top of page

Wings Comp RND

As part of my final year at Hertfordshire. We're required to do a few major submissions of our major project. For me, that's 'Wings'. While waiting for renders, I sat down and put together a compilation of all the RND for the film that was in any way presentable. Cut it all to music and it's a nice way to summarise 6 months of work.

Here's my attempt at quickly explaining everything.

0:14 - 0:18 | Tesseracts

Rotating 3D cubes in Nuke, apply some fractals. Add some rainbows/flares. Happy days.

0:18 - 0:22 | Fract-tunnel

Project some distorted STMaps into a cyclinder, apply various bat-renders and fade between them. Add some rainbows/flares. Happy days.

0:22 - 0:26 | Flare demo on a shot from Wings

Read my cf_animorph article for more on the process of this one.

0:26 - 0:28 | Dream world lookDev

Using LAB colourspace changes to create the cutest little fluffball.

0:28 - 0:32 | Hairball spinner

Emit some particles out of a sphere, framehold, spin, use godrays to pull out some 'hairs'

0:32 - 0:38 | Rainbow surface water

A portion of Wings takes place in a pseudo underwater world. So I went to London Sealife Centre to film some reference and get ideas for what looks really dynamic about underwater spaces. I took this research trip very seriously (see image below)

Be sure to let Compositors out for fresh air regularly.

0:38 - 0:48 | First test of wn0130

Bootstrap the fruitbat, freefalls into 'The Void' as her dreams get out of control.

0:48 - 0:56 | Eye tunnel into crystal pit transition

Heavy Doctor Strange reference drawn on for a proposed transition from wn0130 into 'The Void'. Psychedelic tests like these were more often than not, the product of too many energy drinks and severe sleep deprivation.

0:56 - 1:00 | Fractal Crystal distortions

These test are actually what I used as the material for the tesseracts. This is mostly Godrays used on STMaps with heavy doses of cf_spectralise and cf_animorph.

1:00 - 1:02 | wn0100 stereo test

Early render of wn0100 was used to test native stereo for the film. It works, but unfortunately we don't quite have the render capacity to render out the whole film twice on the Uni farm. It's cool though, I'd worked on the stereo side of things for Last Jedi while I was at One of Us but I didn't actually do the stereo comps themselves. So this was a cool test to put into action what I'd learned from my time there.

1:02 - 1:06 | wn0005 sun contact sheets

The opening shot to Wings is obviously incredibly important, getting it right is critical to setting the tone for the film. Contact sheet-ing it for the team was the easiest way to get opinions. Nothing too wild here.

1:06 - 1:10 | wn0030 stereo test

More stereo fun. Sometimes you've got to appreciate that broken frames make leaves look like videogame collectables that you can't quite get to in time.

1:10 - 1:16 | wn0140 comp-cepts

Establishing what the void would look like was a massive undertaking, I quickly bashed out a lot of versions for the team to look over and see what we did and didn't like, while also taking weight off the 3D team.

1:16 - 1:20 | The birth of cf_spectralise

I had no idea what I'd really made initially with cf_spectralise, I just threw it on some lookdev tests we'd made to see what it did. To this day I still look on in fear at some of the images it makes. I've done a full write up on the tool on another it's own post so check it out there if you want to see more.

1:20 - 1:26 | Butterfly in a thunderstorm with a big portal of lightning

Enormous influence from the Kessel Run in 'Solo' for this one. Playing around with generating smoke volumes using Nuke's standard toolset was really fun, even if it did nearly destroy the machine I was working on.

1:26 - 1:32 | Just because you can, doesn't mean you should

Yeah, for this one I span a butterfly really fast and turned it into a shiny blue tunnel. Get enough sleep kids.

1:32 - 1:35 | Psychedelic trees

Early RND for cf_spectralise low step counts cause an entirely different look.

1:35 - 1:44 | Optic nerve

At one point everyone's favourite bat dreamt of a butterfly flying through its optic nerve, it didn't make it to the final film but boy if it doesn't look pretty. Spherical transforms applied to STMaps that get plugged into cf_spectralise.

1:44 - 1:52 | cf_animorph test on an early render

Ran an early version of a bat render on top the DMP through cf_animorph. Procedural flares are so much fun.

1:52 - 1:52 | Droplet tool

When Bootstrap falls into the void she causes quite the splash. This calls for a droplet tool for lens water. Uses noise and some expression nodes into an iDistort to cause the refractive effect then defocus to integrate (Right side)

1:52 - 1:57 | Tunnel RND

Very early RND of a dream tunnel. lots of Godrays and use of a cylinder.

1:57 - 2:05 | Butterfly flocking

Step 1: Take a .png of a butterfly from the internet.

Step 2: Use some ramps and a sin() expression on a card to make it flap

Step 3: Particle emit

Step 4: Add a lot of modifier

Step 5: Add lens flares (have you noticed the trend yet)

2:05 - 2:08 | Bootstrap the Noir Detective

A Detective Pikachu trailer was released, detective Bootstrap was born. The team were initially confused but soon understood that reworking the entire film to a Noir-Thriller with a few months to go was what the film needed.

2:08 - 2:12 | Hair spinner, Gold edition

Basically the hair spinner with different values. A little bit more complex. Lens dirt etc.

2:12 - 2:18 | Hair spinner, Gold edition

Contact sheet of a few shots from the film, helps me keep continuity between the shots.

2:18 - 2:22 | wn0040

One of the first shots to approach a level we can call final. (deadlines are tight so polishing needs a fast turnaround)

2:22 - 2:26 | wn0135 Render test

Very early render test of wn0135. Our first entry to the void. Getting a bat, some bubbles which then become butterflies to render isn't easy.

And there you have it. An awful lot didn't make the cut. If you have any questions about anything you've seen and would like more detail. Reach out and I'll explain in a bit more detail.


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page