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  • Welcome to the Jungle

    The team at RSP produced VFX for an electrifying 73-shot chase sequence through a tropical forest where everything, flora and fauna alike, are bigger—much bigger—than life size. The film’s heroes are attacked by carnivorous birds with the wingspans of small planes, and make a harrowing escape through towering trees and colossal flowers on the backs of elephant-size bees.

    For RSP’s visual effects team, working under the direction of production visual effects supervisor Boyd Shermis, the project entailed the construction of a massive CG jungle environment and matching it to production elements shot in Hawaii. Artists also modeled and animated the giant birds and bees (as well as an ant and a spider) and integrated human talent from elements shot on a special effects stage in North Carolina.

    RSP visual effects supervisor Sean Mathiesen attended the shoot in Hawaii to acquire data and reference elements for the production of the jungle environment. “The live action plates were filmed primarily with RED cameras mounted to PACE stereo 3D rigs,” recalls Mathiesen, “but they also used a helicopter to record dramatic aerials of the environment, rigs on the ground to shoot pan and tilt views of the jungle canopy and a miniature, remote control aircraft to capture dynamic, point-of-view shots.”

    Back in Australia, RSP’s CG team built a replica of the forest, scaled up to several times normal size. They also modeled the birds, bees and other creatures, modeling them after real-world counterparts. The birds, for example, were modeled after the European bee-eater, a slender, richly colored creature with a long, and when scaled up, menacing beak. The bees were based on a common honeybee, with their various body parts tweaked to mimic the functions of a Harley Davidson. (The birds and bees were modeled in scrupulous detail, down to the feathers on the bird’s thoraxes and the hair on the bees’ backs.)

    RSP artists made the jungle environment appear real and a perfect match for the Hawaiian environment by populating it with hundreds of kinds of richly detailed assets. “There were big trees, smaller trees, saplings, ground cover, shrubbery; we recreated everything that can be found in the forest in Hawaii,” Mathiesen recalls. “We produced dozens of types of leaves, including the smallest leaves that are found on the forest floor. We applied bark and moss to the trees, and lichen to the ground. Some of the leaves on the ground were new-fallen, others were muddied and decayed—very much as it would be in the real world.”

    Compositors integrated talented into the shots, using elements that were shot on a special effects stage in North Carolina. (RSP 3D supervisor Mark Wendell and compositing supervisor Tim Crosbie attended those shoots to gather data and reference media.) In some instances, digital doubles were substituted for the live actors.

    Once the CG environment and creature models were built, the project moved to the layout phase where the team choreographed the movement of the actors, the birds and the bees through the forest. The challenge, said Mathiesen, was to make it appear both exciting and real. “It’s very difficult to make giant birds chasing giant bees through a giant forest look believable,” Mathiesen notes. “The key was to make it seem as though there was a sense of physics to the place.”

    “We found that the more we worked on the CG environment, the better it became and less we needed to rely on live action elements,” Mathiesen adds. “When we used live elements, the shots were limited—we could do much more with the CG. The CG environments allowed us to put more energy into the shots, and as the shots became more energetic, they also became more believable.”

    At the end of the sequence, the heroes and their bees escape by flying through the strands of a giant spider web. A pursuing bird, being much larger, becomes ensnared in the web to the obvious delight of a giant spider.

    “We used every tool and talent at our disposal,” concludes Mathiesen. “Making a large, photo-real jungle is a very large undertaking. It’s some of the most complex work that we’ve done. It’s one thing to make a forest that you fly over; it’s another to build an interactive forest that you can get inside, move around in, and go wherever you want to go. That is unique.”

    Welcome to the Jungle

    The team at RSP produced VFX for an electrifying 73-shot chase sequence through a tropical forest where everything, flora and fauna alike, are bigger—much bigger—than life size. The film’s heroes are attacked by carnivorous birds with the wingspans of small planes, and make a harrowing escape through towering trees and colossal flowers on the backs of elephant-size bees.

    For RSP’s visual effects team, working under the direction of production visual effects supervisor Boyd Shermis, the project entailed the construction of a massive CG jungle environment and matching it to production elements shot in Hawaii. Artists also modeled and animated the giant birds and bees (as well as an ant and a spider) and integrated human talent from elements shot on a special effects stage in North Carolina.

    RSP visual effects supervisor Sean Mathiesen attended the shoot in Hawaii to acquire data and reference elements for the production of the jungle environment. “The live action plates were filmed primarily with RED cameras mounted to PACE stereo 3D rigs,” recalls Mathiesen, “but they also used a helicopter to record dramatic aerials of the environment, rigs on the ground to shoot pan and tilt views of the jungle canopy and a miniature, remote control aircraft to capture dynamic, point-of-view shots.”

    Back in Australia, RSP’s CG team built a replica of the forest, scaled up to several times normal size. They also modeled the birds, bees and other creatures, modeling them after real-world counterparts. The birds, for example, were modeled after the European bee-eater, a slender, richly colored creature with a long, and when scaled up, menacing beak. The bees were based on a common honeybee, with their various body parts tweaked to mimic the functions of a Harley Davidson. (The birds and bees were modeled in scrupulous detail, down to the feathers on the bird’s thoraxes and the hair on the bees’ backs.)

