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VCL Uses Furnace on Dhoom

The Foundrys Furnace proved to be an invaluable set of tools when Mumbai-based vfx studio VCL (Visual Computing Labs, a division Tata Elxsi) recently provided the 3D elements and compositing for the forthcoming Yash Raj feature, DHOOM. Led by VCLs creative director and vfx supervisor, Pankaj Khandpur, the team consisted of around eight compositors with the remainder working in 3D who, in less than eight weeks, completed 553 vfx shots, with Furnace being used on more than100 of them, for rig and wire removal.

VCL played a key role in defining the look and providing a more contemporary feel to the movie as the VCL supervisors worked closely with the production team and on set during the shoot so that from the outset there was absolute clarity as to what was required for the special effects shots. From the opening credits, right through to the end of the film, the vfx team significantly contributed to the look and feel by being able to incorporate the DHOOM style to both action and non-action sequences.

An excellent example of this is a scene where a motorcycle leaps through the air. To achieve the seemingly impossible jumps in the composite, the extensive use of wires and rigs is required for the live action takes and in the case of DHOOM these shots were also interspersed with live stunts helping to create the breath-taking effects. To ensure accurate placement of the wires and rigs and subsequently the efficient removal of them in post the VCL team worked closely on set with action director, Allan Amin.

Simon Robinson, a partner at The Foundry and one of the key Furnace developers, commented, "Were delighted with the results we're getting with Furnace. We have taken a common class of problems and gone a long way to solving them. All of the algorithms used in Furnace are unique and fill gaps currently left by other software vendors."

Furnace is designed to reduce many complex day-to-day compositing problems into simpler ones, and frequently provides instant one-hit solutions. "The complexity of some of the tasks compositing artists perform is simply mind-boggling," Robinson continued, "...and we know that if we can reliably reduce the magnitude of some of the harder problems, then the saving to the artist can be tremendous."

Additional software used was Alias Maya for the 3D elements with the compositing and rotoscoping created in flame.

The Foundry (www.thefoundry.co.uk) is a London-based software developer specializing in plug-in visual effects for the film and video markets. Last year, The Foundry launched OpenFX, an open plug-in solution, setting the new standard for industry plug-in development and support.