Aquaman Visual Effects Breakdowns
Aquaman is a 2018 American superhero film based on the DC Comics character of the same name. Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, it is the sixth film in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). The film was directed by James Wan, from a screenplay by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick and Will Beall and stars Jason Momoa as Aquaman, with Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Dolph Lundgren, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Ludi Lin, Temuera Morrison, and Nicole Kidman in supporting roles. In the film, Aquaman sets out to lead the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, replacing his half-brother, King Orm, who seeks to unite the seven underwater kingdoms against the surface world.
Development began in 2004 but did not gain traction until Man of Steel was released in 2013. In August 2014, Beall and Kurt Johnstad were hired to write competing scripts. Wan signed on as director in April 2015, and in July 2016, the film moved forward with Beall’s screenplay. The main cast was confirmed through 2016 and early 2017. Principal photography began in Australia in May 2017, taking place at Village Roadshow Studios on the Gold Coast, Queensland, with additional production teams in Canada, Italy and Morocco. Filming concluded the following October. Several vendors provided visual effects, ranging from high-detail hair simulations to the creation of CGI animals and locations.
Aquaman premiered in London on November 26, 2018, and was released in the United States on December 21. It grossed over $1.1 billion worldwide, making it the highest-grossing DCEU film, the highest-grossing film based on a DC Comics character (surpassing 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises), the fifth highest-grossing film of 2018, and 20th highest of all-time at the time. The critical consensus on Rotten Tomatoes says the film “delivers energetic action with an emphasis on good old-fashioned fun”. A sequel, Aquaman 2, is set for release on December 16, 2022, and a spin-off, The Trench, is in development.
Aquaman VFX by Rodeo FX
Working with a 120-person crew, our VFX Supervisor, and company President, Sebastien Moreau created two key scenes for DC’s newly released underwater adventure, both of which are heavily featured in trailers for the film.
For the vibrant aquarium that young Arthur Curry visits at the beginning of the film, our team made an intricate slice of ocean life look realistically varied and unpredictable using a large volume of simulations as well as algorithms for the fish behavior. Our team created hard and soft corals by developing a colonization growth system, along with procedural stem and tentacle generation tools to capture all the unique and complex details that would be seen on a real coral system.
We also created the environments for the Atlantis ruins below the desert. Our artists used a lego-type approach to layer the environment with a large amount of sand, dust and rocks, all of which would realistically give way to the characters’ interactions. From there, we sculpted ruined buildings, bridges, towers, statues and temples, which we then textured and shaded to add depth to the ruined city.
Aquaman is out in theatres now!
Aquaman Previsualization by The Third Floor
The DC Universe brings in the tide with an action-packed motion picture Aquaman (Warner Bros.). THE THIRD FLOOR LA contributes visualization work ranging from previs and techvis to postvis for underwater action, chase, fight and attack scenes. Artists also supported a shoot combining virtual production, motion capture and simulcam to help bring together live action and CG on the set.”Some of the more technical work for previs included creating stage-specific techvis describing camera and performer movements,” says Shawn Hull, visualization supervisor. “Steven Tom and the virtual production team from The Third Floor were also closely involved in orchestrating sessions that leveraged previs assets with Ncam virtual camera and motion capture technology.”
Halon Entertainment (Previsualization and Postvisualization)
Previs/Postvis Duration – 5 months
HALON’s previs and postvis teams collaborated with director James Wan, editor Kirk Morri, VFX supervisors Jim Berney and Kelvin McIlwain, and Producers Kim LoCasio and Patrick Hurd to bring this visually breathtaking underwater world of the seven seas to life in “Aquaman.”
Previs/Postvis Supervisor: Ryan McCoy
Director: James Wan
Release Date: December 21st, 2018 (USA)
The Production VFX Supervisors: Charles Gibson and Kelvin McIlwain
The VFX are made by:
Industrial Light & Magic (VFX Supervisor: Philippe Rebours)
MPC (VFX Supervisor: Darren Poe)
Method Studios (VFX Supervisor: David Nelson)
Rodeo FX (visual effects) (VFX Supervisor: Sébastien Moreau)
Scanline VFX (VFX Supervisors: Bryan Hirota, Roland Langschwert & Harry Mukhopadhyay)
Weta Digital (VFX Supervisor: Dan Macarin)
Digital Domain (VFX Supervisor: Jay Barton)
Fractured FX (special makeup effects, creature effects and specialty costumes)
Halon Entertainment (previsualization and postvisualization)
Luma Pictures (visual effects)
Ncam (on-set camera tracking system)
Filmograph (Main on End Title Sequence)
Video by Warner Bros. UK
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