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MPC reveals vfx work on X-Men: Days of Future Past

MPC, the lead visual effects studio for X-Men: Days of Future Past, delivering 372 of the vfx shots, has released a number of before and after stills showcasing its work on the film.

 

MPC created the future sequences in the movie, including the future sentinels, from concept art through to final compositing, the X-Jet, Xavier’s virtual world, future environments and mutant effects.

 

The sentinel is a 10-foot long, fully cg "mutant slayer covered with approximately 100,000 independent blades, the movement of which had to be directed artistically rather than driven by simulation," says MPC. "The vast number of objects proved too cumbersome with existing workflows so an entirely new approach was required."

 

Now for some incredibly complex sounding detail possibly to help explain the new workflow.... You've been warned…. this comes direct from the press release, and, to be honest, I don't understand a word of it….

 

MPC’s R&D team, lead by Tony Micilotta, introduced the concept of a follicle that approximated the shape and size of the final blade model. These were combined into per body part follicle-meshes and could be manipulated using standard deformers. This not only provided requisite visualization for animators, but doubled up as primitives from which transforms could be derived using trigonometric methods. These transforms were cached as particles and were subsequently ingested by a bespoke Katana Scene Graph Generator (SGG) that instanced blade models accordingly.

 

Back to the understandable side of vfx once more, the opening sequence of the film required MPC to create extensive matte painting and environment work as well as generating meshes, textures and particle effects. Also in the opening sequence, the character Sunspot’s flames were achieved using Flowline fluid simulation technology to produce multiple layers of volumes and particles. On top of this, the ice body of a character that turns into an iceman was created using effects layers of spray, ice crystals and 'dry ice' type effects. MPC’s team also created the character Colossus’ metallic skin and a digital double of War Path. The sequence takes place in a bunker deep underground, which involved work from the environment team to provide set extensions and finishing touches.

 

The climax of the film takes place in and around an ancient monastery in the Himalayan mountains. For this, MPC recreated and extended the monastery set and creating lightning effects, large swirling volumes and buffeting winds.

 

MPC also created a cg X-Jet, Xavier’s virtual world and Wolverine’s claws.

Here are a few before and after images showcasing MPC's visual effects work....

Before....



After...




Before...



After...



And here's the film trailer...


 

Posted 29 May 2014 by Jake Bickerton

The eight steps to creating an animated film

If you have seven minutes to spare and would like to become an expert in the different stages involved in creating a top-end animation, you'd be well advised to check out the following film.

 

It's an interview with Beakus's animation producer Steve Smith that's a superb overview to how an animation is created, with loads of step-by-step examples. It was commissioned by Time Out New York and created by Hibrow.tv and Smith is an excellent narrator to explain the skills and craft of animation.

 

Posted 14 May 2014 by Jake Bickerton

A detailed insight into designing channel identities

The six news channels of Dutch broadcaster RTL have just undergone an extensive refresh including a new identity created by designers Mark Porter Associates (who created the look for Guardian newspaper and website) and Dutch design studio Smörgåsbord Studio.

 

The redesign has taken 18-months, which sounds like a very generous amount of time for simply sprucing up the look. However, the work involved redesigning logos, title sequences, on-screen graphics for news, weather and business as well as creating the layout and design of the news studio set. And, of course, all designs had to work across multiple platforms.

 

RTL Nieuws broadcasts 17 bulletins each weekday and six weekend bulletins, and has an audience of up to two million. It also broadcasts business programming under the RTL Z banner, which airs during the day and a weather, as well as traffic service (RTL Weer & Verkeer).

 

“Everything has changed since we introduced our previous identity in 2007. The world of news, the way we consume news and RTL Nieuws itself," says Said Caroline Schnellen, marketing and communications manager at RTL Nieuws. 

 

"With all this in mind it became the right time to rethink the brand’s visual identity. We needed to show one brand, one look-and-feel, on TV, web and app. In order to do so we felt this could only truly happen if we would change all platforms at the same time. What followed was an immense project, with many parties involved and close coordination throughout."

 

To view the redesign and find out how it was thought up and executed, check out the short film below.

 

 







Posted 06 May 2014 by Jake Bickerton

Five filmmaking products for under £12 each

Here's an interesting film from US-based production kit shop Fotodiox showcasing its top five products for filmmakers that are all available for under $20 (around £12). The list has been compiled after consulting Fotodiox's customers and includes an LED light panel, a lens adapter, a power arm, clapperboard, gear belt and a 5-in-1 reflector.

 

 

Posted 02 May 2014 by Jake Bickerton
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