Revolution Intro: Behind the Scenes!

Recently I had the opportunity to work on the Intro and Title for a new Bad Robot show called Revolution by NBC. The show takes place 15 years after the power mysteriously goes out. The objective of the intro was to show the transformation of time passing in a stylistic time-lapse ways to help establish the world.  And although we were visualizing 15 years in only a few seconds, the reality is that we only had a few weeks to get it done! I thought I would highlight some challenging aspects of the project and share some insights with you.

The main title  was created in After Effects using Element 3D and some proprietary tools we are developing.  The majority of the work was manually animating masks to flicker each letter but also hinting at the word “EVOLUTION”. Since the title had a lot of glowing to it, I decided to use 32BPC to keep the glow intensities consistent and natural looking. There is also a bit of smoke from Action Essentials 2 behind the letters.

We wanted to show that time had passed from after things stopped working.  We filmed real plants using a slow shutter and low frame rate of 1 fps to create a time-lapse plant growing vibe.  This makes the plants flicker and shake in the wind. We then took the plants and animated them to grow taller with the backgrounds.

What is an apocalypse without the ruined courthouse?! We wanted to make the emptiness and destruction less depressing so we leaned towards a more green and lush vegetation. One of the shows Matte Painters helped give the building a nice worn out look with IVY and then I used our plug-in Element 3D to animate some of the leaves and Ivy. The trick here was getting the ivy to wrap around the pillars and to obscure the plants as they intersect the concrete. The white pillars here show the matte geometry that was used to cut the edges and cast ambient occlusion on the surface. I also used the animation engine to progressively animate the leaves outward.

Using Element 3D and the multi-object system, I was able to load 3D plants and animate the rotation to fake the wind blowing. To get the plants to grow where I wanted I also used a layer for the replicator where I wanted plants to grow.

Using multiple copies of Element 3D, I placed growing plants all around this scene some even show ivy climbing the gas pumps.
See plant growth in action!

Overall this was a lot of fun to work on, very challenging and with the time-constraints we had to find a workflow that would get the project done on time. It’s always fun to mix motion graphics with visual effects, my 2 favorite things!


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