Speed Racer


FEATURE FILM
ROLE: Flame Artist | VFX Compositor
VENDOR: Look Effects
CLIENT: Warner Bros.
VFX SUPERVISOR: Max Ivins
DIRECTOR: The Wachoswki Brothers

My primary role on “Speed Racer” dealt with car cockpit repo’s and plate/set extensions. Towards the end of the project, editorial tweaks were made to certain cockpit shots of Speed and Cannonball, to make the final race more dynamic.

Since the plates were comprised of limited sets with mostly greensceen backing and props, this necessitated the rebuilding and extension of seats, seatbelts, helmets, and arms to accommodate the repo’d plates.

Also, a few shots were flopped, so helmet logos and any additional typography had to be adjusted accordingly.

All of the work was done in 2D, utilizing paint and source nodes, as well as extended bicubic surfaces.

Additional comp work included CG car exteriors.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button


FEATURE FILM
ROLE: Flame Artist | VFX Compositor
VENDOR: Hydraulx
CLIENT: Paramount | Warner Bros.
VFX SUPERVISOR: Greg Strause & Erik Liles
DIRECTOR: David Fincher

My work on David Fincher’s critically acclaimed “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” focused primarily on the Paris sequence, where Daisy suffers her career-ending tragedy from an unexpected traffic accident. In the narrated montage, Daisy leaves her dance studio, twirling into the street in a mild euphoria, only to be struck by an oncoming taxi.

In addition to combining A-B plates for the car’s impact with Daisy, I enhanced a number of shots with matte paintings of dirty streets, period buildings, a re-positioned Eiffel Tower, and art-directed skies. Many of these shots required car reflection clean-ups, as well, due to the white reflective bounce screens placed high above the location streets.

Also, I composited a few establishing shots of Murmansk, comprised of matte painting extensions and CG snow, and did some clean-up work for Benjamin as a baby, removing a somewhat unconvincing mechanical infant from a blanket in Queenie’s arms.

The Invasion


FEATURE FILM
ROLE: Flame Artist | VFX Compositor
VENDOR: Hydraulx
CLIENT: Warner Bros.
VFX SUPERVISOR: Rob Hodgson
DIRECTOR: Oliver Hirschbiegel

The work I did on “The Invasion” represented a late-breaking challenge that arrived somewhat unexpectedly, all due to eleventh hour studio notes. Towards the end of the schedule, the decision was made to forgo the practical makeup that had been approved and shot during production. This involved all the facial and hand appliances for the film’s signature snatcher skin, necessitating a complete removal and subsequent replacement, with newly designed CG elements.

Fortunately, I wasn’t involved in the removal and clean-up of the practically shot appliances. However, I did have to track and comp a number of CG replacement snatcher elements onto Nicole Kidman’s perfectly smooth cheeks and hands – all without the aid of any tracking markers.

The CG elements that were ultimately provided did manage to get the matchmove in the general ballpark, which for wide-shots, wasn’t too problematic. But for the mid and close-ups, that was another story. Due to the scene’s dramatic requirements, Nicole was moving her head frantically, having just awoken from unconsciousness, panicked at the unknown state of her son.

Had this shot been done today, the matchmove probably would’ve been spot-on, thanks to a number of tracking software innovations. But when this film was made, it came down to brute force, as well as long hours, to get the tracks to stick, utilizing hand-animated countermoves and extensive bicubic warping.