Published on Tuesday, 19 June 2012
Digital artist Steven Messing, Visual Effects Art Director on ‘Prometheus’, used his skills in
CINEMA 4D to produce CG environments, creatures, costumes, spaceship designs and a
number of the movie’s physical set builds.
|Digital artist Steven Messing, Visual Effects Art Director on ‘Prometheus’, used his skills in CINEMA 4D to produce CG environments, creatures, costumes, spaceship designs and a number of the movie’s physical set builds.|
|Steven produced his concept art work with director Ridley Scott, production designer Arthur Max and the production team’s VFX supervisors to help set the visual tone for what audiences actually see on screen. He helped conceptualize and design complex VFX shots and also worked through post-production creating matte shots and additional designs under VFX Supervisor, Richard Stammers and VFX Producer, Allen Maris.|
|CINEMA 4D’s real-time functions were especially useful when designing and redefining complex set pieces from the first ‘Alien’ film to bring them up to contemporary visual quality. This included designing CG models for the Prologue and Juggernaut Alien spacecrafts, the Pilot Chamber set located inside the Juggernaut ship and the larger Compound Mound set located on the Alien planet surface.|
|“Ridley was very proud of the original Engineer's spaceship, known as the Juggernaut, but he felt it looked primitive by today’s standards,” said Steven. “He wanted to convey a more believable level of scale and detail. He also asked us to give the Pilot’s Chamber set a facelift to include a finer degree of mechanical filigree, and create additional set pieces to support specific story points in the script.” Steven produced roughly 200 unique images for the film including matte paintings, key-frame storyboards, set designs and visual effects paint-overs of final CG shots.|
|Steven spent several weeks refining CG models that relied on the UV texture displacement maps and MoGraph module in CINEMA 4D to create the new Pilot’s Chamber set. This included creating scale models of the centre dais, desk console, sleeping pods and chamber walls. With fellow designer Ben Procter, he also helped refine the Pilot’s chair that rises from the centre dais in the Juggernaut.|
|“We sorted through a ton of Academy archival reference to make the chair as accurate as possible,” explained Steven. “The original draftings had been lost and it was truly a labor of love to recreate this whole set. Using CINEMA 4D we previsualized and experimented with design elements such as intricate, surface detail textures and patterns that could be presented to Ridley Scott for approvals in a practical timeframe.
“Final designs were then displaced and exported into scale-accurate hard geometry, which was delivered as very detailed model sheets for the set drafting and also to world-class visual effects studios including MPC in London and WETA in New Zealand for completion of the final digital set extensions.”
|CINEMA 4D was also used in the opening shot of ‘Prometheus’ that gives the audience a glimpse of what appears to be primordial Earth, revealed from shadow. “The planet layers were a combination of clouds, oceans and continental land masses that all cast shadows as the sun rises, revealing the planet,” said Steven. “I used CINEMA 4D's Global illumination engine and ray traced area shadows to achieve a realistic layered effect at an accurate scale.” He also created a dozen very detailed and dramatic pinnacle formations that were painted over and layered together with atmospheric elements to create interesting compositions detailing the scope and grandeur of the Alien planet’s landscape.
Steven Messing is currently providing VFX art direction on ‘Gangster Squad’ and ‘Oz: the Great and Powerful’. His film credits include 'Avatar', 'Alice in Wonderland', 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon' as well as upcoming films 'Life of Pi', 'Star Trek' and 'Pirates of the Caribbean 5'. www.maxon.net.