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In Invictus, Clint Eastwood recounts the story of how Nelson Mandela worked with South Africa’s rugby team to help bring a divided country together using the country's common love of the sport. A significant portion of the film was set inside a packed stadium during the 1995 World Cup Championship match. Method used complex tracking and compositing, along with motion capture and 3D animation, to fill the stands and enhance many facets of the game.


Method created more than 600 visual effects shots for the film, from enhancing the players to make them look more muddied and bruised, to filling the stands with 30,000 cheering fans. For the stadiums, Method created everything above the tops of the sideline billboards and beyond the edge of the field.  This allowed for more freedom in editing, providing flexibility to change the camera angles using the live-action foregrounds against various backgrounds.

The crowd system was a proprietary custom combination of Houdini and Massive.  In-house technical directors worked closely with Side Effects Software to develop a plug-in for Houdini that interfaced with Massive, allowing for complete control of crowd behavior and appearance from within Houdini.

In adition to the hordes of cheering fans, Method also created CG doubles of key characters for placement in some of the wide shots, including Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon.


The visual effects team tracked players’ faces and bodies as they raced across the field, adding a lot of cuts, scratches, blood and grass stains, which in turn amplified the emotion of the game. Having the ability to add digital makeup and wear and tear to wardrobe on detailed close-ups on over 200 shots in post allowed for specific and dramatic changes.

Initial content


  • Crowd simulation
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