Portland Ghostbusters Opener

The Challenge

Create an engaging identity animation for the Portland Ghostbusters charity organization referencing iconic elements from the beloved comedy classic.

Our Solution

This project would draw on multiple 3D disciplines including modeling, rigging, dynamics, volumetric effects, and others to bring Ghostbusters to Portland.

This animation was built upon a static illustration I created for a large display banner and postcards. This photo is from a group appearance at the Oregon Symphony, where the animation premiered.

I originally built the 3D replica of the iconic Portland sign, water tower and building for a pro-fluoridation political spot in 2013.

I built three rooms referencing iconic settings and elements from the original Ghostbusters films.

The first room references the “symmetrical book stacking” phenomena depicted towards the start of the original film.  A simple mograph effector makes the books magically stack themselves. Tobin’s Spirit Guide drifts through the scene. A volume builder and mesher applied to simple shapes created the ceiling ectoplasm. Stock models furnish the room.

A painting of Vigo the Carpathian is the focus of the second room. The columns are free models from Turbosquid that I modified.

I found a nice Cinema 4D rig to create the lightning that shoots from the eyes of the painting. 

The kitchen is populated with free stock models I pulled from Turbosquid, reconfigured and resurfaced. I modeled the egg carton from scratch.

The Terror Dog model is an STL (presumably for 3D printing). I used Cinema 4D’s quadruped character rig to animate the model. The mesh was denser than one would want for character animation, but it sufficed for the limited motion I added.

A Volume Builder/Volume Mesher applied to streams of X-Particles creates the slime pouring down the water tower.

None of the stock models of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man were very accurate, so I modeled him from scratch. I found some nice images of an accurate-looking toy to use as front and side references.

I used the Brush Script font to create the spline paths for the Portland Ghostbusters text. Those paths were extruded to create the metal letters and swept to create their neon outlines. I cloned hundreds of spheres on the surface of the letters to replicate the bulbs, animated in groups to create their flashing. The Portland Ghostbusters logo was designed by Jason Groschopf.

The sky vortex is a fairly simple piece of geometry. Animated noise routed through a vector map into the displacement channel of an Arnold volume shader creates the churning movement. I rendered this element by itself at half-size to save render time, scaling it up in the final composite in After Effects.

The Onionhead Ghost (AKA Slimer) is an STL file I found online. I used the upper torso of a bipedal Character rig to facilitate animation of the ghost.

I rendered all of the 3D elements using the Arnold renderer. The elements were composited in After Effects.