June 1, 2014

Video: The Making of the VFX for the Fiery Demon Souls in 'I, Frankenstein'

I frankensteinCutting 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!

Link: I, Frankenstein: Making-of -- Cutting Edge

Your Comment

14 Comments

I liked this movie better when it was called "Blade."
BTW "Blade" (1998) still holds it's own against 2014 "iFrank"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xX5_m0AwqPA

June 1, 2014 at 11:45PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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neil

Blade has of my favorite intro scenes to a movie ever. I'm not even talking about the fighting either, I mean this bro character who gets dragged into the underworld of a vampire rave knowing full well that something is off, but trying to fit in so he can impress a chick. I love how the audio changes from a bassy rumble outside the door to the high tones inside the club making you feel like you have moved inside with them. I love the sound effects that accompany the edits to make the vampires who move in slow motion to feel otherworldly. I love the meathooks, spotlights and strobes. I love the tribal ritual feel of the vampires raising their hands towards the sky as the bro realizes blood is dripping from the ceiling. When blade shows up you know what is wrong with the vampire world and why he is our hero no matter how violent he gets.

As for this article, Houdini, Maya, Zbrush are pretty standard for for almost every 3d element you see (although houdini can be replaced by a number of plugins). They are tools that need capable artists. Check out vfxblog.com if you want to see more interesting behind the scenes stuff. iFankenstein looks terrible.

June 2, 2014 at 12:35AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Dan

Temper Dan. Temper

June 2, 2014 at 1:54AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DCP

Is it me or does this look like terrible VFX?

June 2, 2014 at 3:08AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Nick

Where's your reel?

June 2, 2014 at 4:59AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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nate

what's your point ?

June 2, 2014 at 6:01AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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It's always one of those weird things where the technical teams behind films might not get the credit they deserve because the movie sucks. And you never know what the constraints were. As luck would have it, we're actually smashing our heads against a brick wall trying to design a smoke/flame demon for our feature at the moment. It's not a million miles from this. Maybe it should be...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1pQScWzN_U&feature=kp

June 2, 2014 at 4:09AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I liked the effects in this film but thought the scenes done by Iloura were much stronger in terms of matching the effects with the emotions of the script

June 2, 2014 at 7:59AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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shaun wilson

Not reported here yet on NFS:

Asus 4K Laptop: http://www.engadget.com/2014/06/02/asus-zenbook-nx500/

June 2, 2014 at 8:57AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gene

Houdini looks absolutely fantastic, but the learning curve is like, er, er, how much does IClone cost again ?

Does anyone have any tips ?

June 2, 2014 at 12:23PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Saied

Houdini really is a great tool to use once you get going.

http://www.sidefx.com has a lot of information and links to tutorials etc.

http://vimeo.com/user2030228 This is a great place to start.

June 3, 2014 at 1:37AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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John

Thanks John.

June 3, 2014 at 7:02AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Saied

I sat through the first 30 minutes of this terrible, terrible film because I doing a report on the D-Box motion effects seats. I couldn't take the suckage for more than that. And that also goes for the D-Box seats. Distracting as hell and not at all an improvement to the movie experience.

June 2, 2014 at 6:56PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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FabDex

If they had only spent as much time and attention on the script...

You could say that a lot about most modern effects heavy movies these days.

June 8, 2014 at 2:35PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Dan H