View Full Version : EQUILIBRIO - 35mm thesis/short with CGfx

03 March 2007, 03:52 AM

San Diego 2007

This is my NYU thesis for the Master of Science in Digital Imaging and Design program (at CADA). My aim was to manipulate a live action footage (shot with a rented 35mm camera) and using the software learned in the CADA/NYU program to achieve the desired visual effect (below).


A Male character confined in a dark gym exercises to develop his upper body muscles, and as he grows to enormous proportions his body stability changes.

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The need of a 3D virtual torso without the use of a virtual muscle and bone system demanded an imaginative solution. An artistic approach using Pose Space Deformations (PSD) required a thorough effort on every step of the short's creation. 82 polygonal sculptures and highly detailed displacement and texture maps were created in Zbrush to be used in Michael B. Comet's PoseDeformer plug-in for Maya. A rigged torso with PSD corrections was then animated to match the actor's movement on match-moved Maya Live cameras. On top of that, the muscles growths were animated with blendshapes and influenced by a Maya Hair simulation on the rig to create a jiggling effect. The use of Mental Ray's subsurface scattering shaders was essential to pull off a convincing skin look.

Hardware and software used:

AMD Athlon 64X2 Dual Core Processor 4800+ 2.41GHz, 2,00 GB of Ram - For the HD version renders I used the incredible renderfarm from 'The mill NY' (Thanks guys!)

Autodesk Maya unlimited 7.0 , Michael B. Comet's Pose Deformer, Pixologic Zbrush 2.0, Adobe Premier 2, Adobe Photshop 7.0 , Adobe Illustrator CS2, Adobe After Effects 7.0

running time = 1.07min shot in 35mm transferred to HDCAM-SR

The thesis subject matter.

How can a limit to growth and expansion be determined? Are limits bad to human potential? ‘Equilibrio’(balance) implies that future generations are challenged to find the balance between growth and sustainability to avoid an unexpected fall.

This dark and humorous piece is a metaphorical comment on today’s destructive culture of excesses that encourages us to be more impulsive to grow, to consume, to profit, consequently, pollute, destroy, and waste. It also exposes the border between the Ideal physique and the grotesque while signaling to the relationships between the media (e.g. the TV commercial format) and the increasing preoccupation with the image and aesthetics experienced in this contemporary phase of modernity pushing everyone to the limit.

Tomas Salles

03 March 2007, 04:30 AM
WOW!! Totally creepy but really cool. I don't know how you did it but DAMN!

03 March 2007, 05:08 AM
Thanks for your compliment. I'll work on a Making of to explain how I did it soon.:)


03 March 2007, 06:21 AM
AMAZING FILM!! This is one of the best I've seen:eek:.

Have you shot the film yourself?

Great production! Wonderful job.

I hope to see the making of soon. And keep posting more of your work.


03 March 2007, 07:01 PM
I don't know why I don't get any ratings???:sad:

03 March 2007, 01:08 AM
Good god man! That's great! Front page for sure!

03 March 2007, 01:21 AM
I checked out your thingy cause you comented on my animation. and it's sweet! Nice job!

03 March 2007, 06:53 AM
so Cool.....................

03 March 2007, 07:39 AM
Wow! man thats really well done. I love the Tricept flex! the lighting and music give this animation a creepy mood. The timeless-ness of it also makes you wonder how long he is in there for.

03 March 2007, 09:39 AM
Hi, I don't know shit about how you could achieve such stunning effects, but as a "standard viewer" I can say that the FX looked totally (and creepily, I might add) believable. Absolutely amazing.

What also adds to the overall expression is the cinematic quality of the shots themselves. Excellently lighted and well shot movie, too, you know?


03 March 2007, 10:30 AM
Congratulations!!!...Good Integration and amazing photography... only, for me the muscles growing a little bit loose, I think it´s more better more fast and tight. But anywhere, it´s awesome... cool man!!!

03 March 2007, 01:56 PM
Thank you very much for all the opinions and compliments, they are very relevant to me.

Congratulations!!!...Good Integration and amazing photography... only, for me the muscles growing a little bit loose, I think it´s more better more fast and tight. But anywhere, it´s awesome... cool man!!!

I agree that they are kind of loose. This is because I had to adapt to the capabilities of the software I used. You see, on the rig I've created there is no real muscle under the skin but only groups of deformers and when they are simulated (to create the jiggle) it either looks like that (soft) or it looks as hard as a rock. :D

If I had a muscle system they would look much tighter and controlled.



03 March 2007, 02:22 PM
Hey Tomaya!

That's freaking awesome, man! Astonishing! I'm impressed with the realism of the supposed 'tracked' effects.

Waiting anxious to see some 'making of'.

Congrats for your thesis!

Fernando Reule
SeagullsFly (
PS: 5 stars for me! :)

03 March 2007, 05:45 PM
Hey Tom,

Really enjoyed the finished piece. The elements had a great look and style to them, nice treatment of the colour and contrast.

In certain parts, the muscle seemed to shake a bit too much. But I think that it fits if the look that you're going for is kind of a Hulk-like violent organic growth beneath his skin.


03 March 2007, 11:50 PM
very nice indeed :thumbsup:

5 star from me too

03 March 2007, 03:03 AM
WOW O_O, great job

03 March 2007, 06:45 AM
i very like it

03 March 2007, 07:24 AM
I like it ,You are a talent.

03 March 2007, 08:43 PM
Hope to see more stuff of you!

03 March 2007, 04:38 AM
Thanks again for all the nice compliments!!


Valeu Reule!

05 May 2007, 06:39 AM
Hi guys!

My Thesis short EQUILIBRIO was selected for the 2007 SIGGRAPH animation festival in San Diego.

I am very happy!!

05 May 2007, 09:37 PM
hey tom
how do you like the nyu film program? hows their 3d department? i am interested in going grad school for film/vfx and was wondering what my options are in the city.

05 May 2007, 09:39 PM
i see that you are at the mill. I tried to apply for a runners job there and was given an interview but i wasn't hired. What is it like over there?

05 May 2007, 01:10 AM
Amazing job... 5 stars!!!
Now I'm waiting for "Making of"

05 May 2007, 05:23 PM
Thank you all

I'll make a making of as soon as I get the time.:thumbsup:


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