MPC on its digital make-up advancements in ‘The Mummy’

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Previously on vfxblog, The Mummy’s overall visual effects supervisor Erik Nash weighed on crafting the 5 stages of transformation of Princess Ahmanet. Key to bringing her to life in closer-to-human form was augmenting real photography of Sofia Boutella by taking away portions or her face or body to show the re-generation process.

MPC was behind that work, and, in fact, the studio has been pioneering augmentation and ‘digital make-up’ work lately with films such as Ghost in the Shell and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. MPC visual effects supervisor Greg Butler outlines how it was accomplished in The Mummy in this overview for vfxblog. Continue reading MPC on its digital make-up advancements in ‘The Mummy’

Breaking down Princess Ahmanet’s 5 stages in ‘The Mummy’

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One of the key visual effects components of Alex Kurtzman’s The Mummy was the Mummy herself – Princess Ahmanet – seen in 5 various stages as she re-generates from her entombed and emaciated state into a more human-esque appearance.

Some shots of the creature were fully digital creations completed by ILM, others were meticulous CG augmentations of actress Sofia Boutella done by MPC, and some were Boutella in make-up and prosthetics.

In the first of two stories about the creature work, overall visual effects supervisor Erik Nash tells vfxblog about the five stages. In a follow-up piece, we talk to Nash’s fellow MPC visual effects supervisor Greg Butler to dive in on the specifics of augmenting Boutella.

Continue reading Breaking down Princess Ahmanet’s 5 stages in ‘The Mummy’

Anatomy of a scene: fleeing the undead in ‘The Mummy’

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In one incredible action scene in Alex Kurtzman’s The Mummy, Tom Cruise and Annabelle Wallis’ characters take control of an ambulance while being pursued by several undead and Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella).

The high-octane chase sees Nick Morton (Cruise) and Jenny Halsey (Wallis) out-run their attackers, but then dramatically crash the ambulance, before being confronted by Ahmanet. Staging the sequence involved a mix of practical stunts, the last-minute addition of motion capture, computer generated undead, and a bunch of other effects work, as vfxblog finds out from production and MPC visual effects supervisor Erik Nash, and fellow MPC visual effects supervisor Greg Butler. Continue reading Anatomy of a scene: fleeing the undead in ‘The Mummy’

How that incredible animated mural in ‘Wonder Woman’ was made

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Perhaps taking inspiration from The Tale of the Three Brothers animation in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1, Wonder Woman has its own animated sequence. This is seen early in the film when the history of the Amazon women warriors, and their relationship to Zeus, the leader of the gods and Ares, the god of war, is told by Queen Hippolyta to a young Diana.

Looking for a way to depict the history in a Renaissance style, director Patty Jenkins came across a stereoscopic 3D reconstruction of a famous 1878 painting by Jan Matejko called ‘Battle of Grunwald’ (see below). That reconstruction was carried out by Polish studio Platige Image and allowed viewers to see – in 3D – certain aspects of the painting’s characters and action. The director, related overall visual effects supervisor Bill Westenhofer to vfxblog, thought something similar could be done in Wonder Woman. Continue reading How that incredible animated mural in ‘Wonder Woman’ was made

Why I think you should attend the VIEW Conference

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This is Russell Earl discussing Captain America: Civil War at VIEW in 2016.

Take it from me, if you want to get a handle on some of the best visual effects, animation, games and VR content being produced right now, come to Turin, Italy in October for the VIEW Conference.

Some big, big projects will be the subject of discussion, including War for the Planet of the Apes, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2, Rogue One, The Little Prince, Cars 3, LEGO Batman, The Emoji and Smurfs: The Lost Village. Continue reading Why I think you should attend the VIEW Conference

The forgotten freeze-frame moments from ‘Batman & Robin’

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Illustration by Aidan Roberts.

The film might have a notorious place in the history of comic book adaptations, but Joel Schumacher’s Batman & Robin, released in 1997, is notable for some innovative visual effects work. In particular, the ‘frozen in time’ moments arising from Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger) blasting his ray gun on unsuspecting victims capitalized on photogrammetry, stereo imaging and still-new CG techniques.

This was the work of Warner Digital, led by senior visual effects supervisor Michael Fink and visual effects supervisor Wendy Rogers. Lead CG artist Joel Merritt brought to Warner Digital a technique he had already developed to help accomplish the ‘frozen moment’ shots – something that now might be called image-based modelling. With the film now 20 years old, vfxblog went retro with Merritt to find out more. Continue reading The forgotten freeze-frame moments from ‘Batman & Robin’

‘Predator’ is 30: VFX supe Joel Hynek recalls the days of optical compositing, thermal cameras and *that* red suit

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Illustration by Aidan Roberts.

John McTiernan’s Predator is perhaps most fondly remembered for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s line, ‘Get to the chopper!’ But it also featured some incredibly memorable optical effects, crafted by R/Greenberg Associates and overseen by visual effects supervisor Joel Hynek.

These included a distinctive camouflage effect wielded by the alien Predator creature (appearing also in a monster suit designed and built by Stan Winston Studio), a heat vision-inspired Predator POV look, and several other optical effects.

Despite the challenging nature of the shots, and the challenging jungle shoot, the work culminated in an Academy Award nomination for Best Visual Effects (the nominees were Joel Hynek, Robert M. Greenberg, Richard Greenberg and Stan Winston).

In this interview, Hynek details the optical compositing tests that led to the eventual camouflage effect, the ill-fated red-suit-in-the-jungle approach to obtaining plates, and the almost ill-fated attempt at using a thermal camera for the Predator POV shots.

Continue reading ‘Predator’ is 30: VFX supe Joel Hynek recalls the days of optical compositing, thermal cameras and *that* red suit