New “Commute” Curiosity Film by Panoply
Mark Lindner, creative director at Panoply in London: “The latest film in our Curiosity series is an abstract take on the memory of our daily rush-hour commute, packed together on London public transport. Our aim was to convey this feeling of a time that almost feels lost.
“Technically, generating the individual materials and surface properties were done through procedural modeling techniques. While referencing microscopic sand grains, we concluded they look far less interesting than one would expect when looking at them from afar.
“We decided to lean into this and create stark contrasts between grains, both in shape but also in surface properties with some being opaque and others taking on refractive properties.
“Due to the enormous amount of detail in the sand grains (each one averaging 200,000 polygons) we decided to bake some of these details into normal maps. Essentially this allowed us to have an uncompromising amount of visual detail while keeping the scenes manageable.
“Some of the shots were simulated using Houdini’s grain solver but in most cases, we felt a more precise approach was necessary, so in the end we relied heavily on the rigid body solver where more accurate collisions are possible.
“Using Redshift we were able to instance the high-quality sand grains thousands of times giving each particle a unique surface property resulting in huge levels of detail.”