CGI 3D ATIS Project Recreation Ride Thru
  Work in progress  
News 11-25-04:

YES! I am finally finished after two years of hard work it is here. The DVD came out really amazing.

ATIS Virtual Ride-thru now available.

Sorry US orders only please.

If you live outside the US please contact me through email to make proper shipping arrangements and I will ship overseas.


Stuff to see on the DVD!

  • Full CGI Ride Thru of Adventure Thru Inner Space in Full 5.1 Surround Sound (audio rebuilt from the ground up by Paul Barrie)
  • Vector line ride thru of attraction
  • Animation tests
  • Render Mistakes
  • Alternate camera fly though
  • 360 Chair model test
  • Image Slide Show (over 80 images and close up shots)
  • Images of all 8 display boxes in Lobby scene
  • Alternate "Back on visual Eye" scene
  • Animation Composite Example
  • Commentary of Problems and Issues with ride-thru (optional) by (myself) Steve Wesson

Go to the ATIS DVD page if you are interested in purchasing this DVD
>>>LINK to DVD page>>>



Update 1-12-04

Movies are back online as long as it doesn't go past the 5 GB limit per day that I have. If you come to the site and it is shut down you will know why. I am allowed a ton of bandwidth now that I have switched web hosts so I will not get burned again with huge bandwidth bill. Whew.... Anyhoo-

Well here is is 2004 and a year later since I started with this project. Am I crazy or something?!? I actually thought I might be able to finish this before the holidays?!?. Whoops! What was I thinking? One of the problems is that I keep going back and fixing things that I see wrong or I that I just don't like. I am my worst critic and I want it just right. I have rendered a low quality ride-thru of part 3 (4 parts in all) to see how the animation and effects are looking. A few more fixes, add exit lobby camera animation and then it can go to final render. All is going well! Hope to have it wrapped up first or second quarter of 2004!

I hope... We shall see.

See teaser clip movie below.
Please note: The begining of this teaser shows clipped sections of the lobby. The real ride-thru you actually walk the entire line path to the atommobiles and enter the chair just as if you were there doing it yourself from your perspective. I just picked some clips here and there to show.

1 min 7mb ATIS movie teaser
(Requires Divx player)
Download Divx player here
I know. I know. Many of you out there hate Divx but it is the only way I can get my movies compressed to a decent size right now. I am not an expert in compression. If anyone has a freeware (not trial ware) that can compress AVI files into a good decent quality size and can be opened by both Windows and Mac,, please let me know. I am using Adobe Premiere so if you know of a good setting you can also let me know. I was going to post an MPEG 1 file but it was 11gb in size. When I try to export to quicktime my files come out huge. Compression tips welcome.

The molecules are so active now....
(Did you see the chair silhouettes?
You can see a quick clip of this in the 7mb teaser above)

This could only mean the snowflake is melting, melting, melting...
(One of the many flashs from the hto molecule separating.
Did you remember this part?

In our display area.....

Exiting the ride

Believe it or not, the oil lamp has thousands of drops on each strand and they all drip down while changing (cycling) color as a group every so often.

This is MONSANTO....

I hadn't added the chairs yet on these pics. Check out the old exit area I modeled. No gift shop here. To much trouble to make it. This isn't the virtual gift shop tour anyway. Also check out the old mural ouside by Mary Blair. Cool huh. My thanks to Spencer Cook at Virtual toad (he is building a cgi ride through of Mr Toad's Wild Ride from WDW) for the tips.

Exit lobby info table. It has the ACTUAL COMPLETE text
descriptions that were used for each window.
The images are only 50% accurate (2 images are correct
the other two center ones are REALLY close to what was
used on that table). Close though. I will have a close up
of this at the end of the ride-thru or make it an extra feature.
Update 11-04-03
I have been getting a ton of requests to put up some updates on my ATIS ride thru project. Well, you ask for it you got it. Below are some screen shots of work in progress of the model building and animation set up process before rendering. The models of the rooms below are not "set in stone" and might go through some additional changes. Remember this is a work in progress. I have built everything except the free flowing molecule scenes, back on visual and exit display area. The projectors and images for these rooms are ready, I just need to finish them. Click the images below to see larger version!

Here is an early WIP

Added some walls and rooms

more detail and models

Animating the chair rotations and inserting frozen H2O molecules

Facing the center of the atom

Notice the transparent scrims walls that will be used for depth with the molecule projection rooms. Also there is an angled cylinder for a temporary placement for the back on visual scope eye. See next image.

Look you are back on visual!
I went back and reworked some of the ice scenes and snowflake scenes. Here are some final renders and some render tests from the virtual ride thru. Remember this is my interpretation so your memories my differ from mine. Most of my models have come from VERY good reference material thanks to some nice visual aids that I was given. Thanks again (you know who you are). Much of this was created from my memories. Better get them in digital format before i get to old to remember them all!

