CGI director Thorsten Jasper Weese and CGI artist Inez Budzyńska in the Stuttgart studio have had some fun playing with a CG hot air balloon. The balloon itself was originally created for another series of images but only featured in the distance. They loved the look of it so much they decided to re-purpose it as the hero in its own little story. They came up with the idea of making it appear in ordinary urban settings as if the shots were taken through a window. They wanted to create a dreamy effect where the ordinary and plausible would be combined with the uncommon and improbable.
Armed with just a mobile phone, Thorsten took a series of snaps which he overlapped with the CGI elements. As common with spontaneous and wholly improvised projects, this “spin-off” raised unpredictable challenges – the biggest of which was the image of the balloon stranded on overhead electrical wires. Direct reference images were understandably quite scarce, and working out exactly how the balloon’s canopy would fold and twist in this scenario was an unsurprisingly tricky task.
Inez sculpted the stranded balloon entirely in Zbrush, based on only a couple of photos – a daunting method, but one which offered her a lot of flexibility and complete control over both the large shapes, and the small detail. Mari was used for texture-painting before returning to Zbrush for final adjustments.
The balloon’s basket and electrical cables were considerably less complicated, and needed only 3dsMax and Photoshop for all modelling and texturing. The final image was rendered in Vred and handed over to Thorsten for the final comp in Photoshop. And below is how he did it:
These are more images from the balloon series with some wire-frames of the hot air balloon.
CGI-Director: Thorsten Jasper Weese / Recom
Post-Artist: Thorsten Jasper Weese / Recom
CGI-Artist: Inez Budzyńska / Recom