The Wilderness Downtown

Client: Arcade Fire, Milk + Koblin & Google Creative Lab, Agency: Radical Media, Director: Chris Milk, Production Company: B-Reel NYC, 3D Animation: Magoo 3D studios

The Wilderness Downtown is an HTML5 interactive music video/Google Chrome Experiment that makes use of the browser's features and various Google offerings to create a surprisingly nostalgic and emotional interpretation of the track "We Used to Wait," off Arcade Fire's album The Suburbs.

When our friends over at B-Reel first contacted us it was hard to get a grasp of the project. But it sounded cool and it felt like it had big potential to become something really special.

The first challenge was to get the look right for the crows and the runner. Chris was looking for a low poly style with realistic movement. As we normally don’t work that much in low poly it made the project even more fun.

As we started the modeling we realized that we needed to be smart on how we placed every polygon, this to get a cool look by having as few polygons as possible.

For the runner we rigged him using CAT and motion capture data for the animation, this to get realistic movement.

The biggest challenge was the trees, since they were to be animated as if they exploded out of the ground, we ended up doing them with particles, this to get the atomic mushroom feeling. The trees turned out to be quite massive in terms of number of particles so rendering a lot of them (as we did in a few clips) gave the render farm something to complain about.

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