HOLLYWOOD, CA -- Matte paintings and set extensions allow films to be enriched by creating entire worlds never built or seen before. Earlier this week, on Monday, April 29, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences hosted the final event in its three-week VFX Convergence  craft series, “From Matte Paintings to Full Environments and Set Extensions,” moderated by visual effects branch governor Craig Barron and visual effects branch member Theresa Rygiel.
Held at the Academy’s Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood, the presentation included panelists Rocco Gioffre (Life of Pi, Captain America: The First Avenger), Rob Legato (Hugo, Titanic), Robert Stromberg (Oz The Great and Powerful, Avatar), and Guy Williams (Iron Man 3, Avengers).
During his introduction for the event, Barron said that film environments created or enhanced by visual effects would “someday be undetectable from reality.”
VFX supervisor Legato, a two-time Academy Award winner, demonstrated how some created environments can be indistinguishable from real life with examples of the cliffs and ocean in Shutter Island. Legato also showed work from Huo, which he characterized as “enhanced reality with a storybook feel.”
Production designer-turned-director Stromberg showed some of his work on Oz The Great and Powerful, commenting that the film’s fantasy environment was achieved through a combination of disciplines, with digital components comprising about 60 percent.
While virtual production is becoming more and more prevalent, Stromberg said that although the filmmakers went with a stylized look on Oz, they also built practical sets to “give actors something to touch, and directors of photography something to light, and directors something to block.”
On Monday, May 6, at 7:30 p.m., the Academy will present “Deconstructing Pi ,” a look at the breakthrough stereoscopic and visual effects work that went into crafting the Oscar-winning film Life of Pi, featuring Oscar-winning visual effects artists Bill Westenhofer, Erik-Jan De Boer and Donald R. Elliott, Oscar-winning cinematographer Claudio Miranda, previsualization supervisor Brad Alexander and Oscar-nominated editor Tim Squyres.