TBW Industries (TBW) came to us looking for a way to drive potential customers to their booth at the semiconductor industry’s biggest summer show, Semicon West. Their Pad Surface Manager is a revolutionary new design for pad conditioning in the Chemical Mechanical Planarization (CMP) process. After discussing timelines, budgets, and the visual story they needed to tell, TBW received an as-requested fixed-price quote and subsequently approved the project.
The animation process began by converting TBW’s engineering models from their native SolidWorks format into 3ds max, our primary modeling, animation, and rendering tool. Reference video footage was shot in a test facility, which was used to properly assign materials and motion to the mechanical components. The animation portion of the presentation started to take shape, but many challenges laid ahead.
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Animating the slurry (a fluid used in the CMP process) rapidly became the most difficult part of the project. For macroscopic views of the CMP process, a particle system was used with the particles surrounded by an amorphous wrapper, which represented the slurry film. For microscopic shots of the slurry, a full fluids simulation was performed to show the reaction of the slurry inside pad pores.
Since the animation was headed for a trade show, it needed a large amount of post-production work, adding titles, overlays, and color correction to be sure that the final piece would stand out in a crowded field.
Framework Media was able to support the production throughout the show including last minute changes. An approved version of the animation was shipped out prior to the show on DVD, but when some last minute changes were needed, an updated version of the animation was rendered overnight, posted online as a Windows Media file, and downloaded the morning of the show for playback.