Holiday Magic

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Holiday Magic!

We created an electronic Holiday Greeting card as a little internal project here at Fusion. Certain aspects of it were inspired by a recent SeaWorld spot we did in collaboration with Vitamin Pictures in Chicago. For that project, we created water branches that Vitamin then comped into a tree form.

We thought the idea of a dynamic, fluidy Christmas tree for the holidays fit us perfectly, since we specialize in CG fluids, so we extended and adapted the technology we developed for the SeaWorld project and built a little scene around it.

The blanket beneath the tree was created as a Maya nCloth simulation, the furry edge was done using Maya fur. The water branches were each done as 400 frame fluid simulations, using our newest technology for making fluids follow paths. This allows us to make fluid take contorted, art-directed paths while still maintaining a very natural flowing look.

The tools typically available for this kind of thing end up making the fluid look like a worm wiggling thru mid-air, which of course looks anything but natural when you’re talking fluids. So we developed a custom tool that allows complete control on falloffs along the path and with distance from it, variations in strengths along the path, and also allows the release of fractions of the fluid to create splashy edges. And of course the tool has integrated into it our “smorganic” tool ( ), which prevents breakup of the fluid into ugly cheesey / webbed shapes. The tree was then built from about 30 unique fluid branches, each placed carefully in 3D space to get a nice tree shape while maintaining an organic look. This year, our tree decorating was virtual!

Working on the project at Fusion were: Mark Stasiuk, Matt Benson, Lauren Millar and Liz Catullo.