DEFINITION April 2022 - Newsletter


IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS This superhero sequel sees the titular anti-hero face off against the similarly symbiote-infected Carnage – and both had their own VFX challenges

Did you know? One of the world’s leading visualisation studios, The Third Floor was founded in 2004 by a group of artists that worked together on Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith . The company was named after the location where they worked.

and Chamney’s team swung straight into a gripping San Quentin State Prison sequence, virtually blocking shots ahead of plate capture and later VFX creation. “We quickly got into discussions about how Carnage would move through the space,” Chamney begins. “Not just walking, but using tentacled appendages to fire up onto balconies and lift himself off the ground. He could change shape and move very quickly. “It was crucial to inject that into the scene and get the pace up and running. We started by building the digital environment in Maya and conducting a virtual camera shoot, to look at the space within the scene. “There was a plan to physically build around nine prison cells on each side of the corridor, which would be extended digitally into the distance. And this was based on the real San Quentin in San Francisco, so the art

department had designed the set-up to a specific scale. “During the VCam session, we quickly discovered that, with our blocking, the narrow corridor made Carnage’s movements much too easy. He could almost step from one side to the other. We were looking for something much more extravagant, so we widened the space between cells and got what we were after. “Pathfinder was also incredibly beneficial here,” Chamney continues. “It’s a virtual scouting tool, with a VR headset, and allows you to actually explore the virtual set. Our production designer, Oliver Scholl, could put this on and look at all his designs – not only in a pre-vis sense, but also with a real physical feel for the space.” The next piece of the pre-shoot puzzle was a technical visualisation, in which diagrammatic movies were created to illustrate key details. “Our tech-vis detailed elements like camera track, camera height and field of view. All these factors are extremely useful, if you think about moving CGI. The crew is essentially shooting an empty set, with no reference for movement. Our visuals identified exact panning speed, for example. It’s very important that these details are planned accurately.” CREATURE DISCOMFORT “Post-visualisation comes when the crew has actually shot the plates – the photo

“We quickly got into discussions about how Carnage would move through the space, using tentacled appendages to lift off the ground” cinematography,” explains Chamney. “It’s essentially temporary VFX. Rather than having teams look at hours of green screen plates, they can now see a proxy – in this case, with the prison set extension and the symbiote in the shot. It helps these teams further understand the story, because without those elements, it is pretty tricky. On this project, a lot of the action came from things that

A CASE STUDY Understanding the real-life story is imperative when incorporating any digital effects


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