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CGI spaceship made of drum parts
CGI project
3ds Max Adobe CS iray Substance Painter
The music videoFront-right renderingTop-front renderingLeft-back rendering
Jet engine renderingComposite scene setupFlight scene setupFinal shot after color grading and post-processing

For a music video of the band MAX APOLLO I worked as a camera operator and CGI artist. This time I worked through the entire CGI pipeline, «full-stack» as I would call it analogous to software development. This includes modelling, UV unwrapping, texturing, scene and physics setup, rigging, animating, camera matching, rendering and compositing preparation.

Before starting with the CGI work, I was also on the film set as one of the camera operators for indoor shots. For outdoor scenes where the main CGI shots are located, a 360° HDRI of the filming location was captured and used in 3ds Max to light the CGI scenes and provide reflections for the surface of the spaceship.

Based on concept art, I modelled the basic shape of the spaceship in Adobe Illustrator and 3ds Max. With the basic shape of the ship’s hull finished, drum parts were merged into the hull. Finally, I modelled some pipes, the engine and hanging cables to complement the hull. After UV unwrapping all the parts, the model was exported for texturing in Substance Painter.

As the final rendering should match the painted surfaces in Substance Painter closely, I created an export configuration for NVIDIA’s physically based GPU renderer iray, which is integrated into 3ds Max 2017. In 3ds Max the materials were set up accordingly. With the visuals of the spaceship completed, I created a rig for flight dynamics and did the physics setup to allow hanging cables to respond to drag and wind. Camera tracking of composite shots was done in After Effects and for scenes where no tracked camera was used the virtual cameras were matched accordingly.

The spaceship trajectories and its movable parts were keyframe animated with some additive procedural animation. Furthermore, keyframe animation was created to match the music. For the final rendering, a manually painted procedural terrain visible only in reflections was added to emphasize motion. Rendering was done with the iray renderer saving 32-bit per pixel EXR images with Z-Depth and appropriate masks to maximize compositing flexibility.

This music video was directed by Gregor Szabo.