Terminator Salvation
3D Graphics

Terminator Salvation Premiere

Another day, another insanely tight project deadline.  The phone rings: at the 11th hour it’s been decided that a special 6 foot Terminator hologram would be developed for display at the film’s premiere in Los Angeles. Fortunately for me I had already produced a Terminator concept hologram several months prior, so there was a lot I had already done.

The client had sent along graphics they want converted into a 3D scene.  This comes in the form of a top down view of a city being destroyed by nuclear war.  As the city is destroyed the face of a terminator appears.  I had already developed 3D terminator scene so I took that as my starting point.  I had to re-UV my completed model so that it would line up with the supplied artwork.

Next I mapped the animated artwork onto a 2D plane in my scene and animated the terminator face pushing through as the city is destroyed.  It took some tweaking to get the timing and alignment correct.  There are some things to keep in mind when animating this type of hologram.  Each one can hold roughly 6 seconds of animation, but the motions can’t be too fast or they will blur, and the illusion of 3D is destroyed.  Also the animation plays as the viewer moves from left to right, so certain animations might not be desirable when viewed from right to left as they will play backwards. For example: A person drinking from a glass will swallow the liquid when viewed from left to right, but when viewed backwards they will appear to be spitting it back out.  That’s not something you’d generally like to see in an ad for Coke.  In this case having the face push forward and then retreat when viewed the opposite way is a perfect effect.

After animation and rendering I also had to composite in titles, 3D smoke and lens flare effects using After Effects in order to complete the piece.  The end result is quite spectacular and has become one of my more impressive pieces.


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