Deus Ex 3 Trailer, or what you can do for a few hundred $ per frame

In case you're a computer graphics enthusiast, you should really take a break and look at the Deus Ex 3 trailer. It's a really excellent 3 minute CGI film which shows what can be done with the proper people and a lot of money. Also notice how well the action is synced with the music (this is something I always envy the film guys for, they can really make sure the sound is in sync and also spend huge amounts of money on great composers.) I also like the voices of the characters, they fit very well.

Some things to look at:

  • Extremely nice depth-of-field, notice the bokeh effects.
  • The skin is pretty flat, look at the scene at the beginning when Adam is smoking. The skins looks really weird there (no subsurface scattering?)
  • Super-cool metallic and plastic shaders (look at the ship starting at around 1 minute or at the cybernetic implants)
  • Very nice hair (especially in the fight scene)
  • There seems to be some ray-tracing on the police' riot shields (hard to guess)
  • Funny: The blinds cast a solid shadow in the trailer (correct, as the shadow blurs out), but in the in-game shots, they cast a line pattern.
  • Nice matte-painting (the cities seem to be 2D with some 3D models added to them to increase depth perception.)

I've seen some estimates on the web which puts the trailer cost at several million dollars; at 2.5M$ it would result in approximately 500$ per frame ... however, I'm not totally sure about this extreme estimates, as there is a lot of matte painting going on. Most sets are also barely visible, so they saved on props and environment modelling. Notice how they use depth-of-field and fog/smoke so you can't see the full sets. The fully modelled characters are relatively few, so I would assume that the vast majority of the money went into animation and character modelling. For the latter, they might have been able to reuse parts from the game (high-polygon models for the characters?) So it might have been a bit cheaper in the end; anyway, it's amazing work which you shouldn't miss!

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