Seven Films That Dominate the VFX Race

With the VFX Oscar shortlist coming in the next week, I predict the race will come down to seven contenders: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Interstellar, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Godzilla, Transformers: Age of Extinction, and Maleficent. Beyond that, look for the big battle between Caesar, Gargantua, and Groot.

1. Andy Serkis’ amazing Caesar is still the one to beat. Weta Digital revamped its performance capture system (including bodysuits, cameras, markers, lighting and simulation of fur, skin, moisture, and especially the eyes), and went more photo-real by shooting outdoors primarily in Muir Woods under less than ideal conditions. Added detail and fidelity of performance weren’t enough: the process had to hold up to the rough elements as well as the scrutiny of IMAX 3-D, which provides further depth and dynamic composition.

2. Will the Academy honor two sci-fi movies in a row after Gravity? Christopher Nolan’s experimental space adventure is certainly worthy and Double Negative’s work is spectacular. In fact, the Gargantua black hole is so brilliant that physicists will now have actual models to study for the first time, thanks to the breakthrough Worm Renderer, which calculated the relativistically warped space around it and ray traced all the light paths around it.

3. Marvel’s Guardians rocketed to number one at the box office this year ($331 million domestically and $770.6 million globally). Since Vin Diesel’s lovable Groot taking root in our hearts, you can’t ignore its VFX chances. MPC CG-animated Groot, spending more than six months developing the tree-shaped humanoid, which required some extremely complex modeling, rigging, and animation. For example, all of his branches were modeled and rigged individually to allow his body to keep it’s rigid, wooden feel. The only words Groot knows are “I am Groot,” and therefore a lot of attention was given to humanizing his facial expressions and eyes.

Read the rest at TOH/Indiewire.

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

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