Little snowflakes

Giant snowflakes

Walls of ice tower above me

Can I break this gigantic prism?

Only seems smooth and solid.

Frozen atoms go on almost forever.

Large H2O frozen atoms

Electrons dashing about me like fiery comets! Can I possibly survive?!!

Like the milky way...

Don't go on exploring the nucleus.
Update 09-29-03

As I stated in the news section I have been busy rendering out the lobby and tweaking sound effects. This walkthru render alone took 3750 frames of animation that took about 2 months to render due to my pc hanging up during the rendering process. I sent the image sequence to After Effects to create a non-compressed AVI file for best quality. After transferring the final large 3.5GB AVI file to an MPEG2 (70MB) file format (for a quick DVD burn for testing) I noticed the lobby had more light inside than what I wanted. See images above. The final DVD render will be darker than the images shown here. The transfer between my monitor settings and DVD output changes the brightness of the final product so I will use filters to darken up the area to better match the actual lobby. I guess I have a really dark monitor.

I re-rendered the beginning of the walkthru to include the mirror that was on the back wall (see middle image). I also did a second pass render for the snow composite. Now that I am finally finished with the most time consuming area I can model the rest of the attraction. I am currently finishing up modeling the walls of ice scene, animating the chair and camera animation and creating great looking scrims for the "nothing is solid" section. The rest of the project should go very quickly since I have already built many of the projectors that were housed in the different rooms and the rendering won't hang if I don't render it with raytracing and a smaller polygon count.

Update 08-06-03

I haven't been able to work on the ATIS Project much this month due to my PC being down due to a long over due office remodel. My old office was just trashed from carpet stains, filled with tons of junk, a crappy little desk and no room to move or to even lay down an instruction manual (I need to use one now and then for this project). Now that my wife and I are finally finished with that 3 week remodel I was able to get some hours in. I have a few pictures to show of the walls of ice scene but I won't post the movie tests due to the fact that I don't want to spoil it. The black line you are seeing below in the pictures is the atommobile handlebar (yes it is supposed to look like that). Oh, and the last image is an out of seat render test.

I also posted (below) a little animation test for the newly added Peoplemover/s that moves overhead in the lobby. I modeled the turquoise and red old style ( during the Monsanto years) Peoplemover.

Note: I have been getting requests for Quicktime files. Due to my lack of compression skills for Quicktime, my files are coming out to large of a file size to be useful to post on the site. Please let me know what other file type I can create (avi,mpeg,wmp???) so Mac users can open the movies up as well. Is an AVI okay? Please let me know what is preferred. Also let me know which certain movie files are on here that Mac cannot open so I can redo them if I can.


I also created a better / more detailed tip for the Mighty Microscope!

Little Peoplemover animation test to see how they look next to the Atommobiles. I have a green (turquoise) and red one that will go durring the lobby sequence.

Update (WITH SOUND) 06-30-03

I can't take it anymore! Aaaaaaahhhhh!
My old machine rendering scene heavy projects (like the lobby) at 700 x 486 pixel took about 1 hour 30 minutes to render... PER FRAME!!! That means ONE SECOND of animation took well over 60 HOURS. Argh!

So with the help of a new credit card I was able to purchase a new PC that can take on this giant project. A new computer can really do you wonders. To those who are curious, it is a Pentium (multi-threading) 2.6 ghz with 1gig of ram with a (high end) ATI Fire GL X1 VIDEO CARD, two 80 gig hard drives and a Pioneer DVD W/RW / CD W/RW. This thing is a render monster. This new machine can now render the same scene with full raytrace lighting at about one frame for every four minute and with raytracing turned off it renders in 30 seconds a frame! Hardware-rendering (for particles like snow) renders in REALTIME! Nice!

Quick Raytracing / Hardware Rendering Definitions:
Raytracing is where the computer calculates light and reflections and adds them to the rendered frame and it takes frames longer to render when activated during the render process. Hardware rendering is when your graphics card handles all of the rendering and not the software you are using to render particle effects like sparks, snow, smoke, fire etc.

Here are some almost finished lobby images with more details added like the tube atommobiles, Monsanto (text) power statement (see below) and diorama box contents. I still want to tweek the mighty microscope silver nose, add a peoplemover above and a loading dock helper-person. I also added the inside box diorama scenes. I didn't have any reference material at the time to so I just made it up from what I could remember. Today I received a DVD from a fellow fan that had footage of the inside of the boxes. I will try to go back replace them with a closer version of the diorama box.

