A Decade of Shrek Tech
In terms of effects, there has been dramatic improvement throughout the franchise. In Shrek, there were limited effects -- milk for dunking Gingy and straight Maya fluid simulation for the fire and torches. On display in Forever After are new fracture tools.
"Once again, because Dragon and Shrek 4 were right on top of each other, we got the benefit of looking at different tools that would be used across both films and be able to push them out," Grant says. "So the same fracturing tools that you saw shattering the side of the mountain at the end of Dragon were used in a different way on Shrek 4, allowing our effects artists to crumble a cookie. A lot of our film takes place at night this time, and where torches used to be a challenge, they are a matter of course here. There are 35 different torches just in the over camp section alone.
"And we had some big effects payoffs. There are three different effects layers going in and out of the alternate reality. The filigree effect, where characters disappear in a flourish, comprises the foreground layer. In the mid ground, you see the world tearing apart with thousands of pieces of paper. And the background element consists of an organic tornado as the world fades. That tornado is generated with 500 million particles. These new effects added to the complexity and provided richer visuals. Again, it's always been about putting the best image quality out there."
Bill Desowitz is senior editor of AWN & VFXWorld.