“Thern, the nano technology from John Carter’s Mars” by Pickler, Clamp and Oikonomopoulou

  • ©Richard Pickler, Simon Stanley Clamp, and Artemis Oikonomopoulou




    Thern, the nano technology from John Carter's Mars



    Thern, or the Ninth Ray, as it was referred to in John Carter, covered a broad scope of related effects throughout the film. Twenty different variations fell under the umbrella of Thern, ranging from small standalone assets, to entire rooms filling the screen, and to effects that were only vaguely recognizable as Thern. Along with a wide range of concept art and reference footage of natural phenomenon, we keyed on a few conceptual ideas from the director. From “somewhere between organic and mechanical” we focused on a vegetation growth technique [Palubicki et al. 2009] with modifications specific to our needs. From “fractal”, we derived a recursive technique that we could direct between different levels depending on how we wanted the viewer to interpret the image. Animation grew out of disparate references and the ingenuity of the team, culminating in a creative use of a very old algorithm.


    1. Dijkstra, E. W. 1959. A note on two problems in connexion with graphs. Numerische Mathematik 1, 269–271. 10.1007/BF01386390.
    2. Palubicki, W., Horel, K., Longay, S., Runions, A., Lane, B., Měch, R., and Prusinkiewicz, P. 2009. Self-organizing tree models for image synthesis. In ACM SIGGRAPH 2009 papers, ACM, New York, NY, USA, SIGGRAPH ’09, 58:1–58:10.
    3. Petrovic, L., Henne, M., and Anderson, J. 2003. Volumetric methods for simulation and rendering of hair. Simulation, 06-08, 1–6.

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