decimated version of each skull (there are three separate types in the film) and then optimising that further in Max, welding vertices together until we had a tight shape for each of them. These were then stacked in columns of instances, simulated using MassFX and finally changed to their original high-poly versions before lighting and rendering. A similar proxy approach was used for any object pushing the skulls around - like the claw or the back of the beast.”

This article originally featured in 3D World issue 173.

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