Computer Graphics World

October-November-December 2021

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34 cgw o c t o b e r • n o v e m b e r • d e c e m b e r 2 0 2 1 Y : The Last Man is a new FX on Hulu drama based on the DC Comics series by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra. After a cataclysmic event decimates nearly every mammal with a Y chromosome, one man and his pet monkey survive. The series, produced by FX Productions, follows those who are left and their efforts to restore what was lost. VFX Muse VFX in Hollywood is one of the studios contributing visual effects to the series. Others include Switch, FuseFX, and ILM. In Muse VFX's case, the studio once again partnered with Visual Effects Supervisor Stephen W. Pugh on this series. The studio got to work on the show in earnest last August, aer delays due to COVID. As many as 18 artists worked in post, touching the show at different times. In addition to clean- up, matte paintings, and set extensions, Muse VFX also handles creature work and shots involving explosions and other forms of destruction — all with an emphasis on photorealism. Fred Pienkos, co-founder and VFX supervisor at Muse VFX, says the studio contributes between 35 and 45 shots for each episode. "I think Y: The Last Man is sort of the 'bridging of TV and film' because they're running it more like a TV pipeline, but they're shooting it more like a film," notes Pienkos. "For example, the whole show is shot anamorphic. But that requires a little more effort in the visual effects world to deal with those lenses. It's sort of coming together, like TV and film are colliding. It's been going on for a while, but this show really feels like that." Much of the show is shot in Canada, but made to look like different areas of the US, including Washington, DC, Boston, and Oklahoma. "Everything's based in reality," says John Gross, Muse VFX co-founder/creative direc- tor/VFX supervisor. "If there's something exploding, it's because somebody blew it up. Things fall and crash, and then [there's] a lot of just making people look dead or making props look better. A lot of invisible effects, making things look dead and destitute." Muse VFX had a remote pipeline set up before the pandemic, but COVID really pushed the studio to take advantage of it. "We were doing a little remote work before the pandemic," says Gross, "but the pandemic really pushed us, and pushed Fred and the IT team, to make it happen where it can just be like we're in the office." "Pipeline-wise, our studio is basically a pri- vate cloud, and all of the content is secured in a private network," explains Pienkos. "People use VPN and cloud-access soware to re- mote into [the studio] from their house. All of the work is being done in our private network, but from people around the country." Muse VFX relies heavily on SideFX's Houdini for its effects work, along with THE 'HOW' BEHIND THE VFX IN 'Y: THE LAST MAN' BY MARC LOFTUS Switch created VFX for this scene in Episode 1 of the series.

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