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H  A  L  O      T  I  T  L  E      S  E  Q  U  E  N  C  E




The new Halo TV series follows the story of Master Chief, humanity's best hope in the fight against the Covenant. The show digs further into the lives of the men and women inside the Spartan program. These super soldiers are weapons of the UNSC. They are highly trained and emotionally dampened, following any order without any hesitation or remorse. John is the best of them. But when he encounters a forerunner artifect, his mind is invigorated. He slowly regains control of his memories and emotions and sets out on a quest to uncover his past and find the source of this mysterious artifact.

We wanted to build a sequence that visualizes the duality of some of the John's story themes. The Spartan program gave him his super human strength at the cost of great physical and mental trama. The Mjolnir armor he wears both empowers and imprisons him. The conflict between his duity as a soldier and the drive he feels to seek out the truth of his past along with his connection to the artifact. All of these ideas are brought together in a dream-like vision experienced by John.









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I  -  MATERIAL 

The opening of the sequence was originaly intended to be a macro shot of tiny shards of a metal-like material drifting aimlessly in darkness. These elements would eventually become invigorated by an energy that would mold it into something more meaningful. It's sort of a big-bang / gestalt metaphor, but was ultimately cut from the edit. Even still, the design and theory of this helped shape the rest of the sequence. 

Particle look developed by Michael Rigley in Cinema4D and Octane.

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An early version of one of our original opening sequence that got cut.




Early explorations of macro armor buildup.






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II  -  ENERGY 

In our original opening, a burst of energy would invigorate the lifeless metals, causing them to replicate and coalesce into larger forms. As we pull away from the macro view, we would see these waves of shimmering light flow over John's body, shaping the metals into the Mjolnir armor. 

Shimmer look developed by Michael Rigley using a wizardly blend of Cinema4D and After Effects.

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Early explorations of the energy effect.






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III  -  VESSEL ​​​​​​​

Soldiers entering the Spartan program must endure a gauntlet of body modifications to become capable of wearing the Mjolnir armor. Survivors of this program are left heavily scarred and in some cases disfigured. John’s surgical scars help set the tone of his past and the brutality of the UNSC.

Body sculpt and groom by Sandra Isaksson in Zbrush and Houdini and concept art by Till-Valentin Holder in Blender.

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Body sculpt by Sandra Isaksson and concept art by Till-Valentin Holder.






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IV  -  GROWTH 

The material continues to multiply organically until it reaches an invisible boundary, like filling a mold. During the replication, small particles separate and drift away from the main shape. This is caused by imperfections being discarded in the replication process… or maybe it just looked cooler that way.

Effect and shader development for armor growth by Max Öberg and Ivor Da Silva using Houdini and Mantra.

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Armor growth system developed by Max Öberg.




Helmet build sequences, which largely didn't end up in the final cut.






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V  -  BINDING 

Beneath the rigid plating of the Mjolnir armor lies an underlayer. This material is more flexible, requiring a different style of movement from the outer shell. The metal plates continue to build and the under armor flows over John’s body like a liquid. This movement creates a sensation that the armor is both smothering and protecting John at the same time.

Final lighting and look development made Ivor Da Silva using Houdini and V-Ray.

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Plate and under armor growth systems built by Max Öberg in Houdini.




Shimmer effect concepts by Till-Valentin Holder using Blender.






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VI  -  SYMBOLS 

Ancient glyphs appear before John in the sequence. His reaching for the symbol alludes to his desire to understand this mysterious force that he’s connected to. Unbeknownst to John, this is the Mantle of Responsibility being presented to him. At the end of the sequence a new glyph appears behind him, the origin of which has yet to be revealed.

We were fortunate enough to have some creative liberty (within reason) for how they could look. I wanted to push it beyond the typical holographic / FUI aesthetic that’s been done. I tried to imagine what kind of energy could create such distortions in space. I was inspired by cymatics and how vibrations create intricate patterns (Chladni patterns) in mediums like sand and water. What if this force could bend and refract light in 3D space? These are the initial looks created by Michael Rigley with that in mind. 

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The Eld symbol in the final shots.




The final glyph reveal at the end of the sequence. The nature of this symbol will be revealed later in the season.




Motion and effects tests for the final glyph reveal.




Early explorations from the glyph development.






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VII  -  LOGO ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

The logo was based on designs provided by 343 Industries. We modeled and textured it and applied a similar shimmer treatment that we had developed for the energy and glyph effects.
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Our initial approach was much darker, unfortunately this didn’t sit well on top of all marketing images.




Logo modelling and texturing by Roman Tikhonov.






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CREDITS

Clients: Take 5 Productions, 343 Industries, Showtime, Paramount+
Production: Goodbye Kansas

Director + Art Director: Will Adams
VFX Supervisor: Kristian Zarins
CG Supervisor: Ivor Da Silva
Executive Producer: Anton Söderhäll
Producer: La-Râ Hinckeldeyn
Line Producer: Lena-Carolin Lohfink
Animation Director: Staffan Linder
Character Lead: Sandra Isaksson
Character Modeling: Magnus Eriksson, Jonas Skoog, Jesper Bardhamre
Facial Modelling: Mert Erguden, Sandra Isaksson
Character Look Development & Groom: Sandra Isaksson, Johan Vikström
Lighting Lead: Ivor Da Silva
Lighting: Johan Vikström, Sean Kalamgi, Erika Johansson
Rigging Lead: Gabija Smalinskaite
Rigging Artist: Peter Jemstedt
Character FX Lead: Ludvig Eliasson
Layout: Svetoslav Petkov
Keyframe Animation Lead: Staffan Linder
Animaton Keyframe: Jonas Ekman, Frank Spalteholz, Raoul Cacciamani
FX Lead: Max Öberg
FX Artist: Viktor Wagner
Concept Art: Michael Rigley​​​​​​​, Jesper Bardhamre, Till-Valentin Holder
Compositing: Daniel Nordlund, Peter Blomstrand
Motion Graphic Artists: Michael Rigley, Roman Tikhonov, Tom Waldton, Marcus Melin
VFX Editor: Caio Simbula, Henrik Klein, Jimmy Zhu, Finn Jäger
Grading: Jimmy Zhu, Caio Simbula

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