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Prime Focus VFX Helps Elevate ‘G.I. JOE: The Rise of Cobra’

Contributes
124-Shots, Including Building Complex Nanomite Animation Pipeline and
Orchestrating Finale Aerial Sequence

Hollywood,
CA – Prime Focus VFX – formerly Frantic Films VFX – announced that it has
contributed 124 visual effects shots for the Stephen Sommers-directed movie
“G.I. JOE: The Rise of Cobra” from Paramount Pictures. Prime Focus’
Los Angeles, Winnipeg and Vancouver visual effects studios most notably
provided expertise in previz, digital environments, fluid simulation and
high-volume particle rendering for the movie’s action-packed finale sequence
involving a complicated aerial scene. “G.I. JOE: The Rise of Cobra”
starring Channing Tatum (Duke), Sienna Miller (Baroness) Marlon Wayans
(Ripcord), and Rachel Nichols (Scarlett) premiered in theaters on August 7,
2009.

Prime
Focus contributed roughly 70 visual effects shots for the finale’s aerial
sequence, which features a plane being eaten away by Nanomites, a U.S.
developed bio-weapon usurped by evil forces that disintegrates metal on
contact. Said Chris Bond, senior visual effects supervisor and president of
Prime Focus VFX, “This sequence was particularly challenging because we weren’t
relying on any aerial photography, which would be nearly impossible to shoot at
these speeds, but instead created nearly everything digitally – the plane, sky,
clouds and the destructive Nanomites that eat away the plane.”

In
addition to developing a custom toolset to generate 3D cloud and sky environments,
Prime Focus built a Nanomite animation pipeline and a hybrid matte painting, environment
and 3D animation pipeline. The company also dedicated extensive R&D to
improving its in-house scene collaboration system that allowed its LA and
Vancouver offices to work seamlessly together.

“We
created a system whereby no single shot lives as a whole, but rather as a
collection of project, sequence or shot assets,” explained Chris Harvey, visual
effects supervisor for Prime Focus VFX in Vancouver. “Assets could range
from models, shaders, animations, scripts, light rigs and anything in-between.
These assets would then be assembled on the fly based on the specific
requirements. This facilitated a number of important aspects to our pipeline –
artists would always have the latest approved assets regardless of their global
location, and we could make changes en masse and have them propagate through
various levels of the show, shot, sequence and even across the entire
project.”

In
addition to providing previz for the aerial sequence, Prime Focus artists, with
VFX supervision from Bond and Harvey, built a Nanomite animation pipeline using
Prime Focus’s proprietary volumetric particle renderer Krakatoa, along with
Autodesk 3ds Max, to render out the billions upon billions of particles that
make up the Nanomite cloud.  Functioning as an intelligent swarm, the
Nanomites are able to track their movements to avoid retracing their steps,
leaving no metal untouched until whatever they’re consuming crumbles and
collapses. To produce this complex destruction, Prime Focus created a series of
particle systems, shader networks, and procedural level set tools that would
all talk to and affect each other. This created a true geometric volume with
thickness and surface properties that would be eaten, rather than paper-thin
transparency texture maps.

Using
footage of actor Wayans shot on set in a chair with only the practical cockpit
around him, Prime Focus artists digitally built the Night Raven plane,
including its inner-workings and engine, which are revealed as the Nanomites
eat away the metal. Ken Nakata headed up the digital matte painting department
in Los Angeles to create the CG sky and clouds using a combination of fluid
dynamics, matte painting, CG simulation and particle simulation. Prime Focus
also created missile contrails and built the White House and Potomac River
entirely in CG. In addition to the finale, Prime Focus also contributed to the
opening sequence in which a tank is destroyed by Nanomites and provided
interior shots and set extensions for the Cobra base. Autodesk 3ds Max and Maya
were the tools-of-choice; eyeon Fusion was the compositor.

About
Prime Focus

Prime
Focus is one of the world’s largest Visual Entertainment Services groups,
specialising in providing creative and technical services for the film,
broadcast, commercials, music, gaming, internet and media industries. With a
market capitalisation of $140m USD, it operates nine facilities in India, four
in the UK and four in North America, offering clients access to a talent pool
of over 600 visual effects artists worldwide.

Over the
last 11 years, Prime Focus has played a pioneering role in embracing digital
entertainment technologies, and today offers an end-to-end service deploying
robust, best-in-class technology platforms to create a delivery pipeline that
lets its customers effectively manage the creative process.

Prime
Focus is a market leader in its field, ranked number one in India and number
four in the highly competitive UK market. Part of its success has been due to
the care and attention it pays to clients at a local level (running studios in
London, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Goa, Bangalore, Los Angeles, New York,
Winnipeg and Vancouver) whilst leveraging the talent, resources and cost
advantages of its global infrastructure.

Prime
Focus is a public stock company with shares traded in the Mumbai and National
Stock exchanges in India (Symbol – PRIMEFOCUS). Prime Focus also owns and
operates Prime Focus London plc (Symbol – PFO), which is publicly traded in the
LSE’s AIM market. For more information, please visit www.primefocusworld.com.

About
“G.I. JOE: The Rise of Cobra”

Paramount
Pictures and Hasbro, whose previous collaboration was the worldwide blockbuster
“TRANSFORMERS,” join forces with Spyglass Entertainment for another
extraordinary action-adventure, “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.”
 From the Egyptian desert to deep below the polar ice caps, the elite G.I.
JOE team uses the latest in next-generation spy and military equipment to fight
the corrupt arms dealer Destro and the growing threat of the mysterious Cobra
organization to prevent them from plunging the world into chaos. “G.I.
Joe: The Rise of Cobra” is directed by Stephen Sommers

(“The
Mummy,” “The Mummy Returns”).

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