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  • Rising Sun Pictures’ Delivers Adrenaline-Fueled VFX for Fox’s “The Predator”

    Working on a short schedule, studio produces more than 100 shots for alien adventure.

    In The Predator, 20th Century Fox’s reboot of the sci-fi horror franchise, the universe’s most lethal hunters return to Earth, stronger and deadlier than ever. Having upgraded themselves with DNA from other species, they take on a ragtag crew of ex-soldiers and an evolutionary biology professor in a battle that could mean the demise of the human race.

    Rising Sun Pictures signed on as a visual effects supplier to the film late in its production cycle, assuming the formidable task of delivering a host of complex effects in just 11 weeks. The package ultimately tallied more than 100 shots and included CG environments and sets, the Predator’s signature “cloaking” effect, and dramatic (and occasionally gruesome) enhancements to combat scenes. They also produced visuals for the film’s stunning opening shot.

    Award-winning Visual Effects Supervisor Tom Wood led the team for RSP, working under the supervision of Director Shane Black, production Visual Effects Supervisor Matt Sloan and Visual Effects Producer Blondel Aidoo. “We’ve increased capacity and added talent in order to take on large effects packages of work like this and deliver quality on demanding schedules,” says Wood. “Our success on Predator was also aided by the close rapport we developed with Matt, Blondel and, ultimately, Shane Black. We stayed in close communication to ensure they were clear on what we were proposing and how we were executing.”

    RSP’s most challenging task involved the crash site of a Predator spaceship dubbed the Ark. Artists produced a photoreal 3D matte painting of the background mountain environment as well as 3D models of the exterior and interior of the damaged ship. “Because the scene involved such a big piece of work, we tackled it first and fast-tracked it through our pipeline for match-move, model build, surfacing, lighting and so forth,” recalls Wood. “That allowed us to generate fully composited versions with several weeks to go.”

    The digital mountain and spaceship elements were large in scale and needed to appear convincingly real as actors moved around and through them. “The set is seen from many angles, but the position of the ship doesn’t change, so that provided the parameters that we used in building our models,” notes CG Supervisor Julian Hutchens. “The scene was filmed in a quarry in Vancouver with just a small gangway as the practical part of the spaceship. Everything registered to that.” The illusion was cemented by the studio’s 2D team who rotoscoped characters, added drifting smoke and other atmospherics, and adjusted depth of field.

    The short production timeline meant that coordination between various visual effects departments had to be especially tight. “Our plan of attack was to build a framework and identify assets that were our greatest dependencies and group shots that involved common assets,” explains Visual Effects Producer Arwen Munro. “That helped formulate a vision and a game plan, and allowed us to hit the ground running.”

    The cloaking technology, used by the alien creatures to become invisible, dates to the franchise’s 1987 original. In the current film, the effect has been refined into a 3-dimensional field of iridescent, shimmering light with characters alternately solidifying and vanishing from sight in a matter of seconds. RSP tried its hand at the cloaking effect for a scene where it is used by a human character, Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook), who suddenly becomes visible while engaged in a fistfight with another soldier.

    As Wood notes, the frenzied action complicated the process of making the actor appear out of nowhere. “The ‘cloak’ is skintight; it hugs the surface of whatever object or creature it’s affecting,” he explains. “As a result, we had to execute an extremely tight match move as McKenna becomes visible. The work was very delicate, especially regarding the creases in his clothes and the outline of his fingers.”

    “Our brief was to pay homage to previous Predator films while upgrading the look of the effect,” adds 2D Lead Jess Burnheim. “We started by removing the cloaked character from the original photography and then applied the match move of the removed character along with a slew of CG passes created by our Look Development team. Working in coordination with our CG team and the client, we arrived at a recipe for a very cool effect.”

    RSP’s work also included many subtle effects to enhance action scenes. That ranged from muzzle flashes to tracking blood to the face of a character whose eye is shot out by a tranquilizer dart. In one especially memorable instance, artists created a deadly boomerang-like weapon that slices a character’s hand off and pins it to a tree. “There was a lot of 2D only work on this show and that worked to our advantage,” notes Burnheim. “It meant that the 2D department was able to get cracking right away, while the 3D department was busy building CG assets.”

    The most prominent examples of RSP’s work appear in the film’s opening scene, which is set in space. The film begins with a pursuit as one Predator spacecraft eludes another by passing through a worm-like portal that sends it to Earth. The portal, says Wood, needed to plausibly conform to the laws of physics and appear visually stunning. “The look of the portal is formidable, but interesting, a bit like a spiral nebula,” he observes. “It’s fully 3-dimensional and incorporates highly-developed fluid dynamics. It’s a hole that floats in the vacuum of space.”

    One highlight was working on the opening sequence, says Munro,. “It was a privilege to have the opportunity to have creative input and build shots from scratch.”

    Wood concurs and says the project offers a good example of RSP’s ability to deliver exceptional results on a quick turnaround. “Working on a short schedule, our team produced shots that enhanced the story and met the aesthetic and technical requirements set by Shane Black and his production team,” he states. “They really rose to the occasion.”

