Thursday, March 21st, 2019 Posted by Jim Thacker

Watch Rebirth, Quixel’s stunning photorealistic short

Quixel has released Rebirth, a stunning new photorealistic short created using assets from its Megascans library of real-world scan data, compiled and rendered in Unreal Engine.

The film, directed by Quixel CEO Teddy Bergsman, premiered during Epic Games’ keynote from GDC 2019.

Iceland, recreated in real time in Unreal Engine from 3D scan data
On first viewing, Rebirth comes across a bit like a science-fiction version of Iceland, showing a futuristic vehicle speeding through a volcanic landscape to a giant industrial building.

It turns out that there’s a reason for that, Quixel having spent a month in Iceland to capture over 1,000 scans for use in the project.

The animation itself was done by a team of three, using Unreal Engine 4.21 for both final output and virtual production in the 1:45 scale virtual set.

According to Epic Games’ blog post, the team built a physical camera rig to “capture movements in-engine using virtual reality”.

The credits of the short also list Houdini, although we don’t have any information on how it was used.

Quixel were able to call on some fairly heavy hitters to collaborate on the project, with former Blizzard Entertainment 3D art director Fausto de Martini on board for concept art, and Ember Lab’s Mike and Josh Grier, creators of cult sci-fi short Dust, credited with narrative development.

But arguably, the real star of the short is the Icelandic landscape itself, which has rarely looked better – even when remixed and recreated digitally.

Read more about the making of Rebirth on Epic Games’ blog