Below is a quick three scene composite movie (with sound) of some test renders that I put together. Some of these cut scenes have some missing elements. Can you spot them? Click here or picture below to view 8.52mb movie. (Divx)

Update (WITH SOUND) 06-09-03

To keep things interesting I decided to switch gears and work on the nucleus scene for fun. I had to post this as soon as I finished it because I am excited about how nice it came out. Here is a quick render of the Nucleus scene. Damn close to the way it originality looked I think. If you look hard enough, you can see I even added the long pole that held it up like in the original ride (you were able to see it on the actual ride if you looked hard for it). What do you think?

I added sound to test the sync with the heart beat. Again this room is not to the original scale of the attraction. This is just a test to see if the model special effect and star projectors are working correctly. The final render will look a lot clearer and cleaner than this low quality mpeg. You can actually see even more stars in the higher quality render. Click image above or here to view.
Update 06-01-03

Things are still going nicely. I added a ton of Atommobile Chairs to the Lobby and addes some animation to a bunch items in the scene. See movie below. Remember to right click and "save target as" to view movies

This was another quick 3 sec. test (nothing is quick in rendering though) to see if:
Atommobile chairs are moving at the right speed.
Chair doors close correctly.
If the loading floor is moving at the right speed.
The light is blinking at the right speed.

If you look hard in this AVI movie you can see little snow flakes in the petri dish in the background.

This took 2 and a half days to render on my @#!!%# machine! I don't think that is normal. Still looking into it.

Update 05-01-03
Here are some test renders of the lobby with the loading area, guard rails and diorama boxes (still empty inside). The boxes even have an internal light as the real ones did and have a large glass lens window. I still need to add more textures, color and other items to make this scene complete. Look at the phone on the loading area. I haven't even added buttons on it yet. ALL the chairs will be present in the scene when it is ready. I need to model a peoplemover and some actual human riders to add life to the scene. Right now I am testing some things out and thought it would be cool to post some of these renderings.

Update 04-22-03
I haven't been modeling the lobby lately due to it's enormous, time consuming, undertaking so to keep things from getting boring I have been testing my molecule projectors that I custom made for this section of the ridethru. Each Atom rotates individually and they all move together without moving over each other. This effect is real close to way it originaly looked except one side of the room had larger molecules to simulate that you were getting bigger again. The chairs are supposed to rotate to both sides fo the room and drive by the "EYE" but this is just a test. All these details will be worked out in the final piece. It won't be a problem. I still need to model a ton of more stuff before I can go into my final renders. The lobby is taking most of my time. Till then I will continue to post my animation and render tests for those of you who like to see my work in progress.

Here is an animation ride thru test. I wanted to see how the chairs moved and if my molecule projectors will work correctly. Again, this is just a test. I know the chairs are moving a bit to fast and I will need to add more ease-in & ease-out to the rotations. Also the actual ride thru will be more accurate to the actual layout and track design by the blue print from the maps section. This is just a render animation test so no nit picky e-mails please. Click below image to view movie.

This is a movie test of my particle emitter that I will have in the snow petri dish that hangs in the ceiling of the lobby of ATIS. I needed to test the reflective, see through glass with a moving snow pieces inside. I might have it blow around a bit more on the final version in the lobby. I do like this one though. I want people to be able to see the snow and not a blurry mess. ("Few more tests..." Willy Wonka)
Update 04-06-03
I have jumped to working on the lobby and some light animation for the mural. Check out this avi movie test of the light rings. I still need to work more on the scene but is is getting there.

Here is my finished chair with trim and handle bar smoothed out . Don't worry. You won't see the base in the movie. This is just something to tell me what position the chair should be pointed on the track when I do chair rotations.
Here are some renders of the lobby work in progress. Many things still need to be added and tweaked until it is finished.
The petri dish will contain a snow particle effect that I have already tested. When the lobby is complete I will add it.
Update 03-12-03

Well, I am finally going to build a recreation of the ATIS attraction in full CGI computer animation. So far things are going very well and the animation tests are coming together nicely. It looks like I will be able to fatefully rebuild what I can remember. I rode ATIS so many times my memory is pretty clear on 98% of the ride thru. I will be posting some quick shots of my models and test renders here so you can see how things are going. CGI is harder than you think! Whew!

Here are some test renders of The Mighty Microscope. I know, I know. It doesn't look exactly right yet but remember this is a work in progress so bare with me. These are just test renders to check how things are coming. I still need to add the color, add the track bottom, and the chairs in the tube. I have already tested and animated the blinking lights. So far so good.


Here are some test renders of the famous & ever so mysterious blue chairs. This was a big pain to model since I am such a novice 3D student (self taught as well) but you have to crawl before you can walk I guess. The chair opens and closes as it should. I have done many animation tests with this model and it seems to be working out fine. I will eventually add some people when needed in the scene. Some of therse pictures were rendered before I added the silver trim that goes over and around the top. I still need to round out the handle bars and trim so they are smoother in the corners.

  More to come...