Image Engine's Joao Sita nominated for Emmy for Outstanding Visual Effects
Sita’s team at Image Engine created spectacular climax of Netflix show ‘Lost In Space’
September 4, 2018
Vancouver-based visual effects artist João Sita has been nominated for an Emmy Award, after helping create a robotic battle royale for the season finale of new Netflix show Lost In Space.
The spectacular sequence set on a spaceship features a high-adrenaline fight between two robots, culminating as one launches a white-hot, face-melting fist straight into his enemy.
Sita, 37, a VFX Supervisor at visual effects studio Image Engine in Vancouver, helmed a team of 60 other artists for almost a year to bring the fantastic sequence to life.
“It is an honour to be nominated for an Emmy. It’s definitely an achievement in my career that represents the recognition of our work,” said Sita.
“I am really grateful for the experience I had with the crew at Image Engine and with the filmmakers. It was incredible to see it all come to fruition.”
Sita and his team at Image Engine were heavily involved in designing the final fight, even forming a small “guerilla team” to act out the battle while wearing motion capture suits.
The battle itself presented many unique visual effects challenges, as the Robinson family’s companion robot fights his malevolent counterpart, hellbent on destruction.
Striking a balance between the human aspects of the companion robot’s character and its inescapably robotic fighting style was just one of these challenges.
Image Engine’s animators resolved this by continually brushing in small elements and movements to add to the robotic foundation of the character throughout the fight.
Another challenge came at the climax of the fight, when the companion robot unleashes a blazing hot fist, launching it into his enemy’s face and melting it in the process.
The vast amount of resulting sparks, droplets of hot metal, spraying incandescent fluid, and steam required a simulation combined with seven different layers of intricate FX.
Not only that, but Sita’s team also painstakingly maintained the real volume of molten liquid from shot to shot, both from the hot hand itself, as well as the victim’s smashed visor.
Shawn Walsh, Visual Effects Executive Producer and General Manager at Image Engine, says the whole team deserves recognition for their outstanding work.
“I am always happy to see our people in a creative leadership roles achieve recognition for their sheer strength of will and creative determination.
“But I am also very mindful of the truly amazing support that their teams and the facility have given them, which deserves broad recognition too.”
Overall, Sita’s team at Image Engine created the VFX for five episodes of Lost In Space, bringing to life a lush woodland, raging wildfire, colossal crash, and extraordinary robots.
Walsh describes Lost in Space as “a science fiction fan’s dream come true” and says an Emmy-nomination means the world to the growing Vancouver studio.
“As visual effects artists, we live for this kind of project! One that pushes our expectations of ourselves and captures our imagination across many departments.
“As hard-core fans of science fiction we were all emotionally connected, wanting to make this project as good as it could be. We are thrilled about being recognized for our efforts.”
Sita, who has been in visual effects for 18 years, has worked on a whole slew of successful movies, including Detroit, Captain America: Civil War, and Chappie.
In 2016, he was among those nominated by the Visual Effects Society for the Outstanding Created Environment in a Photoreal Feature award for his work on Jurassic World.
This time around, Sita shares his Emmy nomination with eight industry colleagues who also contributed to the impressive visual effects in the season finale of Lost In Space.
Also nominated for the Emmy award for Outstanding Special Visual Effects are the artists behind Game of Thrones, Altered Carbon, Stranger Things, and Westworld.
The winner will be announced at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards show on Saturday, September 8, 2018 at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
About Image Engine
Image Engine was founded in Vancouver in 1995 and is now a world-class visual effects studio, specializing in creature animation and environment creation for film and TV.
In 2010, Image Engine was nominated for an Academy Award for its groundbreaking alien animations in Neill Blomkamp’s critically-acclaimed film District 9.
Since then, the studio has been nominated for multiple awards and created VFX for a huge range of projects, including Thor: Ragnarok, Deadpool, and Jurassic World.
This year, Image Engine won a Visual Effects Society (VES) Award for its outstanding animation of the dragon, Drogon, in the breathtaking loot train attack in Game of Thrones.
A full breakdown of Image Engine’s visual effects work on Lost In Space can be found here.
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