Pixomondo Creates VFX for Snow White and the Huntsman
The opening battle sequence also featured a number of wide establishing shots that required terraforming to change a lush forest clearing (where the battle was shot) into a desolate space clearly showing the wear of war. Artists digitally scorched the terrain, removed excessive greenery using 2D and paintwork, and added in 3D simulations of fire and smoke for aerial shots. Pixomondo digitally enhanced the shadow army as well, filling out the king’s cavalry to effectively quadruple the size of his forces by expertly placing CG horses amongst the live-action animals.
Additionally, Pixomondo contributed to the final assault on the Queen’s castle toward the end of the film. Sharing work with BlueBolt, who created the castle, Pixomondo enhanced the battle by adding arrows, archers and fireballs. It digitally redressed the beach to make it seem like a wider expanse and supplemented the armies with digital soldiers and horses that amassed on the cliff overlooking the castle. Blending the digital VFX with practical effects, Pixomondo augmented real-life explosions in the sand and fireballs thrown by the trebuchets with CG simulations that matched their practical counterparts, blending in pieces of the practical elements wherever possible.
Though the project was based at Pixomondo’s Los Angeles facility, artists in Toronto, Beijing, Shanghai and Berlin played an important role in the creation of the complex effects. Hirota and Roberts in Los Angeles, alongside Mahmoud Rahnama in Toronto, supervised the shattering knights work. Patrik Witzmann and his team, also in Toronto, augmented burning buildings with CG. Beijing’s Thomas Lautenbach oversaw crowd duplication of soldiers, digitally adding horses and expanding the troop ranks. Artists in Shanghai enhanced the last battle sequence, while the Berlin team, helmed by Pieter Mentz and Michael Lankes, completed all the fireball work.
Directed by Rupert Sanders and starring Kristen Stewart, Academy Award winner Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth, Snow White and the Huntsman opened in theaters on June 1, 2012.