LONDON — Leo Weston, Richard Russell, James Dooley and Lorenzo Newell, all of whom are VFX artists at Deluxe's Rushes (www.rushes.co.uk), recently created a viral video titled Solving 3 Rubik's Cubes in under 20 seconds whilst Juggling Mills Mess. The video was uploaded by RuboCube to YouTube on March 15th and has gone on to generate more than 15M views. Like the title suggests, a man appears to solve three Rubik’s Cubes while juggling. The reality is that this was actually achieved via VFX, and not through physical skills.
Lead VFX artist Leo Weston has a passion for juggling, since picking it up at the age of 12. He also has a fascination with the Rubik’s Cube. But as accomplished as he is with both, the video could only be achieved digitally.
Weston performed the trick by juggling already solved cubes. The cubes were then digitally painted out to create a clean background. Next, the scrambled cube faces were photographed in the same lighting, for all of the positions seen in close up at start of the video. These cube faces were then tracked on top of the original solved cubes. For the shots when the camera goes a bit wider, 3D models of the cubes were built and animated to match the original juggling pattern, to solve each time a catch was made. The sequence was timed so that it took about 20 catches of each cube to unscramble it and get back to the solved cubes shot originally. Finally, lighting and shine were added in the final composite to make it more believable.