Hybride, a division of game developer Ubisoft, helped take audiences to the heart of the action in White House Down with the production of several of the film’s highly realistic VFX shots. Hybride’s VFX team, working under the supervision of the film’s visual effects supervisors Volker Engel and Marc Weigert, was asked to create full, high-resolution CG shots for a scene featuring U.S. Black Hawk helicopters heading towards the White House. The studio’s main challenge was recreating a vibrant, realistic virtual city environment down to the smallest detail.
Innovative techniques developed for this project let Hybride’s artists and programmers produce complex scenes. The team developed special tools to help create an entirely virtual city — traffic lights, street lamps, bicycle racks, road signage and advertising panels were automatically generated to maximize production time. Hybride artists also developed special tools to create and populate scene elements including vegetation and vehicles, as well as a tool to populate trees and simulate their movement.
Due to the complexity of the project, Hybride artists used deep image compositing techniques to manage the sequence and maintain quality without compromising the level of detail desired.
“This new procedure helped us overcome machine limitations experienced in the past, allowing us to incorporate an unlimited number of elements,” said Pierre Raymond, Hybride president. “We’re extremely proud of our work and the results of our research will enable Hybride to take on increasingly complex projects, laying the foundation for a very promising future.”
The film directed by Roland Emmerich, written by James Vanderbilt, produced by Bradley J. Fischer, Harald Kloser, Vanderbilt,Larry Franco and Laeta Kalogridis was released in theaters June 28.