There are a lot of particles floating around in space, but here on Earth EFX producers rely on advanced software to create particle effects for sci-fi projects like Paramount Television’s Star Trek: Enterprise. To complete EFX work for that show, Eden FX has begun using particleIllusion, the flagship product of newly formed wondertouch.
Eden FX, the primary provider of CG effects for the Gene Rodenberry-created series, received three Emmy Award nominations for its work on the show, which entered into its third season last month on UPN. The studio is also using particleIllusion facility-wide on a variety of projects including its upcoming feature film project.
ParticleIllusion is a stand-alone particle effects application designed as an easy-to-use, low-cost, high performance tool for quickly and simply adding particle effects to any image, animation, or video footage. The software features an ever-growing collection of hundreds of preset effects such as smoke, fire, explosions, water effects, sparkles, colorful artistic effects, and many others. It features OpenGL hardware acceleration to provide real-time (or near real-time) previews of most effects and fast rendering of final output.
Eden FX has been experimenting with particleIllusion since the first season of Enterprise. It’s been used to create massive beam weapons, air bubbles, underwater atmospherics and other effects. It is also being used in shots featuring the aquatic Xindi–one of the two new entirely computer-generated alien species being introduced this season.
In the season premiere episode, one of the crew members has a nightmare about a devastating beam that wreaks havoc across the Florida Peninsula. The mile-wide beam has to create an enormous wave of smoke, fire, steam, and debris as it cuts into the Earth. “We selected particleIllusion for the creation of all the smoke and fire elements because the constant approach of the beam made the use of stock elements problematic," says supervising visual effects artist Chris Zapara of Eden FX. "Due to critical time constraints, particleIllusion was the right choice over using 3D volumetric elements.”
For its upcoming film feature film project, Eden FX is using particleIllusion to create underwater elements for a scene where the actor was filmed dry-for-wet.