VFXTalk Interviews the Masterminds Behind The Magic of Superman Returns –
July 19th, 2006,03:53 AM
Superman Returns has hit the theaters and we are giving you the opportunity to take part in a triple VFX All Star interview! We are giving you the chance to put your questions to some of the top guys at Sony Pictures Imageworks, Rhythm and Hues and SideFX/Houdini regarding their work bringing The Man of Steel back to our screens, so jump in and ask them the questions that have been burning in your mind like kryptonite!
About The Film
Following a mysterious absence of several years, the Man of Steel comes back to Earth in the epic action-adventure Superman Returns, a soaring new chapter in the saga of one of the world's most beloved superheroes. While an old enemy plots to render him powerless once and for all, Superman faces the heartbreaking realization that the woman he loves, Lois Lane, has moved on with her life. Or has she? Superman's bittersweet return challenges him to bridge the distance between them while finding a place in a society that has learned to survive without him. In an attempt to protect the world he loves from cataclysmic destruction, Superman embarks on an epic journey of redemption that takes him from the depths of the ocean to the far reaches of outer space.
Here are the VFX Masters that you have the chance to question:-
Richard R Hoover – Senior Visual Effects Supervisor – Sony Pictures Imageworks
Academy Award® nominee Richard Hoover represents Sony Pictures Imageworks’ part in Superman Returns and is one of the industry's most highly regarded visual effects supervisors. His previous work includes Unbreakable, Reign of Fire, Armageddon, Total Recall, Inspector Gadget, Darkness Falls and Seabiscuit, to name but a few.
Derek Spears – Visual Effects Supervisor – Rhythm and Hues
Derek Spears is another VFX Heavy weight. He represents Rhythm and Hues’ work on Superman Returns. His previous credits include, Flight of the Phoenix, Daredevil, Little Nicky, Face Off, Alien Resurrection, Under Siege 2, Around The World in 80 Days, The Sum of All Fears, The X Files and Jingle All the Way amongst others.
Kim Davidson - President and CEO – SideFX/Houdini
Houdini was used by 5 studios in 3 continents for Superman Returns. Kim Davidson, President and CEO of SideFX has agreed to answer any questions that you may have regarding Houdini and its uses within this movie.
SONY PICTURES IMAGEWORKS’ Work on Superman Returns
Imageworks artists, led by visual effects supervisor Richard Hoover (ARMAGEDDON, UNBREAKABLE, REIGN OF FIRE) were tasked with creating a digital double of Brandon Routh that allowed the audience to see Superman’s death defying acts of courage not only from a distance, but, more importantly, in close-up shots as well. In addition to the creation of the digital Superman, the Imageworks team created the incredibly intricate city of Metropolis which included not only background and foreground buildings, but also the iconic Daily Planet building and Metropolis Park.
The Genesis Camera
Imageworks used the live action set footage shot with Sony Panavision Genesis Camera System combined with digital human acquisition to create a digital superhero that is both entertaining and awe inspiring.
The Man of Steel
Building a better digital human, in the form of Superman, was not an unusual task for the Imageworks team. Many of the artists on the project had been part of ground-breaking digital human work on both the milestone FINAL FANTASY: THE SPIRITS WITHIN and the Academy Award ® winning SPIDER-MAN 2.
Creating a realistic digital double of an actor is perhaps the greatest challenge in visual effects: the digital double needs to look the same as the real actor from every viewpoint, in any lighting, with any facial expression. To help make sure that Brandon Routh's digital double looked as realistic as possible, he was scanned in the Light Stage 2 device at the University of Southern California's Institute for Creative Technologies (USC ICT) in Marina del Rey, CA. Light Stage 2 consists of 30 Xenon strobe lights arranged on a rotating semicircular arm ten feet in diameter.
The Shuttle Disaster
For the action-packed shuttle disaster sequence, Imageworks modelers created a 777 airplane and a space shuttle model from scratch which was a highly complicated endeavor considering that design specifications are not available to the public. Because both the plane and the shuttle exist in the real world, the Imageworks team was dedicated to creating exact digital replicas for Superman to save not one, but two damaged aircrafts from disaster.
To build the basic structure of the city of Metropolis used in Superman Returns, Imageworks artists began with a model of New York built by Earth Data Solutions. The map was then modified to allow the Imageworks team to seamlessly place the city at the center of Metropolis into the landscape. Imageworks then created not only the city center but several miles of background city as well to solidify the look and feel of a real cityscape.
The Imageworks team also created The Daily Planet building, complete with its always-recognizable revolving globe and banner.
In Superman Returns, Superman’s cape is as much a character as the Man of Steel himself. To create a cape that cold be directed in the same way an actor would be, the director asked the Imageworks team build a digital cape that would be worn by both the digital Superman and the real actor in every scene. However, the Imageworks crew soon discovered that not all cloth software programs are created to bring this amount of directing flexibility to fabric. Syflex cloth simulator was used to tackle the cape challenge. The software was a perfect base program for the Imageworks team to use in building a cape that would display a distinct behavior and attitude.
RHYTHM AND HUES’ Work on Superman Returns
Highlights of Rhythm and Hues’ work included the creation of state-of-the-art water simulations, (waves, foam, mist and splashes) for the New Krypton sequence, during which the CG yacht
Gertrude gets impaled by gigantic growing crystals amid a roiling sea, along with stunning matte paintings, digital set extensions and environments using painted and scenic textures.
Rhythm+Hues also had the monumental task of bringing Marlon Brando back to the big screen as Jor-El in the Fortress of Solitude sequence, modeling and animating him in 3D while delivering new dialog that existed previously only as vocal tracks.
THE MAKING OF JOR-EL?
VFXTalk covered the news story highlighting Rhythm and Hues work on recreating Marlon Brando as Jor-el for the movie. In the quicktime clip which was created as a work in progress clip, we see exactly how Rhythm and Hues brought Marlon Brando back to life.
Post your Questions!
This is a rare opportunity to put your own questions to true masters of our industry. Read the descriptions of their work carefully and ask away stating the name of the person you want to ask the question to and what your question is regarding. We will take your questions and get you the answers. You only have a week to get your questions in so get posting !
*To ask a question just hit the 'New Reply' button below and type your question into this thread!
**Because this thread may contain spoilers from the movie, it is recommended that you go see the movie before proceeding further!
The VFXTalk Team!
Last edited by Oracle; July 19th, 2006 at 08:30 AM.