eyeonestudio explains how they used Cinema 4D to visualize a new fighter jet for Korea Aerospace Industries.
Seoul, Korea-based eyeonestudio recently finished one of their most ambitious projects to date. Commissioned by KAI (Korea Aerospace Industries) for the ADEX (Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition), the project required eyeone to visualize a fighter jet in 3D.
The biggest challenge, though, was the fact that the jet, a KF-21 Boramae, was still in development. So Youngwoo Moon, eveyone’s CEO and chief 3D artist and his team had to start the project with no real references or direction from the client.
We spoke with Moon about how his team pulled off the visualization using a combination of Cinema 4D, Python scripts, and Octane. Here is what he told us.
Tell us about yourself and the studio.
Youngwoo Moon: I started work as a 2D VFX compositor and motion graphics designer in 2000 and began adding 3D to my projects in 2005 when I established eyeonestudio. In the beginning, we mainly focused on motion graphics, but now we are handling a variety of projects including CGI production and projection mapping based on 3D.
We started with three designers, including me, and now we have 10 designers working together, depending on the size and scope of the project. I’m in charge of handling all of the projects from the concept stage to final output.
Tell us about the video you made for the opening of ADEX 2021.
Moon: The KAI KF-21 is a multi-role fighter jet under development for Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF). They wanted to have CGI showing the KF-21’s flight and dog-fighting scenes before its first test flight in 2022. They saw our portfolio and reached out to us. They were in a hurry, so we had one month to make the video.
Why did they want you to focus specifically on this KF-21 fighter jet?
Moon: KF-21 is the main project of KAI, and they already had some videos focused on its function and technology. They needed an astonishing movie to catch the eyes of the visitors at ADEX 2021, so they wanted us to make an exciting and dramatic scene with a cinematic style.
Describe your process for modeling the jets.
Moon: KF-21 is a very important strategic project for ROKAF, so everything was controlled under strict confidentiality. That meant we were not given any CAD data or materials. We had to do the modelling in Cinema 4D from scratch using rendered still images from KAI.
We’re a small but flexible company, so we built the appropriate team for this project, and C4D’s Object Manager is so intuitive that anyone can understand the scene structure and progress at a glance. There was no need for the designers to explain the progress and structure of scenes for collaboration, which saved us a lot of time. And Octane dramatically reduced render times.
A lot of parts on the KF-21 were changing continuously but, even with a tight deadline, we couldn’t keep it as an editable mesh for speed. Including the model individually would have meant we had to open each scene to make modifications, so we used Xref and alembic instead. TurbulenceFD also helped us save time.
How did you use in-house python scripts?
Moon: Materials can’t be linked to Xrefs and alembic, so we used a Python script to copy materials by comparing each part’s name in the original KF-21 model with the alembic-baked object name. By using Python, we were able to develop and use an OSL-based fast atmospheric effector in Octane.
What was most challenging about this project?
Moon: We had to pay special attention to keep the security around this national strategic project. But the real challenge was managing the size of the scene with terrain and buildings while not exceeding the range of VRAM in the GPU and maintaining image quality.
Describe how you created the scenes of the landscapes below the jets.
Moon: Seoul Airport, Seoul Jamsil and other places had very heavy scenery because of buildings and forests. Base terrain was made by combining pieces of satellite photos. After applying a simple sculpting tool, we processed the buildings and trees with multi-instance, Octane Scatter.
Dokdo island, located in the East Sea of Korea, was modeled in simple shapes and detailed with C4D’s sculpting tools. We added small rocks and trees and created a wave texture and applied it to the displacement channel in the material.
Any final thoughts on the project?
Moon: I really appreciate all the creative artists who worked with me on this project, and especially want to thank Jinil Kim, Wonki Kim and Sookyung Jung.