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  • Rising Sun Pictures Springs into Action for Fox’s “Alita: Battle Angel”

    Studio teams with Weta Digital for new film’s lunar battle and zero-gravity training sequences.

    Rising Sun Pictures’ ability to deliver amazing visuals is on full display in the 20th Century Fox’s new cyberpunk adventure film Alita: Battle Angel. Working in tandem with Weta Digital, the lead visual effects studio, RSP created breathtaking shots for two key sequences in the film, including a furious battle between soldiers from Earth and fearsome cyborg warriors known as Berserkers.

    Directed by Robert Rodriguez and co-written and produced by James Cameron and Jon Landau, Alita: Battle Angel centers on a young woman (Rosa Salazar) on a journey to discover the truth about who she is. Produced natively in stereoscopic 3D, the film is based on the best-selling manga series from Yukito Kishiro.

    Weta Digital VFX Supervisor Charlie Tait and VFX Producer Kevin Sherwood, collaborated with Rising Sun Pictures on the moon battle sequence as well as a second, equally complex sequence set inside a translucent satellite used to train cyborg fighters in zero gravity. For the former, RSP produced the lunar environment as well as spacecraft, weaponry and pyrotechnics, and integrated Alita and hero CG characters provided by Weta Digital. Although fully CG, the sequence looks photoreal with the moon environment rendered in precise detail and the action, including explosions and clouds of debris, calibrated to conform to real conditions.

    “We made the scene as accurate to real physics on the moon as possible,” explains RSP VFX Supervisor Tom Wood. “We replicated one-sixth gravity and no atmosphere, so when explosions occur, debris flies directly out and much farther than it would on Earth.”

    Integrating falling debris with the scene’s dozens of CG characters, all engaged in combat, was a formidable task. “To make the lighting and the swirling dust work properly, we created proxies of many characters, using curves and specs provided by Weta,” says Wood. “Our compositors employed every trick in the book.”

    Achieving a seamless, believable and exciting sequence required unusually close collaboration between RSP and Weta Digital. The animation and effects underwent continuous refinement from the initial phases of production through final delivery. As a result, assets were in constant need of updating or replacement. “We did a lot of testing in the early stages to ensure the smooth sharing of assets and renders,” recalls 2D Lead Jess Burnheim. “By the time shots arrived in compositing, the pipeline was so well-honed that the process was seamless.”

    The training sequence was produced in a similar manner with Weta Digital artists creating the characters and RSP focusing on the spherical, satellite, high-tech props and atmospheric effects. “Weta supplied a model of the training facility as well as the camera data,” says Wood. “We took their setups, developed their assets and integrated Alita and her instructor who are training with swords.”

    In this instance, the team had to simulate zero gravity, making characters and props appear to float freely in the translucent globes. “The weightless effect was keyed off of the animation and hair simulations from character work at Weta,” says Burnheim. “We enhanced it by creating an environment that is clean and clinical, with subtle light flares adding realism. We gathered reference material of other zero-gravity environments and studied how light reacts to edges and strands of hair, how it makes highlights bloom.”

    Again, there was considerable back-and-forth between the two facilities. “We maintained a shared schedule and shared targets,” notes VFX Producer Arwen Munro who joined RSP from Weta Digital last year. “That allowed both sides to track progress as we moved forward from work-in-progress and temp phases. The key was keeping lines of communication open and transparency in scheduling and targets. It went smoothly and we are very proud of the resulting images.”

    With sharing shots becoming increasingly in common, it’s important that facilities know how to align their pipelines and work cooperatively toward a common goal. “Working with Weta was a very positive experience from the start,” notes Wood. “There was a lot of commentary and things that needed to be changed right up to the last minute, but it was a very smooth run. We had a great time.”

    Rising Sun Pictures Springs into Action for Fox’s “Alita: Battle Angel”

    Studio teams with Weta Digital for new film’s lunar battle and zero-gravity training sequences.

    Rising Sun Pictures’ ability to deliver amazing visuals is on full display in the 20th Century Fox’s new cyberpunk adventure film Alita: Battle Angel. Working in tandem with Weta Digital, the lead visual effects studio, RSP created breathtaking shots for two key sequences in the film, including a furious battle between soldiers from Earth and fearsome cyborg warriors known as Berserkers.

