Aug 09

Total recall | dneg

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Excellent article @ fxguide about dnegs work on Total recall. Especially love the hovering practical car solution.

Practical cars

“The rigs consisted of a go-kart on the bottom,” says de Wet, “a four-wheeled go-kart that had two operators, one would be the guy who sat up the front, who was actually driving the go-kart. There was another driver who was operating a gimbal above their heads. On top of the gimbal was a full-sized hover car. So we had to remove the go-kart that was underneath to make it look like the car was hovering, and replace the entire background.”

The actors and stunt doubles in the hover car mock-ups could then “react to the velocities and inertia you get when you’re in a car traveling 40 miles an hour smashing into each other,” says de Wet. “You get all that stuff for free.”

One set of car plates was filmed underneath the Gardiner Expressway in Toronto, which provided appropriate lighting for passing-by UFB city structures. Another group of plates was captured on an expansive unused airbase at Borden. “We let rip with the cars, both 1st unit and 2nd unit,” says de Wet. “We shot the full sun-lit stuff out there. We drove the cars around at 40-50 miles an hour, allowing them to smash into each other. We wrote off a few cars, smashed a few cameras – all that kind of stuff.”

A huge effort was then required to matchmove the car plates, remove the rigs and to establish roads and a world for the hover car chase to exist in. Concepts for the UFB were established by Patrick Tatopoulos’ team, from which Dneg quickly began an asset build. “Len and Patrick gave us a great library from which to choose,” says Peter Chiang. “Once you take in the assets, there’s a whole development process that goes on. We just started building the assets and had them all run in parallel, including The Third Floor’s previs work. And we set the look that way.”

CG versions of the hover cars were created via reference photography of the practical versions (luckily the cars were all similar shapes and sizes). Distant traffic was achieved through a particle system developed in Houdini. But the most intense work was the incredible buildings – ‘platforms’ – and roads network required for the UFB that had to be mapped to the live action plates.

Read the whole thing

Apr 18

The Art of VFX » THE PIRATES! BAND OF MISFITS: David Vickery – CG Supervisor – Double Negative

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Great article about DNEGs extensive work for Aardman’s Pirates “band of misfits” from Vincent Frei at artofvfx.

Read more at The Art of VFX » THE PIRATES! BAND OF MISFITS: David Vickery – CG Supervisor – Double Negative.

Aug 15

INCEPTION | Paul Franklin – VFX Supervisor

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Nice article from the Art of Vfx about vfx supervisor Paul Franklin work on inception.

INCEPTION: Paul Franklin – VFX Supervisor – Double Negative

Posted by VinceFX in Inception, VFX Supervisor What is your background?
I originally studied sculpture at university in the 80s which is where I first started experimenting with computer graphics. I combined this with the student theatre and magazine work that I was doing at the time which then lead me into film making and animation. I worked in video games for a while as an animator/designer and then moved into film and television in the early 90s. In 1998 I helped to set up Double Negative VFX.

How was your collaboration with Christopher Nolan with which you have already worked on BATMAN BEGINS and THE DARK KNIGHT?
Chris is a fantastic director to work with – he is very demanding, always pushing you to raise the bar in every area, but he also gives you a lot of feedback and involves you in the creative discussion which makes you feel a part of the whole movie making process. Chris told me at the beginning of INCEPTION that it would be an all-consuming experience, and he was right!

Can you explain how you created the sequence in which Paris is folded over itself?
Returning to the Paris environment, Ariadne, played by Ellen Page, demonstrates her new-found ability to control the dreamworld by folding the streets in on themselves to form a giant “cube city”.

The Dneg vfx team spent a week documenting the Paris location where main unit was scheduled to shoot. Seattle-based Lidar VFX Services did a great job scanning all the buildings and then delivering highly detailed data from which Double Negative built a series of Parisian apartment blocks. It wasn’t possible to get above the buildings so the Dneg VFX modellers sourced photographs of typical Paris rooftops to fill in the missing areas. We implemented the new pertex texture mapping techniques in Renderman to allow the CG team to avoid the laborious UV coordinate mapping that is usually associated with models of this type. The final folded streets featured fully animated cars and people – anything that’s not on the flat in the final images is CG.

How did you created the impressive scene of the cafe in Paris?
Early on in INCEPTION, Ariadne is taken into a dreamworld version of Paris by Cobb, played by Leonardo DiCaprio. When Ariadne realises that she is actually dreaming she panics and the fabric of the dream starts to unravel, disintegrating violently and flying apart in all directions.

Special Effects Supervisor Chris Corbould created a series of in-camera explosions using air mortars to blast light weight debris into the Paris street location. Whilst giving an extremely dynamic and violent effect on film, the system was safe enough that Leo and Ellen were able to actually sit in the middle of the blasts as the cameras rolled. Director of Photography Wally Pfister used a combination of high speed film and digital cameras to capture the blasts at anything up to 1000 frames a second which had the effect of making the turbulent debris look like it was suspended in zero gravity, giving the impression that the very physics of the dreamworld were failing.
Starting with a rough cut of the live action, the Double Negative VFX animation team used the in-house Dynamite dynamics toolset to extend the destruction to encompass the whole street. The compositors retimed the high-speed photography to create speed ramps so that all explosive events started in real-time before ramping down to slow motion which further extended the idea of abnormal physics. As the destruction becomes more widespread the team added secondary interaction within the dense clouds of debris to sell the idea of everything being suspended in a strange weightless fluid medium.

What did you do in the scene in which Ellen Paige turns large mirrors on a bridge in Paris?
Ariadne continues her exploration of the limits of the dreamworld by creating a bridge out of the echoing reflections between two huge mirrors.

Read more:

I also had a look in the credit list and found on swede, Digital artist  Henrik Söder , well done Henrik.

Fxguide article about Inception

The Art of VFX » INCEPTION: Paul Franklin – VFX Supervisor – Double Negative.

Nov 11

Kick-Ass trailer / Mattias Lindahl

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En sprillans ny trailer för filmen Kick-ass. Vad har då den här filmen med VFX sverige att göra frågar ni er? Jo, VFX-supervisor för hela filmen är svensken Mattias Lindahl som jobbar på DNEG i London. Som alltid när DNEG är inblandat så blir det snygga och osynliga visual effects.

Mattias Lindahl

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