VFX that Are Out of this World

Category: In Focus
SANTA MONICA, CA — Eden FX has created 26 minutes of original content currently on display at the newly opened Space Shuttle Atlantis attraction at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Eden's client for this project was Mousetrappe. John Gross, Eden FX creative director/founder, made the announcement.

Mousetrappe was charged with producing a three-act show, which is presented to visitors to the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit. Eden FX was retained by Mousetrappe in December 2012 to create and produce over 26 minutes of digital sequences, which are interwoven among live action within the films presented at the site.

Wide angle shot of Astronaut with earth as the backdrop

For Act One, the preshow, Eden provided digital set extensions to depict the original warehouse in which the shuttle was first conceived. Eden also produced 16 long digital sequences seen within Act Two in the main theater, which present the history and overall story of the Space Shuttle program. Act Three is shown to visitors on an enormous, 120 x 20-foot LED screen, where 11 minutes of Eden-generated animation depicts various space technologies flying high above the Earth.

Eden's digital presentations include the Space Shuttle Atlantis itself, an Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA) Suit, the International Space Station, the Hubble Space Telescope, an Earth model, Hubble footage, and various other space-themed images.

Wide shot of the international space station and the earth as the background

Eden FX's involvement with the Space Shuttle Atlantis project involved:

  • 4.1 Terabytes - total project data (after extensive cleanups)
  • 3.5 Gigapixel - texture for the Earth surface alone (86K Blue Marble NextGen)
  • 9.2 Gigabytes - accumulated textures for the Earth (including clouds, citylights, etc.)
  • 6.2 TeraHertz - total processing power of Eden FX renderfarm (extended for all this)
  • 10.5 Million - polygon count of Eden FX's ISS model
  • 37,472 frames - in total project

To create these images, Eden FX did its modeling in The Foundry's Luxology Modo, Autodesk's 3ds max, and NewTek's LightWave 3D. The company also did its animation and rendering in LightWave 3D using a special version of NewTek software, which sped up render times in Eden's custom dome camera by a factor of four. Eden also did itsshading with db&w's InfiniMap (which made it possible to render with these gigapixel textures, even in record render time) and composited and tested for dome projection in eyeon's Fusion.

satellite with earth in the background

Said Gross, "This was an exciting project for us. Eden has a long history of creating CG space imagery for both science-fiction shows and documentaries, but this project was particularly thrilling given the historical significance of Atlantis. We're really proud of our accomplishments on this six-month long project."

"Having the opportunity to create and produce the films for Space Shuttle Atlantis was significant for our team here at Mousetrappe, an honor. We are proud of the final results and Eden FX was a major contributor to that effort," commented Daren Ulmer, Mousetrappe's president and chief creative.



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