Oct 12

Reel 2012 | Important looking pirates

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Check out this new reel from Important looking pirates packed with good stuff.


Oct 11

Making of Kon-tiki | Important looking pirates

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Have a look at the excellent work that the great team @ ILP did for the Norwegian feature film Kon-tiki. In this breakdown we will see some real eye candy and maybe one of the best “CG-Sharks” sequence ever made for the big screen. I’m again biost, so have a look and see for yourself.


In the summer 2011 ILP was awarded a massive sequence for the upcoming Norwegian feature film “Kon-Tiki” directed by Joachim Roenning and Espen Sandberg. The film is about the legendary explorer Thor Heyerdal’s epic journey crossing the Pacific on a balsa wood raft in 1947.

Our sequence takes place during a major emotional peak of the movie, as the crew struggles with internal conflicts while facing a critical situation involving white sharks.

ILP delivered 58 shots in total, with plenty of hero shots and some extremely complex fully computer generated scenes.

One of the greatest challenges with this sequence was that it had to look a 100% believable in order to not spoil the emotional moment, which put incredible high demands on everything from models, textures, lighting, animation to compositing and integration of the computer generated elements into the filmed plates.

Another extremely challenging part of our work was all the effects work, such as, blood, bubbles and cutting edge water effects. We made a few 100% CG generated shots that needed to cut seamlessly with the live action footage. We used state of the art software such as Exotic Matter’s Naiad for water simulation and we also used our proprietary render engine, Tempest, for rendering additional particles and volumetric effects such as blood. But most important of all was all the hard work put down from our incredibly talented artists.

Creature work

We made a digital double of the crew’s pet parrot Lorita. The digital parrot was used for the scene when Lorita flies into the water, and also when the sharks attack her in the water. Using a digital double of the parrot enabled the directors to play out the scene in a very controlled fashion, and it makes for some stunning visual effects. During principal photography we took some time aside with the real parrot, to take plenty of reference photos and films to document the details in shape, feathers and subtle movements of the real parrot. She was then digitally reconstructed using software such as Maya and Mudbox, where we sculpted her, attached feathers and fur, and rigged her for animation.


Our work with our digital sharks begun immediately when the work was awarded. We watched endless hours of documentary films like Planet Earth to study shark behaviour and underwater photography in order to prepare for the task. We made a digital shark using Maya, Mudbox and Z-brush. Once we had made one photorealistic shark we were happy with, we started creating variations with slightly different textures and sizes. We also had to make a custom close up shark with plenty of details for a hero close up shot when the shark gets slain on the raft.


The biggest challenge for us was the high detailed water simulations that had to be created for the movie. Fortunately we had plenty of experience of liquid simulations since we where early adopters of Exotic Matter’s fluids solver Naiad. We have been their clients since the alpha days in 2008 and over the years we have done several high end commercial productions with Naiad. It still required lots of research and testing of various techniques to reach our goal. One of the major scenes is when the sharks are attacking the parrot in the water. This scene was made from scratch in the computer. The final water simulation took about a week to simulate, it consisted of hundreds of millions of particles that we used to create a surface mesh to render in V-Ray. By the end of the project this shot took up approximately 10 terabyte of disk space. It was both an artistic and technical challenge to say the least.


The compositing was done in The Foundry’s Nuke software. In addition to all compositing of CG elements, we had plenty of complex clean up work such as removing a rubber shark that was used on set and reconstructing clean plates in order to put our digital shark in the scenes. The underwater shots required careful study of references and artistry in order to nail subtle changes in color and depth haze and balancing levels in order to make our digital shark integrated with our live action plates. Additional particles and debris were created and composited to bridge the live action with our CG elements.

This was an extremely exciting project for us to work on, and we would like to extend our thanks to the all people involved in this project. Even though the production budget was huge in Nordic measures, it is still a fraction compared to the international blockbuster movies. We still feel that we managed to create some of the better sharks shots seen in film to date.


