All objects were modeled in Maya, except the rocks (Zbrush). The foreground grass in the establishing shot was Maya Paint FX. The main body of grass and the stringy bark "strands" on the foreground tree in the establishing shot was Maya fur.
Maya and Roadkill were used to unwrap the geometry. The scene was textured using Photoshop, with a portion of the normal and spec maps generated in CrazyBump.
The lighting setup consisted of seven lights: fog emitter node; yellow direction light; yellow spot light; blue ambient light; and three yellow point lights. The "godrays" were faked using sprites. Some of the shadows in the establishing shot were also created with sprites.
Five techniques were used to animate the various moving elements:
1) Birds - rigged simply and keyed by hand.
2) Grass - Paint FX (with turbulence) in foreground, hair system controlling Maya fur for the rest.
3) Trees - rigged, with a hair system for trunk sway; on large trees a second hair system for branches.
4) Bugs - particle system, keyed by hand to create a flight path.
5) Ferns - nCloth, with wind and gravity effects.
All passes were rendered in Maya using Mental Ray: depth pass, beauty pass, and bird pass. No final gathering or global illumination was used.
Visual elements were composited in After Effects, which were then imported to Premiere Pro for sound design and final cut. For an example of the final composite please see the following post: Environment Reel 2009.
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