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HomeMotion GraphicsThe Father and Son Cinematic Trailer for God of Conflict Ragnarök

The Father and Son Cinematic Trailer for God of Conflict Ragnarök

In recent times, recreation trailers have generated virtually the identical degree of pleasure because the video games they promote. They’re typically thought-about artistic endeavors in themselves, with their very own distinctive storylines and artistic approaches. 

With such a brief run time, cinematic recreation trailers should captivate and immerse audiences within the recreation’s universe rapidly with high-end visuals and music. 

At Goodbye Kansas Studios, we’ve created profitable cinematic trailers for notable video games corresponding to CD Undertaking Pink’s Cyberpunk 2077, Murderer’s Creed: Valhalla, and Ubisoft’s Cranium and Bones. 

Extra not too long ago, we have been approached by AKQA to create the cinematic trailer for Sony and Santa Monica Studios’ newly launched action-adventure recreation, God of Conflict Ragnarök.

This was an thrilling alternative for us, and we have been eager to discover the epic journey for the sport’s viewers, telling the story of its protagonist, Kratos, and his son, Atreus, as they embark on a journey to meet Atreus’ mom’s final want. 

We created breathtaking environments, from snow-covered mountains to intense motion scenes. All of those contribute to the compelling narrative advised in a brief, twenty-three-second sequence comprising simply six pictures. 

It was a possibility to exhibit the complete potential of our newly developed pipeline based mostly on Common Scene Description (USD), using a mix of cutting-edge applied sciences, together with developments in 3D, facial animation, and movement seize, to convey cinematic life to the God of Conflict universe.

Written by:

Alexis Andersson, CG Supervisor
Henrik Eklundh, VFX Supervisor




All of it begins with an thought. We have been approached by AKQA with an idea for the trailer and requested to assist convey it to life. Beginning off with the preliminary idea, the Goodbye Kansas workforce, led by director Fredrik Löfberg, created a storyboard to behave as our information – one thing to indicate key pictures that may be replicated within the trailer together with moments and tone to meet. 

We turned that right into a 3D previz to supply higher readability of what the ultimate narrative would seem like. In the meantime, our Artwork Division, guided by Artwork Director Gustaf Holmsten, labored to create stylistic ideas which can be visually like-for-like to what you’ll anticipate to see within the ultimate image. These preliminary fashion frames have been signed off by the consumer and have become a helpful basis for the workforce to reference all through the undertaking.

GoW conecept 1

Movement seize 

With the previz signed-off, our subsequent step was to plan and execute a movement seize shoot. Mocap know-how supplies a incredible technique for producing character actions quickly – actually capturing the efficiency of an actor fairly than hand animating a sequence body by body. We have been ready to make use of particular person strikes, sections, or set items inside our animation software program. 

We shot this part in the course of the pandemic, which posed an apparent problem. Normally, the shoot would happen in Stockholm on our in-house movement seize stage. However, attributable to difficulties flying the actors over, half the workforce headed to Sony’s Santa Monica Studio stage whereas the remaining dialed in remotely. It meant we might go the place the actors have been and make sure the security of our solid and crew, all of the whereas realizing that Sony was arrange for high-fidelity movement seize that may work in our animation course of. 

Regardless of the challenges, the shoot went easily, with precious enter from Santa Monica’s animation director, Bruno Velazquez, who gave steerage on how Kratos ought to swing his axe and transfer in battle.  This allowed us to work intently with abilities to breathe life into the characters. 

GowW MoCaop 2

For this shoot, we have been lucky to have the ability to work with Tremendous Alloy, the identical workforce that additionally did lots of mocap for the sport itself. This lowered the time wanted to know the characters, and we might give attention to what we would have liked for the trailer particularly.

Following the session, the mocap knowledge was reviewed, and a spherical of picks was chosen. The administrators picked what motion they needed to be included, which was then inputted into movement modifying and animation software program in order that there was a cohesive timeline to start out with.

GoW MoCap

Character, atmosphere, and asset constructing

One of many largest challenges of the undertaking was guaranteeing that Kratos and Atreus matched the likeness to the sport characters. We had the unique recreation belongings and sculpts from Santa Monica Studios, which we transformed and used as a base from which the workforce might create refined cinematic variations. 



Our facial rigs are of the very best normal, and we preserve pushing their growth to make sure we keep forward of the competitors for digital people. 

To make sure the characters resembled those from the sport however with larger high quality, we have been meticulous in regards to the particulars. We underwent a number of rounds of suggestions to make sure that they seemed precisely like the sport characters and that they matched and remained true to the sport. 

We needed to make sure that followers of the sport have been happy with the end result, and we went to nice lengths to make it possible for the Santa Monica Studios was proud of the ultimate consequence.

Utilizing Maya, Blender, and ZBrush, the workforce constructed our 3D fashions. These have been then rigged utilizing Maya and our proprietary facial animation toolset. The characters’ our bodies have been animated in MotionBuilder, with the movement seize knowledge being pulled in. 

Facial animation on a undertaking like that is essential. It must be plausible as an individual whereas sustaining the sense of the world they’re in. Our facial animation workforce labored meticulously to match Kratos’ distinctive look in all features of animation by learning the movement actor’s efficiency, tweaking and perfecting in Maya, and utilizing Substance Painter to use textures.

