ILM Gets Trippy with Lucy VFX

Industrial Light & Magic embraced something completely different with Luc Besson’s heady sci-fi actioner, Lucy, in which Scarlett Johansson plays a badass and brainy super-gal who taps her full cerebral capacity in blazing a new evolutionary trail for humanity.

Thus, to help visualize how Lucy colonizes her brain after a bizarre drug overdose, ILM became more design-centric and abstract than usual for Besson’s pulpy version of  2001: A Space Odyssey.

“It was really fun because it wasn’t a thousand shots of robots or things we typically do,” admits ILM VFX supervisor Richard Bluff, a former digital matte artist (The Avengers, Avatar). “It was very small sequences: Fifteen shots in the airplane bathroom [where Lucy decomposes], eight shots of a prehistoric human, 15 shots of time traveling [and the Big Bang]. It was very unique in that sense and it required a lot of new ways to problem-solve and to visualize them.”

For the airplane sequence, Besson ripped out a picture of a woman’s face covered in cupcake sprinkles he spied in an in-flight magazine and asked ILM to reproduce the look. “He wanted the elegance of a Dior commercial for the decomposition sequence that gets progressively more horrifying,” Bluff continues. “But other than one shot, he didn’t want her to look ugly. Her skin is being thrown off her in a zero-G, particle way. She’s always struggling to rebuild herself. So it was a lot of re-projections of her face back onto her geometry and then animating erosion maps with crystals on the edge and then the sprinkles animated through a Houdini particle set up.”

Read the rest at TOH/Indiewire.

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Movies, previs, Tech, Trailers, VFX, Virtual Production

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