From September til December-ish I was working on Atlantis. Lola (www.lola-post.com) was creating visual effects for almost the entire thing, 550 shots, so there was plenty for each of us to do. In my case, I was working on falling volcanic rocks and boats, then seas. There’s a lot of sea involved in this show, much of which is actually real, but the rest is created using Aaman Akram’s aaOcean suite of shaders and deformers in Softimage.
All the shots were broken down into different passes, with that being especially essential for the sea shots. Water behaves oddly at sea. It’s hard to tell the scale of a large wave versus a small one without something giving you a visual cue. By creating various mattes and animating the large waves at different speeds to the smaller waves sat on top, we were able to keep the scale in check, adding elements like foam and colour variation depending on the shot composition.
Prior to this, I was involved in the pre-vis stage of the boat shots. Many of them involve particularly dramatic moments and it was necessary to nail exactly how they were going to work before getting bogged down in rendering water at HD. Pre-vis is short for pre-visualisation, whereby each shot is roughed out using rudimentary elements or low detail assets to get a feel for timing, scale, composition and so on. By having this stage, it’s possible to work something into the edited sequence as quickly as possible to see if it actually works. It saves a lot of time and takes some guesswork out.
Atlantis – End of a World, Birth of a Legend will be broadcast in mid March.
For now, here’s a preview on Youtube. There’s a making of and a couple of sequences in there too.