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MTV Video Pushes the CG Envelope with EI and 13,200 Dancing Aliens and Massive 3D Scenes

(August 11, 2001)
Following hot on the heels of a previous MTV award, AD Studio in São Paulo, Brazil armed with Electric Image and artists using Macintosh computers, set out to push the digital envelope even further in the production of its latest music video entitled, "Get Down" for Brazilian band, AD.

Tomas Egger was the F/X Director for the video and was essentially challenged with creating a live concert aboard a UFO that required massive amounts of 3D modeling and animating characters. The video is now a popular hit on MTV Brazil and various other places throughout the country. It can be seen at under the "Hot News" section.

The video is unique for its massive 3D scenes and choreography. It features an animated alien playing the role of lead singer, three robots hammering away on their musical instruments and over 13,200 dancing aliens - all fully animated with bones, textures, reflections and choreographed movements within the camera's field of view. The stage, instruments, lighting and UFO arena were also CG elements, making the virtual scenes and camera shot selections even more challenging.

All the modeling, animation and rendering was done with Electric Image's Universe 3D animation system, utilizing some 3D party shaders and plug-ins and compositing separate rendering passes with Adobe After Effects.

"We had a song full of energy that needed to have a live situation, so we created this arena inside the UFO with all of the clichés and characteristics of a concert on Earth, but transported to an alien universe," says Egger. "The most amazing aspects of this particular production were the complexity of the shots which often boasted over 80 animated lights, 10 million polygons, smoke effects, hundreds of effectors and thousands of textures. This seemed like it was beyond the limits of a small studio, but Electric Image's Universe handled it flawlessly."

Egger has been a 3D animator for many years and said Electric Image Universe was the only 3D tool available that could even handle this amount of complexity. "Electric Image's ability to handle massive 3D scenes like this without a hitch is incredible. We simply could not have created this video in any other 3D package without running into serious problems and having to deal with timely workarounds. Plus Universe's Modeler really helped speed up the modeling process for all of the 3D elements in the scene, which varied from organic aliens to hard-surface robots and instruments."

Egger has used Electric Image software since the EIAS 2.8 Broadcast version several years ago. He says the new features in Universe, particularly its modeling system and animator, saved them a lot of time and was a big factor in creating the piece from start to finish within six months, even while working on other projects simultaneously.

The modeling and animations were created using G4 computers (two 500Mhz and one 450 Mhz), and final renders were performed with a render farm of up to 17 computers using Renderama, the included network rendering application for Universe. The Universe 3D package features unlimited rendering licenses and is capable of rendering to a mix of multiple platforms as well, although AD studios is Mac-based and utilized G4s, G3s and iMac DVs.

Egger says he looks forward to this year's MTV Brazil awards where "Get Down" will be prominently featured and up for another award. The video can be viewed at under "Hot News."

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Related Keywords:3d animation, macintosh

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