Have you ever swished through a leaf blower from the perspective of a bumblebee?

Ever watched the tooth of a chainsaw cut through the thickest stems in 10.000 fps? Watched a lawnmower do its razor sharp work?

Never done it, never seen it?

Neither have we. But we knew that stunning visuals like those needed very special 3D skills and were therefore in the best hands with us.


The creative challenge with this shot was that usually, there is no daylight illuminating the blades. So first we had to set up a visual concept to manufacture a realistic setting, and aesthetically fitting light at the same time. The biggest technical challenge was to get the grass to interact naturally with the blade. After the first RnD phase we decided not to animate the grass and rather implement it as a physical simulation which, in combination with the shading, gave the shot the desired realistic character.


Because of the super-macro and the extreme slow motion in this setting, the 3D model as well as the texture had to display a high level of detail. To achieve this, our visual effects supervisor photographed countless textures of chain links, wood chips and tree bark. Additionally, our 3D artist modeled each and every slight notch and wear in the chain. A particle system was also added which filled the air with tiny wood chips, and this created a full CG chainsaw planer.


For the flight of the bumblebee through the leaf blower we took reference pictures in different levels of exposure. Through this we were able to realistically imitate the material properties of the device.


We achieved this believable 3D shot through scanned leaves form the set in South Africa and various render passes. Especially the translucency pass delivered such great results that even our 3D artists could not differentiate between the real, filmed leaves, and the 3D generated leaves.


The plate of the mat black lacquered chainsaw in font of a black background wasn’t just super aesthetic but also used to generate particles for the compositing later on. And the real shot of the chainsaw was indispensable as a reference for flying 3D wood chips.