The Making of
the Dance of
the Seven Veils
The Dance of the Seven Veils is played twice in Fatale. Once in the beginning where it can only be witnessed through a grated window in the ceiling. And once at the very end, in bright sunlight.
The 3D character animations were not motion-captured but created entirely by hand by Laura Raines Smith, based on video recordings of Eléonore Valere Lachky improvising to the music of
It was one of the most complex elements in the production of Fatale.
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Windows PC: XP or Vista with recent Radeon or GeForce video card (integrated graphics cards are not supported), 225 MB of hard disk space.
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“[Salome dances the dance of the seven veils.]”
That is all Oscar Wilde has to say about the infamous choreography that cost a holy man's head. The dance has been portrayed as a striptease or other exotic performance on many occasions. But since we wanted to leave interpretation more open, we decided that a contemporary dance style would be more suitable.
We invited Gerry De Mol to compose the dance music because of his familiarity with Middle Eastern music and his talent to run with such traditional elements in a contemporary yet respectful way.
Tale of Tales' lead animator, Laura Raines Smith, instructed us precisely on what source material she would need to do her work. We found a dancer willing to collaborate in Eléonore Valere Lachky. Her dance company, Les Ballets C de la B, were so nice as to borrow us their rehearsal space for the occasion.
We measured the dance area in the game and marked its essential features on the dance floor, as a reference for Eléonore. Plugged our iPod into the room's sound system and positioned two cameras for recording the performance. One in front, one at the side.
Two improvisations were recorded. The best parts were selected and edited together in video. The video was cut up into separate clips that served as the basis for Laura's animations.
Laura then painstakingly recreated Eléonore's motions with a Biped skeleton in 3D Studio Max. It took 4 weeks of work and 4750 frames of hand-made keyframed animation to create the 5 minutes of dancing in Fatale. Referred to as “really impossible to animate by one person” by the 3D character's impressed designer, Takayoshi Sato.
The individual animation clips where then imported into Unity, the realtime engine. A script was written to trigger playback of these clips, synchronized with Gerry's music.