Eye candy: shiny things from the Halo 4 web series
Two of our favourite studios have created nice things for the online series accompanying Microsoft’s first-person shooter Halo 4, the equally lovely cinematics from which we covered last month.
First up are German Wunderkinder Polynoid, who created the opening sequences for Forward Unto Dawn (montage above). There are also a director’s cut and some very beautiful style frames on the studio’s website, and some making-of information here.
According to Polynoid, the titles create “a seamless narrative closing the gap between the end of Halo 3 and the beginning of Halo 4” – something we hadn’t thought possible, plotting in the Halo universe being what it is.
Scotland’s Axis Animation, purveyors of fine cinematics, including that one for Dead Island, have also been busy, creating Spartan Ops: Season One – a “first-of-its-kind episodic adventure that blends immersive storytelling, high-quality cinematics and action-packed gameplay”.
The ten-part series, which features over 1,200 CGI shots, is being directed by Axis co-founder Stuart Aitken.
According to Axis, key production challenges included having to work with motion capture across a range of character heights ranging from 5.5 to 14 feet. The studio also developed a new performance-capture technique in conjunction with facial-capture specialist Cubic Motion.
The result, Axis claims, “is some of the most realistic and expressive CGI facial animation to date”.
Much of the CG work was carried out in Houdini, with Axis’s shading team using a series of procedural approaches to create the series’ detailed, realistically ‘lived in’ environments.