Press Release from Modus FX
Montreal, Que: Oct 20, 2011... Montreal-based studio Modus FX recently delivered invisibly integrated visual effect shots for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1. The latest installment in the wildly popular romantic vampire series based on the novels by Stephenie Meyer opens in theatres on Nov 18. Incorporating a stylized look as a visual expression of the more-than-human qualities of the characters, the film required seamless CGI and a refined aesthetic.
A team of 12 artists at Modus had six weeks to complete 42 shots for the film, which included creating a pregnant belly for lead actress Kristen Stewart, digitally removing a wrist brace she was wearing in another sequence and a variety of subtle cosmetic refinements.
Yanick Wilisky, visual effects supervisor and co-founder of Modus FX, described the challenges of creating organic CG. “We are all so used to seeing organic objects and surfaces. If something is just slightly off, you know it’s fake - even if you can't put your finger on exactly what the problem is.”
Making Stewart look pregnant was one of the tasks assigned to Modus. “They wanted the baby to kick and move inside her belly,” said Wilisky. “We had to match the camera moves, the lighting, even the film grain, along with the subtleties of her skin.”
In fact, according to CG supervisor Martin Pelletier, “The two hardest things to work with in CG are water and skin.”
“For this project, we had to be really quick in terms of turn around,” he explained. “We made use of very complex lighting from the set, adding 3D layers, and a matchmove of her stomach, to make her look pregnant. We took our time at the start to get the recipe right and that paid off in efficiency once we got going. We were soon able to turn around several shots each day.”
"Hand-Crafted" Visual Effects
In one central sequence – the wedding of Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) – the camera pans around the newlyweds as they embrace. However, due to a minor wrist injury, Stewart was wearing a brace on the day of the shoot. Naturally, the brace had to be removed in post.
“Matchmoving a close-up is a good example of the challenges of organic CG,” said Pelletier. “We started with a CG model of the hand and then carefully crafting the rig to create natural motions. Once we had that, every minute movement of the hand had to be matched exactly.”
Read more at awn.com