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 Jellyfish wins Royal Television Society Award FOR “Fight for Life”
Jellyfish Pictures create “ground breaking graphics” for BBC / DCTP / DISCOVERY for BBC1 series.

The Royal Television society has awarded the award for best digital effects to Jellyfish Pictures for “Fight For Life” at the awards ceremony at the Savoy in London on 29th November 2007.

The judges thought

“With impressive execution and seamless integration, the success of the programme relied on the believability of the digital effects. A truly intense visual experience.”

When faced with life threatening illness and injury humans all share one overwhelming instinct: the Fight for Life.

In this six-part series for BBC One the dramatic story of how the human body triumphs in crisis needed to be told from the inside as well as the outside. Real life stories from patients in A&E and operating theatres will be fused with incredible computer generated imagery (CGI) revealing - for very the first time - the fight from the inside.

With 250 shots across six episodes this will be a major visual effects series. CGI recreations include how a heart attack would look from the inside, a baby struggling for life in the womb, and a journey even deeper into the body to see how the human immune system fights against deadly invaders.

Fight for Life celebrates the human body’s amazing ability to join forces with modern medicine in its fight for life.

Jellyfish Pictures were asked to meet the challenging task of telling the story inside the body with ground breaking CGi work. They were selected for the innovative way they made the inside of the body look absolutely real, from babies struggling in the womb to nerve and cell activity deep down at microscopic level. This all had to work with the fast paced real life stories being told.

The brief was to make it seem as if somehow an endoscopic camera was actually deep inside recording what the body was going through in its Fight for Life.

There were three aspects to the required work: Firstly photo real body interior shots of organs, bones and babies; secondly microscopic shots showing the intimate workings of our smallest cells and the mechanisms that maintain and regenerate life; and thirdly X-ray “trauma vision” style shots showing in a unique and transparent way how our body deals with trauma, how it recovers and how medicine helps it to recover.

Jellyfish visual effects supervisor and director Philip Dobree created a team made up of in house specialists and an international selection of lighting TDs, animators, modellers and compositors that were all specialists in their field. By using the very best artists and technicians Jellyfish have been able to make a unique vision of the inside workings of the human body. Jellyfish were striving to bring film levels of rendering, lighting and visceral animation to broadcast TV. Marco Iozzi led the lighting and rendering team. Using experience gained from working on many visual effects films the team were able to bring a new level of quality to a broadcast production.

A combination of leading software and technology was used to produce 250 shots for the series of six episodes. A combination of techniques and approaches were tried and tested in order to come up with the very best methods for achieving their goal. Hi speed video was used to capture elements of condensation, particles, splats, smears, and bubbles to help the compositors add extra real elements into their shots. Simulation software was used to re-create liquid effects, and multiple render passes and elements meant that the compositors had maximum flexibility in creating the desired look without the need to go back and re-render.

Software used was Softimage XSI, Apple Shake, Adobe After Effects, PF track, Real Flow, Adobe Photoshop.

The rendering was done in Mental Ray using up to 20 passes that were composited in Shake typically these included: lighting (RGB), multiple beauty, colour, Final Gathering, ambient occlusion, reflection, sub surface scattering, specular, depth of field, vector and incidence.

Complete models were created of the whole human body and all the internal organs, circulation, muscles, skeleton, nerves, skin, brain etc. This was then adapted and rigged across for all body ages, sexes and types from pregnant women to babies in the womb. The X-ray “trauma vision” look shows all the internal workings of the body in wide shots and therefore it needed all these body types.

The Jellyfish Pictures team:

Supervisor: Philip Dobree

Marco Iozzi (lead lighting and rendering TD), Matt Chandler (lead lighting and texturing – microscopic world), Jayson King (lead animator), Antonio Mossucca (modelling, lighting, rendering),

Sam Howell, Katrina De Graaff, Gemma Thomson, Conal Wenn, Didier Muanza, Mark Docherty, Howard Bell, Matt Johnstone, David Feullaitre, (animation)

Sam Meisels, Ben Perrott, Dave Griffiths, Arthur Broome, Dom Halford (compositing)

A BBC / DCTP/ Discovery Channel co-production

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