How’d they do that Hong Kong reverse destruction in Doctor Strange?

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Near the end of Doctor Strange, the characters rush to Hong Kong to save the precious Sanctum there from the Dark Dimension. But the Sanctum is already destroyed. In order to stop the whole world being swallowed up into the Dark Dimension, Strange uses the Eye of Agamotto to reverse time. The entire street that had been destroyed now reconstructs itself in front of the audiences’ eyes. At the same time, the heroes take on the group of zealots – in normal time. Here’s overall vfx supervisor Stephane Ceretti, previs and postvis supervisor Faraz Hameed from The Third Floor and ILM’s Richard Bluff and how that sequence was achieved. Continue reading How’d they do that Hong Kong reverse destruction in Doctor Strange?

Jammin’

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It’s 20 years since Space Jam, which captured a lot of people’s attention via its hybrid animation and vfx process thanks to Warner Bros., Cinesite and a lot of external studios and artists. Read part 1 of my oral history at Cartoon Brew.

Arrival effects supe on holding back on vfx

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Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival is almost an anti-alien invasion film. It’s subtle and purposeful use of visual effects was orchestrated by vfx supe Louis Morin, who enlisted vendors including Hybride, Oblique FX, Rodeo FX, Framestore, Raynault VFX, Folks FX and Alchemy FX to render everything from odd-shaped spacecraft to even odder-shaped aliens. In this interview with vfxblog, Morin discusses the invisible nature of the effects work and some of the harder shots to pull off. Continue reading Arrival effects supe on holding back on vfx

Why Creating Doctor Strange’s Dark Dimension Was So Damn Hard

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The thrilling climax of Doctor Strange sees the titular character travel into the Dark Dimension to confront the evil Dormammu. Crafting a CG creature and a suitably alien-like dimension was challenging enough for the vfx team, but director Scott Derrickson also wanted the shots to reflect the surrealist and psychedelic blacklight look by famed comic book artist Steve Ditko. As I discovered from overall vfx supervisor Stephane Ceretti and Luma’s Vince Cirelli, this was not the easiest brief to pull off. Continue reading Why Creating Doctor Strange’s Dark Dimension Was So Damn Hard

SIGGRAPH Asia 2016 preview: facial and speech animation for VR HMDs

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I’ve been to a couple of amazing SIGGRAPH conferences now, and I’m the first to admit that most of the research presented in the Technical Papers is way beyond me. But I always remain fascinated by this part of the proceedings, and every now and then something you see at SIGGRAPH finds it way into some mainstream tech or a feature film, or, these days, a VR application or hardware.

Enter Hao Li, an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at USC and now Director of the Vision and Graphics Lab at USC ICT. He’s also the CEO and Founder of AR and face swapping start-up Pinscreen (which I wrote about here). Hao’s area of expertise is performance capture, digital humans, faces and VR. And a combination of all of these.

It’s not surprising then that research he is part of is being presented at SIGGRAPH Asia 2016 in Macao (5-8 December) in the area of facial and speech animation for VR head mounted displays. Actually, the full citation of the paper is:

HIGH-FIDELITY FACIAL AND SPEECH ANIMATION FOR VR HMDS
Kyle Olszewski, Joseph J. Lim, Shunsuke Saito, Hao Li
ACM Transactions on Graphics, Proceedings of the 9th ACM SIGGRAPH Conference and Exhibition in Asia 2016, 12/2016 – SIGGRAPH ASIA 2016

I had a chat to Hao about what this all means. Of course, for more in-depth info you can read the paper, watch the video below, or attend SIGGRAPH Asia in Macao to see this and many other great technical papers. I’ll be there too, so come say hi!  Continue reading SIGGRAPH Asia 2016 preview: facial and speech animation for VR HMDs