November 26, 2007
It’s all “Wet & Wild” at Fusion CI Studios!
Mark Stasiuk, co-founder and fluid fx guru at Fusion CI Studios, has been facing tsunami-sized demands for fluid fx work these days -- from commercial work, to network idents, to feature film. Fusion focuses exclusively on fluid and particle fx and as a result has become an invaluable resource for production companies and vfx houses around the world. Fluid fx in particular remain one of the most difficult and complex effects to achieve realistic behaviors and photo-real characteristics within a cost-efficient time scale, so studios are turning to Fusion’s expertise and experience to deliver the fluid assets they need for their television, commercial or feature film deadlines.
A recent collaboration with Radium (Santa Monica, San Francisco, Dallas) on Target's "Goodbuy" commercials -- "Wet and Wild" and "Red White and Chocolate", is one such example. Creating the fluid assets for Radium, Fusion spewed water from dancing Dasani water bottles, sloshed Crystal Light into hollow "Goodbuy" letters and oozed chocolate to form a sweet Hershey's kiss.
"Fusion's commitment to excellence, technical know-how and overall professionalism made the job a breeze," says Aladino Debert, Radium's Creative Director and Head of world. Fluid fx CG. "Realflow is a challenging application under the best of circumstances, but Fusion allowed us to deliver the job on time and on budget. The final spot surpassed all our, and the client's, expectations." "Because we specialize exclusively in fluid and particle fx, we're an important resource for other vfx studios," says executive producer, Lauren Millar. "Our clients are outstandingly talented vfx houses, it’s just that fluid work isn't always a standard component of their pipeline. And adding fluid fx to your pipeline can be time-consuming, unpredictable and costly. When our clients bid on shots involving fluid work, they can be confident that we're there to handle them. We've already taken care of finding and training talented fluid fx artists. We have a streamlined, well-developed pipeline that is highly efficient. And because of our dedicated focus on CG fluids, we have developed really efficient systems, proprietary methodologies and algorithms that result in speed and tremendous creativity in handling our clients' project demands."
“The vignettes for the Target spots offered some heightened challenges, but also the classic fluid issues” says Fusion’s ‘flow-master’, Mark Stasiuk. “They involved highly- directed behaviors, which had to happen fast while looking natural and graceful, creating attractive forms rather than masses of tiny blobs. We commonly create several versions to give our clients choice, but this one involved a lot more than usual because of the high integrity of the look, the bright white lighting, and the fact that the client needed it to look real. After all, we had to accurately represent the client’s product: water you’re inspired to drink. We did a lot of back and forth with Radium’s Creative Director, Aladino Debert, experimenting with behaviors and slightly different bottle shapes. We also created scripted methods to eliminate excess tiny droplets and so get fine control on the overall look of splashes.” “We were able to achieve these characteristics through the selective use of real world forces such as velocity, drag, and gravity,” says Steve Moore, Fusion’s senior fluid fx artist. “We gave the water a ‘bouncy’ feel by adding an array of carefully controlled ‘force hits,’ much like you would see in naturally occurring white water rapids. Finally, timing is very important in creating a mood, and by keyframing acceleration and hangtime we were able to choreograph just the right feel of fun, exciting, and very drinkable water.”
Moore goes on to say that “one of the best things about Fusion is the open, creative atmosphere. Coming from the academic field, Mark Stasiuk is a great teacher and the studio, in some ways, is a think tank. Mark has taught me that, through the use of scripting, almost anything imaginable can be achieved in RealFlow. Learning to efficiently use particle dynamics has really opened the horizon to creating photorealistic images that, until recently, could only be shot live action, if at all. At Fusion, we always strive to deliver more than the client expects, and coming up with new and innovating solutions is the key to achieving that objective.”
"Of particular importance to our clients is the fact we're well established and very knowledgeable in large-scale, multi-million-particle fluid fx -- from turbulent, raging rivers to complex ocean surfaces with huge waves and layers of spray & foam to cascading waterfalls to massive, curling sheets of water, “ says Millar. “You won't find better, affordable capabilities using off-the-shelf software. Our clients know when they ask us to do something unusual or particularly challenging that we'll come through for them. And of course, we're there for the less complicated bubbles 'n drips 'n splashes too!"
Fusion CI Studios provides in-house RF-artist services, fluid fx team supervision, consultation, pipeline development, tool-building and fluid asset packages. Fusion is the only vfx studio in North America that focuses exclusively on fluid & particle fx. Realflow is the studio’s primary fluid solution. Fusion’s latest feature film project involved developing and supervising a state-of-the-art fluid fx pipeline for Asylum VFX on National Treasure: Book of Secrets.
Mark Stasiuk is a world expert in Realflow. As co-founder and fluid fx supervisor at Fusion CI Studios, Mark has developed fast proprietary methodologies for dealing with complicated fluid fx and has custom designed his studio’s streamlined, efficient fluid fx pipeline. Mark ‘gets it’ when it comes to the physics of fluid, he has a PhD in fluid mechanics and worked for 20 years in fluid dynamics. He also works closely with the engineers at Next Limit (makers of Realflow) to constantly improve the software and resolve issues. His scripting was instrumental in moving Realflow from version 3 to 4, and he wrote the scripting guide in the RF4 user manual. Mark is currently advising Next Limit as they develop RF5.