Blackmagic Design today announced that BAFTA award winning animation company Axis Animation has used Fusion Studio to complete compositing work on the opening cinematic for Microsoft’s new “Halo 5: Guardians” Xbox game in collaboration with 343 Industries.

Founded in 2000, Axis Animation has grown into an internationally renowned animation studio, which now boasts a multi talented team of more than 110 artists and spans two UK locations. Fusion Studio has been an integral part of the studio’s VFX pipeline for many years now. The team has worked on a wide variety of games projects for high end titles including League of Legends, Call of Duty, Alien Isolation, and more.
This latest cinematic for 343 Industries is the studio’s most ambitious project to date according to Sergio Caires, CG supervisor at Axis Animation. “Throughout the entire project, Fusion Studio ensured we were able us to finesse the final picture to perfection,” he begins. “It did what Fusion always does for every project we’ve worked on with it over the past fifteen years, helping us pull together all of our passes and giving us a fast, interactive compositing environment regardless of what we ask of it.”

Boasting more than four million views on YouTube, Axis Animation’s latest action packed “Halo 5: Guardians” cinematic introduces the main characters of Halo’s Fireteam Osiris, delivering a mission briefing before launching viewers into a preview of the gameplay world. In one continuous take, the team jumps out of a Pelican dropship to join a massive battle, which features hundreds of characters, vehicles and ships on a snowy mountain landscape.

To complete the project, a team of between 15 and 20 Axis Animation artists worked for six months, modeling, rigging, animating, lighting and rendering the final assets. Fusion Studio was then used for all of the compositing work, bringing together the hundreds of elements and render passes needed for the game cinematic to come to life.

“I approached compositing the sequence in a way that meant a lot of the elements, and all the main passes, actually lived in a single scene file,” explains Sergio. “This was a big challenge, especially when you consider the fact that the Halo 5 project included such a long, uninterrupted opening sequence, but was driven by the way we had planned to work on these shots. It was far easier to have a small number of artists focus on one difficult scene than to let many different artists start working on it, which would have been counterproductive.”

“I think the biggest success is the visual impact of the opening cinematic,” he concludes. “This is a perfect blend of the amazing choreography created by the team at 343 Industries, and the insane levels of detail, subtlety and action that our team added via the lighting and FX work.”