Media FX News Archives
- August 14, 2001
- Industrial Light and Magic
Has Busy Summer
- NewTek Announces
and Ships LightWave 7.0
- Final Weekend Box Office
- News Link of the Day
- Fabio Behind the Scenes As Animator
Light & Magic Has Busy Summer
(by digitalmediafx.com) Industrial Light & Magic had a huge
summer, being the primary visual effects company behind most of
this summer's blockbuster movies. Industrial Light & Magic
handled the visual effects for The Mummy Returns, Pearl Harbor,
A.I., Jurassic Park 3, and Planet of the Apes.
"In The Mummy Returns, there aren't many shots that we didn't
have something to do with," said Ed Kramer, ILM's sequence
supervisor on The Mummy Returns (which has grossed more than $200
million at the box office). "We were involved in more than
350 shots, creating everything on Silicon Graphics O2 systems
backed with SGI 2000 series servers. SGI technology was an essential
part of everything we created and rendered."
living, breathing Imhotep (the mummy himself) was top priority.
to create digital skin to cover the surface of the muscles, and
we wrote simulation software on the O2 systems that would allow
the surface skin to react to the way the muscles were moving and
rippling underneath," explained Kramer. "Those muscles,
in turn, were reacting to how the bones were moving and supporting
Sommers wanted plenty of holes in Imhotep's body so audiences
could see through to the background, proving that this was not
an actor wearing a mummy suit.
to systematically remove lungs or parts of his head so that we
could see right into him," Kramer continued. "We even
had to create his brain, because there's a big chunk of his head
missing, and when he moves, his brain has to slosh inside his
skull. That required calculations based on the volume of a brain
and the collision between the brain and the skull that it's floating
in. We also had to paint an incredible number of texture maps,
transparency maps, bump maps and displacement maps to create that
challenges included a battle sequence containing more than 10,000
jackal headed Anubis warriors, and in some scenes 40,000 warriors
were needed. Digital duplication tricks weren't of much use: each
warrior had to be animated and rendered individually for continuity
among the shots in the sequence. "Any time you see Imhotep,
the hordes of pygmy or soldier mummies or the popular WWF wrestler,
The Rock, as the Scorpion King, that's ILM's CGI, all created
on SGI systems," said Kramer.
ILM's visual effects work for Pearl Harbor (which has surpassed
$200 million at the box office) included three main sequences:
the aerial tour de force of the Battle of Britain; the devastating
Pearl Harbor attack, including the all-digital ships in Battleship
Row; and many shots in the Tokyo raid sequence at the movie's
Battle of Britain, we did all the dog-fighting shots using digital
planes and explosions," said Michael Bauer, ILM's CG supervisor
on Pearl Harbor. "We even generated the background plates
for many of those scenes, cutting together pieces of sky and ocean
to complement director Michael Bay's choreography. For the Pearl
Harbor battle, some shots were almost entirely computer graphics.
We digitally created Battleship Row with 3D models of ships based
on the original 1941 blueprints. We made all the battleships,
the water that they're floating on, all the smoke plumes and the
giant smoke events, digital airplanes, the tracers and the tracer
smoke coming from the airplanes, and the bullet hits on the water
and on the battleships. Where they filmed one or two planes coming
through, we'd populate the sky with our digital planes. We also
made a whole library of digital sailors to complement the stunt
ILM's involvement in A.I. dates back to around the time of the
first Jurassic Park, when Dennis Muren, one of the two visual
effects supervisors on A.I., briefly discussed some ideas with
Stanley Kubrick. ILM did not hear much more about the project
until it was announced that Steven Spielberg would be taking over
after the death of the legendary Kubrick. ILM's work on A.I. began
well over a year ago, with the initial modeling, animation and
lighting work all done on Silicon Graphics O2 workstations using
SGI 2000 series systems as render servers. A fair amount of code,
mostly plug-ins and shaders, was also written on the O2 systems.
had one of the broadest ranges of visual effects that I've ever
been exposed to," said Doug Smythe, ILM associate visual
effects supervisor for A.I. "We did literally every kind
of shot you can think of, including simple wire removal, blink
removal and digital creature work of all kinds; digital enhancement
of live action; all the CG eyeballs and prosthetics in the Flesh
Fair shantytown; complete digital environments such as the excavation;
combinations of miniatures with live action and computer graphics
such as Rouge City; and, of course, the furry teddy bear. ILM
worked on a just under 200 shots, but they were unusually long
shots, which was dictated by the style of the editing. Out of
the two-hour and 15-minute film, about 45 minutes are visual effects
shots running 1,000 or even 2,000-plus frames long."
