Going old-school: forced perspective and other effects in Ant-Man and the Wasp


Ant-Man and the Wasp utilises the latest in visual effects tech to bring its story to the big screen. But some of the most fun shots in the film also have some of the most low-tech effects solutions.

These are where Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) visits his daughter’s school with Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) to retrieve a hidden suit. Ant-Man’s new suit is malfunctioning, causing him to grow or shrink unexpectedly. At one point he has to hide in a broom cupboard now too small to hold him, and later he and Wasp appear in the same room passing a bag between them with Ant-Man only half-size. Finally, Ant-Man has to climb down some normal sized steps but at his now half-height.

Several visual effects techniques overseen by VFX supe Stephane Ceretti – who describes the work in the video below – including forced perspective and meticulous compositing, made the sequence possible. Continue reading →

What the heck is SIGGRAPH’s Real-Time Live! (and why you should definitely see it)


There’s so much to take in at SIGGRAPH these days, but a couple of events are becoming absolute ‘must-sees’. One of those is Real-Time Live! which is an evening of on-stage presentations of real-time tech – ie. it’s live, and anything can happen.

If you’re not already aware of how Real-Time LIVE! works, vfxblog spoke to chair Jesse Barker about how it all happens. And read on below the interview to see what presentations will make up the event on Tuesday, 14 August, 6-7:45 pm, at West Building, Ballroom AB at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Continue reading →

Going through a phase: DNEG on Ant-Man and the Wasp’s Ghost effects


In Ant-Man and the Wasp, a new character introduced in the film is Ava Starr, aka Ghost, played by Hannah John-Kamen. An accident has caused Starr to suffer from molecular instability, giving her the ability to phase through objects. She uses these powers against the film’s heroes in the hope of finding a cure through their quantum research.

DNEG led the effort to realise the CG Ghost asset and the phasing effect, with other studios also handling Ghost scenes. DNEG visual effects supervisor Alessandro Ongaro tells vfxblog how they approached the effect. Continue reading →

Finding ‘Indo’ – how ILM made Fallen Kingdom’s Indoraptor a different dinosaur


It’s basically psychotic. It doesn’t have a mother. It has no sense of right or wrong and it’s a bit unhinged. – Alex Wuttke, visual effects supervisor, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

The genetically engineered Indoraptor is a new kind of dinosaur introduced in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. For the film’s effects teams, it was the opportunity to explore different creature behaviours, motion and emotion, particularly because ‘Indo’ was, as a result of his creation, somewhat of a neurotic dinosaur.

For on set, Neal Scanlan’s team built and puppeteered practical Indo pieces, while in CG, ILM worked on introducing twitches to the mentally unstable dino, which also had to have the ability to go from a biped to a quadruped. vfxblog sat down with ILM visual effects supervisors David Vickery and Alex Wuttke and animation supervisor Jance Rubinchik to talk through how they ‘found’ their Indoraptor character. Continue reading →

Fallen Kingdom: the film before the film


Before things start ramping up in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, audiences get a taste of what’s to come thanks to a dramatic prologue sequence. Here, mercenaries visit Isla Nublar and quickly encounter the infamous T. Rex in the main street, and then later a leaping Mosasaurus. The sequence includes both a submarine arrival and an attempted helicopter exit that does not go so smoothly.

Many of the scenes involved fully digital creatures, but several helicopter shots featured either a real aircraft or a ‘buck’ chopper attached to a crane. Visual effects studio Important Looking Pirates was brought on as a partner to ILM for the prologue, its work overseen by visual effects supervisors David Vickery and Alex Wuttke. vfxblog visited Wuttke at ILM in London where he outlined how the sequence was pulled off. Continue reading →

The saddest moment in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was also one of the most beautiful


The sight of a brachiosaurus being enveloped in an ash cloud after the volcanic eruption of Isla Nublar – as several characters and other dinosaurs leave the island by boat – was a powerful moment in J.A. Bayona’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. vfxblog asked ILM animation supervisor Jance Rubinchik about the approach to that touching scene, which turned out to be a direct reference back to the original Jurassic Park.

