Computer Graphics World

APRIL 2010

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■ ■ ■ ■ Visual Effects It has been less than 20 years since the origi- nal Clash of the Titans stormed the box offi ce to become the 11th highest grossing fi lm of 1981. Legendary special eff ects artist Ray Harryhausen, who co-produced the fi lm, created the stop-motion magic for that feature. T is year, three visual eff ects studios based in London wrangled creatures and composed environments to bring Warner Bros. Pictures’ remake of the 1981 fi lm to the screen. Directed by Louis Leterrier, the action-adventure aged Medusa’s multiple snakes, buzzed through Harpie se- quences, and smoked the Hades eff ects in 444 shots. Simon Stanley-Clamp supervised a crew at Cinesite who wrestled a stinging, six-minute Scorpioch battle to the ground. T e Moving Picture Company, piloted by Gary Brozenich, fl ew Pegasus, tackled the kraken, and splashed CG water in 220 shots, many of which are in the end battle. In addition, all the studios created environments. Framestore: Medusa, Hades, Olympus “Normally, we do two or three things —a creature or an environment—and lots of small eff ects,” says Framestore’s Webber. “But for this fi lm, we did probably 20 quite diff erent eff ects. T e main ones were Medusa; Hades, played by Ralph Fiennes, who turns into smoky stuff ; and the environments.” At fi rst look, Medusa has a massive snake body, but The fl oor was originally a marble map of the earth, but to give the throne room at Olympus more drama, Framestore put the gods’ feet in the clouds above a photoreal planet below with mountains, forests, and a moving sea. fantasy stars Sam Worthington (Perseus), Ralph Fiennes (Hades), Liam Neeson (Zeus), and a host of CG creatures, including the Medusa, Harpies, witches, Pegasus, Scorpi- ochs, and the kraken. Nick Davis was the overall visual eff ects supervisor. Framestore eff ects artists, supervised by Tim Webber, man- 20 April 2010 her body slithers into a womanly shape, and her head has snakes for hair. For her face, Framestore used reference photos of the model Natalia Vodianova. “We had to try to make the snake body merge seamlessly into a human body and still feel snake-like,” Webber says. “T e 50-foot snake starts changing into a human body around the hips. You see a slight bulge, a hint of stomach muscle, and the scales smooth out. She has metal armor—a kind of metal bra with a snake design.” Other than snakes in her hair, the mermaid-like Medusa looks human from the upper half, but her lower body is a scaly snake, not a fi sh. Each individually modeled scale moved with procedural animation as her skin moved. “We wrote an in-house plug-in for [Autodesk’s] Maya to man-

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