“Capturing the Infinite Universe in “Lucy” – Fractal Rendering in Film Production” by Kim and Ferreira

  • ©Alex Kim and Daniel P. Ferreira




    Capturing the Infinite Universe in "Lucy" - Fractal Rendering in Film Production

Session/Category Title:   Capture and Display


Project Affiliation:

    Industrial Light & Magic


    There are several existing fractal renderers that can create high quality images, e.g. ultra-fractal, mandelbulber, xenodream, Fractal Explorer. While these renderers focus on computational performance and image quality, they tend to overlook factors like layout and interaction with other elements/simulations as well as pipeline integration, all of which are essential to movie production.

    The creation of explicit geometry for highly detailed fractals can quickly result in meshes with overwhelming polygon counts, and consequently most production renderers, e.g. Mantra, will run out of memory during the construction of the associated mesh acceleration data structures.

    To address these shortcomings we propose a novel approach to production rendering of detailed fractals. Our technique, which is based on a hybrid particle/OpenVDB representation, can render fractals with very high details while incurring a small memory footprint. Additionally our approach is easily parallelizable across multiple machines, allows for a quick viewport preview for layout, can utilize existing production lights/shaders, can produce proxy meshes for interactions with simulations, and supports volume rendering.

    “Lucy”, starring Scarlett Johannson, directed by Luc Besson, required a shot of many fractals interacting with various interactions and simulations. Although existing fractal renderers are powerful, they have limitations for use in production. This talk proposes a novel approach to rendering fractals using existing production-proven renderers.

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