"DR0NE" YouTube Channel Series Uses Virtual Studio Tools

Origami Digital delivers film-level visual effects with LightWave 11

Posted: Thu 06 Sep 2012

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.

Origami Digital utilized the features in LightWave® 11, including Virtual Studio Tools, to streamline virtual production for the new sci-fi action series “DR0NE,” which premiered August 30, 2012 on the YouTube YouOffendMeYouOffendMyFamily (YOMYOMF) Network.

Working closely with “DR0NE” 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 premiere episode—from plates to delivery—in 2 1/2 weeks. “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 Device 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 with numerous devices.

Origami Digital’s biggest challenge in the “DR0NE” production was creating animated, 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. “Along with CG Eyes there were a variety of other drone models, vehicles and drop pods that needed to be done quickly to meet the delivery deadline for the project,” said Hotz. “We used LightWave throughout the entire 3D pipeline for modeling, texturing, lighting, animating and rendering; compositing with Eyeon Fusion.”
Watch the “DR0NE” series at http://www.youtube.com/user/YOMYOMF.

About LightWave

LightWave 3D combines a state-of-the-art renderer with powerful and intuitive modeling and animation tools. LightWave includes 999 cross-platform render nodes, support for Windows and Mac UB 64- and 32-bit operating systems, free technical support and more. LightWave is used worldwide as a complete 3D production solution for feature film and television visual effects, broadcast design, print graphics, architectural visualization, game development, and more. LightWave is responsible for more artists winning Emmy® Awards than any other 3D application.

Pricing and Availability

Purchase or upgrade to LightWave 11 and automatically receive LightWave 11.5 at no additional cost when available. LightWave 11 is priced at $1,495 (US); upgrade pricing from earlier versions of LightWave is $695 (US). Educational pricing is also available. Visit www.lightwave3d.com to purchase or locate an authorized LightWave reseller.

About NewTek

Benefiting producers and artists with cost-effective and groundbreaking technologies, NewTek is a worldwide leader in portable live production, video editing, 3D animation and special effects tools, including the TriCaster™ product line, 3Play™ and LightWave 3D®. NewTek has won numerous industry accolades, including two Emmy® Awards.

Clients include: “The X Factor,” ESPN X Games, New York Giants, NBA Development League, Fox News, BBC, NHL, Nickelodeon, CBS Radio, ESPN Radio, Fox Sports, MTV, TWiT.TV, USA TODAY, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). NewTek products have been used in feature films and television shows, including “The Amazing Spider-Man,” “The Hunger Games,” “Avatar,” “The Adventures of Tintin,” “The Walking Dead,” “Fringe,” “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” and more.

NewTek is privately owned and based in San Antonio, Texas. For more information on NewTek please visit: www.newtek.com.

• LightWave 3D is a registered trademark of NewTek.
• NewTek, TriCaster, 3Play and LightWave are trademarks of NewTek.
• All other products or brand names mentioned are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.