That is additionally the place the flexibility of the USD pipeline comes into play. We have been in a position to iterate faster within the workforce, and everybody might comply with the progress in a brand new method, which empowered possession and strengthened artistic output and pace. 

As soon as finalized, the belongings have been revealed as a USD file and opened in and opened in Solaris, which is the context inside Houdini for constructing, structure, lighting, and rendering based mostly on the USD framework. It’s right here {that a} look growth artist took the revealed characters and utilized groom and textures. 

We additionally used V-Ray shader for the look dev of the sequences, which have been then layered on prime of the characters. These parts, mixed with the rig and a simulation FX mesh, have been layered on prime of one another to create a personality bundle. 

Digicam info and animation have been additionally revealed into USD as an animation cache. And, due to USD, we’re in a position to edit any facet of this stack with out having to transform subsequent sections.

FX, lighting, and compositing 

Lighting is what units the temper of the shot, whereas FX provides a fantastical ingredient to the scene. Compositing takes the 3D output and makes certain a scene seems to be as life like and exquisite as it may be. Our lighting artists have been supplied with a template, generally known as a ‘node tree’ in Solaris, and labored on totally different parts that have been cut up out into render passes. 

GoW nodetree

These passes have been then despatched to the farm to create a collection of 2D photographs. Earlier than lighting, simulations for character and creature results have been carried out on the animation cache, and all of the ensuing results have been layered over the animation to create a ultimate output. 

USD basically treats every edit or part as a layer with overrides – one on prime of one other till you may have your ultimate end result.

The trailer’s opening shot proved to be one of many extra technically difficult features, with a number of transferring elements. From Norse creatures (draugrs) lined in lava to smoke and snow, it was necessary to seize all features of the scene to convey what was taking place. 

As an example, the workforce paid consideration to element in exhibiting footprints within the snow. Although most viewers might not discover this, it was important to make sure that all parts labored collectively. It’s the artwork of together with refined particulars that actually promote a shot – you won’t discover that footprints are there, however you undoubtedly would if it wasn’t. Explosions, fireplace, smoke, snow within the air, and embers from the draugrs, have been all created in Houdini with the identical consideration to element. 

Lighting is the final step earlier than 3D will get reworked and rendered right into a 2D picture. The work from all departments will get mixed right into a single usd file which the lighting division then splits up into totally different renders. Then they get despatched to the farm or cloudfarm the place 3D photographs get reworked right into a 2D exr picture for the compositing workforce to select up.

God of Conflict has some heavy pictures to work with, together with characters, snow, smoke, and fireplace, multi function place, which might have been intense to render. We wanted to make sure that these totally different parts have been cut up up into separate outputs and layered like items of a puzzle. 

The compositing workforce did an incredible job of guaranteeing that each one rendered parts labored collectively seamlessly, particularly in tweaking the totally different parts to realize the heavy snowstorm impact.

Rendering and grading go

Solaris in Houdini is our chosen instrument to create belongings and scenes, and we render these out from Solaris utilizing V-Ray. 

Initially of a undertaking, we all the time focus on the constancy goal and function of the trailer. As a part of this, real-time rendering or not is without doubt one of the huge selections. We’re specialised in each paths and perceive the challenges and totally different workflows that should be utilized for every, but in addition to have the ability to talk relating to the ultimate constancy bar. 

Multi shot workflow

We wanted each body to be excellent, which is why we use offline rendering – on this case, Chaos’ V-Ray. 

Lastly, our colourists do a grading go in DaVinci Resolve to realize the specified really feel for the ultimate sequence. As soon as the grading go is full, the footage is exported to be used and delivered to the consumer for the world to see.

In realizing the cinematic trailer for God of Conflict Ragnarök, the Goodbye Kansas workforce used a spread of various applied sciences, together with 3D, facial animation, and movement seize, to create breathtaking environments and a compelling narrative sequence.

GoW concept 2

Whereas we’ve created quite a few recreation trailers previously, it was a difficult process to inform a compelling story and embody all of the important parts in a brief timeframe. 

Nevertheless, from a technical standpoint, the method was easy. The usage of superior software program instruments in our newly-developed USD pipeline, together with Houdini’s Solaris and V-Ray, enabled the workforce to create beautiful 3D scenes and render them effectively. The compositing work utilizing Nuke then seamlessly built-in totally different parts to realize a cohesive and dramatic visible expertise. 

Total, the trailer is a testomony to what’s potential with a well-thought-out pipeline alongside our workforce’s experience and artistic course. We’re proud to have delivered a visually beautiful and emotionally partaking trailer that captivates the viewers.


Behind the Scenes 

About Goodbye Kansas Studios

Goodbye Kansas Studios affords award-winning and uniquely built-in providers for characteristic movies, TV collection, commercials, video games and recreation trailers. Experience consists of VFX, FX, CG productions, 3D face & physique scanning, digital people, creature & character design, efficiency seize, animation and real-time methods. The corporate, with a employees of 250+ is a part of Goodbye Kansas Group AB (publ), listed on the Nasdaq First North Development Market and with studios and places of work in Stockholm, London, Helsinki, Vilnius, Belgrade, Beijing, and Los Angeles.




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