Inhance Digital Relies on LightWave for "Air Jaws"

3D Members of Inhance's VFX Team created this fun piece using LightWave 3D

Posted: Mon 19 Sep 2016

Artists at Inhance Digital deliver some of the most innovative, interactive and visually compelling visual effects, animation and compositing projects for everything from aerospace and healthcare to broadcast, feature films and games. Having a little spare time during this summer, the 3D Members of Inhance's VFX Team created this unusual piece using LightWave 3D.


There were two things that I saw recently that heavily influenced this short we did at Inhance VFX. Obviously, anyone who saw Deadpool will recognize the concept and the song playing. I’m a licensed SCUBA Diver and I have a fascination with sharks. I spent a good deal of time watching this year’s Shark Week on Discovery Channel. I decided to combine the Deadpool intro with the final moments of some poor seal’s life as it gets hit from below by a Great White Shark. In recent years, scientists have documented this breaching behavior of Sharks where they rocket up out of the water as a result of hunting their prey from below. We had a brief amount of down time in my department at Inhance so I wanted to keep everyone’s skills sharp. It was also quite nice to not have a client telling us what to do for a change!

The shark and the seal models were done in Z-Brush by my creature artist, Luis Cayo. The fluids were done in Real Flow by one of my Lead guys, Jason Maynard. I assembled the scene in LightWave bringing together the fluid sims and the models from Luis. I then added in the ocean, buoy, island, boat, and sea birds. We did not bother rigging anything because we knew it was going to be a frozen moment so the animals were posed right in Z-Brush, and saved out at a very high level of subdivision in order to maintain all of the details that were sculpted into the models. I also created the entire stomach portion with the exception of the fluids. I wanted to add some “Easter Eggs” in there, so I put in a Starbucks coffee with the name “Wade” on it, again referring to Deadpool. I also put in a dog collar and a very specific license plate, both of which were an homage to the film Jaws! The “Haunted House” style of lighting in the stomach, which was a suggestion by my homie, Q, worked out well for a stylized look into what would otherwise be a black, light-less void. We rendered the interior and exterior portions separately due to there being a natural blend point, keeping our scene size down a little bit. To give you an idea, the exterior scene alone had around 11 million polygons in it.

We also rendered almost everything in-camera! There were a few passes we did mattes for so we could have some control in comp but the only thing worth mentioning, that was done separately, was the Depth passes from LightWave. These were used in conjunction with an awesome plugin for Fusion called Frischluft, to achieve a heavy Depth of Field look to the piece without all of that extra render time that in-camera DOF would have taken. I found a free download of the Juice Newton song “Angel of the Morning,” and brought that and all of our rendered comps into Adobe Premiere, and pumped out a simple edit with the Inhance company logo and some credits. I had more fun doing this than I’ve had doing 3D in years! We laughed as much as we worked and it served as a great distraction from the rigors of television VFX work.

The owners of the company liked it so much that we are now putting Air Jaws into the HTC Vive which is an amazing Virtual Reality system we have here at Inhance Digital. Inhance is producing a lot of VR projects for our Corporate clients and this project will serve as a showpiece for our company in that arena. We hope people will enjoy this for what it is, something creative and fun!

Inhance VFX is the Television/Film division of Inhance Digital Corp. whose current clients are GRIMM, Jane the Virgin, Episodes, Empire, Manhattan, Nashville and an upcoming feature film entitled The Bleeder.