The Losers Case Study

Case Study

The Losers

The Losers pick a Winning Team: Image Engine work with Dark Castle on their latest movie franchise.

Image Engine has provided visual effects for the highly anticipated DC Entertainment comic book property The Losers.

The team worked closely with Dark Castle Entertainment, director Sylvain White and the production’s Visual Effects Supervisor, Richard Yuricich, to produce all the major visual effects sequences for the highly charged action tale of betrayal and revenge. In all, Image Engine supplied 147 shots.

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The Losers is the third production that Image Engine has worked on for Dark Castle within the last 18 months. Image Engine were involved throughout all stages of production; from the initial bidding of the script and pre-production, during principal photography where Image Engine’s VFX supervisor Jesper Kjolsrud assisted Richard Yuricich with the major sequences on location in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to final shot delivery.

The explosive opening scene, where The Losers are initially betrayed, is the first to showcase Image Engine’s CG aircraft, missiles and explosion enhancement – the beginning of a long lineup of CG elements throughout, including vehicles, digital doubles and cityscapes. In addition of course, the trademark Joel Silver ending needed visual effects aid in the way of CG jet, face replacements, CG debris and environment work with lots of explosion additions!

Co-VFX Supervisor Simon Hughes explains: “The Losers proved to be a project that on paper seems straight forward, but in practice has many challenges encompassing a broad spectrum of visual effects work – from creating the Houston cityscape and flying through it’s windows; having an explosion chase a bus through a forest; to creating a CG Jet and environment so that we could blow it up. 
The long and short is the variety and nature of the work made the Losers a very exciting and fun project to work on.”

All of this work was achieved within an incredibly compact window, with plate turnover not starting until the beginning of 2010 with final delivery being the end of March, as director Sylvain White mentions: “Within a very tight time-frame, I was very impressed with how creative and pleasant the team at Image Engine was and the amazing quality of the results.”

The practical elements were all composited using NUKE, FX debris designed in Houdini/Maya, with CG designed in Maya and rendered in 3dLight. The team also utilized Jabuka, the custom asset management system written at Image Engine. Senior TD Xavier Roig says:“With a crew of very talented artists we managed to complete a wide variety of shots. Image Engine custom software and tools added a great deal of cohesion and quality to the final render.”

Image Engine’s senior VFX Producer Steve Garrad says, “Being a huge fan of Commando, Lethal Weapon, Die Hard and all those other 80’s classics, it’s been a privilege to be involved on this project and it’s always a pleasure working with Richard Yuricich, Richard Mirisch and all the excellent and too numerous to mention folk at Dark Castle.”

The Losers are based upon characters published by DC Comics/ Vertigo. Warner Bros. released the film in North America on Friday April 23rd 2010.