Da Vinci - Life & Soap Idents

Life and Soap

We thoroughly enjoyed working on these projects. We were given some reference images of what Second Home Studios were aiming for and we worked hard and delivered two ident's that were in keeping with their vision and Da Vinci's Brand guidelines.


Life Ident

Da Vinci Kids is an educational TV channel for children, which required an ident animation created for use before shows started.

As their logo is a nautilus, the concept devised by Second Home Studios was to have a close-up shot of a cell nucleus that would then pan out to see the cell split into multiple cells. As the camera continued to pan out, further details would be revealed, until the nautilus became clear and it became the existing logo to accompany the Da Vinci title.

The Da Vinci ident is titled "Life", and in keeping with the educational theme of the channel, it was decided to include elements such as a nucleus, a cell, cell division and other elements that could fit into the animation seamlessly, as the logo became visible.

The storyboards for this were created by Second Home Studios, produced and directed by Chris Randall. The animatic that we were provided with would outline which shots would need to be created.

Previs and Layout Blocking

At this stage, the layout of shots was decided, and in conjunction with this previsual planning, the number and nature of the assets required to realise the visual was decided.

Assets and Rigging

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While Houdini was used for some tests and animation experiments, the first key stage to creating the finished ident was the development of gemoerty and assets.

We created the base meshes in Maya, and from here we were able to add textures and finer details to the meshes using Zbrush.

Nucleus splitting tests with Houdini and Maya

As the ident required a sequence of cells splitting, it was decided to use Maya nparticles to allow the animation to be done piece by piece, and thus give the animator total control over the movement of each particle.

ICM then used Zync for testing purposes, before setting up our own VM through Google Cloud. Using our own licences of Renderman, we were then able to link up with Picasso Pictures farm, who kindly let us use their render nodes, to help finish the full render via access to their renderfarm.

To complete the project, ICM then used Nuke - a node based rendering software - to put the finishing touches to the piece.


A second ident, named "Soap" was also created with Chris Randall at Second Home Studios, for Da Vinci Kids. The concept for this animation was a little simpler than for "Life", and involved four basic stages of visuals, as the camera panned out.

The initial shot is of the nucleus of an atom, with electrons whirring around it, before the camera pans out to show various identical molecules in the second shot. The camera pans out a third time to reveal that these molecules form soap bubbles, and the final pan out moves rapidly back to show these bubbles falling over a bar of soap in the shape of the Da Vinci logo.

There is a final cut away to the Da Vinci title with their logo and more soap bubbles falling in the background. ICM Studios created this sequence using Maya and Renderman, with Google Ink also utilised to render one shot in our local render farm. The remaining shots were rendered in Zync.