    • VFX Supervisor: Niklas Jacobson
    • VFX Producer: Måns Björklund


    • Animators: Jonas Forsman, Alexander Damm, Martin Eneroth-Johansson
    • Lead Lighting TD: Daniel Rådén
    • Senior TD: Niklas Ström
    • TD: Bobo Skipper, Björn Malmgren, Saleh Najib, Sigurd Fernström
    • Senior FX TD: Jonas Andersson
    • FX TD: Igor Zanic
    • Lead Compositor: David Wahlberg
    • Compositing: Jens Tenland, Jonathan Harris, Niklas Nyqvist
    • Compositing Assist: Adrian Dexter
  • R&D: Yafei Wu, Eric Hermelin, Pete Reilly
  • Match Moving: Patrik Wedinger, Jason Martin
Oct 02

Ves honours founders award | Carl Rosendahl

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Great transcript from the ves awards and the speech from Carl Rosendahl, founder of pdi.
Here’s the full list of VES honours throughout the years
Lifetime Achievement Award

George Lucas (2004)
Robert Zemeckis (2005)
Dennis Muren (2007)
Steven Spielberg (2008)
Kathleen Kennedy & Frank Marshall (2009)
James Cameron (2010)
Ray Harryhausen (2011)
Stan Lee (2012)

Melies Award

Bob Abel (2005)
John Lasseter (2006)
Phil Tippett (2009)
Ed Catmull (2010)
Douglas Trumbull (2012)

Visionary Award

Christopher Nolan (2011)

BOD Award

Tom Atkin (2004)
Don Shay (2005)
Jim Morris (2006)

Honorary Memberships

Ray Harryhausen (1998)
Albert Whitlock (1998)
Linwood Dunn (1998)
Peter Ellenshaw (1998)
Douglas Trumbull (2002)
George Lucas (2007)
John Dykstra (2007)
Matthew Yuricich (2010)

Lifetime Memberships

Ray Harryhausen (2007)
Dennis Muren (2007)
Jim Morris (2007)
Harrison Ellenshaw (2007)
Bill Taylor (2007)
Douglas Trumbull (2009)

Founders Award

Jonathan Erland (2006)
Harrison Ellenshaw (2007)
Ray Feeney (2008)
Bill Taylor (2009)
Jim Morris (2010)
Mark Stetson (2011)
Carl Rosendahl (2012)

VES Fellows

Dennis Muren (2010)
Doug Trumbull (2010)
Jonathan Erland (2010)
Ed Catmull (2012)
Richard Edlund (2012)
Ray Feeney (2012)
Carl Rosendahl (2012)
Mark Stetson (2012)
Bill Taylor (2012)
Phil Tippett (2012)

Sep 26

German VFX incentives.

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Something for the Swedish ministry of culture to pickup as well? Good or bad ? Buy VFX for 6,5 million $ and get 1,3 million back.

The German Ministry of Culture has renewed the DFFF film fund, which will dole out €60 million ($77.6 million) a year in film subsidies from 2013 through 2015.

This time around special effects will count in determining German participation in production subsidy applications, with foreign productions eligible for vfx subsidies if they use local firms whether or not they shoot in the country.

Productions must spend a minimum of $6.5 million on vfx in Germany to apply for the 20% subsidy as of 2013.


Sep 20

Press release – Beyond Beyond | Copenhagen Bombay

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New press release Copenhagen Bombay regarding Beyond Beyond, Sweden’s 1st stereoscopic feature film.



Sep 14

Digital Domain Says Studios “Freaking Out”; Gets OK On September 21 Auction

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More info from deadline

Hollywood studios will not be pulling the plug on projects at the financially troubled special-effects company after Digital Domain got some breathing room yesterday in bankruptcy court. Judge Brenden Shannon approved a fast tracked auction of Digital Domain Media Group for September 21 and a debtor-in-possession order (read it here) that gives the almost broke company immediate access to almost $12 million.

the latest from deadline.