Computer Graphics World

November/December 2014

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42 cgw n o v e m b e r . d e c e m b e r 2 0 1 4 VISUAL EFFECTS 3 0 0 : R I S E O F A N E M P I R E RELEASE DATE: March 7 PRODUCTION COMPANIES: Warner Bros., Legendary Pic- tures, Cruel & Unusual Films Like its predecessor, 300, Rise of an Empire, based on a Frank Miller graphic novel, uses a stylized backdrop to bring this fantasy war film to life. The movie picks up where the origi- nal 300 ended, with the defeat of King Leonidas and his legion of 300. The sequel incorporates the same visual style as its predecessor, but turns up the graphic look a notch. C A P T A I N A M E R I C A : T H E W I N T E R S O L D I E R RELEASE DATE: April 4 PRODUCTION COMPANIES: Marvel Entertainment, Marvel Studios, Perception, Sony Pic- tures Imageworks The Russo brothers, who directed, wanted to use as little CGI as possible in this super- hero movie. Nevertheless, the film contains close to 2,500 VFX shots, 900 of them from ILM. Other studios contributing effects include Scanline VFX, Lola VFX, Luma, Whiskeytree, and The Embassy, with previs from Proof. The film features extensive use of digital doubles. In addition, the helicarriers are digital, as were the backdrops of Washington, DC. D A W N O F T H E P L A N E T O F T H E A P E S RELEASE DATE: July 11 PRODUCTION COMPANIES: Chernin Entertainment, Ingenious Media, TSG Entertainment Weta Digital advanced the state of the art of creature creation when it took on the massive challenge to trump the cutting-edge work that it had done for the previous Apes movie just a few years ago. This time, the effects artists pushed motion capture further to give its digital characters command- ing performances, as the CG apes rode CG horses through digitally altered or enhanced sets in the latest iteration. The facial capture resulted in subtle, ever-changing expres- sions, adding to the realism of the digital characters. The fur technology was also advanced, as artists made it look wet, matted, and mangy, particularly for shots in the rain. D R A C U L A U N T O L D RELEASE DATE: October 10 PRODUCTION COMPANIES: Universal Pictures, Legendary Pictures, Michael De Luca Productions Framestore had its hands full dealing with the supernatural and historic in this movie about Dracula. The historical backdrop of the film presented a new challenge for the studio, with armies fighting huge battles, amazing scenery, and stunning castles. In addition, the movie features the strange and maca- bre, including a giant swarm of bats that sweep soldiers aside, human-to-bat mutations, grue- some deaths, and more. E X O D U S : G O D S A N D K I N G S RELEASE DATE: December 12 PRODUCTION COMPANIES: Chernin Entertainment, Scott Free Productions, Babieka, Volcano Films The story is familiar, based on the biblical journey of the He- brews from Egypt. Using state- of-the-art visual effects and 3D immersion, Ridley Scott brings new life to the story of the defi- ant leader Moses as he rises up against the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses. The movie has been generating a good deal of buzz, with its epic scope. The back- grounds are vast and rich, with crowds of digital doubles. There are digitally induced plagues and a dramatic parting and collapsing of the water in the Red Sea – a highlight for sure. The work is being performed by Double Negative, The Third Floor, The Senate VFX, MPC, Method, Nvizible, and others. G O D Z I L L A RELEASE DATE: May 16 PRODUCTION COMPANIES: Warner Bros., Legendary Pic- tures, Disruption Entertainment, Toho Company There have been some cheesy effects in the Godzilla movies of old, but the same cannot be said for those in this latest release. The battles are large, nearly as large as the creature itself, a CG creation that is a force to be reckoned with – at least on film. Visual effects artists had to unleash this massive beast so it could wreak havoc and destruction, crushing cars and infrastructure in its wake. Of course, all this is digital, as well. The effects were handled by MPC, Double Nega- tive, Weta Digital, Amalgamated Dynamics, ComputerCafe/ THE CG APES IN RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES ARE MORE REALISTIC THAN EVER, THANKS TO ADVANCES IN FACIAL CAPTURE AND HAIR. IMAGE ©2014 20TH CENTURY FOX FILM. COURTESY WETA

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