Saturday, January 28, 2012

Title Sequence- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

With the start of this week, and the beginning of a new semester, I was excited and looking forward to be taking a class called Motion Graphics and animation, because it has always been a topic I have been interested in. However, with the knowledge that we must post our first blog by this Saturday I found myself worried that I didn't know what to post and couldn't think of any interesting videos to discuss and talk about in my blog. I was searching the internet looking for something creative in stop motion, after effects tutorials, and many others but I knew whatever I posted would probably already wound up on this blog page once before. This changed after I went to the movies last night and saw the film, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and I was amazed right from the very opening title sequence:

"Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" Title Sequence by Blur from Motionographer on Vimeo.

This movie is about a journalist and a computer hacker who try to discover a terrible family history when the investigate the case of a woman who disappeared 40 years ago. This film is based on a series of novels, which became the inspiration for the title sequence that you just viewed. Blur Studio and its co-founder Tim Miller were asked by director of the film David Fincher to create a piece that incorporated the pinnacle events from the series so that they could "redefine titles of our generation." However, after I saw this video, I was completely baffled and in absolute awe in how they actually generated this sequence and how difficult and time consuming it must have been. Blur wound up with 26 moments from the trilogy of books that were approved by Fincher, and then composed them into 252 shots of 24 frames or fewer. Each aspect of the sequence was created electronically using some software such as 3ds Max (modeling, lighting), RealFlow (fluid dynamic effect), Softimage (rigging, animation), and 3-D scans of the main actors Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara, in order to accurately capture their characteristics. After all this work, surprisingly it only took Blur a vigorous 3.5 to 4 months to fully generate the piece.

However the one aspect of the entire title piece that I found incredibly interesting would be the thick, black, fluid that was used throughout the entire sequence. How did they do that? So I decided to go more into detail and see how they ingeniously managed to pull this crazy effect off! Realflow as stated earlier was the secret behind this mystery fluid, and an effect called "Frost" in the 3ds Max software. I however believe that they used 3D hands at first to generate where they wanted the fluid to cover the faces and then with RealFlow covered the hands complete with this black liquid, masking the hands and performing the effect of this dynamic liquid pouring all over the faces. This black ooze came flooding, dripping, clumping, spurting, and pouring into almost every frame of this title sequence. According to Blur this was one of the most technically challenging parts of the project. Overall I thought this was an exciting, complex, and fascinating piece that Blur generated. I know that we don't learn to use many of these softwares in our class, but I found myself wondering if there would be anyway to simply recreate similar effects in the After Effects program that we are learning to use in our Motion Graphics and Animation class this semester? I am definitely interested in finding out and possibly even using some of these prestige and expert software sometime in my future.

Here is a short video of what the sequence looked like throughout various stages in the creation process along with what they looked like in the final completed title sequence. ENJOY!

Making Of "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" Titles from Motionographer on Vimeo.

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