Lumiere is an animation design and production studio, specializing in 2D, 3D, fluid simulation and motion graphics. The company was founded on a mutual desire to create, beautiful, inspiring artwork through passion, collaboration, and a forward-thinking approach to new mediums and technologies.
Duncan Burch, Technical Director at Lumiere, originally started out in the CG world as a lighter and render support artist using mental ray. Always interested in realistic effects and the behaviour of light, cloth and fluids, it was natural that using Realflow would be the next logical step towards creating convincing fluids.
Clients include: Crown paint, Strongbow, Listerine, Maxfactor, Wella, Nivea and Samsung. The type of fluids we work on range from company logos and idents, splashing mouthwash, exploding paint to gory blood FX.
We first started out creating fluids for various TV shows, idents and blood FX.
The more we used Realflow, the more we realised what was achievable, it opened up a whole new way of thinking when it came to simulations. We hadn’t really worked on anything like this before, but we loved what Realflow could do. We were very excited about its future and the kind of shots that we could create.
In the early days of Realflow it was more of a struggle to get highly detailed, controllable fluids to work correctly. However, Next Limit has improved Realflow considerably. Presently, working in Realflow is a dream; we work with it almost everyday. It is incredibly stable, meaning you can spend more time being creative with fluids and not having to worry if what you are doing might cause an unfortunate crash.
We also work in a fairly flexible manner. If an entire job is produced in house, we will create all the fluids, meaning we have full control over the look, lighting and rendering, which can be a great help when designing workflow etc. However, in some instances, when we team up with other animation studios, we may be hired to just create the fluids, which are then passed back for lighting and rendering elsewhere.
For instance, Jellyfish Pictures approached Lumiere to help create fluid interactions for their epic undertaking of BBC’s Planet Dinosaur. This involved taking Jellyfish’s point cache data from SoftImage into Realflow, creating the various water interactions within RealFlow, then sending back both particle and mesh data to Jellyfish. This could then be added to their render scenes for the start of shading and lighting. Whilst the artists were working on the look, we were able to update the simulations back at Lumiere and easily update Jellyfish with new simulation data.
A slightly different workflow was used at the beginning of this year when WindMill Lane approached Lumiere to help them create the exploding fluids required for Strongbow’s latest commercial – Golden Explosion.
Windmill Lane created a basic 3D animatic, blocking out the scene and camera. Lumiere was responsible for simulating the fluids in Realflow and producing the photoreal shading and rendering of the fluids in Maxwell Render. The renders were then passed back to Windmill Lane for compositing in Flame.