I accept the claim about no postwork. It was clearly stated.
Well, this isn’t a ‘come clean, tell the truth’ inquiry… Frankly I don’t care how many other applications were involved in producing this clip – the field of animation demands that you use several applications to finish your work. But while Bryce CAN do several interesting, volumetric, time-expensive effects, this doesn’t mean you should ONLY use Bryce to do everything.
Ultimately, whether you’re a director, creature animator, compositor, video editor, any specialist in the animation field, you’re there to tell a story. It’s not about trying to ‘test the limits’ of a single application – you can do that by yourself, for yourself. You do what you can, with whatever you have at your disposal, to make the story work.
That said, my interest is in cheating
‘Cheating’ is a movie industry term and generally means doing something that in reality is either impossible or unusual, solely to make the shot look good. On sets, plants might be moved from their original position slightly, for shot composition reasons. Actors might take unusual paths, walking around invisible, out-of-shot tables to make the shot look more interesting. Lights might be re-arranged to show off details that, had they stayed where they were from the previous camera location, would look horrible.
I don’t care if Mr Taylor rendered his special effects within Bryce, or if he used alpha-masked explosion movies projected on 2D planes within the scene, or if he finished shots in After Effects, Motion or any number of other applications, because this is how the professionals do things. There’s no shame in postwork. But I would like to know how he approached the animation in terms of effects, rather than the modelling.