Big Splash
Chilean Motion Design House, Loica, Creates "Wipeout" Show Package for ABC with C4D

September 19, 2010 1:36 pm

Tags: 3D, Adobe, After Effects, CINEMA 4D, Krakatoa, MAXON, Meleah Maynard

Chilean motion design house, Loica, creates "Wipeout" show package for ABC with C4D

For their hit TV show "Wipeout," ABC wanted a new show package that reflected the energy, fun and water- and mud-soaked antics viewers expect when they tune in to watch contestants compete on what's billed as the world's largest "extreme" obstacle course. Several motion graphics houses pitched ideas, but it was Santiago, Chile-based Loica that got the job.

Matias Rivera, Loica's creative director, and his three-person team completed the graphics package, as well as print materials for the show, in just four weeks using MAXON's Cinema 4D. Though they had worked in C4D before, this was the first time any of them had used BodyPaint 3D. "It took some learning, but it is an awesome tool that made it easy to do textures that looked really, really nice," says Rivera.

Santiago, Chile-based Loica had four weeks to complete the first show package they did for ABC's "Wipeout."

As they worked on the show's five-second opener, the biggest challenge the team faced was creating something that captured the spirit of "Wipeout" while also being original, says Francisco Chaigneau, who founded Loica ( in 2006. What they came up with takes viewers on a wild waterslide of a ride before a dramatic and extremely muddy splashdown of the ABC logo. "We used a lot of the same machinery they use in the obstacle course on the show, but we used it in abstract ways so they would be much more exaggerated," he explains. See the spot here:

Loica's creative team used CINEMA 4D to create animatics, model and animate the five-second spot which aired in June, as well as other parts of the graphics package for the show. Water and other liquids, like mud, were made with RealFlow and detailed shots like the splashdown were accomplished using the Krakatoa plugin, Frantic Film Software's volumetric point renderer, in 3D Studio Max.

Asked by ABC to come up with an animal to be used with the network's logo for the show, Loica created a playful penguin.

The entire process went pretty smoothly, says Chaigneau. Once the animation was finished in C4D, scenes were exported to RealFlow where the liquids were built and made to interact with animated geometry, such as the letters of the "Wipeout" logo when they splash into the water near the end of the spot. "It wasn't hard to do," says Rivera, who has been using CINEMA 4D since version 4 was released. "We just had to export and be sure the volumes were triangulated in C4D before exporting to RealFlow to build the simulation."

The most challenging part was the explosion of mud when the ABC logo hits the water, says Rivera. "What made it tricky was that when you animate fluids, it's not an animation it's a simulation, so in the end you get a solution and you incorporate 3D in to finish it up."

Though they had used Cinema 4D before, this project was their first experience with BodyPaint 3D, which they used for texturing.

Everything was exported back into CINEMA 4D for the final render. "It was cool to be able to work in C4D, RealFlow and Max and have things go so seamlessly," says Chaigneau. "Going back and forth was easy and it worked perfectly." One cool thing about the process, he says, was how they were able to get great depth of field between objects.

With the letters of the "Wipeout" logo, for example, they were able to see what was behind the letters when RealFlow's SD (Sound Description) files were exported into the C4D animation. Then, when the scenes were brought back into C4D, "the background fit perfectly between the letters," he says.

The second graphics package Loica made for "Wipeout" had a fiery nighttime theme and included fireworks and flames.

Compositing was done in After Effects. "Since it was a simple compositing setup, we just rendered a single beauty pass for most of the frames and then mattes for the objects to accomplish the compositing layering," Rivera explains.

Going back and forth between C4D, RealFlow and Max was seamless, says Loica founder Francisco Chaigneau.

Though they hadn't intended to create a character to go along with the package, Loica's storyboards had included their own logo, which features a Chilean bird, as well as the ABC logo. The network liked the combination of a logo and character so much they asked Loica to come up with something unique to combine with ABC's logo for the show. Several different animals were tried before a little penguin Loica designed captured everyone's attention. "It's funny how the penguin evolved, now the penguin is always there," says Chaigneau.

Getting the fluids to look good was tricky and required a mixture of techniques and software, including C4D, RealFlow, Max and FBX.

Since the release of the first show package, Loica has worked on another five-second promo for the show. This one has a nighttime theme and includes fire, fireworks and lighting. See it here: The process to get fluids rendered and composited together and make them look good with details was a mixture of techniques, Rivera says. They started by rendering the RealFlow particle simulation in C4D and then "we exported the RealFlow mesh to MAX using the FBX format," he explains. The Krakatoa plug-in was used to create a detail pass that was then composited with the Cinema4D pass. "The transparency between MAX and C4D was superb using FBX," says Rivera.

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Be sure to visit the Loica website.

Editor's Note: Be sure to check out the following related links:

All supporting images are courtesy of Loica. Images are copyright and cannot be copied,
printed, or reproduced in any manner without written permission

Meleah Maynard is a Minneapolis-based freelance writer and editor. Contact her at her website:


September 20, 2010

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