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In late 2012 I had the opportunity to work at Polynoid during the semester break at the Filmakademie.  I wanted to work there for quite a while, not only because it’s a cool studio that is continuously outputting great work, but even more so because it was run by Filmakademie alumni (check out their graduation project ‘Loom‘ it’s amazing).

After a few emails I had an interview on-site at their studio in Stuttgart. I was quite nervous when I met the team, we had a chat and a quick tour through the studio and then they offered me to work on Halo 4.

WAIT A SECOND, WHAT? It turned out that at the time they had 2 projects running: one for Mercedes Benz, which would have been nice. And another one for 343 Industries : the opening credits for the Halo 4 mini-web-series ‘Forward Unto Dawn’. I was more than stoked (and still am).

So without further ado, here it is:

All the work was split by episodes between Polynoids ‘main’ office in Berlin and the team in Stuttgart where I was part of. completed in Softimage XSI and Digital Fusion (at this time it was still owned and developed by Eyeon Software)

We worked directly with the art team of Halo and 343 Industries and even got so see some assets and tiny story beats of the upcoming game. Super cool stuff, especially if you are a fan of the franchise. It was quite hard to not tell anyone what we are working on right away.

One of the major challenges of the project was to create a procedural and artdirectable growing-frost effect to illustrate the passing of time. This was achieved with different texture AOVs all over the set and a comp-setup which was essentially revealing and blending different parts of this together. Also I had the chance to put some of my LUA pipeline-scripts to use as well (this was before I switched to Python).

Here’s a little making-of about Cortana and how some of the effects were pulled off:

All in all it was a great but short project (it was just 2 month if I remember correctly). To this day I’m proud to have contributed to the Halo franchise (and can tick that one off my ‘things-to-to-before-I-die’ list). Thanks to Heiko and Egbert (who I will meet again at ILM years later) for the opportunity, support and -obviously- for hiring me in the first place!

PS: I know – long time no blog-update … :/ (EDIT: it turns out, it will be years before the next)

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May the force be with you, always.