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morphed trees

- Lightwave
- After Effects

This environment was created in Lightwave 5.6 - and has a certain sentimental value now.

Wondering how easy it would be to recreate the sequence in a 16:9 version, I recently unearthed the project.

Once I'd copied it from a bundle of dusty old cds, I took the opportunity to add a couple of quick 'benefit of hindsight' style tweaks.


As the saplings grow and mature, they revolve around to mimic the effect of shoots striving toward the light.

The basic geometry and morphs remain unchanged from the original version. Some of the occasional mesh corruption that bedevilled me while constructing the original can clearly be seen in this frame; on the tallest tree in the centre right of the scene.

Given more time, it would have been easy enough to rotoscope the offending parts out: the trees and ground had their own matte distinct from the sky.

However, in practice they aren't prominent enough in the animated sequence to worry about.

The original 3d project was executed before I'd even become aware of processes like compositing and post-production [!]

Everything had to be done in the one and only 3d render. An alpha channel was something I had vaguely heard about, but never used...

For my revisit of this sequence, I'd rendered out mattes of certain trees, and used them to composite in some AE fractal noise-generated fog drifting across the scene - likewise, similar techniques were deployed on the sky background for some gently boiling clouds.

This re-visit was motivated out of little more than nostalgia and my desire for a 16:9 reprint.

Given a more serious agenda, I might well have moved the source meshes across to 3ds Max - which has a great morpher - and really let rip with a more sophisticated environment, lighting - and just about everything else.

What stands here is flawed, but that remains part of its essential charm.