NASA KSC's Quest for Life

In mid-1998 Metavision hired Ron Fischer to supervise visual effects for a new film called "Quest for Life." The story expresses NASA's goal of searching for life in the universe using dramatic imagery.

Principle photography had already wrapped in Hawaii at the Keck Observatory. With little time left, Ron created an effects breakdown analysing the film's post-production.

At 15 minutes length the film had 70% of its running time filled with 3D or 2D animation and composite shots of varying complexity. With Mr. Peter Inova (the Director) Ron jobbed out two sequences to outside firms and hired internal staff to complete the rest of the work.


Asteroid strike shockwave. CG by Jene Omens.

Metavision's internal work ran the gamut, from 2D cel animation, to helmet reflection replacements, to "straight" CGI.


Astronaut explores mars. CG by Margo Sorell.

Taking a hand's on approach, Ron's animated the tripod walker in the "War of the Worlds" sequence using a combination of keyframing and procedural programming in Maya.


Tripod walker destroys "Big Ben." CG by Ron Fischer.

Ron also built and animated the Pathfinder Mars lander and terrain for the robotic exploration sequence.


Pathfinder rover begins exploration. CG by Ron Fischer.

...and custom Maya shaders to animate planetary evolution.


Planetary evolution sequence start & end. CG by Ron Fischer.

The film was shot on 35mm and HD video, edited on HD and printed to film at Sony ImageWorks HighDef Center.

The score, performed by the Seattle Symphony, was mixed into six-track Dolby Digital in a custom-built theater at the KSC visitor's center, where it has been running since early 1999.

The film has won four awards to date:

Tools used were:

...plus custom render management tools written by Ron.

The in-house team at Metavision was:

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