New mocap video of Andy Serkis as Snoke

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Most vfxblog readers have probably already seen ILM’s fantastic Snoke visual effects breakdown here, but Lucasfilm has also just released a clip from the upcoming Last Jedi Blu-ray/DVD that features an unaltered Andy Serkis performing Snoke in his motion capture suit.

Back in January, I wrote a piece for Cartoon Brew on how ILM transformed the actor’s mocap into Snoke. What was interesting – among many other things – about the studio’s work here was that the character went through a bit of a re-design and re-think during production, that even involved untwisting Serkis’ original mocap performance a little to make the character feel more powerful. It evolved into the final CG Snoke we see on screen.

Check out the new clip below:

5 visual stories from 5 VFX Oscar nominees

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Over the past year I’ve been able to cover the visual effects in all of the films nominated for the VFX Oscar – Blade Runner 2049, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Kong: Skull Island, The Last Jedi, and War for the Planet of the Apes. Now in this special series of visual stories, I’m pin-pointing a specific scene or character from each nominated film with just one of the nominees from that movie. Find the stories below:

How the orange haze of Blade Runner 2049’s Las Vegas meant 13 hour renders

The story behind those crazy dioramas in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Inside Kong: Skull Island’s final battle

The making of The Last Jedi’s crystal foxes

The art of translating humans to apes

The making of The Last Jedi’s crystal foxes

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Towards the end of The Last Jedi, we meet on Crait a number of Vulptex creatures, fox-like animals with crystalline bristles. Although a detailed animatronic was made for the production, the Vulptices were ultimately crafted in CG by ILM.

Academy Award nominee Ben Morris from ILM was the overall visual effects supervisor on The Last Jedi. The other VFX Oscar nominees for the film are Mike Mulholland, Neal Scanlan and Chris Corbould. Here, Morris explains the design of the Vulptices, and how they went through both practical and digital builds.
Continue reading The making of The Last Jedi’s crystal foxes

Woh, a VFX event on Last Jedi, Apes, Blade Runner, Paddington 2, Star Trek and Neill Blomkamp shorts

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Check out that list again in the heading – those are some of the biggest visual effects  projects around, and they’re all going to be discussed by the studios behind the work at the upcoming SPARK FX 2018 in Vancouver.

It’s on Saturday 10th February at the VIFF Vancity Theatre, a neat cinema venue which will also host in the foyer a Career Fair featuring a ton of local studios looking to hear from potential artists.

I’m lucky enough to be one of the chairs of the event, so I’ll be there to watch the presentations – which by the way are from ILM, Weta Digital, Double Negative, Framestore, Oats Studios and Pixomondo – and to moderate one of the sessions.

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Photo by Cindy LMh.

The quick run down is:

9am – STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI with Dan Seddon from ILM
10:30 am – THE VISUAL EFFECTS OF BLADE RUNNER 2049 with Chris McLaughlin from Dneg
12:00 pm – DISCOVERING THE VFX OF STAR TREK with Mahmoud Rahnama from Pixomondo
1:30 pm – REAL-TIME FILMMAKING: INSIDE OATS STUDIOS & NEILL BLOMKAMP’S LATEST SHORTS with Oats’ Chris Harvey
3:00 pm – PADDINGTON 2: THE CHARMING SIDE OF A CG BEAR with Claire Michaud & Pablo Grillo from Framestore
4:30 pm – WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES with Dan Lemmon & Joel Whist from Weta Digital.

Check out the full program for the Saturday here.

Then, on Sunday 11th February, there’s another special VFX-related event with a Diversity Summit to be held at the Vancouver Film School. I’ll have more details on that soon.

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A pic from the Women in VFX panel I moderated last year. Photo by Ana Norambuena.

Last year, SPARK FX was an absolute delight – the talks were incredibly engaging, and then outside the main speaking room the career fair was one of the busiest and buoyant I’ve ever seen.

Hope to see you in Vancouver.