Cutting Edge, a creative communications company, was given the challenge of working on some visual effects for director Stuart Beattie's I, Frankenstein. What resulted were 116 shots of extraordinarily dynamic 3D descension and body destruction sequences of the fiery demon souls being sucked down into the bowels of hell, all made using a range powerful post-production programs, like Houdini and Maya. The team over at Cutting Edge have made a making-of video about their work on the horror/sci-fi film, in which they share how they approached creating disintegrating burning spirits (which proved to be quite a delicate and thoughtful process). Check it out after the break.
First, here's the trailer to I, Frankenstein. (You can catch Cutting Edge's VFX contribution about 40 seconds in.)
Even if I, Frankenstein wasn't your cup o' tea as a movie, there is still plenty to learn from the work of the visual effects artists, including those from Cutting Edge, which was tasked with creating the look of the demon soul descensions and body destructions. They created all of the 3D VFX in Houdini (rendering in Mantra), the 3D models in Maya, Zbrush, and 3dcoat, and finally, Nuke for compositing. 116 shots were made in all, which required digital doubles, matte painting, wire removals, and more.
One of the coolest aspects of Cutting Edge's work on this movie is their approach and thought process on the descension effects. As VFX Supervisor Rangi Sutton explains, a delicate balance needed to be achieved when designing the demon souls. On one hand, the designers wanted them too look dynamic, wild, and crazy, but on the other, they didn't want the energy to come off as a fiery explosion. As he says in the video:
They had to have the dynamic that fire has without being fire. It had to be spirit stuff. And it also had to be -- not just a thing blowing up, but a natural spirit with some sort of desire not to be sucked back to hell.
Their process is definitely engaging, and they walk you through the whole thing in their video below:
What do you think about the visual effects of the demon souls? About Cutting Edge's approach to the VFX in the film? Share your thoughts about the making-of video in the comments below!