A few months ago I had the chance to create a bouquet of digital blooming roses for projection mapping. The client, Feats inc, needed a digital bouquet of roses for their next event. They found me through my YouTube channel and saw one of my earlier pieces the 'blooming rose' which has over 100,000 views on YouTube. They liked my work and needed some digital roses that would periodically bloom projected onto a dome at the center of each table.
The first challenge was the length of time needed. These roses would be seen for at least 45 minutes. We ended up deciding upon creating a 3 minute animation that could be looped over and over again. The second challenge was rendering this so that it would project onto the object without warping. I decided upon rendering the entire animation with an orthographic camera, this allowed me to make the entire animation tileable. By making a seamless animation I could uv unwrap a half sphere, scale the roses to whatever size was needed, and re-render from the top. This way there would be no warping whatsoever.
Left is a still of the seamless animation. Middle is how the seamless animation looks on a half sphere. On the Right is a still of the final animation for the projector.
Now I just had to create and animate a whole bunch of roses. Thankfully I had already done this once before. I took the rose I had already made a few years back and made a few variations. In addition I bought a rose from Turbo squid to get a few extra variations. I rigged each variation using shape keys and a lattice modifier. A super simple two bone rig would allow me to animate the entire bloom by just moving one of the bones.
I meticulously hand placed each rose. Starting with the borders since it had to be seamless. Next I filled in the middle. Below you can see the entire animation from a ¾ perspective at 4x speed.
For rendering I used Rebus farm. I had tried a number of other render farms prior to choosing Rebus. I found Rebus to be the best one out of the sample I had tried. It was cheaper, faster, and actually worked. That being said Rebus farm wasn't completely without it's own problems. I had some issues downloading the images from their servers. It had this weird problem where it would download images and then re-downoload the same images over and over again. I probably wasted a day or two trying to figure it out before customer support helped me fix the problem.
Below is a short segment of the entire blooming rose animation at 4x speed. The full animation is 3 minutes long and loops seamlessly between the first and last frame.
I loved working with Feats, they were clear about what they wanted and pleasant to work with. The roses looked amazing in the center of each table with all the other decorations. Unfortunately I cannot show or publish any photos of the event.
Edit: Even when setting up the borders and lights properly there is still some problems with tiling the edges. To solve this I blended the left and right edges together in the compositor. It utilizes two image masks one for each edge. Below is a screenshot of the node set up and masks to do this. This is quite ugly and probably less efficient than it could be but it got the job done.