Come travel the Silk Road through China as we celebrate 2017, the Year of the Rooster. Our journey begins with two hero dragons who guide us along the ancient trade route. There is a progression of time and location. Starting in ancient times when locations on the map were still Constantinople and Persia and ending at the foot of the modern day Shanghai skyline. Our locations travel from west to east, staring in the Kashgar, the western most trade route city in China and again ending in the eastern port city of Shanghai. Even the lion statue plays a part in the traveling progression, it represents Beijing and the Palace of Tranquil Longevity found within the Forbidden City.
This piece was originally created for another application but we requested to amend the end messaging for our presentation. The general direction was to create an epic journey that was stoic and commanding in nature. The rich culture and heritage of China needed to be boldly presented with strong imagery, color, and movement. The ending needed to be grandiose, celebrating a new year to come. Here at Houses we want to wish everyone a Happy New Year. The Year of the Rooster, commences on January 28th, 2017.
ABOVE: These were our dragons early on in the project before adjustments. We made all the black geo into gold and changed other aspects of their color schemes. We also remodeled the arms & legs to be more substantial with scales.
RIGHT: Here we see an early version of the rig used to animate the dragons.
BELOW: These are a few screenshots during our compositing stage. Dragons were rendered at 4K resolution for scaling flexibility.
THE SILK ROAD
The Silk Road played a major role in this piece. We spent a good amount of time researching the route and the landmarks/locations along the way. As mentioned above, we begin in China’s western most trade route city of Kashgar. The dragons are still flying high above the map at this point so we created a simple structure to represent the ancient city. Here at Kashgar the Silk Road splits off into two paths, a northern and southern route, our dragons fly us to the north.
Next on map we see two landmark locations in the same shot. You’ll notice Urumqi, where we see a boat floating upon Heavenly Lake. In addition we travel over Turpan where we catch a glimpse of a structure at the base of Flaming Mountain. Our dragons are now close enough to the map so that we can see physical objects like trees, shrubs, and rocks. We continue to travel east and find another dual location shot. Dunhuang and Jiayuguan, leading up to the inevitable Great Wall of China.
Here in Dunhuang we fly past the Mogao Caves, a famous place for Buddhist art, meditation, and practice. As the dragons swoop by we find ourselves hovering above the important Jiayuguan Fortress. This fortress marks the western most part of the Great Wall of China. After we have our moment above the fortress, the camera quickly flies along the Great Wall and transitions us out of our map environment into the lively New Years Eve street scene.
NEW YEAR CELEBRATION
In the final scene leading up to the moment of celebration we wanted to capture a few more locations and significant pieces of Chinese arts and culture. First and foremost we wanted to suggest flying through Xi’an where the famous Terracotta Warriors reside. Juxtaposing the rows and rows of warriors in a vibrant Luoyang street market made the composition come to life and exist to entice the viewer. As we fly through the street scene we experience a plethora of action…fireworks, confetti, flying lanterns, fire breathing dragon sculptures, and a series of moongates leading us into our final composition.
Towards the end of our piece we approach a stoic gold lion. As mentioned above, the lion represents Beijing, where you can find this sculpture sitting outside the Palace of Tranquil Longevity within the Forbidden City. The backdrop for this majestic lion is our furthest east location, Shanghai. The brilliant contrast between ancient Chinese arts and modern day infrastructure plays out harmoniously. As the camera booms up to find the grand finale of fireworks we gracefully transition to our Year of the Rooster messaging. Happy 2017 to everyone around the world!
Houses in Motion
Creative Director: Dan DeGloria
3D Design & Animation: Justin Acree, Chris Guyot, Paul McMahon
Character Design & Animation: Jason Wolley
Edit/Composite/Color Grade: Justin Acree & Dan DeGloria