Resn | La Mer – A Glorious Renewal


The project presented two primary creative hurdles. The first challenge was condensing the narrative into a brief 15-second timeframe. The second was crafting a paper world that authentically represented dragon scale binding. Given the tight duration, we were compelled to distil the story to its core elements, taking into account the necessity of incorporating product placement. Our solution involved creating a fast-paced film that relied on dynamic transitions, seamlessly connecting one scene to the next without disorienting the viewer.

Throughout, we maintained the carp/dragon as a focal point in the centre of the frame, ensuring a consistent thread amidst the evolving backdrop. The second challenge of crafting the paper world was much more difficult to solve. Because of the time constraints of the project most of the paper cuts had to be automatic and therefore procedural. This issue with this meant that certain helo elements were out of our control.

In the end we used a mixture of bespoke modelling and with as much proceduralism as possible. This is most clear on the dragon where the vast bulk of the model was procedurally generated with certain features such as its whiskers manually placed.

The principal technical challenge was constructing a world inspired by dragon scale binding, a hallmark of Zhang Xiao-dong’s art, known for its hand-cut, multi-layered pages that create a distinct three-dimensional and handcrafted effect. While this aesthetic aligns well with a 3D environment, manually cutting numerous pages for animation was impractical.

This necessitated significant research and development (R&D) from the outset. Initial explorations included techniques like volume remeshing and texture-based booleans, but geometry booleans emerged as the optimal solution. However, this introduced a new challenge: ensuring stability in a process where booleans are typically susceptible to errors. The solution involved developing a segmented workflow, with Houdini selected for its efficient procedural system that allows for isolating different aspects of a scene.

One segment focused on the geometry’s animation and timing, while another dealt with simulating paper or page movement. By merging these components through boolean with the pages in a static state, we solved the issue of glitches. Finally all additional animations or simulations on the pages were created at the end of this stacked approach. This ultimately proved invaluable for implementing relatively quick adjustments.

We significantly advanced the capabilities of a boolean-based workflow. Booleans, typically daunting due to their slow processing and susceptibility to glitches, were transformed through our innovative experimentation. We developed a workflow that not only overcome these challenges but also enhanced the aesthetics of geometry booleans, transforming them from mere cutouts to dynamic, lively forms with distinct character.



Client: LaMer
Production: Resn
Director: Resn
CD: James Rowsell
Animation: Kevin Van Kleeft
Sound: Steve Le Marquand

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