Visual Effects Enhance Storytelling in Fantasy Films, Historical Dramas and Animated Movies
Across multiple movie genres and filmmaking techniques, this yearâ€™s holiday blockbuster movies demonstrate the wide-range of entertainment that is shaped with Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK) software. Filmmakers are using Autodeskâ€™s animation, visual effects and color grading tools to enhance their creative process and enable sophisticated storytelling.
Visual effects (VFX) studio CIS Vancouver led the visual effects effort on the teen vampire box office bonanza, Twilight. Full of atmospheric effects, the 250-shot Twilight required heavy rotoscoping and compositing to incorporate hyperkinetic vampire motion and augment stormy weather. For the previsualization stage, CIS extensively relied upon Autodesk Maya 3D modeling, animation and rendering software. A scene set in a ballet studio filled with mirrors created complex visual challenges, requiring tracking of more than half a dozen reflective bounces between the mirrors. â€œUsing Maya to conduct multiple camera pre-tests from many angles, we were able to save the production team hours of set time,â€? said Geoffrey Hancock, CIS visual effects supervisor. â€œAutodeskâ€™s powerful tools gave us the opportunity to focus on the creative challenges of this scene rather than the technical ones.â€?
CIS also worked on the historical drama Changeling. As the lead VFX house, CISâ€™ dedicated team of artists worked diligently with a shortened schedule to ready the film for its Cannes Film Festival premiere and subsequent theatrical release. CIS used Maya for virtually all the modeling and animation, and Autodesk Inferno visual effects software for matte paintings. VFX Supervisor Geoffrey Hancock stated, â€œThe graphics speed, multiple iteration-ability and overall robustness of Inferno was invaluable to our pipeline. The filmâ€™s subtle visual effects allow audiences to become fully absorbed in the story. We actually enjoyed the constraints of creating a believable and historically accurate environment. It was so refreshing to create invisible effects, not solely for the spectacle.â€?
In an imaginary animal universe, DreamWorks Animationâ€™s dazzling computer-generated (CG) animated film Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa also relied upon Maya to tell its story. â€œMaya gives us a lot of control over our particle simulations. The software is deep in its programmability and very scalable for all kinds of visual effects, from the down-and-dirty two-day effect to the dam-breaking effect that took four months to perfect. Maya covers our needs on both ends of the spectrum and we rely upon it more and more every year,â€? said Scott Peterson, Head of Effects for Madagascar 2. DreamWorks turned to the Autodesk Lustre system for the filmâ€™s color grading, tailoring the film-look to augment the adventure of a motley crew of New York Zoo animals.
For the instant cult classic City of Ember, lead VFX house Luma Pictures used Maya and several plug-in solutions including mental ray and RealFlow. These tools were used to create a fantastical world filled with complex CG water systems, full subterranean CG sets and an enormous CG mole. Payam Shohadai, executive VFX supervisor at Luma Pictures, remarked, â€œMaya is the backbone of our entire VFX pipeline. Its amazing power and scripting flexibility allowed us to bring the City of Ember to life in ways no one thought possible â€“ Maya is truly indispensable.â€?
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