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Image Engine Shares ‘3 Body Problem’ VFX Breakdown Reel

The VFX studio created 137 shots for the Netflix sci-fi drama, including replicating the vastness of the Neutrino Observatory and breathing life into a photoreal chimpanzee animation.

Image Engine shared a VFX breakdown reel and case study for its work contributing 137 shots to Netflix’s sci-fi drama, 3 Body Problem. The studio’s attention to detail, from replicating the vastness of the Neutrino Observatory to breathing life into a photoreal chimpanzee animation, resulted in a world of remarkable visuals.

Beginning with the first episode, the studio’s craft is on display, when scientist Dr. Vera Ye enters the Cherenkov tank, walks out onto a platform, and jumps into a shallow pool of water below.

Compositing supervisor Matt Yeoman explained, “Vera’s plate element of her walking along a suspended walkway needed to be integrated into the Neutrino Observatory, which was a full CG environment render. The main objective of this shot was to create a sense of scale for her very unique and mysterious surroundings.”

In the show, Judgement Day is a large oil tanker and the floating HQ of a key character, Mike Evans. The ship is a redesigned floating city housing the Earth-Trisolaris Organization (ETO) while it awaits the arrival of the San-Ti aliens.

“In order to have the digital Judgement Day renders integrated with the live-action footage, a 3D asset needed to be created of the ship with all of the objects that are visible on the deck,” added Yeoman.

Yeoman described the precision needed in creating this asset as “…the CG ship render was used to generate ID mattes that were then used to isolate the needed areas of the live-action footage.”

A team of scientists in 3 Body Problem devised a cryogenic hibernation solution for the chimpanzee named Kolya who became a test subject, enduring over a month in a frozen state.

Head of FX Rob Richardson described the creation of the “chimp” asset, noting, “Our team recreated every aspect of the chimpanzee’s anatomy, meticulously sculpting the intricate musculature and capturing the nuanced texture of its fur and skin. We ensured that each muscle, bone, and facial expression found its faithful representation within our captivating 3D digital character.”

To make the chimp character believable, head of assets Barry Poon explained, “On-set references such as scans and properly calibrated images from a scanning photo booth can be essential in helping us achieve good results quickly.”

Watch 3 Body Problem: VFX Breakdown Reel:

The studio’s study delves further into the details and innovative techniques used to bring the show’s many interesting characters, locations, and plotlines to life. Read it here.

Source: Imagine Engine

Debbie Diamond Sarto's picture

Debbie Diamond Sarto is news editor at Animation World Network.