Entity FX Completes VFX for The X-Files: I Want to Believe
August 01, 2008 --
Almost 400 visual effects shots were delivered in a matter of weeks to meet delivery deadlines for the theatrical release and DVD cut. Over 300 visual effects shots were handled by the artists at Entity FX and Entity FX North, with some additional shots sub-contracted to studios such as Illusion Arts, Hybride, Frantic Films and At the Post.
The project called for numerous diverse visual effects ? from set extensions, greenscreen comps and matte paintings to 3D buildings, cars, weapons, body parts and blood. The projects most prevalent vfx challenge was radically altering shot environments through invisible digital meteorology effects. In many hectic chase scenes, characters, landscape and vehicles had to interact convincingly with a 3D blowing snowstorm, even when the actual footage had been shot on a clear day in brilliant sun.
The weather's more than an environment for the story, it is almost a character that gets more claustrophobic as the situation gets more perilous, said Mat Beck, Senior Visual Effects Supervisor, Entity FX. So we had to do more than add snow, mist and fog for continuity; we had to tune various shots to match the mood of the moment. Then there were shots where we had to remove falling snow -- that was harder. Between the weather, blood, creature, weaponry and digital makeup work, we had lots of levers to tweak the creep factor just the way Chris wanted it.
To help support creation of hundreds of snow shots and keep things consistent across the facilities, Entity FX built a custom toolset called Frosty with which to create or dramatically alter natural phenomena on the fly. Artists could use the software to generate snow interactively while factoring in dozens of important variables, such as wind direction, turbulence, blur and interaction with other objects in the scene.
For this project, having a streamlined pipeline that could quickly accommodate various permutations on making shot footage look more sunny, rainy, wet or dry was essential, commented Entity FX 3D Supervisor David Alexander, who authored the Frosty application using Mayas Mel scripting language. The sprite-based particle system Frosty allows us to automatically produce snow and mist elements from regular falling snow to outright blizzards and adjust many variables and controls in real time along the way. Frosty also includes built-in functionality for melting snow, generating z-depth channels and controlling files on a per-particle basis.
The X-Files: I Want to Believe sees David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson reprising their roles as Agents Mulder and Scully, respectively. The film is being distributed by Twentieth Century Fox.
About Entity FX
Entity FX is an award-winning visual effects studio specializing in feature film, television and commercials. With facilities in Santa Monica, California, and Vancouver, British Columbia, Entity FX delivers creativity on the demands of todays production with a range of services in pre-visualization, on-set supervision, virtual backgrounds, matte painting, environmental effects, compositing, CG animation, specialty photography and more.
Entity FX has contributed visual effects to a range of motion pictures including Frank Millers upcoming The Spirit, Superhero Movie, Into the Wild, Rush Hour 3, The Air I Breathe, Miami Vice, Spider-Man 2, The Aviator, Scary Movie 4, Herbie: Fully Loaded and many others. Credits in television include Smallville, Sarah Connor Chronicles, Pushing Daisies, Fight Science, Crime 360 and numerous other television pilots, specials and shows. Entity FX has received numerous nominations for VES awards (winning two) and just received an Emmy for Sport Science in April 2008. For more information, visit www.entityfx.com or call (310) 899-9779 (Santa Monica) or (604) 646-2400 (Vancouver).