June 1, 2007


The epic story was shot entirely on location in China and highlights the trials and triumphs of the explorer, played by Lost’s Ian Somerhalder.

 Anthem created a number of matte paintings for cities and settings that no longer exist or have developed into modern landscapes, requiring the removal of many elements. Settings included old Beijing, surrounding the Forbidden City; the coast of China, complete with pirate ships; and the Mongolian countryside, hosting numerous army encampments. Anthem also created a realistic CG pirate ship for a battle sequence and performed crowd replication for a land battle scene and events at a compound in the Forbidden City.

 In order to portray the massive army of the Kublai Khan, Anthem cloned the 60 extras and then inserted the multiple clone passes into the wide plate shots. The studio also researched the historical context of elements used to recreate Marco Polo’s hometown of Venice and relit greenscreen shots of the streets of Venice to place the action outside with the sun shining.

Maps of the explorer’s journey were also designed and created to add authenticity.

The studio used Shake and Maya on the visual effects for Marco Polo. Anthem is currently working on more than 1,000 visual effects shots for Tin Man, a six-hour miniseries from RHI Entertainment for the Sci Fi Channel.