    Directed by Robert Rodriguez and co-written and produced by James Cameron and Jon Landau, Alita: Battle Angel centers on a young woman (Rosa Salazar) on a journey to discover the truth about who she is. Produced natively in stereoscopic 3D, the film is based on the best-selling manga series from Yukito Kishiro.

    Weta Digital VFX Supervisor Charlie Tait and VFX Producer Kevin Sherwood, collaborated with Rising Sun Pictures on the moon battle sequence as well as a second, equally complex sequence set inside a translucent satellite used to train cyborg fighters in zero gravity. For the former, RSP produced the lunar environment as well as spacecraft, weaponry and pyrotechnics, and integrated Alita and hero CG characters provided by Weta Digital. Although fully CG, the sequence looks photoreal with the moon environment rendered in precise detail and the action, including explosions and clouds of debris, calibrated to conform to real conditions.

    “We made the scene as accurate to real physics on the moon as possible,” explains RSP VFX Supervisor Tom Wood. “We replicated one-sixth gravity and no atmosphere, so when explosions occur, debris flies directly out and much farther than it would on Earth.”

    Integrating falling debris with the scene’s dozens of CG characters, all engaged in combat, was a formidable task. “To make the lighting and the swirling dust work properly, we created proxies of many characters, using curves and specs provided by Weta,” says Wood. “Our compositors employed every trick in the book.”

    Achieving a seamless, believable and exciting sequence required unusually close collaboration between RSP and Weta Digital. The animation and effects underwent continuous refinement from the initial phases of production through final delivery. As a result, assets were in constant need of updating or replacement. “We did a lot of testing in the early stages to ensure the smooth sharing of assets and renders,” recalls 2D Lead Jess Burnheim. “By the time shots arrived in compositing, the pipeline was so well-honed that the process was seamless.”

    The training sequence was produced in a similar manner with Weta Digital artists creating the characters and RSP focusing on the spherical, satellite, high-tech props and atmospheric effects. “Weta supplied a model of the training facility as well as the camera data,” says Wood. “We took their setups, developed their assets and integrated Alita and her instructor who are training with swords.”

    In this instance, the team had to simulate zero gravity, making characters and props appear to float freely in the translucent globes. “The weightless effect was keyed off of the animation and hair simulations from character work at Weta,” says Burnheim. “We enhanced it by creating an environment that is clean and clinical, with subtle light flares adding realism. We gathered reference material of other zero-gravity environments and studied how light reacts to edges and strands of hair, how it makes highlights bloom.”

    Again, there was considerable back-and-forth between the two facilities. “We maintained a shared schedule and shared targets,” notes VFX Producer Arwen Munro who joined RSP from Weta Digital last year. “That allowed both sides to track progress as we moved forward from work-in-progress and temp phases. The key was keeping lines of communication open and transparency in scheduling and targets. It went smoothly and we are very proud of the resulting images.”

    With sharing shots becoming increasingly in common, it’s important that facilities know how to align their pipelines and work cooperatively toward a common goal. “Working with Weta was a very positive experience from the start,” notes Wood. “There was a lot of commentary and things that needed to be changed right up to the last minute, but it was a very smooth run. We had a great time.”

