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New DRONE series created with LightWave 11

Virtual Studio Tools unleashed in LightWave 11 for new DRONE series

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LightWave 11′s 3D modeling and animation software by NewTek has been utilized by Origami Digital to deliver feature film-level visual effects for a new web series. DRONE, which premiered 30 August 2012, on Google’s YouTube.

The Story

War drone technology has advanced and a new weapon has been unleashed–a humanoid drone that is stronger and faster than any soldier. But in the aftermath of a mysterious incident, a damaged battle drone is forced to go on the run with its programmer to try and take down their corrupt commander.

Working closely with DRONE director Robert Glickert, Origami Digital’s VFX supervisor Oliver Hotz and a team of artists used LightWave to create the CG elements for 200 shots in the series; 98 shots were created for the premier episode–from plates to delivery–in 2 1/2 weeks.

01 - DRONE series on Web was created utilizing LightWave 11.

“I’ve been using LightWave for 20 years and can’t think of another package that can match its ease of set-up and ability to quickly create photorealistic renders,” said Hotz. “It works perfectly with the internal tools and multi-app pipeline in our facility.”

Virtual Production Realized

Virtual Studio Tools in LightWave 11 allow artists to easily manage and control animated objects and characters while recording the performance motion from simultaneous devices into animation takes for playback and viewing. The new Control Booth and Devices Managers in Virtual Studio Tools can be used to manage every aspect of how a controller is configured and used in LightWave, allowing anything that can be animated in LightWave to be controlled by numerous devices.

02 - DRONE series taps Virtual Studio Tools in LightWave 11.

Origami Digital’s biggest challenge in DRONE production was creating aniamted, photo-real CG eyes that could be integrated with the live-action robot. “Going into the project we knew that having control of the robot’s eyes and the ability to animate them for specific performance moments was the director’s main VFX objective,” explained Hotz. “Using LightWave’s Virtual Studio Tools allowed me to interactively work with the director to nail down the eye movement–it was also great for the director to be able to experiment with the robot’s eye movement using a joystick controller.”

LightWave was the software of choice for creating various other CG objects in the series. “We used LightWave throughout the entire 3D pipeline,” said Hotz, “for modeling, texturing, lighting, animating and rendering, including compositing with Eyeon Fusion.

To learn more about LightWave 11 visit them onsite here. To see more on DRONE, visit:

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