BUZZ ALDRIN: CYCLING PATHWAYS TO MARS
Cg, Set Design, Color, Art Direction, Pre-Visualization, 3D Animation, Matte Painting, Digital Environment, Planning And Budgeting
FuseVR’s first virtual reality venture features Buzz Aldrin, the legendary astronaut of the acclaimed Gemini 12 and Apollo 11 missions, presenting his vision for sending humans to the Red Planet, and allows viewers to stand alongside him on Mars itself.
FuseVR started with a bang. After FuseFX decided to launch a spinoff virtual reality venture, which would create various VFX assets for VR projects, they received their first mission. The VR production company 8i reached out to FuseVR for visual effects services on Buzz Aldrin: Cycling Pathways to Mars, a virtual reality production that debuted to wide acclaim at SXSW in 2017.
Spearheaded by VR Supervisor Bud Myrick, and VR Creative Director John Heller, the piece featured Buzz Aldrin, the legendary astronaut of the acclaimed Gemini 12 and Apollo 11 missions, presenting his vision for sending humans to the Red Planet. FuseVR artists created a number of digital sets and environments for the project, including Aldrin’s proposed spacecraft, a moon base used for “vapor mining”, and a 360 degree view of the Milky Way.
The studio developed the lunar mining base from concepts suggested by Dr. Andrew Aldrin, Buzz Aldrin’s son, while the Martian surface was created from photogrammetry data captured in Morocco, where NASA conducts Martian surface simulations. “The visuals were designed with VR in mind,” explained Myrick. “They include environments that can only be adequately experienced in virtual reality. It’s a moment of wonder … People are wowed by this piece. It’s an outstanding project, particularly for our first foray in VR.”
Shortly after its SXSW premiere, Buzz Aldrin’s Cycling Pathways to Mars was distributed by Time Inc. to its Time and Life VR platforms for viewing on various VR systems including HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift. It was also available for public viewing, for a limited time, at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.
FuseFX original founder and CEO, David Altenau, explains how this project successfully kicked off the company’s venture into Virtual Reality. “We expect VR to become a major component of our media experience and we want to be a part of it,” he explains. “Our workflow adapts readily to VR and we have a skilled team that is enthusiastic about taking on the challenge. There is a big need in VR production for digital assets and environments, and no one does that better than we do.”