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Summer Movies Use Autodesk Technology

Autodesk Inc. announced that its DCC solutions have been used by digital artists to realize their ideas for eye-catching visual effects in many of this summer's movies.

Autodesk's systems and software helped clients shape the following films: CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY (Cinesite), BEWITCHED (Sony Pictures Imageworks, Rhythm & Hues), FANTASTIC FOUR (Meteor Studios, Pacific Title & Art Studio), MR. & MRS. SMITH (Digital Dimension), CINDERELLA MAN (Digital Domain), LAND OF THE DEAD (Spin Prods.), SEVEN SWORDS (Digital Pictures Iloura, Digital Pictures Melbourne), THE ADVENTURES OF SHARK BOY AND LAVA GIRL IN 3-D (Hybride Technologies, The Orphanage, R!OT), LORDS OF DOGTOWN (Gray Matter FX), STEALTH (Digital Domain), THE HITCHHIKERS GUIDE TO THE GALAXY (Cinesite) and THE AMITYVILLE HORROR (Asylum).

For LAND OF THE DEAD, Spin Prods. used Autodesk's solutions to create the title sequence as well as 120 of its 300 vfx shots. "We used Autodesk's Discreet Flame visual effects system to composite the 115-second title sequence, which consisted of approximately 100 layers every two seconds," explained visual effects producer Chad Malbon. "It was only through the Flame system's impressive speed and power that we were able to achieve this incredible amount of detail and layer depth."

Jeff Campbell, visual effects supervisor and lead compositor for LAND OF THE DEAD, gave credit to Autodesk Burn background processing solution: "Burn allowed us non-stop productivity with no rendering downtime. By using Burn we doubled the amount of work completed in a day, greatly improving our efficiency and leaving more room for creativity."

To give BEWITCHED a supernatural flare, Sony Pictures Imageworks used Autodesk's Discreet Flame system with Burn on approximately 75 of the 113 shots it completed for the film. "A significant amount of greenscreen work and compositing were required to create believable yet magical elements of the film," said visual effects supervisor Carey Villegas. "The Flame system's comprehensive toolset and sophisticated 3D compositing tools gave us great speed and flexibility in lending a creative touch to a classic remake, in which the visual effects' sole purpose was to enhance the story and characters not overpower them."

For SEVEN SWORDS, Digital Pictures Iloura used 3ds Max animation software, Combustion visual effects software, Inferno and Flame visual effects system and the Smoke editing system, while sister company Digital Pictures Melbourne used Autodesk's Discreet Lustre digital color grading system. The Lustre system enabled digital artists to maintain realism while creating specific looks for the film. 3ds Max software was used along with hand animation to create the menacing spider weapon.

Meteor Studios used Flame, Inferno and Combustion visual effects to complete some of the 240 shots they produced for FANTASTIC FOUR. These shots were part of the action-packed Brooklyn Bridge sequence in which the Fantastic Four team uses their superpowers to save the day. Meteor Studios artists and technicians worked day and night to complete the shots on time, with the help of Autodesk solutions for rapid compositing and finishing.

Pacific Title & Art Studio worked on approximately 200 shots for FANTASTIC FOUR, using the Inferno system for one-fifth of them. A key scene created with the Inferno system and its 2D warper involved The Thing punching Mr. Fantastic in the stomach. Since Mr. Fantastic is stretchy, the punch goes through his stomach and hits the Human Torch, who is then thrust into a billboard. Pacific Title Art & Studio also used the Inferno system on the film's trailer and color graded it with the Lustre system.

Digital Dimension used 3ds Max extensively on MR. & MRS. SMITH. In one scene, Angelina Jolie is cliff climbing with a friend. Jolie was filmed on a rock-climbing wall with bluescreen. Using 3ds Max, Digital Dimension then built a wire frame version of the cliff and expanded the scene to include a canyon.

Gray Matter FX used the Inferno system on several of the 50 shots it created for LORDS OF DOGTOWN, a film about the birth of California skateboard culture. The film's stunt doubles included some of the original skateboarders, who were called upon to perform certain signature moves. Gray Matter FX then used the Inferno system to track, warp and composite the actors' faces onto the stunt doubles.

Most of the digital visual effects in THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY were created by Cinesite Europe, including a main sequence with computer-generated bad guy Humma Kavula. "In the main sequence, Humma Kavula moves across a table. A lot of complex digital cleanup work and intricately detailed interaction using multiple motion control passes were required," explained Adam McInnes, visual effects supervisor for Cinesite Europe. "Given its speed and sophistication, Inferno was definitely the best system for the job."

Autodesk's Inferno, Flame and Flint visual effects systems, Discreet Smoke editing system and 3ds Max software shaped ADVENTURES OF SHARK BOY AND LAVA GIRL. "3ds Max software continues to be an integral tool in the creation of visual effects here at The Orphanage," explained visual effects supervisor Ryan Tudhope. "On Robert Rodriguez's latest film, 3ds Max software's extensive features and ease of use helped us complete over 150 stereoscopic shots featuring complex digital environments, dynamics and characters."

Founded in 1982, Autodesk Inc. ( is headquartered in San Rafael, California. The company recently renamed Discreet to Autodesk Media and Ent. The division best known for 3ds max and other digital imaging software will continue to service the film, video, gaming and related media and entertainment markets. This renaming ensures that the creative toolset from Autodesk Media and Ent. will stay on the leading edge of product innovation.