Ranking the Impactful 8 VFX Oscar Contenders

Find out why The Impactful 8 have the best chance at snagging Oscar noms.

1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens: It’s Star Wars 30 years on, with the original cast passing the torch to a new generation and J.J. Abrams going after the original George Lucas vibe, utilizing the best tech (both high and low) at ILM—so, of course, it’s the frontrunner. Everything relates back to “The New Hope,” whether it’s a ship, a set, a matte painting, or a location. They even reverse-engineered the VFX to accommodate 2D forced perspective backings rather than relying on CG set extensions. But for all of the old-school methodology, you can be sure there’s plenty of CG characters, environments and mayhem. Yet only when expedient. This back-to-basics, hybrid approach should be as much a summary statement about the franchise as it is about ILM. It’s all about maintaining continuity.

2. Jurassic World: It’s ILM again and it’s all about building the mother of all dinos, the Indominus Rex—a T-Rex/raptor hybrid, able to use her hands and tail more effectively while running swiftly and having a ferocious bite. Meanwhile, they used mocap for the four raptors, which provided a lot of the primary action and quirkiness. Performances are better than ever, thanks to new rigs, new skin and muscle systems and new lighting and rendering. This also played into the Indominus being partly albino. Then there’s the return of the original T-Rex from Jurassic Park: her design is exactly the same, even down to the scratches she has on her neck.

3. The Martian: Ridley Scott’s best film in years contains a bronze Mars (MPC) as well as the impressive Hermes space ship (Framestore). MPC referenced NASA archives and then matched the location shooting in Wadi Rum in Jordan (Lawrence of Arabia country) by adding a more alien touch to the sky and landscape applied during the grade. MPC additionally created created a full-CG version of the Wadi Rum Hab environment using high-resolution photography taken on location in Jordan, adding extra rocks, craters, mountain ranges and a view of a distant Olympus Mons to create a grander landscape. The gigantic dust storm was created through a series of fluid simulations. Framestore built the CG Hermes inspired by ISS, the biggest craft to date for the London studio. The six solar array wings were crucial to the design, made of various layers of silicone, plastics and metals

4. Avengers: Age of Ultron:  ILM made its most elaborate robot yet for the Avengers sequel, modeled after James Spader’s haughty performance. In fact, there are two Ultrons: the early defective version, and the sophisticated Ultron Prime. Facial performance was vital, and Ultron’s face had about 600 controllers to capture Spader’s nuances, including his lip curl. But they couldn’t make it look like skin, so the rigger set it up so that the plates of Ultron’s face slid under one another.The breakthrough came when ILM showed Joss Whedon the first close-ups of Ultron talking and it changed everything: Ultron could be Ultron without holding back.

Read the rest at TOH/Indiewire.

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Below the Line, Crafts, Movies, performance capture, previs, Tech, Trailers, VFX, Virtual Production

Add a Comment