Making the Europride commercial
The film took around five weeks to make, with two of those week spent doing the animatic and edit. The editing part was really great, with me and Knut at Toxic throwing alternate edits to each other. To be able to edit the film before any final 3D work was done, I did rough 3D animatics that we could chop up and use in editing. I think we made eight versions of the cut before we were pleased with it.
The sperm was quite a challenge to rig, as there were no resources available on how to rig a snake- or worm-like creature for animation. After trying different rigs in 3ds max and Maya, I ended up using a combination of spline IK, morphers, wave modifiers and spline deformers in 3ds max for the final animation. In short form: wave deformed spline IK was doing the main wave motion, and this was morphed onto a spermatozoa with spline deformers that did the bigger deformations (turning head, bending body, etc).
The organic look was also an issue. It had to be real, and remicient of a colon, but it still had to look appealing without being nasty to look at. Also, I didn't want to go the other way - making it too cartoony. I went for the Disney-version of endoscopy, going for a very rich and saturated look while keeping the geometry and textures fairly close to the real thing. To avoid a too synthetic 3D look, I rendered everything in grayscale passes - and then colourized those in compositing, favorizing passes that had no directional lights. I looked at a lot of Lennart Nilsson photography, and using gradients and scattering as the primary source of lights helped me emulate the ethereal look he has in his photos. The shot at the top of the page is a direct tribute to him :)
Above you can see some of the passes that goes into building a typical shot. The passes were setup using the incredible RPManager, which has saved my neck/deadlines countless times since I bought it.