One of the most famous photos ever recreated in CG

Prague-based creative agency Playground reimagine the moment Bob Burman smashed through the land speed record on the sand of Daytona Beach in 1910.

Studio director Jan Rambousek says: “This is based on the original 1910 photograph ‘Barney Oldfield racing the Blitzen Benz - Daytona Beach, Florida’, which was taken by Richard H LeSense. In 1910, Oldfield took the car to a record speed of 132mph.

“We worked on this project as a team in-between our other jobs in the studio. It took us about a month to complete from initial modelling to the finishing touches. We loved working on the detail of the image – the dust, the oil splatters, the exhaust smoke, the cracked paint – it’s these little touches that make the car and its speed look so real, so dramatic. It is also these bits of detail that create the sensation of raw unparalleled speed and power. They bring the car and the engine to life and make it seem like some fire-spitting dragon that the driver is desperately trying to control.

"We loved working on the detail of the image – the dust, the oil splatters, the exhaust smoke, the cracked paint," says Rambousek

“In order to achieve this incredible finish, we used a variety of slightly unusual techniques. These were all essential due to the extreme resolution and effective process. During the modelling stage, we focused on great levels of detail. After the initial modelling, we had to use few procedular maps and specific bitmaps for displacement to enhance the realism of the surface.

To achieve this incredible finish, we used a variety of slightly unusual techniques

“We kept in mind that no surface is flat, and we tried to reproduce specific deformations for every object using a standard displacement modifier. When we were texturing, we used a multi-channel approach and very basic projection techniques in conjunction with blended materials. We used a lot of textures from CGtextures and they really do bring the scene to life. Procedural maps really played a great part in both the modelling and the texturing process due to the unlimited resolution and object space mapping.

“As a production studio based in Prague, we work on anything visual, and have recently done a lot of advertising work for a huge range of clients. We love to do team projects as a way pooling our creative and design talent.”

This article originally appeared in 3D World issue 173.

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