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

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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.

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Original plate.
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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

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

The best of both Jurassic worlds: practical and digital

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“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 The best of both Jurassic worlds: practical and digital

All aboard Solo’s conveyex train heist

I recently got to chat to Solo visual effects supervisor Rob Bredow about the film – you should be able to read various articles around the place, and I’ll post links to them at vfxblog.com. One of the standout sequences in the film is the conveyex train heist on Vandor, and Bredow shared his scouting, shooting, and miniature explosions process for bringing that incredible sequence to life. Check it out at the link below:

https://www.vfxblog.com/solo

‘You can’t wipe them off, they’re holograms.’ Well………

How closely were you watching that game of Dejarik in Solo? Now’s the time to take another look…

Pretty much every Star Wars film has fun Easter Eggs. But Ron Howard’s Solo has one of the coolest ‘inside visual effects’ hidden gem played out so far. And it’s to do with the game of Dejarik – or Holochess – that Chewbacca and Tobias Beckett play on the Millennium Falcon (which is at this stage owned by Lando Calrissian).

Holochess should be something that most avid Star Wars-watchers are familiar with. It showed up first in A New Hope, where Phil Tippett and Jon Berg animated stop-motion creatures that were composited as holograms into a scene of Chewbacca playing the game against R2-D2. A brief refrain of the game appeared in The Force Awakens, too. Then, in Solo, Chewbacca loses at the hands of Beckett.

But…something pretty cool happens during that most recent incarnation in Solo.

Let’s start with the actual clip from the film.

Did you see it? Watch it again and look what happens when Chewie gets frustrated and slams and wipes the board with his arm.

That’s right, two of the creatures actually ‘pop off’ as holograms, presumably because Chewie uses his Wookie strength to almost break the Holochess table.

Both the ‘new’ chess pieces are there (look above the second light from the left on the table).
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After the table sparks, the pieces have now ‘popped’ off. You can see the gap left on the board.

‘Big deal,’ I hear you say. Well, it’s actually a completely intentional thing. That’s because those two creatures that pop off the board were actually two creatures originally intended to be in the game during A New Hope.

Wait, what?

Well, here’s what happened, as described by Solo visual effects supervisor Rob Bredow at a recent Visual Effects Society screening and Q&A of the film.

The story was, Tippett had originally built 10 more characters, two more than he needed. Apparently George Lucas came out when they were lining up the shots for A New Hope 41 years ago and he said, ‘Oh it’s too crowded.’ So Tippett took a couple of them off the board and they were never seen again.

But…those pieces were not actually lost forever. Relatively recently, Tippett did find the original designs to the two creatures. What’s more, it turned out he’d given the unused stop-motion models to ILM visual effects supervisor Dennis Muren after A New Hope wrapped. And Muren had kept them, all these years.

Just to be sure, watch this clip from A New Hope, which shows just eight characters on the table.

The discovery of the two missing creatures seems to have happened as Tippett was simultaneously cleaning out his studio and preparing rewards for a Kickstarter for his short film project MAD GOD. His studio accessed the original models, scanned them via photogrammetry and moulded new versions for the rewards.

In fact, that Kickstarter project was all documented last year in a video for Tested, which showed how the new moulds were made and the figures crafted for awards.

Jump to production on Solo, and Tippett Studio – which had already re-made the original eight Holochess characters for a brief scene of Finn activating the table in The Force Awakens – was called upon to make this new Dejarik game between Chewie and Beckett.

That spurned the idea, as a story point, that perhaps there were originally ten creatures to the game on Lando’s Falcon, until Chewie’s meltdown.

Bredow related further on this at the VES event:

Tippett said, ‘Wouldn’t it be fun if the pristine Lando Falcon has two extra characters on the board?’ And then we realised when Chewie does this [mimes hand thumping], two of the buttons popped off the table. If you watch carefully…two extra characters for two shots. Then they disappear, never to be seen again.

Which just goes to show, it really is unwise to upset a Wookie.

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A pic of one of the original missing chess pieces (from the Tested video).
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A pic of the other missing chess piece (from the Tested video).
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Tippett with the collection of chess pieces during A New Hope (one of the missing pieces is identified). This pic from the Kickstarter for MAD GOD Part 3.

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