Matrix Holiday Messages

The Challenge

On a tight budget and deadline insert Intel executives into dramatic city environments for holiday messages, evoking the Matrix films.

Our Solution

The executives would be dressed in Matrix-themed clothing and filmed delivering their messages in front of green screens of varying quality. Our task was to create a sweeping vista of skyscrapers and rooftops over which our camera could fly. A 3D solution was the obvious choice. To simplify the pipeline we purchased the Element 3D plugin for After Effects, which would then allow us to use their Metropoly pack of city skyscrapers to quickly create our 3D skyline. The plugin is pretty intuitive, and I was able to quickly teach myself its pertinent features.

The Metropoly pack comes with a variety of buildings with both day and night lighting.

Element 3D allows you to randomly disperse a field of buildings into a designated space. We employed several iterations of it to vary the height and density of the city blocks to facilitate our camera moves.

The finished composite used around ten layers. Each message started with the message title and name of the executive, rendered in 3D space along with the city

We used different rooftops and camera moves for the two managers playing Neo and Agent Smith. In both cases the talent was shot from the shins up, necessitating foreground elements to hide their lower legs and feet.