Mass Effect3 Solid VFX

Creative concept studio Solid was recently approached by Electronic Arts (EA) and its BioWare division to work on two initiatives, which debuted at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). The first was a VFX trailer announcing the March 2012 release of action RPG "Mass Effect 3," one of BioWare's most successful game franchises, and the second was a comprehensive graphics package for the game developer's new web-based network, BioWare TV, and video game show "Pulse."

For the "Mass Effect 3" trailer, Solid's mission was to create an iconic way of opening and closing the gameplay-driven piece – signature animations that would be used for all upcoming trailers. Taking general design concepts and looks provided by the client, Solid crafted the look of the Omni-Blade, a tech blade worn by protagonist Commander Shepard around his wrist, visualizing it as a fiery hologram that moves into the EA and BioWare logo. For the signature closing animation, the artists created an epic VFX shot of Reaper alien ships barreling down toward Earth, which transitions to the "Mass Effect 3" logo.

"The trailer shows the climactic events leading to an alien attack, which call on Commander Shepard and his crew to save Earth," explains Jason Ett, Solid Creative Director. "We took end-game elements, and evolved the characters and spaceships to give them a more cinematic feel. We're most proud of the closing Earth shot, which was complex and gorgeously visualized by our artists, and could have been straight out of a feature film."

The trailer incorporated a combination of 2D, 3D, character animation and effects compositing using Flame, Maya, After Effects, and Photoshop.

The second initiative was a show package for BioWare TV, a new web-based network, and "Pulse," a show on all things BioWare including developer interviews and behind-the-scenes glimpses at its video game titles. Solid created a grand animation to introduce the BioWare TV network, and developed a high-energy graphics package and look for "Pulse."

"Our collaboration with the BioWare team really helped push the initial concepts to the next level," concludes Shane Zucker, Solid Creative Director. "Through several rounds of refinement, our artists found the perfect balance of impact and brand communication. The result was an energized identity and launch for a compelling new-media destination."