Creating VFX with Fusion Studio

Whether it’s creating horrifying creatures or setting a room ablaze with smoke and fire, Visual Effects (VFX) Supervisor Adam Clark relies on Blackmagic Design’s Fusion Studio for his film and television work.

Jeepers Creepers III

In the latest instalment of the Jeepers Creepers horror franchise, Clark and VFX house Trick Digital were tasked with bringing the terrifying Creeper back to the screen, bigger and scarier than ever.

“The Creeper first debuted in 2001 in Jeepers Creepers and fans have been clamoring for another sequel ever since the second film in 2003. So, we knew going into this film that there was 14 years of anticipation that we were going to need to deliver on,” says Clark. “We wanted to try some new things with the Creeper, while still keeping him consistent with the villain that fans loved from the first two films.”

Clark explains, “For example, this film included a large number of broad daylight shots of the Creeper’s wings, which the first two films did not have. We also wanted to make the wings more aggressive, so we changed their silhouette by adding more curves and tension in the membrane areas between the bones, making them more pointed and dramatic when fully extended.”

“Another way we did this was by adding some new weapons to the Creeper’s bag of tricks, including throwing stars, a spear and rolling car bombs,” Clark adds. “We’d import the weapon geometry into Fusion Studio so we could do the animation and lighting within the same application, saving us time and giving us flexibility.”

Clark and his VFX team relied on Fusion Studio, while the rest of the “Jeepers Creepers III” team used Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K digital film cameras for all drone, pickup and gimbal shots, background plates and in multi-camera sequences. The film was then graded using Blackmagic Design’s professional editing, color grading and audio post production software DaVinci Resolve Studio.

“For this film, we relied heavily on Fusion Studio’s 3D engine. Time was of the essence, and it was a huge time saver. Seeing how 3D elements will integrate with the final composite so we can adjust accordingly without 3D re-renders really speeds up our workflow,” says Clark. “Fusion Studio’s rotoscoping and keying toolset are the backbone our pipeline. We also relied heavily on Fusion Studio’s rendering engine, which provides rendering across unlimited CPUs, to help ensure we could deliver at the speed and budget needed for the film. The film had a heavy VFX workload, and as a team of three we completed hundreds of shots over the course of just a couple months with Fusion Studio.”

Along with using VFX to amplify the film’s main villain, Clark and his team also used Fusion Studio’s 3D toolset for set extensions, creating an eerie landscape for the film. “Many of the film’s scenes take place around a spooky hill that we needed to create with VFX, as it didn’t exist in real life. There were a lot of green screen shot composites where the hill and surrounding landscape were placed off 3D tracking data in Fusion Studio.”

Clark also handled the film’s main title sequence, which featured a huge murder of crows flying across the screen and overtaking the frame. “We rendered several CG crow flight cycles to use as animated sprite sequences in Fusion Studio, where we could easily adjust the timing, flight paths and number of crows. Using Fusion Studio’s 3D particle system was fast, flexible and effective.”

My Daughter Was Stolen

Clark and the team at Atomic Imaging also were tasked with the VFX for the recent film, My Daughter Was Stolen. The film was shot with Blackmagic Design’s URSA Mini Pro, URSA Mini 4.6K and Pocket Cinema Camera digital film cameras, and then edited and graded with DaVinci Resolve Studio, with Clark using Fusion Studio for the VFX.

Premiering in March 2018, My Daughter Was Stolen tells the story of two actresses competing for the same role, with one ultimately exacting revenge by kidnapping the other’s daughter.

For the film, Clark used Fusion Studio to enhance smoke and fire inside a burning room, create a bullet striking someone and the resulting blood, and have a cigarette burst into flames. Clark concludes, “I used Fusion Studio’s planar tracker for a number of shots, including tracking fire to objects and bullet wounds to an actor. In conjunction with the new powerful planar tracking options, I leveraged Fusion Studio’s superb roto tools to isolate tracking areas.”

For more information on Fusion, visit the Blackmagic Design website.

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