League of Angels

League of Angels is a browser and mobile-based MMORPG that was released in December 2013 by Youzu Interactive. It is free-to-play, but offers the option to buy additional in-game gear and resources. The sequel was released last year and since then multiple language versions have been released internationally.

nhb recently provided the vfx for the League of Angels II TV commercial starring Gal Gadot. It seems her time battling evil forces is not just confined to playing ‘Wonder Woman’ in the legendary DC Cinematic Universe.

As a testimonial for the second edition of the popular online game, League of Angels, the Israeli actress plays  herself on the set of a film production. With the international cinema release of ‘Wonder Woman’ last month,  the Chinese game developer Youzu Interactive launched a large advertising campaign for their most successful fantasy game around Gadot.

League of Angels I was released for the first time in English-speaking countries at the end of 2013 and now runs on more than 300 servers, with the second version offered in various languages such as English, German, French, Simplified Chinese, and Traditional Chinese.

In order to realise the cinema and TV spots for “League of Angels – Paradise Land” the Shanghai company commissioned the postproduction house nhb in Hamburg, Germany. Director André Maat developed the concept for the film and the action-packed scenes were filmed with film production Rabbicorn Films and the renowned DOP Ian Foster (“The Social Network”). The TVC was shot in a huge aircraft hangar near London over two days. One day with the star, the other shooting Pyro elements and plates for later Nuke compositing.

The Dragon was one of the main CG character builds with a complex muscle system rigged to produce a natural body deformation.

The story shows Hollywood star Gal Gadot, who is dressed on a film set during a shoot. While she waits between scenes she plays “League of Angels – Paradise Land” on her mobile phone. Suddenly, the game world becomes reality and the actress has to defend herself against a fire-breathing dragon breaking through the roof of the hall. Trash, debris and sparks flying and exploding around her, Gal Gadot is in extreme danger, but fortunately she can call an angel out of the online game, who protects her from the monster.

All sequences with Gal Gadot, as well as all the scenes necessary for the visual effects, were filmed so that they could be optimally combined with CG in post-production. This required a close collaboration between nhb’s vfx supervision team, director and the DOP. The CG was modelled in Maya, with some frames taking up to 2 hours each to render. The spot was composited in Nuke.

For director André Maat, this was a childhood dream come true onset: “Firebreathing dragons, burning cars and a picture-perfect actress who performs hard-hitting action moves – a visual spectacle with a fine dose of humor, what more could you ask for? It was my second project with DOP Ian Foster and we had a fantastic crew in London. In the film, Gal Gadot’s enormous experience as an action heroine became immediately apparent. Completely relaxed and cheerful beside the camera, and a moment later in front of the camera very energetic and absolutely to the point. Throughout the shoot she usually walked back to her trailer after two takes.”

The team around vfx supervisor Filip Lange and Head of 3D Wolfgang Emmrich were able to finalize the films in Hamburg and make several versions for the international market.

For nhb, the spot “League of Angels 2 – Paradise Land” is the second great visual effects project for an international gaming company. In the past year, they also produced  “Clash of Kings – You Rule” trailer with Bastian Schweinsteiger (Production: Iconoclast, director: Markus Walter, dop: Ian Foster). This was finished at nhb Studios Berlin using complex visual effects and 3D in post-production.