Lhotse showcases the journey of making first descents on the infamous Lhotse Face, located in the Everest range. The film's geographic location and altitude posed a unique challenge for the filmmakers, rendering the use of drones and helicopters for filming difficult, if not impossible. Instead, the film had to rely heavily on the accurate portrayal of the Everest range through graphics alone. This created the unique advantage of being able to art direct each shot to show exactly where the athletes were at each moment in the film.
After experimenting with various representations and styles of what the range could look like, it was decided to move forward with a highly treated graphic style while still giving justice to the massive scale of the range itself.
The North Face / Field Day Studio
Creative Direction, Animation
After Effects, Cinema 4D, X Particles
Key graphic moments: 1:39, 5:11, 10:35, 16:18, 20:07



Sourcing the height map (geospatial) data in and around the Everest Range proved to be a challenge. Publicly available data in that area of the planet was generally about 30m²  (the surface area 1 pixel represents within a height map). Original tests were smoothed over and looked like "melted ice cream". To get detail in the shots we needed, we had to find a way to affordably source 8m² data or less. DEM Earth, an amazing plugin for Cinema 4D, helped with this challenge, as we were able to receive custom high-resolution data file and feed it into the plugin to get the detail we required.
The finished style relied on generative relief and shading maps rendered at 25k (25,000 x 25,000). A custom halftone shader was built in Redshift to take the shading maps and create the finished halftone look. Topographic splines were pre-rendered from the camera's POV and reprojected back into the Redshift textures, which enabled the lines to exist without stretching or squashing on the deformed geometry. 
Back to Top