    Rising Sun Pictures’ Delivers Adrenaline-Fueled VFX for Fox’s “The Predator”

    Working on a short schedule, studio produces more than 100 shots for alien adventure.

    In The Predator, 20th Century Fox’s reboot of the sci-fi horror franchise, the universe’s most lethal hunters return to Earth, stronger and deadlier than ever. Having upgraded themselves with DNA from other species, they take on a ragtag crew of ex-soldiers and an evolutionary biology professor in a battle that could mean the demise of the human race.

    Rising Sun Pictures signed on as a visual effects supplier to the film late in its production cycle, assuming the formidable task of delivering a host of complex effects in just 11 weeks. The package ultimately tallied more than 100 shots and included CG environments and sets, the Predator’s signature “cloaking” effect, and dramatic (and occasionally gruesome) enhancements to combat scenes. They also produced visuals for the film’s stunning opening shot.

    Award-winning Visual Effects Supervisor Tom Wood led the team for RSP, working under the supervision of Director Shane Black, production Visual Effects Supervisor Matt Sloan and Visual Effects Producer Blondel Aidoo. “We’ve increased capacity and added talent in order to take on large effects packages of work like this and deliver quality on demanding schedules,” says Wood. “Our success on Predator was also aided by the close rapport we developed with Matt, Blondel and, ultimately, Shane Black. We stayed in close communication to ensure they were clear on what we were proposing and how we were executing.”

    RSP’s most challenging task involved the crash site of a Predator spaceship dubbed the Ark. Artists produced a photoreal 3D matte painting of the background mountain environment as well as 3D models of the exterior and interior of the damaged ship. “Because the scene involved such a big piece of work, we tackled it first and fast-tracked it through our pipeline for match-move, model build, surfacing, lighting and so forth,” recalls Wood. “That allowed us to generate fully composited versions with several weeks to go.”

    The digital mountain and spaceship elements were large in scale and needed to appear convincingly real as actors moved around and through them. “The set is seen from many angles, but the position of the ship doesn’t change, so that provided the parameters that we used in building our models,” notes CG Supervisor Julian Hutchens. “The scene was filmed in a quarry in Vancouver with just a small gangway as the practical part of the spaceship. Everything registered to that.” The illusion was cemented by the studio’s 2D team who rotoscoped characters, added drifting smoke and other atmospherics, and adjusted depth of field.

    The short production timeline meant that coordination between various visual effects departments had to be especially tight. “Our plan of attack was to build a framework and identify assets that were our greatest dependencies and group shots that involved common assets,” explains Visual Effects Producer Arwen Munro. “That helped formulate a vision and a game plan, and allowed us to hit the ground running.”

    The cloaking technology, used by the alien creatures to become invisible, dates to the franchise’s 1987 original. In the current film, the effect has been refined into a 3-dimensional field of iridescent, shimmering light with characters alternately solidifying and vanishing from sight in a matter of seconds. RSP tried its hand at the cloaking effect for a scene where it is used by a human character, Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook), who suddenly becomes visible while engaged in a fistfight with another soldier.

    As Wood notes, the frenzied action complicated the process of making the actor appear out of nowhere. “The ‘cloak’ is skintight; it hugs the surface of whatever object or creature it’s affecting,” he explains. “As a result, we had to execute an extremely tight match move as McKenna becomes visible. The work was very delicate, especially regarding the creases in his clothes and the outline of his fingers.”

    “Our brief was to pay homage to previous Predator films while upgrading the look of the effect,” adds 2D Lead Jess Burnheim. “We started by removing the cloaked character from the original photography and then applied the match move of the removed character along with a slew of CG passes created by our Look Development team. Working in coordination with our CG team and the client, we arrived at a recipe for a very cool effect.”

    RSP’s work also included many subtle effects to enhance action scenes. That ranged from muzzle flashes to tracking blood to the face of a character whose eye is shot out by a tranquilizer dart. In one especially memorable instance, artists created a deadly boomerang-like weapon that slices a character’s hand off and pins it to a tree. “There was a lot of 2D only work on this show and that worked to our advantage,” notes Burnheim. “It meant that the 2D department was able to get cracking right away, while the 3D department was busy building CG assets.”

    The most prominent examples of RSP’s work appear in the film’s opening scene, which is set in space. The film begins with a pursuit as one Predator spacecraft eludes another by passing through a worm-like portal that sends it to Earth. The portal, says Wood, needed to plausibly conform to the laws of physics and appear visually stunning. “The look of the portal is formidable, but interesting, a bit like a spiral nebula,” he observes. “It’s fully 3-dimensional and incorporates highly-developed fluid dynamics. It’s a hole that floats in the vacuum of space.”

    One highlight was working on the opening sequence, says Munro,. “It was a privilege to have the opportunity to have creative input and build shots from scratch.”

    Wood concurs and says the project offers a good example of RSP’s ability to deliver exceptional results on a quick turnaround. “Working on a short schedule, our team produced shots that enhanced the story and met the aesthetic and technical requirements set by Shane Black and his production team,” he states. “They really rose to the occasion.”

