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The Artery Helps Explore the Afterlife in ‘The Discovery’

New York-based boutique VFX and design studio provides more than 70 visual effect shots for the Sundance feature debuting on Netflix on March 31.


New York-based boutique VFX and design studio The Artery announced that it has contributed more than 70 visual effects shots to The Discovery. The new film, which stars Robert Redford, Jason Segal and Rooney Mara, made its world premiere at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and launches globally on Netflix on March 31.

Following a man and woman who fall in love while coming to terms with their own tragic pasts and learning the true nature of the afterlife, the events of The Discovery take place a year after the existence of the afterlife is scientifically verified, with millions around the world ending their own lives in order to “get there.”

“This was a terrific project for us to take on,” said Vico Sharabani, founder and executive creative director for The Artery. “The tracking and models for various scenes were imported to Flame so nothing was rendered using 3D software. This workflow allowed a handful of our artists to tackle many shots on a challenging budget and within a tight schedule.”

The Artery’s work for the film primarily consisted of compositing various assets onto monitors, such as static, graphics and animation, and medical imagery. The company also did several invisible VFX shots, including crew/character removal, equipment removal, and reflection removal. Lead Flame artist Asaf Yeger used Autodesk Flame for compositing, while 3ds Max was used for 3D work. Notable shots included:

  • Muzzle flash/blood -- a character commits suicide on-camera. The Artery provided a muzzle flash from the gun, as well as blood interactions coming out of the character splattering onto a light element;
  • Adding lasers -- several shots featured comped in lasers which had to be 3D modeled onto their faces; 3D Lasers. According to Lynzi Grant, The Artery’s Head of Production, “There were several shots when Robert Redford was lying on a table under a fictional brain wave scanner. The scene called for him to have red lines projected onto his face. They were not able to achieve this practically, so we match-moved a model of a face on to Robert Redford using Boujou. This 3D tracking information was brought into the flame and projected onto his 3D face. That’s how we created the laser look.”
  • Removing a wetsuit -- removed a problematic wetsuit from Jason Segal's character, accomplished through 3D Wetsuit. Added Grant, “In the original shots, there was a high collar wetsuit being worn under Jason Segal's sweater. Our clients asked us to remove it in many shots. We match-moved his neck using Boujou of the wetsuit area, then retextured 3D geometry on the flame to create a new bare neck for him.”
  • Tattoo comping -- comped a tattoo for a heavily stylized flashback video sequence;
  • Transforming a parking lot into a grassy yard -- achieved through heavy roto, separating out many layers of the image including characters, smoke, warped glass, and sheer curtains;
  • Animating dials and comping gas in tubes -- comped in smoke elements that filled a glass tube and animated the corresponding dials to match.

Source: The Artery