    Credits & Crew
    Director:
    Robert Rodriguez
    Producer:
    James Cameron and Jon Landau
    VFX Producer:
    Kevin Sherwood
    VFX Supervisor:
    Charlie Tait
    Rising Sun Pictures:
    Aanikka Holder Abby Nath Abhishek Pandey Adam Potter Advait Kamble Alana Newell Albert Radosevic Alex Meddick Alexandra Daunt Watney Alyssa Blackwell Andrea Dutti Andrew Palmer Andrew Savchenko Andy Peel Ang Lu Anil Reddy Ch Anna Hodge Annette Cinnamond Anthony Smith Anthony Winter Anto Bond Arthur Moody Arthur Terzis Arwen Munro Ashleigh White Ben Dickson Ben Paschke Benjamin Holen Benjamin Kay Bhawna Vijay Brice Lehmann Brittany Herriman Brodie Mccrossin Caitlyn Thomas Cara Gately Carl St-Pierre Carlos Donis Lemus Celia Clennett Chantelle Searle Chelsea Mirus Chris King Chris Rosenhain Christina Rzewucki Christopher Janssen Claire Hoey Claire Le Teuff Corinne Teng Craig Field Crystel Newman Dally Garcia Damian Doennig Daniel Harkness Daniel Steart Daniel Velikov Daniel Wills Danielle Cardella David Bemi David Cattermole David Caunce David Pekarek David Schulz Demian Astur Dennis Jones Dilen Shah Dipesh V. Palan Dylan Binns Eleisha Francis Emma Thompson Fabian Holtz Florent Revel Francesc Donaire Francesca Jocelyn Milde Gail Fuller Gareth Eriksson Gemma Wood Geoff Allan Geoffrey Hadfield Georgie Brown Gillian Howe Greg Wieder Guido Wolter Hang Li Hao Truong Harry Medlin Harshal Patil Heath Dingle Hui-Wen Wu Ian Cope Ilona Blyth Ivy Li James Clift James Macdougall Jarolsava Chalasova Jason Scott Jayden Beveridge Jebb Ng Jennie Zeiher Jess Burnheim Joel Michael John Saleem John Toth Jonathan Blieschke Jonathon Mckendrick Jonathon Sumner Jono Coy Jordan Vanderlinden Jose Perez-Laorga Fernandez Joseph Roberts Josh Ellem Joshua Goetz Josip Peterkovic Julia Caplin Julian Hutchens Julien Cimino Julien Taton Juliette Christie Justin Greenwood Kate Bernauer Kathy Constantin Kian Zand Kieran Ogden-Brunell Kirsty Parkin Kurt Debens Lachlan Tolley Lachlan Tolley Leiah Sears Liam Gare Lu, Ting Yun Luan Nguyen Luke Flanagan Malte Sarnes Manuj Basnotra Marc H Langbein Marcus Wells Maree Friday Marie-Eve Gelinas Mark Honer Mark Story Mateusz Krzastek Mathew Mackereth Matthew Shaw Maude Deschenes Meagan Chancellor Meherzad Minbattiwala Merinda Janse Van Rensburg Michael Furniss Michael Johns Michaela Danby Mohamed Labbai Naeem Chudawala Nathan Jones Nathan Perkins Nathan Zeppel Nick Beins Nick Pill Nik Slotiuk Nikhil Kamboj Nikhil Shankar-Noble Noah Vice Noemie Cruciani Oleg Magrisso Owen Williams Parikshat Tyagi Paris Downes Paul Boyd Paul Taylor Peter Mcinulty Petr Rohr Phillip Fraschetti Pol Chanthasartratsamee Qazi Hamza Javed Rajbir S Dhalla Rebecca Bogart Robert Beveridge Robert Junggeburt Roberto Velio Genito Robin Reyer Rodrigo Guerechit-Ratti Roland Dobson Ross Novak Rushikesh Joshi • Ryan Kirby Samantha Abda Samuel Hancock Samuel Hecht Samuel Hodge Sandeep Roy Sara Henschke Sarah Beneke Sarah Fournier-Neveu Sebastian Tran Shane Berry Shane Miranda Shawn Mccarten Simon Malessa Simon Walsh Sithiriscient Khay Sophie Elder Stepan Pazderka Summer Swanson Sven Lundin Thomas Baxter Tim Crosbie Tim Mackintosh Timothy Quarry Tom Wood Tony Clark Troy Tobin Turea Blyth Turea Blyth Usama Fnu Vahan Sosoyan Victor Glushchenko Vitalii Stadnyk Wayne Hollingsworth Wayne Howe Wayne Lewis Wendy Nethercott Zac Coster
    Director:
    Robert Rodriguez
    Producer:
    James Cameron and Jon Landau
    VFX Producer:
    Kevin Sherwood
    VFX Supervisor:
    Charlie Tait
    Rising Sun Pictures:
