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JUPITER ASCENDING

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The pairing of VFX Supervisor Dan Glass with directors Lana and Andy Wachowski is a well known recipe for creating lavishly styled films – Speed Racer, Cloud Atlas and The Matrix sequels being cases in point. Jupiter Ascending is no different, and conjures up stunning environments, creatures and action sequences thanks to the creative visionaries working together once again.

INTRODUCING JUPITER


The story is centered around Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis), a seemingly regular human but with birth signs predicting that she was destined for great things. Only when Caine (Channing Tatum), a genetically engineered ex-military hunter, arrives on Earth to track her down does Jupiter begin to glimpse the fate that has been waiting for her all along.

Dan Glass enlisted the help of his colleagues at Method Studios to help realize 317 shots encompassing large scale environments, CG character enhancements, holographic displays and CG vehicles. Work was completed under the guidance of Method’s VFX Supervisors Simon Carr, Matt Dessero and Stéphane Nazé, in both our London and Los Angeles studios.

Method artists Philippe Gaulier and Olivier Pron were given the honor of working up concept art for the sci-fi epic and more images of their amazing work can be seen in the separate write up here: view concept art

Dan Glass comments, " Method were involved from the earliest stages of concept through to finishing the last details which was tremendously helpful for the continuity of design. They produced some exquisite work bringing some of our worlds and characters to life."

ENVIRONMENTS LARGE AND SMALL


The Method team produced a number of fully CG environments for the film. These encompassed both natural and urban landscapes complete with ornate buildings. In the corn field sequence however, most of the environment was real but sections of the vegetation was filled in and enhanced digitally. The VFX artists also generated the CG hover bike and spaceship and removed the giant rig used to hold the sprinting Caine.

ORNATE SPECTACLE


For the interstellar approach to Orous, Method needed to create the sense of a journey into a vastly complex and ancient society. This was achieved with a combination of digital matte painting projections for planets, moons, sections of the vast rings of accreted civilization that surround Orous, and even the approach to the centre of power, the Commonwealth Building. A multitude of CG elements were then used to enhance the depth of grandeur including star gates, traffic, and a huge junk ship in the shape of a tropical fish. "The biggest challenge of this sequence was dealing with the vast scale of the environments, where kilometer-long spaceships become dots very rapidly" says Simon Carr. "We needed to suggest great complexity and weight of population while not overwhelming the frame with information."

Speaking of the visual aesthetics Dan Glass notes, "The Wachowskis wanted to build a futuristic world that felt real and informed by reality. They wanted to convey a vast sense of history and referenced great European cities which demonstrate the juxtaposition of many aesthetics implying cultural development."

CG VISTA


Another spectacular environment is the city of Alcazar, a full CG landscape modeled with 3D digital matte painting projections with CG water, mist and re-projected waterfall elements. Again, a vast amount of digital detail was added to the scene to help sell the scale and beauty of the environment.

CHARACTER ENHANCEMENTS


Outside of the environments work, there were a number of complex sequences given to Method involving the film’s many characters. The Kalique Fermionic Bedroom sequence was challenging because it required extensive CG hair and CG costuming for Jupiter herself. Here she finds herself floating above a bed having no gravity. Due to the rig on-set, the actress was shot with only half of her dress and with her hair pinned up. The challenge was to create something as natural looking as hair and as complex as an embellished dress to be entirely realistic despite being CG.

Several of the intergalactic crew encountered by Jupiter when she leaves Earth, needed CG enhancements. Gemma and Advocate Bob have human like qualities for the most part, but have robotic inner workings seen within their heads. Lights and intricate moving parts, which react to their motions and emotions, were brought to life by the Method team. Another character Nesh, is a human / elephant hybrid and needed to have a personality of his own – another challenge for our animated character team.


Keywords

  • Motion Graphics
  • Characters
  • Environments
  • FX
  • Hard surface
  • Concept
  • Compositing
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