What were the biggest hurdles you came up against?
Money was the big hurdle. I worked for a year on spec and put what money we had all on screen. I kinda timed my bank balance dwindling to nothing in sync with me completing the teaser.
It was tough because my technical knowledge of CGI was some years out of date by this point so it took a while for me to get back into the rhythm of being this hands-on with CG. I had to learn a load of new stuff. And I'm not a particularly good animator so I had to sometimes do things in a clumsy brute-force sort of way.
How hands-on did you get?
Being a director means you have to keep the bigger picture in mind and often don't have time to do specialized tasks that people spend years learning to be able to do just one thing – so I did as much as I could myself so that I could conserve money to pay at least a bit to the people who were able to do things I can't do.
You could easily spend years full-time just learning how to rig. Pyro vfx is pretty specialized. The guys at Bottleship helped me there — especially Martin Neydenski who is really talented at blowing shit up. Digitally of course.
How important was V-Ray to this project?
Crucial - everything was rendered in V-Ray. It's an awesome renderer. And the chaos group guys are really supportive and really responsive about making the renderer friendly for production. I threw everything at it — GI/glossy reflections/refractions/volume fog, skin shaders with SSS and V-Ray chewed it all up.
Actually my claim to fame is I'm the guy that got them to put the anamorphic spinner in the bokeh settings in a much earlier version. Been using V-Ray for years in my past life as a VFX artist.
What other software was important?
Well, it's all Max/V-Ray. I cut in Premiere, comped in After Effects. FumeFX was used to do the pyro elements (and some shattering etc done in thinking particles).
Next: When will we see the finished movie?