CoSA VFX shows off its invisible VFX with modo. A quick case study.
VFX don’t always need to be blatant to be effective; sometimes they just need to blend in. With a long list of TV show and film post-production jobs under their belt, Los Angeles’ CoSA VFX has turned fooling the audience into a strong business - a business that runs on Luxology’s modo, and The Foundry’s Nuke.
Featured in major films like The Odd Life of Timothy Green, and TV shows like Fringe, Revolution, and Person of Interest, CoSA’s work has always been dependent on fast turnarounds, photorealistic renders, and software programs that play well together. With modo, and its complete 3D feature set, CoSA has every tool they need to create the animations, digital mattes, set extensions, and hard surface models that inform their “invisible effects” quickly. The studio-ready assets they fashion in modo can then be moved easily to Nuke for additional processing.
“We are always on the go,” said David Beedon, Digital Artist and Partner at CoSA VFX. “Often the shots we get will be on air in two weeks or less, so deadlines come at you fast. modo is the quickest tool out there for getting photoreal 3D finished and out the door.”
Frequently working from photographs, the team uses modo’s modeling and texturing tools to construct CG that complements the other assets and effects found in a scene’s final Nuke composite. While they regularly add common elements like buildings and vehicles to scenes, CoSA uses modo to do everything from skinning jets for “Pan Am,” to creating entire sets for “Person of Interest,” to simulating breaking glass on real windows – all without the audience becoming the wiser. The ability to design and augment at a rapid pace is what helps CoSA stand out in a saturated post-production market, and keeps the timelines open for new projects that will grow their bottom line.
When CoSA isn’t enhancing shot or green-screened footage, they are making good use of modo 601’s built-in dynamics engine, recoil. recoil’s ability to easily animate soft and rigid bodies proved especially effective on a scene that required CG leaves to look naturally kicked up by passing cars during the onset of a storm. And as recoil is inherently intuitive – a cornerstone of modo’s design - the process of crafting physical simulations that contain robust collision detections remained a smooth one for CoSA. True, even when it was applied to an upcoming documentary’s multi-piece Styrofoam monster.
“Set it up in modo and knock it down in Nuke; that’s our process,” added Beedon. “We start with modo because it’s a joy to work in, creates stunningly photoreal images, and can output to pretty much any format you want. With that kind of leeway, we can go into Nuke and easily bring out the best of those elements until the client says ‘just right.’ And ‘just right’ is the name of the game.”