Press Release from Cinesite
LONDON, April 29, 2009 - Cinesite created a series of shots for Fox's X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE, released in the UK today with continued rollouts throughout the world this week. Cinesite's work included an entirely CG plane, clouds, ground and sky. Turned around in just five weeks, the photorealistic work blends seamlessly with the action.
The sequence shows Wolverine, hirsute member of the X-Men, and his cohorts flying to Lagos, Nigeria. The action cuts between dialogue inside the plane and dramatic shots of the plane swooping through the clouds, past the camera, and towards its landing site.
The plane, a military version of an American Gulfstream business jet, was modeled from scratch. Detail right down to the interior of the cockpit were created to ensure absolute accuracy, as well as strobing navigation lights, landing lights (with interactive glow added to the surrounding clouds), engine glow, heat haze and vapor trails emanating from the wings.
The clouds were created in Houdini as full volumetric renders. This allowed for the plane to fly through cloud layers of varying thickness, from dense to wispy, and for shadows to be cast realistically through them.
The starry sky and panoramic nightscape of Lagos were both created as digital matte paintings. The geography of the city was researched through photographic sources and matched as closely as possible to the finished sequence.
Nuke was used to export the camera information and environment geometry from Maya. This gave a 3-D impression to the matte paintings, and a realistic sense of parallax.
WOLVERINE is directed by Gavin Hood and visual effects were supervised by Pat McClung. Cinesite's Jon Neill, whose previous work includes THE PRISONER (AMC/ITV), BEDTIME STORIES (Disney) and FRED CLAUS (Warner Bros.) was CG Supervisor for the sequence.
Cinesite is currently working on NAKED BEAUTY (Disney), CLASH OF THE TITANS (Warner Bros.), PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME (Disney) and LEAP YEAR (Spyglass). Other recent productions not yet been released include MOON (Liberty Films), THE PRISONER (AMC/ITV), HARRY POTTER & THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE (Warner Bros.) and CHURCHILL AT WAR (BBC/HBO). For more information, visit www.cinesite.com.