Visual Effects Enhance Storytelling in Fantasy Films, Historical Dramas and
SAN RAFAEL, Calif., Dec. 17, 2008 -Across multiple movie genres and
filmmaking techniques, this year's holiday blockbuster movies demonstrate
the wide-range of entertainment that is shaped with Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ:
ADSK) software. Filmmakers are using Autodesk's animation, visual effects
and color grading tools to enhance their creative process and enable
Visual effects (VFX) studio CIS Vancouver led the visual effects effort on
the teen vampire box office bonanza, Twilight. Full of atmospheric effects,
the 250-shot Twilight required heavy rotoscoping and compositing to
incorporate hyperkinetic vampire motion and augment stormy weather. For
the previsualization stage, CIS extensively relied upon Autodesk Maya 3D
modeling, animation and rendering software. A scene set in a ballet studio
filled with mirrors created complex visual challenges, requiring tracking
of more than half a dozen reflective bounces between the mirrors. "Using
Maya to conduct multiple camera pre-tests from many angles, we were able to
save the production team hours of set time," said Geoffrey Hancock, CIS
visual effects supervisor. "Autodesk's powerful tools gave us the
opportunity to focus on the creative challenges of this scene rather than
the technical ones."
Changeling © 2008 Universal Pictures. All Rights Reserved. Images courtesy of CIS Vancouver
CIS also worked on the historical drama Changeling. As the lead VFX house,
CIS' dedicated team of artists worked diligently with a shortened schedule
to ready the film for its Cannes Film Festival premiere and subsequent
theatrical release. CIS used Maya for virtually all the modeling and
animation, and Autodesk Inferno visual effects software for matte
paintings. VFX Supervisor Geoffrey Hancock stated, "The graphics speed,
multiple iteration-ability and overall robustness of Inferno was invaluable
to our pipeline. The film's subtle visual effects allow audiences to become
fully absorbed in the story. We actually enjoyed the constraints of
creating a believable and historically accurate environment. It was so
refreshing to create invisible effects, not solely for the spectacle."
Image courtesy of Dreamworks Animation
In an imaginary animal universe, DreamWorks Animation's dazzling
computer-generated (CG) animated film Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa also
relied upon Maya to tell its story. "Maya gives us a lot of control over
our particle simulations. The software is deep in its programmability and
very scalable for all kinds of visual effects, from the down-and-dirty
two-day effect to the dam-breaking effect that took four months to perfect.
Maya covers our needs on both ends of the spectrum and we rely upon it more
and more every year," said Scott Peterson, Head of Effects for Madagascar
2. DreamWorks turned to the Autodesk Lustre system for the film's color
grading, tailoring the film-look to augment the adventure of a motley crew
of New York Zoo animals.
City of Ember, image courtesy of Luma Pictures
For the instant cult classic City of Ember, lead VFX house Luma Pictures
used Maya and several plug-in solutions including mental ray and RealFlow.
These tools were used to create a fantastical world filled with complex CG
water systems, full subterranean CG sets and an enormous CG mole. Payam
Shohadai, executive VFX supervisor at Luma Pictures, remarked, "Maya is the
backbone of our entire VFX pipeline. Its amazing power and scripting
flexibility allowed us to bring the City of Ember to life in ways no one
thought possible - Maya is truly indispensable."
City of Ember, image courtesy of Luma Pictures
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