The short animation was made as a CG replacement for a castle attack sequence. We had a very low-quality filmed variant of a castle door arch and were to make a Medieval castle gate under attack. This scene was completed within 2 weeks. We divided entire project jobs in two parts and were able to double the production speed on modeling, texturing, Vfx and compositing.
Jobs: matchmoving/tracking, rendering, modeling, texturing, vfx, composition/post and audio.
For "The Castle Gate" project we used real video reference shot from professional DV camcorder. After few research days and many tests we decided that the actual resolution and picture quality are too poor. So we used only a live camera from this video which was tracked and camera-mapped for production. It was a very exciting and amazing CG project experience. I developed a huge library of particle effect using PFlow for simulation and scanline render. A really helping part of this piece was that I've been able to develop our own thousand preset library of different voxel simulations. About 18 layers of different VFX were created for the final composition.
My collegue alongside used medieval blueprints of the fortification constructions to model the facade and portal gate. Due to the traditional lack of detail on the defence walls of those times it was impossible to use an existing castle for a complete reference, so he had to improvise and play a little with the proportions and features to make the gate and towers visible to the camera from such a sharp angle. Textures from the original 12-13 century castles were used. He decided not to add too much grime and weathering to them - in this way trying to show that the attacked castle was recently built.
Initially we planned to simulate the ballista shots, crashing the walls ripping massive pieces from it. But later decided not to overfill a four-second shot with so much unnecessary detail. Ideologiaclly everything is simple. The castle is under attack and in enormous haste defenders try to close the main gate to block the way for the enemy. Ballista shot shockwave throws the warriors off the gate raising wheel - gate is released an falls freely down. Skulls in the foreground we concentrated on, represent the preventive measure of those times. Warriors pierced scalped heads of their foes, hanged them on the fence and town gates - to scare and edify villains. Shockwave from the explosion shakes the ground raising them in the air which symbolises the shakeup to the authority of the town which is going to fall. Anyway we hope you will enjoy it, because we really did while making it.