Modo Goes High Fashion for 'Project Runway'
September 19, 2012

Modo Goes High Fashion for 'Project Runway'

Photorealistic 3D environments provide backdrop for live-action models and their avant-garde attire.
When your clothes say “more,” their environment must say “less.” That’s the first rule of making a garment pop. As a contestant on “Project Runway”’s 10th season, Elena Slivnyak used this idea to her creative advantage during the competition, all while staying within a modest budget. The secret was Luxology's modo 601, a 3D animation, modeling, and rendering software that tied her lookbook’s avant-garde aesthetic to stylish 3D environments. The results were très magnifique.

Born from a media team that comprised CG artist Stephen Wheeler and international advertising photographer Juan Zambrano, the IIMUAHII COUTURE lookbook took Elena’s futuristic fashion designs and set them against the all white rooms and angular lines of a modern home. Using modo’s modeling tools, Stephen was able to build walkways, bend walls and refine the architecture of four full rooms from scratch, giving his collaborators something they could critique and comment on well before the project’s accelerated timeline was up. The approved environments were then rendered photorealistically, resulting in image assets that were magazine-ready before the models started posing for their pictures.

“The CG needed to be clean, so the viewer’s attention would be drawn to the clothes,” said Wheeler, Lead Artist of Wheeler Graphics Studio. “The “Project Runway” judges would be critiquing the lookbook with a rigorous eye, meaning whatever we created had to really sell her designs. modo helped me mimic the sharp feeling of Elena’s work through the lines of my rooms in a way that was subtly intriguing, but never dominating.”   

As Juan’s photos came in, Stephen could clip out the live model and easily insert her into the 3D environment he had created. Since Elena was on set, Stephen was able to manipulate the images on-site, moving the 3D rooms around until their position brought out the designer’s evolving vision for the look of her models. “She was very excited to have that flexibility,” said Wheeler. “She could call for tweaks, I could respond immediately, and the result was a faster path to the final renders. It was pretty seamless, and excitement is always a fun thing to bring out of a client.”

Modo provided an even bigger benefit for the team’s bottom line: they didn’t have to pay for any location scouting. Instead of flying out to a location, paying for permits, rentals, and insurance, whole environments could be created from Elena’s sketches, no matter how detailed they were. Besides giving the project a sense of creative freedom, it also helped Elena achieve a high-fashion vision without paying the high-fashion prices the industry usually attaches to forward-thinking ideas.

“Modo kicks the doors down so the path forward is clear,” added Wheeler. “Ideas on the spot. Concepts carefully nurtured. I use it to develop them all, and it always performs. Every single time.”

See the IIMUAHII COUTURE lookbook here: