Rodeo FX Teams with ILM to Deliver VFX for Pacific Rim
Montreal – Visual effects production studio Rodeo FX tackled a comprehensive array of creative and technological challenges through its contributions to Pacific Rim, marking the company’s ninth collaboration with ILM. Rodeo FX created and produced 200 visual effects shots for Pacific Rim. From Warner Bros. and Legendary Entertainment, and directed by Guillermo del Toro, Pacific Rim was released on July 12, 2013.
For Pacific Rim, Rodeo FX was once again called upon to create exceptional environments and immersive 3D matte paintings – work for which the company is internationally renowned. However, Rodeo FX’s CG contributions were much larger than on any previous motion picture. In addition to environment work, ILM trusted Rodeo FX to create, simulate, and animate fully CG creatures and vehicles for a variety of sequences. Rodeo FX was also responsible for all the variations of the interior Robot Head shots, which included building and animating a complex CG rig used to control the actions and movements of the robots – a seamless photo-real blend of both CG and practical FX.
Rodeo FX’s President & Founder Sébastien Moreau, who served as the company’s VFX Supervisor and Executive Producer for this project, said, “Pacific Rim represents yet another great collaboration between ILM and our company—in fact, this was the ninth time we’ve enjoyed the opportunity of working together. This was a milestone project for us. We did a great deal of 3D hard surface and animation work, representing 12 minutes of VFX screen time. Over 80 of our people worked on this project during the course of a year, and all of our shots were delivered in layers, to facilitate the stereo conversion. We are also especially proud that we were assigned to create all of the Robot Head interior shots, as well as an Alien Brain, our first ‘Organic Creature.’”
Regarding Rodeo FX’s contributions to Pacific Rim, Lindy DeQuattro, ILM’s VFX Supervisor, said, "The team at Rodeo FX contributed many innovative ideas to the design and animation of a number of shots in Pacific Rim, including the conn pod interiors and the brains in Newt's Lab. Getting the timing right for a comedic moment can be very tricky in CG, but I always looked forward to a laugh when I reviewed their animation for the brain suckers. At the other end of the spectrum, their establishing matte painting work for the helipad shots was moody, dramatic, and incredibly realistic. Rodeo FX worked on a broad range of sequences which included asset building, animation, lighting and FX, as well as difficult compositing. I was very pleased with the results on all of it."
Matthew Rouleau was Rodeo FX’s CG Supervisor on Pacific Rim, supervising the team of artists that created the interiors of five different Robot Heads, one for each of the Jaegar Robots featured in the film. Through a combination of CG and practical FX, Rodeo FX developed the stilts mechanisms used on the feet of the live actors performing on set while they walked on Elliptical machines—in this manner, these actors, located inside the heads of the robots, were controlling the overall movements of the giant robots. Some concept work was done to help in the creation of this asset. Rouleau says, “The stilts mechanism was extremely complex and was comprised of thousands of interlocking pieces. The complexity of these stilts represented one of the most difficult and complex challenges we have ever undertaken in CG at Rodeo FX.”