ILM's groundbreaking visual effects used in the original Jurassic
Park earned the company an Academy Award in 1993. For 1997's The
Lost World: Jurassic Park, ILM was again nominated for an Academy
Award for visual effects. This year, Jurassic Park III, featuring
ILM's dinosaurs and effects created on Silicon Graphics O2 workstations,
grossed more than $50 million on its opening weekend.
at ILM of Jurassic Park III began well over a year ago. ILM then
completed more than 400 2D and 3D effects shots using Silicon
Graphics O2 workstations, primarily running Softimage for animation.
The flesh simulation application within an ILM proprietary dynamics
engine, originally developed for The Mummy and written on the
O2 systems, was adapted for dinosaur skin simulation. Some of
the "creatures," as ILM's Tim McLaughlin, creature supervisor
for Jurassic Park III calls the dinosaurs, were based on the designs
of the previous films while some were new or totally rebuilt.
More than 60 shots featured flesh or cloth simulations (used,
for example, for the pteranodon's wings).
were a half-dozen hero-style creatures and another five or six
that were used in background shots," McLaughlin said. "T-rex,
which was prominently featured in both Jurassic Park and The Lost
World, came back for a cameo in Jurassic Park III. We had to take
a look at the dinosaur in terms of how it was structured: what
its patch structure was, what its chaining rig (animation control)
was, and how it needed to perform in the new movie. We knew we
wanted to do flesh simulation -- flesh, bone and muscle -- on
most of the featured creatures. We had to resurface the entire
T-rex, using what we had originally created on SGI systems as
the basis of a template, and then repainted and rerigged the creature."
of the Apes:
ILM was involved in the creation of various sequences seen throughout
Planet of the Apes, including the setup of the entire initial
space sequence, which featured a practical model shot of the mother
spaceship The Oberon, a CG model of the space pod and the creation
of a tsunami effect within the nebula that sends the pod -- and
actor Mark Wahlberg -- back in time. Planet of the Apes soared
to a nonholiday-weekend record of $69.6 million gross for its
tsunami was a very interesting effect because we were asked to
create what director Tim Burton called 'a shockwave in space,'"
said Thomas Hutchinson, CG supervisor for ILM on Planet of the
Apes. "He didn't want it to look like anything he'd ever
seen before, so it couldn't be light pulses or anything like that.
It was quite a challenge to come up with, and the R&D early
on was very exciting. There were only about 10 shots, but it was
a unique little tidbit that we did all with Maya and RenderMan
on SGI systems."
of ILM's almost five-month production schedule was compositing
work, augmenting numerous battle sequences with additional apes.
"They could only suit up so many actors as apes, so we did
a lot of what's called tiling in compositing," said Hutchinson.
"They shoot a section of actors in ape costume, then move
them over in the field, change their positions and then shoot
them in various bits and pieces. We edit all the footage together
and composite one big sequence of many apes into one shot."
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Announces and Ships LightWave 7.0
(by digitalmediafx.com) NewTek today announced and began shipping
a new version of its LightWave 3D program - LightWave 7.0. NewTek
also announced that LightWave was now being used by ESC, the company
behind the visual effects for The Matrix sequels, including The
the following as new features in version 7.0, an upgrade from
Mixer for non-linear animation
-- Sasquatch Lite for built-in hair, fur and landscape creation
-- Sprites mode within HyperVoxels, which can now be seen in
OpenGL in Layout
-- Digital Confusion, a new depth-of-field filter
-- SkyTracer 2 for universally accurate sun positions and sky
-- Combination Move / Rotate tool within Modeler
-- Soft reflections and refractions
-- Spreadsheet-style scene editor
-- Voxel Baking for advanced smoke and liquid effects without
extensive render times
-- Airbrushing between morphs
-- Several new Light options
-- Rail Modeling tools for interactive scale, rotate and stretch
-- Particle FX enhancements including simple crowd simulation,
fluid dynamics, interparticle collision and new nozzle types
Squash and Stretch tools in Layout
-- Speed and workflow enhancements
7.0 is available immediately for a suggested retail price of US$2495.
LightWave 7.0 is available for Macintosh OS 9 and OS X-native,
and for Windows 98, 2000, Me and NT4, and is running on AMD, DecAlpha
and Intel processors. Product is available through NewTek's channel
of authorized resellers and distributors worldwide.
news, Advanstar announced the soon availability of LightWave
Applied, Version 6.5 & 7.0, the newest book from Joe Tracy
(dFX publisher), Dave Jerrard, Jen Hachigian, and the epic software
group. For more information on the book, click
to the top of page
Box Office Numbers
(by digitalmediafx.com) Final weekend box office numbers are
in and here are the results for the top animated and visual effects
of the Apes
Kids: Special Edition
The Lost Empire
represents the movie's performance when compared to last weekend.
to the top of page
of the Day - Fabio Behind the Scenes As Animator
to The Washington Post:
making a name for himself in front of the camera, the one-named
Fabio is now behind the scenes as an animator.
model and romance-novel cover hunk runs his own film production
company. His first project is the upcoming feature Thor: God
here for the full story.
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