vfxblog readers get a discount to SIGGRAPH Asia


One of the reasons I try and get to different conferences is that there often ends up being presentations on VFX and animation that you get early access to or don’t get shown anywhere else.

That’s exactly what looks set to be shown soon at SIGGRAPH Asia in Bangkok, taken place between 27 and 30 November. During the week, in addition to a whole bunch of technical papers and courses, will be featured presentations on films such as Coco, Blade Runner 2049 and Thor: Ragnarok.


For Coco, a large contingent from Pixar will be on hand to go behind the scenes. Framestore is showing its Blade Runner 2049 VFX, which included the Vegas sequence. With Thor: Ragnorak, presenters are coming from Framestore, ILM and Method Studios.

If you’re thinking of heading to SIGGRAPH Asia, vfxblog readers can sign up with a 10% discount. Head to http://bit.ly/sa17reg and use the code EP107010MS71.

Hope to see you there!

Let’s all move to LA, in 2049


Los Angeles in 2049 is an over-populated metropolis, threatened by rising sea levels, and featuring vastly different scale buildings, from sprawling favelas to mile high pyramids. That’s how the city is presented in Blade Runner 2049, which had to show a location 30 years into the future from the original Blade Runner and had the benefit of using modern visual effects to make it possible.

Overall visual effects supervisor John Nelson was tasked with helping to realise much of that imagery. He and director Denis Villeneuve would push for LA views to be crafted via a combination of real photography, miniatures and CG. Some aerial plates were filmed in Mexico City, miniatures were crafted by Weta Workshop, and most of the CG shots and visual effects for LA were completed by Double Negative.

Here, Nelson tells vfxblog about the philosophy behind that approach and some fun details about combining real, miniature and digital. Continue reading Let’s all move to LA, in 2049

What happens in Vegas


In the third act of Blade Runner 2049 we arrive at a stark orange-y Las Vegas, now a wasteland where the replicant and Blade Runner K (Ryan Gosling) has sought out the old-school Blade Runner Deckard (Harrison Ford).

Much of the visual effects work in that sequence was handled by Framestore (overseen by visual effects supervisor Richard Hoover), who worked with overall supervisor John Nelson on creating the distinctive Vegas buildings and incorporating the orange-y feel that had been inspired by Sydney dust storms.

Nelson tells vfxblog – from a conversation at the VIEW Conference in Turin, Italy – more about how that sequence was brought to life, including early discussions about whether the Vegas strip could have been made with miniatures, and some of the challenges of working with that colour scheme. Continue reading What happens in Vegas

More Joi: how the giant ‘Blade Runner 2049’ hologram shot was pulled off


As a follow-up to my earlier coverage of Double Negative’s ménage à trois hologram work for Blade Runner 2049, overall visual effects supervisor now shares with vfxblog how Dneg also carried out the stunning giant hologram scene also featuring Joi.

This time, actress Ana de Armas is playing Joi as a hologram advertisement as she sizes up to a dejected Ryan Gosling as K. The sequence involved a greenscreen shot for de Armas, and a separate shoot with interactive lighting for Gosling. Dneg then weaved its hologram magic for the final shots, as Nelson runs down here. Continue reading More Joi: how the giant ‘Blade Runner 2049’ hologram shot was pulled off

How ‘Blade Runner 2049’s’ virtual ménage à trois was made


The ménage à trois between K (Ryan Gosling), his companion hologram Joi (Ana de Armas) and Mariette (Mackenzie Davis) in Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049 is a stunningly realised sequence. It involves the real human Mariette interacting with K, while also ‘merging’ at times with Joi.

The sequence involved significant visual effects planning and execution, undertaken by overall visual effects supervisor John Nelson and Double Negative, with Paul Lambert as Dneg’s VFX supervisor. In the first piece of my coverage of Blade Runner 2049, John Nelson breaks down how they made these amazing shots possible (Nelson recently spoke at length about the visual effects of Blade Runner 2049 at the VIEW Conference). Continue reading How ‘Blade Runner 2049’s’ virtual ménage à trois was made

VIEW preview: ‘Guardians Vol. 2’ VFX supe Christopher Townsend talks shot iterations


It’s not very long until the VIEW Conference in Turin, Italy, which kicks off 23 October. One of the amazing things about this event is the high calibre of speakers – we’re talking major visual effects supervisors, animation directors and leaders in VR and other creative content industries.

Oscar-nominated visual effects supervisor Christopher Townsend is one of those incredible speakers whose keynote on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will be a highlight of VIEW. His talk, which will also be presented with Trixter animation supervisor Simone Kraus, is affectionately called, ‘The making of a really colourful movie’ – which is exactly what Guardians Vol. 2 is.

When the film came out, I had a chance to chat to Chris about supervising the VFX – and one thing I asked him was in reference to a post from the director, James Gunn, on a shot that had been approved that was in its 749th iteration. I thought I’d share some of Chris’ thoughts about the iterative nature of VFX. Continue reading VIEW preview: ‘Guardians Vol. 2’ VFX supe Christopher Townsend talks shot iterations

New VFX Voice is out!


The October 2018 issue of VFX Voice is now out, and includes a bunch of articles I was able to contribute:

The Lego Ninjago Movie – had a chat to Animal Logic about the film.

Blade Runner – talked to chief model maker Mark Stetson about the miniatures for the original film.

VES 70 – collated images and captions for the new group of films making it into the VES’ top VFX list.

American Gods – dived into Cinesite’s work on this amazing TV series.