    RSP artists made the jungle environment appear real and a perfect match for the Hawaiian environment by populating it with hundreds of kinds of richly detailed assets. “There were big trees, smaller trees, saplings, ground cover, shrubbery; we recreated everything that can be found in the forest in Hawaii,” Mathiesen recalls. “We produced dozens of types of leaves, including the smallest leaves that are found on the forest floor. We applied bark and moss to the trees, and lichen to the ground. Some of the leaves on the ground were new-fallen, others were muddied and decayed—very much as it would be in the real world.”

    Compositors integrated talented into the shots, using elements that were shot on a special effects stage in North Carolina. (RSP 3D supervisor Mark Wendell and compositing supervisor Tim Crosbie attended those shoots to gather data and reference media.) In some instances, digital doubles were substituted for the live actors.

    Once the CG environment and creature models were built, the project moved to the layout phase where the team choreographed the movement of the actors, the birds and the bees through the forest. The challenge, said Mathiesen, was to make it appear both exciting and real. “It’s very difficult to make giant birds chasing giant bees through a giant forest look believable,” Mathiesen notes. “The key was to make it seem as though there was a sense of physics to the place.”

    “We found that the more we worked on the CG environment, the better it became and less we needed to rely on live action elements,” Mathiesen adds. “When we used live elements, the shots were limited—we could do much more with the CG. The CG environments allowed us to put more energy into the shots, and as the shots became more energetic, they also became more believable.”

    At the end of the sequence, the heroes and their bees escape by flying through the strands of a giant spider web. A pursuing bird, being much larger, becomes ensnared in the web to the obvious delight of a giant spider.

    “We used every tool and talent at our disposal,” concludes Mathiesen. “Making a large, photo-real jungle is a very large undertaking. It’s some of the most complex work that we’ve done. It’s one thing to make a forest that you fly over; it’s another to build an interactive forest that you can get inside, move around in, and go wherever you want to go. That is unique.”

    Credits & Crew
    Director:
    Brad Peyton
    VFX Producer:
    Randy Starr
    VFX Supervisor:
    Boyd Shermis
    Rising Sun Pictures:
    Aaron Estrada Adam Slater Alan Bailey Albert Szostkiewicz Amit Sharma Annabelle Kent Anthony Rizzo Anto Bond Ashley Koons Ben Dickson Ben Paschke Bethany Onstad Campbell McGrouther Caroline Grubb Catalin Niculescu Christophe Bernaud Christopher King Damien Thaller Daniel Harris Daniel Wills Denys Shchukin Edward Hawkins Eric Bates Eric Gambini Erik Halsey Frank Sabia Gabriel Roccisano Galder Apraiz Gemma James Gina Chuang Guido Muzzarelli Heath Baker Jan Oberhauser Jeremy Yeokhoo Jerry Hall Jesse Balodis Jibraan Taimuri Joe Churchill John Van Der Zalm Joseph Creswell Juan Lampe Julie Holmes Kane Brassington Karl Cizakowski Kris Jasper Liam Beck Mark Kennedy Mark Norrie Mark Wendell Martin Wiseman Mathew Thomas Matthew Shaw Matti Gruener Mauricio Valderrama Michael Karp Nandan Phansalkar Nicholas Pill Pallav Sharma Paris Downes Paul Stirling Paul Taylor Phoenix Chan Premamurti Paetsch Ray Leung Rob Zohrab Robert Cvengros Robert Rowles Samuel Baker Sean Mathiesen Shane Aherne Shane Cook Simon Dye Stephan Remstedt Steve Cady Steve Cypreos Suchitra Keshri Suzanne Smith Ted Helmers Tim Mackintosh Timothy Bowman Timothy Crosbie Tyquane Wright
    Director:
    Brad Peyton
    VFX Producer:
    Randy Starr
    VFX Supervisor:
    Boyd Shermis
    Rising Sun Pictures:
    Aaron Estrada Adam Slater Alan Bailey Albert Szostkiewicz Amit Sharma Annabelle Kent Anthony Rizzo Anto Bond Ashley Koons Ben Dickson Ben Paschke Bethany Onstad Campbell McGrouther Caroline Grubb Catalin Niculescu Christophe Bernaud Christopher King Damien Thaller Daniel Harris Daniel Wills Denys Shchukin Edward Hawkins Eric Bates Eric Gambini Erik Halsey Frank Sabia Gabriel Roccisano Galder Apraiz Gemma James Gina Chuang Guido Muzzarelli Heath Baker Jan Oberhauser Jeremy Yeokhoo Jerry Hall Jesse Balodis Jibraan Taimuri Joe Churchill John Van Der Zalm Joseph Creswell Juan Lampe Julie Holmes Kane Brassington Karl Cizakowski Kris Jasper Liam Beck Mark Kennedy Mark Norrie Mark Wendell Martin Wiseman Mathew Thomas Matthew Shaw Matti Gruener Mauricio Valderrama Michael Karp Nandan Phansalkar Nicholas Pill Pallav Sharma Paris Downes Paul Stirling Paul Taylor Phoenix Chan Premamurti Paetsch Ray Leung Rob Zohrab Robert Cvengros Robert Rowles Samuel Baker Sean Mathiesen Shane Aherne Shane Cook Simon Dye Stephan Remstedt Steve Cady Steve Cypreos Suchitra Keshri Suzanne Smith Ted Helmers Tim Mackintosh Timothy Bowman Timothy Crosbie Tyquane Wright

    Charlotte of 'Charlotte's Web' fame was featured on the cover of Cinefex in 2006.
    Contact us:

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

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

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    Contact us:

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

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

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