We had to model the phone from a physical model as we had no CAD data, so we scanned it for accuracy then expertly modelled it to make it smooth, accurate and optimised so that rendering 2000+ of them wouldn’t be an issue. We modelled details including the camera inners with lens and USB port as these are the small details which help pick up subtle lighting differences and detail when modelling, that doing by texture wouldn’t give.
We have done many jobs where many small items make up a large object, so we have procedures and processes designed to speed this up.
Once we had modelled and specified the the phones positions, we swapped out the proxy low-res phone models, switched to our high resolution 20,000 poly version, which with over 2000 phones making up the structure of the Pegasus, meant we had over 40 million polygons in the scene! As we were rendering at 8k resolution, this meant we could see every detail close-up.
The next challenge was lighting; trying to get a smooth rim-lit look with such a facetted shape we encountered issues straight away, with the falloff from lights not being smooth across the model because of the angular nature of the geometry. We created a complex light rig involving curved lights to light small parts of the Pegasus with different lights and then at the rendering stage, we rendered multiple versions of lighting setups allowing our retoucher’s to paint in extra lighting and reflection where they felt it was necessary to get a nice result.