Noah Media approached us to tackle the modelling of the Liver Building in Liverpool and The Selfridges in Birmingham for the Match Of The Day 2019 Title Sequence.

Often, Motion Design stock 3D sites like Turbosquid or CG Trader fit the bill perfectly. But sometimes you just can't find the right model or anything even slightly close.

Both buildings are well documented but are large buildings so getting accurate data was challenging. To increase precision, we turn to Photogrammetry to streamline the process.

A quick summary of Photogrammetry is basically taking a set of photos and using data to recreate the model and textures. For a more in-depth explanation take a look here:

Photogrammetry sounds like the solution to all 3D problems, right? Well, yes, kind of if you have the time and the budget. Photogrammetry data can be complex and needs a lot of treatment in programs like Zbrush for it to become a usable asset. For this project the photogrammetry data did not need to be perfect. In fact it just had to be rough and ready for us to have height, width and depth information.

We've read online that people had used Google Earth and successfully generated a Photogrammetry scan using Metashape Agisoft. We had wanted to try this for some time and this was our chance. So we took a series of screenshots circling the building at different angles. We were hesitant about how it would turn out, but in the end it was a great success. The blue planes represent the screenshots taken from Google Earth. All of the different positions of the bluescreen helps the computer match points to build a point cloud. Once the point cloud has been finalised you can generate mesh and texture data.

Next job was to poly model the buildings from the rough data. We used Cinema 4D’s powerful modelling tools in combination with the Mograph tools to clone or mirror parts of the building that repeated. For the Liver Bird we roughly poly-modelled a base mesh in Cinema 4D then took it into Zbrush to really sculpt in and refine the model.

White ceramic bird against a white background

After completing both buildings and The Liver Bird we needed to work on the texturing. Noah Media had been using RedShift to Render the project. It's a powerful render engine and reliable for production jobs. For The Selfridges building we did a UV unwrap which was a little tricky to ensure there was no distortion. We used Adobe Illustrator to generate a mask for the repeat mirror pattern. For the Liver Building we used a procedural texture workflow for most of the stone work. We used Photoshop for the clock face and Substance Painter for the Liver Bird. We spent quite a bit of time on the Liver Bird and in the final film it features for less than a second. However, you can never be sure how an asset will be used so we always produce our best work.

Colour image of a bird figurine

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