Boy genius and beloved book series star Artemis Fowl is at it again, this time in his feature-length debut. Artemis Fowl (Disney +) follows the young mastermind as he seeks to save his missing father and prevent an otherworldly invasion. THE THIRD FLOOR’s London team helped the filmmakers develop scenes ahead of time, visualizing shots and environments. Artists built versions of characters, creatures, vehicles, props and key sets in the virtual world, enabling the action to be staged in previs or framed in real time with a virtual camera.
“VFX Supervisor Charley Henley and Director Kenneth Brannaugh used a bespoke virtual camera system, equipped with both a tablet viewfinder and a VR headset,” recalled Visualization Supervisor Martin Chamney, THE THIRD FLOOR. “With this setup, they scouted a virtual copy of the real physical set of Fowl Manor and the CGI set extensions of the surrounding coastline. Our environments for this setup were populated with characters, spacecraft, vehicles and unique effects needed for the story. The assets were optimized in Maya, then assembled in Unreal Engine with a time-of-day lighting setup. Ken discovered many interesting and exciting camera angles through this process that we could then incorporate straight back into our previs sequences.”
THE THIRD FLOOR also played a key role in achieving one of the movie’s action centerpieces — the Fairy Attack, when the Fairies arrive by spacecraft at Fowl Manor and create a “time-freeze bubble’’ to cordon off the area around the Manor and harbour. Artists visualized sections of the script, developed shots that mixed real and CG set extensions, choreographed the geography and ordering of events and helped plan stunt blocking.
“For the Fairy Attack, Ken encouraged us to use very wide-angle lenses and amplify extreme changes of angle,” Chamney said. “The shots went from super closeup, wide-angle stacked compositions to high, wide orbiting shots. The action was fused into a one-shot continuous take. Techvis was used to deconstruct the shot into all the real camera setups, alternating between wirecam, dolly track, Steadicam and handheld, determining where the plates would transition and be stitched together in post.”
THE THIRD FLOOR’s work on more than 4000 shots across the film also included rolling out motion capture directly to postvis, replacing a static green model of a Troll, re-targeting the performances and retro-fitting the animation into the plates as filmed.
Catch Artemis Fowl on Disney+ on June 12, 2020.
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