Het einde van de mensheid (ENG)

How would the world look if mankind were gone? What would happen to houses, bridges, factories, churches and all other structures if left untouched for hundreds of years?

This is a question being asked not only by science fiction authors but also by the producers of the science show ECHT, which is broadcast by MDR. When imagining such interesting scenarios, it's not surprising that television producers decide to create a documentary to visualize them. Architects and other experts were given the job of establishing the required elements, which were passed on to the animation experts at Visualimpression for visualization. Visualimpression created an accelerated aging process for the structures and environments that was shown in time-lapse and let a chill run down the spine of the viewing public.

The settings selected for the visualization were a historic city square in Magdeburg, a prominent new bridge in Dresden, a historic residential building and a modern-day living room. First, the team decided what will decay when and how: concrete starts to crumble, reinforcing metal starts to rust, facades weaken after their moorings rust away, wallpaper peels loose, mold and fungus spread.

Creating such a simulation and presenting it in time-lapse animation is a complex task. Visualimpression CEO Stefan Haberkorn and his team of creative professionals had 20 days to complete the project and needed a stable, dependable tool with which to do so.

CINEMA 4D was used to create and render the scenes, some of which contained 5 million polygons and pushed the 32GB workstations to their limits. To save memory, the team used CINEMA 4D shaders in place of most bitmaps. In addition to the accelerated aging process of the man-made structures, the animations also had to show how nature is reinvigorated and engulfs what mankind created – trees had to grow, moss and ivy had to spread across walls and floors. An innumerable number of animation tracks had to be created, which also had to be managed. The team at Visualimpression was able to depend on CINEMA 4D’s proven animation tools for this phase of the project as well. The team used Dynamics to animate the structures’ decaying process. CINEMA 4D’s particle effects were used to animate crumbling walls and rising clouds of dust. MoGraph was used to animate plants that climbed up streetlights and spread across power lines.

Each of the five scenes encompass about 3000 images, i.e., approx. 15,000 frames in HD resolution! A render farm consisting of 30 computers coordinated by CINEMA 4D’s NET Render was used to render the scenes. Many frames were rendered with layers using Multi-Pass, which made for easy compositing in After Effects. Completing a project of this scope within a tight deadline of 20 days was challenging for software, hardware and the team at Visualimpression but CINEMA 4D’s stability and its comprehensive set of features and tools helped in the successful completion of this impressive set of visualizations.

Visualimpression Website: www.vi-3d.de

Video kathedral of Magdeburg: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XBckaH2dOc&feature=related



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