Computer Graphics World

September/October 2014

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26 CGW S E P T E M B E R . O C T O B E R 2 0 1 4 V I S U A L E F F E C T S bits of material," Rowe says. "So we created a new tool. We could draw a line and have it wrap around something, and from that, grow leaves. And of course, ivy leaves turn toward the sun, so we could de ne where the sun was and have the leaves turn in that direction. Our ivy was so good that in places we replaced the original ivy because ours looked better." Because the lm takes place in a postapocalyptic world, the walls look industrial. "Wes wanted symbols on the walls as if they had been used for some kind of nasty nuclear testing, but we don't know what," Rowe says. At the beginning of the lm, the walls are close together, but as the kids move into the un- discovered area, the walls move wider apart. "Wes [Ball] was smart about how he shot the lm," Rowe says. "Sometimes the kids would just hear the sound of the walls moving as the maze rearranged itself. It rapidly got more intense as the danger came upon the kids. When the moment came that the maze rearranged itself to kill the kids, we had 20 to 30 shots with a tsunami wave of destruction and the kids diving out of the way." The e ects team again put Houdini to work to create the destruction. On set, the actors ran across a oor on a blue- screen stage. Method artists simulated the oor cracking as they ran, and added layers of ne particulate dust. "We showed Wes the test and he said, in his English accent, 'Yeah, that's bad ass,'" Rowe says. The crew also used parti- cle systems โ€“ in Nuke rather than Houdini โ€“ to make the environment in the glade more convincing by lling the air with bugs. This happened a er Rowe, who had worked in London before moving to Van- couver, spent time on location in Louisiana. "I have never seen bugs as big as the ones in Louisiana," Rowe says. "They scared me. Big ones with wings and little black bug- gers. The horse ies were the worst. I was in the middle of a eld when one bit me, and one of the guys said we should make digital bugs. I took him up on that, and it was great. We built a library of bugs in Nuke and had them circling around. That extra layer of reality gave movement to every shot." T H E S C A L E The most di cult thing about the maze, Rowe notes, was not the walls or the ivy, but it was making the walls look convinc- ing. "CG can let you down when you want convincing scale," she says. "The artistry came from our lighting team and our great CG supervisor. They created lighting that gave the walls gran- deur with a lot of shadowing, raking lights, and light traveling through the ivy." Because many shots take place at night, the lighting team also needed to nd ways to show the Griever, which has a dark-green body verging on gray. "V-Ray lent itself really well to the Griever," Rowe says. "We could get translucency in the fatty tissue and subsurface scattering โ€“ the comp team got that right through many layers. And, lighters put silhouetting lights behind so we could pick out his surface in this dark environment. That was a bit of artistic license, but we could see him nicely." With this lm and with Rowe's guidance, Method es- tablished itself as a place where artists can create convincing CG characters as well as con- vincing environments. "This wasn't a big-budget movie compared to John Carter," Rowe says, referring to the lm for which she was previously a VFX supervisor. "But, I couldn't think of a better team." ยข Barbara Robertson is an award-winning writer and a contributing editor for CGW. She can be reached at VIDEO: GO TO EXTRAS IN THE SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2014 ISSUE BOX C G W. C O M THE BIG REVEAL OF THE ENTIRE MAZE IS ENTIRELY CG. PREVIS'ING THE MAZES: GO TO EXTRAS IN THE SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2014 ISSUE BOX C G W. C O M

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