Escher Ride - Daniel Dugour
Daniel Dugour has had a professional art education at the Utrecht School of Arts, with a BA in Image and Media Technology. He lives and works in Amsterdam since 1995. For the last ten years he has worked in his home office, under the name Anitime. Daniel told us the story of his \"Escher ride\" project, a story that started back in 1998 and ended (happily) in 2005.
The Old Ride
"The Escher ride, or Escher Revisited in VR Valley, was originally made for an exhibition at the Rotterdam museum "De Kunsthal", in 1998. Back then it was a huge succes, and I am always surprised at how many people have seen it and liked it back then."
"I have never been completely satisfied by the result, however. Especially the landscapes (not done with Vue) were not to my liking at all. Landscape rendering was in its infancy in those days, and there hadn't been enough time to get to know the software or find other software that gave better results."
The Vue Revelation
"In july 2001, I had a question from a client about some massive landscape rendering, and was looking around for better software than what I used for Escher in 1998. So I bought Vue d'Esprit! The first real use was with the new Escher ride, and for that I upgraded to Vue Professional. I was too early for Vue 5, I'm sorry to say, as the new features look really good and would have helped me a lot in gaining an even higher image quality."
"Over the next 7 years I have been pestering the producer Wennekes Multimedia (www.wennekes-multimedia.nl) for a remake, but there was never any budget. At the end of 2004 Minimundus in Germany (www.minimundus-bodensee.de) gave Wennekes Multimedia and me the opportunity to do the long awaited complete remake of the ride."
The New Ride
"Originally, the buildings were the hardest to bend my mind around. Since Eschers work is mainly based on the impossibilities that can follow from a 3D interpretation of a 2D drawing, making that same 2D drawing into a 3D object was very hard. Since I already knew what to do, recreating the buildings for the remake was the easy part."
"Escher worked mostly in black and white. I seem to be particularly fond of bright, fresh colors, I notice. And that's what I used a lot. In this case I wanted the look and feel of a romantic landscape, with dramatic rocks and full trees. The lighting had to symbolise the passing of a day, with morning light, mid day, and early evening."
Synchronisation With Lightwave
"Since I wanted to render the Escher buildings in Lightwave, I had to composite hem all into Vue landscapes after rendering. Here is how I proceed:
1. Model the building in Lightwave
2. Make the landscape in Vue
3. Import the model in Vue, check and adjust the placement in Lightwave and re-import until it has te right position in Vue. This sounds more complicated than it is.
4. Export the landscape from Vue to LW.
5. Import the landscape model, cut off extraneous bits, and use as a matte object (black with black alpha) while rendering your model sequence.
6. Use the LW-model in Vue as an invisible object that does cast shadows."
"If you have landscape or plants passing on front of your model, you will need alpha's for them. Using a white LW-object in a black landscape (or vice versa) doesn't work properly, because there is a slight difference in outline between the rendered object in Vue and LW. In stead make the landscape black, except for the parts that you would like to pass in front of your LW-rendered object. Render the sequence, and use as alpha for the foreground layer.
The compositing was done in After Effects."
"The initial incarnation (1998) was about three months of full-on work, with two people. Next another six weeks of rendering (no renderfarm). It was a tight schedule, so the concept was pretty basic: three landscapes with three buildings, and a start and end sequence that made the ride a loop. The rest was up to me."
Turn around Escher's WaterVal
"This time (2005) I had slightly more time, but I was working alone. Juggling two projects for the same producer, I had to divide my time between Escher and the other project. That meant working triple shifts, and getting a couple of hours (usually 4) in between. After four months of this (with two renderfarms this time), both were finished. It sounds crazy, and it was. Nobody required me to put this much effort in, but after seven years of hoping for a remake, I was bound to make it as good as I could. So, the original concept dates from 1997, the original ride from 1998. The remake is based on the original, and was finished in April 2005."
"Back in 1984, when I was fourteen, I was visiting an exhibition in the Paris Centre Pompidou. The featured 3D animation was the first I had ever seen that was made for fun, and not as a scientific visualisation. I realised immediately that that was what I wanted to do. After trying to do 3D on a Commodore 64, I heard about a fledgeling study that specialised in 3D animation, at the utrecht School of Arts. After graduating, I got a short real job at Toonder Studio's, but decided immediately that I wanted to be my own boss. And so I started Anitime from a grubby one room apartment, sleeping next to the renderfarm, and it has been working ever since."
firstname.lastname@example.org - www.anitime.nl
Escher pictures copyright of Cordon Art.
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