One of the decisive moments in Darren Aronofsky’s Noah is created when a barren tundra miraculously gives birth to a lush forest in the span of one sweeping camera movement. This one shot needed to meet the visual demands of the director as well as bridge two film sets that were on two different continents. When Industrial Light & Magic needed a tool to enact this scene, they turned to SpeedTree to help meet their specific needs. Working with the team, we added a new feature to SpeedTree Cinema to facilitate the animating of tree growth. To do this, we added a timeline to the Modeler as well as the ability to control variables such as rate of growth, how welds work to maintain realistic seams where the branches meet the trunk, and the ability to export these models in a format ready for animation. These tools gave the artists the ability to create a tree quickly and intuitively while still having full control of how the branches move and interact with each other at every stage of growth. ILM produces a series of “Behind The Magic” YouTube videos and in a recent upload Ben Snow talks about the process behind and the challenges of creating this scene:
Our collaboration with our partners at ILM is one of the factors that was considered in awarding the IDV, Inc. with a Sci-Tech Academy Award. Our job isn’t just to create a product that makes great trees, but to create a solution that allows both large and small studios and individuals to intuitively create trees to match their vision. SpeedTree has always evolved to meet the needs of its users, changing with each release in response to the valuable feedback of designers and programmers that allows us to grow, which is why we never back down from a challenge and love to be a part of great projects coming to life.
If you’re interested in using SpeedTree in your project be sure to check out the different options we have available. SpeedTree Cinema is the option that allows for animated growth and is available as a free trial for you to experiment with while our SpeedTree products for games available for Unity 5 , UE4, and as a standalone product which shares 95% of the same DNA of the software that has been used 2014’s major blockbuster and AAA Games.