Saturday, June 30th, 2012 Posted by Jim Thacker

Eye candy: Ambrosia
The trailer for Ambrosia. Effects for the indie thriller were created by one-man VFX team Chris Herrick.

We first came into contact with Intrinsic Media’s Chris Herrick earlier this year, when he won a not-quite-contest to render the CG Channel homepage in 3D.

So we were interested to hear that he’s been rendering something rather more impressive recently, as the one-man visual effects team behind indie sci-fi thriller Ambrosia, created for just $17,000.

Espionage on a shoestring
The movie follows a young girl who becomes the target for assassins after the ‘breakthrough serum’ of the title winds up in her possession following a failed attempt to hijack it.

According to Chris: “The inspiration for the film was to create a sci-fi action narrative with professional visual effects for a fraction of the budget of a typical production.

“The film clocks in at 41 minutes and features over 280 FX shots, ranging from simple gunfire and debris to more complicated dynamics and fluid sims, set extensions, vehicles and futuristic user interfaces.

“As the only member of our VFX ‘team’ (not withstanding moral support from my faithful German Shorthaired Pointer, Buckeye) I was able to complete the FX pass in about nine months.”
The city of Portland as you’ve never seen it before: three shot breakdowns from Ambrosia.

Most of the 3D was done in Maya with compositing in After Effects and Nuke, and judicious use of real locations.

According to Chris: “One of our budgetary strategies was to make use of Portland’s architecture [including by filming] from the Portland Aerial Tram: we re-purposed the Oregon Health and Science University building and added a futuristic gun ship.”

And pretty effective it all looks, too. The movie itself premiered in Portland last month, but if you missed it, the team plans an international release as a digital download from

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