Naj Škola

Naj Škola is a quiz show for kids, where Slovak schools compete against each other in search for “the best school”. I was responsible for creating all graphics for this show (both real-time graphics system and pre-rendered graphics).

All pre-rendered graphics were created using Houdini and Mantra. I enjoyed this classic VFX workflow very much, except the render times… Since I really like the light transport produced by bright particles / lights in fog volume, I have rendered majority of scenes in some sort of volume. This way is the light scattered into nice milky haze which is much better than just glow effect applied in post. Unfortunately this tiny detail I has extended render times by couple of days.

Intro sequence contains indirect references to various school subjects (logarithmic spiral - mathematics and biology, Entagma particles - physics / Newton forces, hexagons - chemistry, atom - physics).

Logo was the only part I didn’t get to design myself - as it was already finished when I entered this project. Initially didn’t really like it, but I thought some nice particles could make it look good - so I added particle flocking system and was eventually quite satisfied with how it turned out when combined with my particle background.

During rendering I got so bored, that decided to do everything else purely in real-time. This means that software for the game is referencing videos only for intro sequence, wipes between rounds and logo loop. All game elements with animations (such as question with variable answer count, score tables, etc.) including background made out of particles and countdown sequences were rendered in real-time. This particle background was also used in compositing as background for pre-rendered graphics. With some color adjustments and anamorphic blur it was super easy and fast to add more depth into the renders.

Countdown setup was a little tricky. While looking at Mantra slowly progressing through my intro sequence, I thought it would be really cool to render this one in real-time. Frankly, it would have been much faster to do it in Houdini, but once I dived into Unity, I wanted to test how far I could push it. I have used Keijiro’s Smrvfx along with my 3D glyph generator. I had to modify smrvfx to work with runtime geometry swapping (as the particle emitter doesn’t update in such case by default). Here is a live demo of this system in action.

Stills from intro sequence.
Photos from set.

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