Entity FX seamlessly leverages digital vfx to support a young man's journey away from civilization in search of himself in INTO THE WILD (Paramount Vantage), directed by Sean Penn.
Entity FX collaborated for a year-and-a-half on the project, producing more than 100 visual effects shots. This included photorealistically re-creating a flashflood in the Arizona desert; conjuring up a digital dust storm at the Sea of Cortez; and performing a range of "invisible" paint, speed, continuity, sky and weather effects. Entity FX additionally digitally aged footage for flashback sequences, animated multi-panel travel collages, superimposed on-screen handwriting elements and worked on the film's main titles.
"Sean displayed a lot of commitment toward authenticity in making this film, and it shows," said Mat Beck, senior vfx supervisor at Entity FX. "He was intent on visual effects being a seamless part of that process, and we put a lot of energy toward honoring this spirit and helping him bring the smallest details of Chris' world to life. I think the fact that there are over 100 visual effects shots hidden in the movie speaks to that effort."
The "wash" sequence presented the challenge of creating a sudden desert flash flood that engulfs Chris' car. Working from day-shot footage, Entity FX combined matte paintings, CG water, real water elements, sky replacement, digital and practical lightning, CG cracked windshields and digital desert plants to convey the action and the mood with a dramatic nighttime look. For the ensuing aftermath scene, Entity FX 3D-tracked Emile, shot on greenscreen, and inserted him into crane/steadicam footage of the landscape after the fact.
In one particularly challenging shot, the camera pulls out over about a minute and a half from an extreme closeup of Chris' "magic bus" to an aerial view of the surrounding wilds. Entity FX previsualized the shot in advance of the shoot, allowing a crane move in the Alaskan tundra to link up smoothly through 3D matte paintings with scenic helicopter footage in a single sweeping camera move.
Entity FX's toolset for INTO THE WILD included Autodesk Inferno and Flame systems for painting and compositing, Adobe After Effects for rotoscoping and splitscreen effects and Autodesk Maya for 3D animation and modeling. The visual effects team also consisted of: Kymber Lim: visual effects exec producer; Marty Taylor: visual effects supervisor; Tricia Pifer: head of production; Rod Park: visual effects producer; Jason Sanford: visual effects associate producer; Eli Jarra, Brian Petras, Joseph Brattesani, Matthew Collorafice and Christina Garranchan: compositors; David Alexander: lead CGI artist; Rik Panero: CG artist; Dax Siplin: 2D artist; Jeremy Renteria: junior 2D artist; Kaz Yoshida; CG previs artist; and Scott Berri: visual effects production coordinator.
Entity FX (www.entityfx.com) is an award-winning visual effects studio specializing in feature film, television and commercials. With facilities in Santa Monica, California, and Vancouver, British Columbia, Entity FX delivers previs, on-set supervision, virtual backgrounds, matte painting, environmental effects, compositing, CG animation, specialty photography and more. Credits include RUSH HOUR 3, THE AIR I BREATHE, PUSHING DAISIES and SMALLVILLE.