TV Globo, the biggest TV network in Brazil and one of the largest networks in the world, uses AIR with Massive and Maya/MayaMan as part of their digital environment pipeline to extend practical sets, enhancing the quality and realism of their productions. Franciso Lima, VFX Technology Supervisor at TV Globo, and André Castelão, Massive TD, shared some information about a recent project.
For the prime-time soap opera "Ciranda de Pedra", set in the city of São Paulo in 1958, the director wanted to shoot several stock shots of different areas of the city. These areas have changed a lot throughout the years and are completely different today than in the 1950s. It was clear that shooting these areas was not possible.
After several meetings with the VFX Supervisor and tests done by the Digital Environment team, the director realized that his vision could be achieved through the use of visual effects. Since we would be recreating these locations in CG, the director opted to portray a real city but with a specific color palette that would give the shots a romantic look.
To recreate Sao Paulo in 1958, artists at TV Globo started with old black and white photos of the areas to be covered. These pictures served as visual reference for constructing 3D models of major buildings. Digitally colored scans of the pictures were camera-mapped to the 3D models in compositing to add detail to the buildings.
The 3D buildings also served as the set for simulating people and vehicles in Massive. Massive vehicle and human agents were rendered to multiple passes with AIR for final assembly in the composite.
Night shots presented an additional challenge: how to create headlights for the cars animated in Massive (since Massive does not allow lights to be attached to agents). SiTex Graphics worked with TV Globo to develop an efficient solution in which artists used stand-in geometry to position and orient lights for the cars. A proxy surface shader attached to each light shape defined the light’s illumination properties. A custom tool written by SiTex Graphics converted the light geometry and illumination information to RIB light shaders in a single additional step prior to final rendering.
When we contemplated integrating Massive into our pipeline, we were concerned about rendering. SiTex Graphics provided support and custom programming that made it easy to render the Massive shots.