- Universal Pictures
- David Twohy
- VFX Supervisor (Method Studios)
- Nordin Rahhali, Ollie Rankin
- VFX Producers (Method Studios)
- Whitney Gearin, Korey Cauchon
- Method Studios
- Los Angeles, Vancouver
The third chapter of the groundbreaking saga that began with hit sci-fi film Pitch Black in 2000, reunites writer/director David Twohy and actor Vin Diesel. Diesel reprises his role as the antihero Riddick - a dangerous, escaped convict wanted by every bounty hunter in the known galaxy.
While mercenaries hunt for Riddick, he spends much time avoiding an even bigger danger – ravenous aliens, hell bent on finding their next meal.
The Method Studios crew, led by VFX Supervisor Nordin Rahhali in LA and Ollie Rankin in Vancouver, worked on a total of 100 visual effects shots over three and a half months. The majority of the shots are seen in the climax of the film where hundreds of creatures stalk Riddick across a desolate rocky landscape, lit up by an epic electrical storm.
Nordin describes his work on the aliens: “The creatures, called mud demons, had an interesting design. They had long legs and tail with a short body and our job was to figure out how to make these creatures move believably and do so in a frightening manner. We did multiple variations of running, crawling and walking and narrowed it down to the best of each with the director. Generally, once we lowered the creature’s center of gravity, it made for a scarier looking monster.”
Along with the CG aliens, the team created fully CG environments, extended sets, and added rain, mist, mud and lightening FX. They were also tasked with developing the electric gun blasts and resulting detonation which sees the creatures exploding in a shower of luminous green blood.
Some scenes feature up to 120 aliens. Nordin comments “We had to develop our creature pipeline to accommodate the complexity of this show. In shots where over a hundred aliens are visible, we had to apply random shader attributes and various walk cycles to prevent them looking like clones of each other. Multiple creatures were chosen as hero characters and their animation was enhanced by hand to emphasize key moments.”Another task for the team was animating digital doubles and the hovering bikes known as Jethogs – a futuristic spin on a Harley Davidson. The VFX team received models for the bikes and digi doubles but needed to fine tune the textures and rigs so they could stand up to the animation needed for the Method shots. One final demand was creating wet versions of the assets as in every shot Method worked on, it was pouring with rain.