John Fragomeni and Andrew Cochrane discuss the VR content creation process with a focus on the 3D creative experience for Vegas: Alter Your Reality’ (VAYR) 360 virtual art experience.
The new ‘Vegas: Alter Your Reality’ (VAYR) 360 virtual art experience, produced for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Association (LVCVA), is a unique destination brand marketing program that features an interpretation of the Las Vegas experience – the attractions, night life, restaurants, and more “only in Las Vegas” scenes – in virtual reality (VR) through the lens of five of the world’s top artists: Beeple, Adhemas Batista, Fafi, Insa and Signal Noise.
John Fragomeni, Creative & Media Entertainment Executive, and Andrew Cochrane, Immersive Creator and Director, were contracted by R+R Partners to handle the VR production. Throughout the six-month project, the team working in conjunction with Sunset West Media production studio in Los Angeles, relied on MAXON Cinema 4D, and Cineversityplug-ins CV-ArtSmart and CV-VR Cam, to create five individual VR videos totaling 12.5 minutes of immersive 4K stereo animation.
The virtual art collection debuted last December at the prestigious annual Art Week and Art Basel festival in Miami and can be experienced now on the Vegas VR app. The activation is presently scheduled at select locations around the world.
Sunset West Media credit list:
- John Fragomeni – Creative Executive
- Andrew Cochrane – Creative Director
- Paul Pianezza – Post Producer
- Ryan Hitch – Post Producer
- Roy Edwards – TD/Pipeline
- Ryan Fragomeni – Post Production Assistant
- Max Forward - Storyboards
- John Robson – Creative Lead
- Itzik Roitman – Creative Lead
- Liam Ward – Digital Artist
- Matt Shadis – Digital Artist
- Tyler Heacox – Digital Artist
- Lamson To – Digital Artist
- Ivan Cruz – Digital Artist
- Yates Holey – Digital Artist
- Richard DeForno – Animator
- Margaret Dost – Modeling
- Sophie Kim – Illustrator
"Most 360º content is either a tie-in with an entertainment property or a product," says Cochrane. "Marketing has driven most of this emerging medium thus far. This project is rare in that there was no mandate other than for each of the artists to create. R+R Partners and the LVCVA were uniformly focused on maintaining the purity of this goal. In every way, this is an art installation project, with Las Vegas as its patron."
"Our team of CG design and animation experts worked directly with each artist to guide them through an asset creation phase where they made individual images and style frames in 2D for our team to use as the basis for our 3D work in Cinema 4D," explains Fragomeni. "Each two-to-three-minute immersive video is a direct translation of the artist’s work into VR, with assets they created and that our production team converted into 3D using Cinema 4D and CV-ArtSmart, then animated and rendered into omni-directional stereo using CV-VR Cam."
"The process was fluid and involved back and forth discussions and interactive sessions," continues Cochrane. "We worked from production story boards and artists’ mood boards with references to their 2D animations or in some cases even a 2D file that we could extrude and turn into a 3D asset in Cinema 4D for animation and rendering."
Cochrane adds, "Artistically styling 3D simulations and animations to match a two-dimensional aesthetic in a fully immersive 360º world required a multi-faceted team and a flexible production approach. We used Cinema 4D as our primary tool for rigging, animation, environment creation, particle effects, and lighting, with OTOY Octane for rendering. Adobe After Effects and Autodesk Fusion 360 were used to composite and Mettle's Skybox plugins used to create content and to make WIP edits in Adobe Premiere so that we could check progress in the VR headsets."
"The sheer volume and variety of needs that these five films presented as far as we are aware is unprecedented in 360º animation," says Fragomeni. "Using Cinema 4D, with the addition of complex simulations from SideFX Houdini and Next Limit RealFlow, we successfully modeled, textured, lit, rigged, simulated, and rendered over 500 2D assets that had to be converted into 3D or wholly created in CG."
"We relied on Cinema 4D techniques from pretty much everything we have ever worked on," says Cochrane. "Converting Signal Noise and Batista’s Adobe Illustrator files would have taken months if not for CV-Artsmart. Making Insa’s desert shatter pushed the MoGraph and Rigid Body systems beyond anything we have ever attempted in Cinema 4D to date. Additionally, we used CV-VR Cam heavily on Batista’s film which proved ideal for realizing his 2D /illustrated style in VR. Beeple is a prolific Cinema 4D power user and his VAYR piece was created almost entirely using the software with Octane as the renderer. Uniquely, he would handoff his scene files to our team to do all final lighting, finishing and rendering."
"With a terrific vision of the scope, lending on the experience of building, managing and running post/VFX studios and thorough extensive pre-planning we assembled an entire production facility in just a week," states Fragomeni. "Every workstation was a quad-GPU beast, a total of 68 Titan XPs boasting a combined 243,712 Cuda cores, with a total capacity of 816,000,000,000,000 floating point operations per second. This gave us the seamless and efficient throughput to handle the demanding amount of data and workload. The team was relatively small given the sheer volume of work. We generated over 2 million frames in the process of creating the final 12.5 minutes of 4K stereo animation."