A major component in the OZMAT world is the underground government facility where the series takes place. During the development process, we wanted to make sure the OZMAT testing chamber (where the creature tests take place) felt as real as the world we were bringing to life (as well as the live-action sets we built). The only way to achieve this realism was to build a 3D model, something we had never done before. We rolled up our sleeves, teamed up with Vando in Barcelona, and figured out the process as we went. Everything went according to plan and we learned so much from the experience, that we wanted to share the design process with y’all.
Like all our projects, we started by immersing ourselves in a variety of reference materials before the pen hit the Wacom. We wanted the design and detailing to feel like a believable government facility, so we referenced hundreds of photos and graphics of actual labs, testing facilities, wind tunnels, and warehouses.
2. Concept Sketches
Knowing that the final testing chamber design would be rendered in 3D, we sketched the room from all angles and explored a variety of room shapes and configurations. We also used this exploration to think about scale, materials and mood. The testing chamber changed a bit during this phase, but it’s all about exploration.
3. Layout & Color
Before handing off the concept art to our 3D friends, we locked-down the color, lighting, textures (and a few key camera angles that would need to be rendered). We wanted the chamber to feel like it had been used for decades, so we tried to make the walls feel distressed and aged. In doing so, we also created a variety of fading decals that would be used on the walls.
Over the course of a few weeks, the Vando team brought the testing chamber to life. Building the initial model was a relatively quick and painless process (even though the chamber had to be enlarged after the first pass was delivered). From there, our artists worked closely with Vando to polish all the subtleties of the distressed textures and lighting of the room. Once the CG model was finalized, they sent us dozens of still renders and a variety of camera moves that were needed for the final compositing.
5. Polish and Post
Once the final renders (with a variety of channels) were delivered, our Post Production Supervisor composited the CG backgrounds with the Flash animation, making sure the lighting was consistent and adding necessary effects (glows, lighting changes, reflections) to the chamber itself.
Similar to the creature test animation process, creating the testing chamber was a production in itself, but we’re super happy with the results.
Stay tuned for more posts on the OZMAT production process!