    Aanikka Holder Abby Nath Abhishek Pandey Adam Potter Advait Kamble Alana Newell Albert Radosevic Alex Meddick Alexandra Daunt Watney Alyssa Blackwell Andrea Dutti Andrew Palmer Andrew Savchenko Andy Peel Ang Lu Anil Reddy Ch Anna Hodge Annette Cinnamond Anthony Smith Anthony Winter Anto Bond Arthur Moody Arthur Terzis Arwen Munro Ashleigh White Ben Dickson Ben Paschke Benjamin Holen Benjamin Kay Bhawna Vijay Brice Lehmann Brittany Herriman Brodie Mccrossin Caitlyn Thomas Cara Gately Carl St-Pierre Carlos Donis Lemus Celia Clennett Chantelle Searle Chelsea Mirus Chris King Chris Rosenhain Christina Rzewucki Christopher Janssen Claire Hoey Claire Le Teuff Corinne Teng Craig Field Crystel Newman Dally Garcia Damian Doennig Daniel Harkness Daniel Steart Daniel Velikov Daniel Wills Danielle Cardella David Bemi David Cattermole David Caunce David Pekarek David Schulz Demian Astur Dennis Jones Dilen Shah Dipesh V. Palan Dylan Binns Eleisha Francis Emma Thompson Fabian Holtz Florent Revel Francesc Donaire Francesca Jocelyn Milde Gail Fuller Gareth Eriksson Gemma Wood Geoff Allan Geoffrey Hadfield Georgie Brown Gillian Howe Greg Wieder Guido Wolter Hang Li Hao Truong Harry Medlin Harshal Patil Heath Dingle Hui-Wen Wu Ian Cope Ilona Blyth Ivy Li James Clift James Macdougall Jarolsava Chalasova Jason Scott Jayden Beveridge Jebb Ng Jennie Zeiher Jess Burnheim Joel Michael John Saleem John Toth Jonathan Blieschke Jonathon Mckendrick Jonathon Sumner Jono Coy Jordan Vanderlinden Jose Perez-Laorga Fernandez Joseph Roberts Josh Ellem Joshua Goetz Josip Peterkovic Julia Caplin Julian Hutchens Julien Cimino Julien Taton Juliette Christie Justin Greenwood Kate Bernauer Kathy Constantin Kian Zand Kieran Ogden-Brunell Kirsty Parkin Kurt Debens Lachlan Tolley Lachlan Tolley Leiah Sears Liam Gare Lu, Ting Yun Luan Nguyen Luke Flanagan Malte Sarnes Manuj Basnotra Marc H Langbein Marcus Wells Maree Friday Marie-Eve Gelinas Mark Honer Mark Story Mateusz Krzastek Mathew Mackereth Matthew Shaw Maude Deschenes Meagan Chancellor Meherzad Minbattiwala Merinda Janse Van Rensburg Michael Furniss Michael Johns Michaela Danby Mohamed Labbai Naeem Chudawala Nathan Jones Nathan Perkins Nathan Zeppel Nick Beins Nick Pill Nik Slotiuk Nikhil Kamboj Nikhil Shankar-Noble Noah Vice Noemie Cruciani Oleg Magrisso Owen Williams Parikshat Tyagi Paris Downes Paul Boyd Paul Taylor Peter Mcinulty Petr Rohr Phillip Fraschetti Pol Chanthasartratsamee Qazi Hamza Javed Rajbir S Dhalla Rebecca Bogart Robert Beveridge Robert Junggeburt Roberto Velio Genito Robin Reyer Rodrigo Guerechit-Ratti Roland Dobson Ross Novak Rushikesh Joshi • Ryan Kirby Samantha Abda Samuel Hancock Samuel Hecht Samuel Hodge Sandeep Roy Sara Henschke Sarah Beneke Sarah Fournier-Neveu Sebastian Tran Shane Berry Shane Miranda Shawn Mccarten Simon Malessa Simon Walsh Sithiriscient Khay Sophie Elder Stepan Pazderka Summer Swanson Sven Lundin Thomas Baxter Tim Crosbie Tim Mackintosh Timothy Quarry Tom Wood Tony Clark Troy Tobin Turea Blyth Turea Blyth Usama Fnu Vahan Sosoyan Victor Glushchenko Vitalii Stadnyk Wayne Hollingsworth Wayne Howe Wayne Lewis Wendy Nethercott Zac Coster

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    Level 1, 180 Pulteney Street Adelaide, South Australia 5000 Australia

    +61 8 8400 6400 vfxinfo@rsp.com.au

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    Level 1, 180 Pulteney Street Adelaide, South Australia 5000 Australia

    +61 8 8400 6400 vfxinfo@rsp.com.au

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