MONTREAL — Rodeo FX (www.rodeofx.com) recently collaborated with ILM, creating and producing 200 visual effects shots for Pacific Rim. Directed by Guillermo del Toro, the Warner Bros./Legendary Entertainment film centers around an alien attack and giant robots, piloted by humans, that are deployed to fight them.
The studio’s work included creating digital environments and immersive 3D matte paintings. ILM also trusted Rodeo FX to create, simulate, and animate fully CG creatures and vehicles for a variety of sequences. In addition, Rodeo FX was responsible for all the variations of the interior robot head shots, which included building and animating a complex CG rig used to control the actions and movements of the robots. The effect blended both photoreal CG and practical FX.
Rodeo FX’s president & founder Sébastien Moreau served as the company’s VFX supervisor and executive producer. “We did a great deal of 3D hard surface and animation work, representing 12 minutes of VFX screen time,” he notes. “Over 80 of our people worked on this project during the course of a year, and all of our shots were delivered in layers, to facilitate the stereo conversion. We are also especially proud that we were assigned to create all of the robot head interior shots, as well as an alien brain, our first ‘organic creature.’”
For the brain of a captured giant alien, CG supervisor Matthew Rouleau and his crew constructed a CG brain that was set inside a large water aquarium. The brain features tentacles that act and move by intelligent thought.
In the area of environments, Rodeo FX created Hong Kong Bay. “Once the layout was approved, we started the environment matte painting, using photography references provided by ILM,” explains Jeremy Boissinot, Rodeo FX’s environment lead.
Boissinot and his team also created the Shatterdome, a military base located within a cliff along the shore of Hong Kong Bay. The Shatterdome model, was created by the studio from artwork received from ILM. The large-scale asset was split into different main sections: the command building, the helipad platforms and the cliff itself. “Director del Toro didn’t want the Shatterdome to appear too futuristic,” Boissinot notes.
Rodeo FX’s Laurent Spillemacker served as compositing supervisor, working with a team of 30 within the studio’s compositing department. He oversaw all aspects of the compositing, to ensure a continuity of the look of the shots and the flawless integration of the CG work.