Monday, April 4th, 2011 Posted by Jim Thacker

Eye candy: Immersive Cocoon “2011”

“The thing’s hollow… it goes on forever… and oh my God… it’s full of apps!”

Ever since it was released in 1968, fans have been debating what the haunting penultimate sequence of 2001: A Space Odyssey actually means. Now director Oliver Zeller has offered his own twist, re-enacting the sequence as a mock commercial for interface technology.

Based on a concept by legendary production designer Tino Schaedler, Immersive Cocoon “2011” was produced by Zeller’s design collective, NAU.

For the three-minute short, the team even persuaded actor Keir Dullea to reprise his role as stranded astronaut David Bowman, shooting the actor on a backlit plexi floor before compositing him into a fully rendered 3D environment that nods to that of the original movie.

According to Zeller: “I personally handled all 3D duties and was joined on compositing by on-set VFX supervisor Quan Tran, and Miguel Bautista and Anthony Vu: partners of the Invisible Light Agency.

“Modeling took place in modo, animation and rendering in 3ds Max with V-Ray 1.5, and compositing in Nuke and After Effects. Supplemental tools included Maya and Mudbox.”

The result, which resembles something that Apple’s concept designers might dream up during a long session channelling Stanley Kubrick, doesn’t shed much light on the original. But at 1080 resolution, it sure looks lovely.

Updated 04.27.11: you can now watch the Making Of video on Vimeo.