Jance Rubinchik: Wherever we could pay any sort of homage to Jurassic Park, we did. It was always fun when we got the opportunity to. In that shot, you see brachi labouring down the pier towards the end as the ash cloud is racing towards her. She rears up and her head comes up just as the smoke is enveloping her. We lose her and we see her shadow through the smoke.

We basically lifted that moment from the original Jurassic Park where the first dinosaur we see is the brachiosaur riding up on her back two legs and plucking the leaves from the tops of the branches. That’s the first time that as an audience we get to see a dinosaur. So I thought it was great that the last time we see a dinosaur on Isla Nublar is taking it full circle back to brachi and we see her doing a very similar action – coming up back on those back hind legs.

Original plate.
Final shot.

When we had originally animated it, we were blocking it in and we had those ash clouds more behind the brachi. You’ve got that full moment of her coming up onto two legs and then the ash cloud sort of moved past her. So you kind of got that moment a lot more. J.A. wanted to be less obvious, he wanted more of that moment of the shadow projected through the smoke. So the effects guys just kept adding more smoke and more smoke and more smoke, until it got fairly covered up in the end.

Which was – it’s always a little disappointing on the animators side, when you do all this work and then it’s a little bit lost or obscure. But in the end, it’s all about what makes the story work and what has the most visual impact. I think J.A. was absolutely right in that call. It just really tugs at the heartstrings even more so.

Stay tuned to vfxblog.com for more Fallen Kingdom articles during #jurassicweek Mark II.

A lion and a Mosasaurus: how those fun end moments of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom came to be


The final scenes of Fallen Kingdom, in which several dinos have escaped captivity and are now out in the ‘human world’, hint at exciting times to come. Two moments in particular stand-out: the sight of a giant Mosasaurus coming through a wave amidst a group of surfers, and a T. Rex roaring at a lion in a zoo.

These scenes – which actually featured in trailers and TV spots for the film – required extensive visual effects work. Fallen Kingdom VFX supervisor Alex Wuttke from Industrial Light & Magic tells vfxblog how the memorable moments happened. Continue reading →

The best of both Jurassic worlds: practical and digital


“We gave Neal a 200 million polygon file from the T. rex at one-to-one scale. He started printing it but two days later he rang me panicking, going, ‘David, David. I can see poly faces! I can see the polygons in my 3D print! We need more resolution!’” – David Vickery, visual effects supervisor, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

At one point in J.A. Bayona’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the characters Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Owen (Chris Pratt) find themselves in a shipping container with a groggy T. rex…which then wakes up.

It’s a thrilling scene, thanks to the close-quarters action, and one that involved a close collaboration between Neal Scanlan’s practical creatures and ILM’s digital visual effects, overseen by supervisors David Vickery and Alex Wuttke. That collaboration included the provision of digital models early on from ILM to Scanlan so that the practical and CG dinos would match as tightly as possible.

vfxblog sat down with David Vickery at ILM in London where the VFX supe outlined how the T. rex container sequence was handled. Continue reading →

New VFX Voice is…incredible


The latest VFX Voice magazine with Incredibles 2 on the cover is an issue I loved writing for – it includes a chat with Pixar producers for that film, plus VFX supes on ‘what’s in their kit’, coverage of Black Panther, Infinity War and Stranger Things 2.

Optical craziness


If you just think for a second that all the compositing for Who Framed Roger Rabbit was done optically, it blows your mind. Check out my interview with ILM’s then optical photography supervisor Ed Jones about how that was done, on the 30th anniversary of the film, at Cartoon Brew.

The tree-makers


A look behind the scenes at how Weta Digital, Imageworks, Animal Logic and ILM craft digital foliage, at 3D World magazine. Loved writing this one.