fxguide: A whole new Jurassic World

IAN FAILES | FXGUIDE.COM | JUNE 17, 2015 | Original Article

Twenty-two years ago, ILM rocked the visual effects world with its photorealistic computer generated dinosaurs in Jurassic Park. That work was hot on the heels of groundbreaking ILM scenes in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, both films paving the way for the future of visual effects and filmmaking. Now, with Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World, ILM has returned to dinosaur action, looking once again to up the ante.

fxguide talks to ILM visual effects supervisor Tim Alexander and animation supervisor Glen McIntosh about new approaches this time around, which included motion capture, on-set visualization and advanced flesh sims. We also speak with senior ILM visual effects supervisor Dennis Muren and visual effects consultant Phil Tippett, both pioneers on the original Jurassic Park, and who have returned to lend their considerable weight to Trevorrow’s film.


The final raptors were a collaboration between ILM and Image Engine, the latter studio incorporating an original ILM model into its pipeline. “ILM provided a near-final model of the raptor since there were also creating raptor scenes when the creatures appeared in scenes with other dinosaurs like the Indominus Rex, “outlines Image Engine visual effects supervisor Martyn Culpitt. “They gave us textures and models and we made shaders and made sure our lookdev matched theirs. On this and on Turtles we switched over to full raytracing in 3Delight for rendering. It’s a very close tool to RenderMan which means we can work very closely to ILM, as all our AOVs and the way the stuff is broken out is very similar.”

Image Engine was able to use the mocap, too, in helping to drive animation beats. “It saved a lot of time in terms of the initial blocking out,” says Image Engine animation supervisor Jeremy Mesana. “We’d go and animate on top of that with the locomotion required for the shot. In terms of re-targeting, we came up with a good system to what we imagined as being the raptor poses, in certain scenarios. It was more about hunching them over and bending their feet, and adding more of animal nuances into the character. At the end of the day it’s still just a bi-ped.”

Image Engine would also deliver shots of the raptors engaged to hunt down the Indominus Rex (see below), the raptors chasing Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) and the kids in a van, the lab sequence when Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio) is attacked, as well as an earlier extreme close-up shots of the raptor muzzles while they’re held in containment. “The emotion in the raptors for that scenes was really being sold with the eye itself,” says Mesana. “We couldn’t use the brows on the raptors – they were a rigid bone. All we were able to do was squint the eye and add very subtle pupil motion. That sold a lot of the life of the character.”

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