    Credits & Crew
    Director:
    Shane Black
    VFX Producer:
    Blondel Aidoo
    VFX Supervisor:
    Matt Sloan
    Rising Sun Pictures:
    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 Bhawna Vijay Brice Lehmann Brittany Herriman Brodie Mccrossin Cara Gately Carl St-Pierre Carlos Donis Lemus Celia Clennett Chantelle Searle Chelsea Mirus Chris King Chris Rosenhain Christina Rzewucki Christopher Janssen Claire Le Teuff Corinne Teng Craig Field Crystel Newman Damian Doennig Daniel Harkness Daniel Steart Daniel Velikov Daniel Wills Danielle Cardella David Bemi 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 Georgie Brown Gillian Howe Greg Wieder Guido Wolter Hang Li Hao Truong Harry Medlin Harshal Patil Heath Dingle Ian Cope Ignacio Laorga Ilona Blyth Ivy Li James Clift Jarolsava Chalasova Jayden Beveridge Jebb Ng Jennie Zeiher Jess Burnheim Joel Michael John Saleem John Toth Jonathan Blieschke Jonathon Mckendrick Jono Coy Joseph Roberts Josh Ellem Julia Caplin Julian Hutchens Juliette Christie Justin Greenwood Kate Bernauer Kathy Constantin Kieran Ogden-Brunell Kirsty Parkin Kurt Debens Lachlan Tolley Liam Gare Lu, Ting Yun 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 Sears Matthew Shaw Meherzad Minbattiwala Merinda Janse Van Rensburg Michael Furniss Michael Johns Naeem Chudawala names Nathan Jones Nick Beins Nick Pill Nik Slotiuk Nikhil Shankar-Noble Noah Vice Oleg Magrisso Paris Downes Paul Kirwan Paul Taylor Peter Mcinulty Petr Rohr Qazi Hamza Javed Rajbir S Dhalla Robert Beveridge Roberto Velio Genito Rodrigo Guerechit-Ratti Ross Novak Ryan Kirby Samantha Abda Samuel Hancock Samuel Hodge Sara Henschke Sarah Beneke Sarah Fournier-Neveu Shawn Mccarten Simon Malessa Simon Walsh Sithiriscient Khay Sophie Elder Turea Blyth Summer Swanson Thomas Baxter Thomas Maher Tim Crosbie Tim Mackintosh Timothy Quarry Tom Wood Tony Clark Troy Tobin Turea Blyth Vahan Sosoyan Victor Glushchenko Vitalii Stadnyk Wayne Hollingsworth Wayne Lewis Wendy Nethercott Zac Coster Shane Berry
    Director:
    Shane Black
    VFX Producer:
    Blondel Aidoo
    VFX Supervisor:
    Matt Sloan
    Rising Sun Pictures:
    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 Bhawna Vijay Brice Lehmann Brittany Herriman Brodie Mccrossin Cara Gately Carl St-Pierre Carlos Donis Lemus Celia Clennett Chantelle Searle Chelsea Mirus Chris King Chris Rosenhain Christina Rzewucki Christopher Janssen Claire Le Teuff Corinne Teng Craig Field Crystel Newman Damian Doennig Daniel Harkness Daniel Steart Daniel Velikov Daniel Wills Danielle Cardella David Bemi 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 Georgie Brown Gillian Howe Greg Wieder Guido Wolter Hang Li Hao Truong Harry Medlin Harshal Patil Heath Dingle Ian Cope Ignacio Laorga Ilona Blyth Ivy Li James Clift Jarolsava Chalasova Jayden Beveridge Jebb Ng Jennie Zeiher Jess Burnheim Joel Michael John Saleem John Toth Jonathan Blieschke Jonathon Mckendrick Jono Coy Joseph Roberts Josh Ellem Julia Caplin Julian Hutchens Juliette Christie Justin Greenwood Kate Bernauer Kathy Constantin Kieran Ogden-Brunell Kirsty Parkin Kurt Debens Lachlan Tolley Liam Gare Lu, Ting Yun 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 Sears Matthew Shaw Meherzad Minbattiwala Merinda Janse Van Rensburg Michael Furniss Michael Johns Naeem Chudawala names Nathan Jones Nick Beins Nick Pill Nik Slotiuk Nikhil Shankar-Noble Noah Vice Oleg Magrisso Paris Downes Paul Kirwan Paul Taylor Peter Mcinulty Petr Rohr Qazi Hamza Javed Rajbir S Dhalla Robert Beveridge Roberto Velio Genito Rodrigo Guerechit-Ratti Ross Novak Ryan Kirby Samantha Abda Samuel Hancock Samuel Hodge Sara Henschke Sarah Beneke Sarah Fournier-Neveu Shawn Mccarten Simon Malessa Simon Walsh Sithiriscient Khay Sophie Elder Turea Blyth Summer Swanson Thomas Baxter Thomas Maher Tim Crosbie Tim Mackintosh Timothy Quarry Tom Wood Tony Clark Troy Tobin Turea Blyth Vahan Sosoyan Victor Glushchenko Vitalii Stadnyk Wayne Hollingsworth Wayne Lewis Wendy Nethercott Zac Coster Shane Berry

    Did you know that cineSync and cineSpace were technologies created by RSP?
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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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