: Fantastic Beasts

Nov 10, 2016

Fantastic Beasts Title Graphic.

First show at Framestore officially playing the role of compositing supervisor:)

We produced two main sequences at Framestore Montreal. Both centered around our, creature the Niffler. He was painfully Cute. Luc Girard groomed and feathered the little guy. Francois Lord was the CG sup in charge of the creature. In total it was supposed to be about 150 shot total, between the two Niffler sequences and the small amount of “other” shots which made sense for our studio to complete. For instance we built the NYC street digital set extension model, so we picked up many of the NYC shots.

Big achievement on this show comp wise was the testing of the new Lens Shader the dev team cooked up! In theory we could now start rendering with the solved 3DE lens distortion model, instead of applying it as a post process as we had always done in the past. This was something the 2D supervisor and I had been wanting since we worked together on Jupiter Ascending. If the studio could render with the distortion we could avoid a consistent filter hit to all our CG. For Fantastic Beasts, I wanted the Niffler, and all his feathers, to be as sharp as possible to match the plate photography which was beautiful. In the end, the tool, was simply not production ready, and for the close up shots we had to render 2x resolution to avoid the sampling filter hit as we applied the distortion. Was expensive but the show completed:) But the tests we had completed were conclusive. Rendering with the distortion produced pin sharp images that no one on the 2D, or 3D board could deny!

Below are galleries from the different sequences we produced at Framestore. Being my first official comp sup job at Framestore, I was nervous to take on the new (and sort of unknown) responsibilities while continuing to produce shots as many of the London comp sups do. So I unfortunately, did not bring any shots to final. I mearly supported and directed my team of compositing artists who completed the 200+ shots

Bank sequence.

Originally this sequence was nearly 1/3 longer! There was a great deal of character development for the Niffler creature and Newt. To our dismay, several hero shots we’d been passionately working on, were lost to the cutting room floor. The sequence makes more sense in the film this way likely. Every shot in the gallery below either has a Niffler, a digital set extension, or both.

Diamond District sequence.

This was our second biggest sequence. Romain Rico was the sequence lead. He worked with the VFX sup and CG sup to establish the look, make templates, and creatively move the sequence along. He also comped the 360 degree Niffler Matrix shots, which we as a studio put a great deal of attention towards. There were many fun little problems to solve on this sequence, and I think the team was reasonably challenged:) Again. Every shot in the gallery has either a Niffler, a digital set extension, or both.

Misc shots.

As the edit refined over the course of the production a number of these ‘oddball’ shots were dispersed amoungst the vendors. The largest of these for us was the NYC wizard reconstruction shot. We took a bit of a risk. We had the technical experties, and the crew, but the time constraints were tight, and we in fact worried that the director might not have enough time to creatively enact his vision. But, MPC (or was it DNEG?) had similar shots nearly finaled, so we had great visual reference and that boosted our confidence to try:) Jerome Foucout was the compositor. He did an amazing job I thought. Bravo sir.

Suitcase Sequence(s).

These suitcase shots we picked up in comp from the London Framestore studio. London was in a bit of a bind with Dr.Strange (or Guardians), and compositing artists were thin on the ground. I had a small team 10 or so folks working on the London shots. Felt bad isolating the two comp crews from each other. But I knew that the delayed response times that occur with ‘outsourcing’, that the London shots would suffer from last min production design problems. And, to give artists two production teams to work with, two groups of emails chains to read, two visual effects supervisors….two comp sups, two rounds of dailes…..it would be a nightmare for them, so I made the decision to break the crews up. It was controversial at the time, but I stand by the choice:) Anyway. The artists had to animate, and design a process for adding the 25k digital matte painting onto the Erumpent pen canvas. Took a couple of weeks to nail down the procedure, but in the end it looked great I thought! Oh yeah, also, 2/3 of these were multi vendor shots! Meaning that once our work was completed, the shots were mini-comped, and shipped to another vendor so they could add their creatures. Very tricky workflow!

Roof Top sequence.

This sequence came very last min. I never got the full story. It was rumored that this was part of the scheduled re-shoots (which are common). The idea was that there needed some sort of pause and extra character development for Newt and Tina before the final battle. We composited Picket into these shots, and then sent minicomps to Rodeo to complete the set extensions. Thinking back, I recall us bidding to complete the digital NYC env, but our CG artists had already been allocated to the next film. We simply didn’t have enough modelers, texture artists, or lighters to take on the shots. Also, since we only added Picket, there doesn’t seem to be many shots. But, the actual count of set extension shots was closer to 40-60. Which, to put that in context, was the entire number shots Framestore complete for the film Avatar. So, we couldn’t casually take that on and produce quality up to internal studio standards. Pity though. I really wanted to comp these shots. They looked beautiful, and I thought could be great reel candy for the team!

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