Proof share their postvis work on The Creator

 

Proof published their postvis reel on The Creator and we spoke to Theresa Rygiel, Proof’s Postvis/Compositing Supervisor about their work.

FXG: Can you have someone comment on working closely with the director, especially as he is so fluent in VFX?

Theresa Rygiel: Gareth Edwards has a reputation for being very familiar with visual effects. He created the CGI work on his film Monsters which he also wrote and directed. This could be intimidating at first, but then you realize he’s one of us and speaks our language. Having Gareth at the helm gave us an apt and confident voice to unify all the moving parts. Gareth never questioned what was possible but rather pushed forward with literally everything to create his vision and story. Our job was made easy as Gareth could discuss his thoughts on what plates/elements were shot and how they work with the scenes’ effects, animation, and environments. We were able to quickly realize several design and animation options which incorporated not only footage from the set but also matte painting and artwork from ILM.

FXG:  How many people worked on it?

Theresa Rygiel:  For the two month period, it was primarily a team of two with one week going to a team of four.

FXG:  How many shots did you guys work on for this film?

Theresa Rygiel:   We ended up doing over 200 shots during our short period of time. Watching the final result, I believe we touched most of the sequences. Many of the shots came and went with various edit updates and creative decisions in the works. There were so many brilliant ideas with the shots going around with each iteration moving ever closer to the final look. The edit was still in motion, creatures were still being designed, and environments still developing.  Overall, it was a very fluid and busy creative environment with Gareth at the center keeping up the momentum.

FXG:  Was this done in Maya & Nuke? And were the postvis files (maya and/or nuke) handed to ILM?

Theresa Rygiel:  Proof’s work was primarily done in Nuke and Maya. We were able to pass on and receive scripts with ILM as a means of communication.  Our communication with ILM was ongoing. We received CG models which we used in many of our animations. We were able to render their models in the shots, project their matte paintings for environments, and reference concept art in recreating certain effects like the beam scanner. Postvis is very helpful for spending that initial block of time to quickly hammer out ideas and looks as the shots fit more and more into the edit. Then ILM was able to take the postvis and have a clearer view of what’s needed to take it all to final.

 

FXG:  At what resolution were you guys creating your work at exactly?

Theresa Rygiel:  Everything we output was directly for editorial so our footage was received from editorial in HD 1920×1080 and turned around in the same resolution and color space so that shots could be immediately cut back in with our work.  This resolution is set to optimize production turnaround time and is one-quarter the size of the final frames. This just being IO (input/output), CGI has become limitless when it comes to the resolution of elements we receive and the resolution at which we work. For one example, to render sharper imagery, we need to start with images ten times our output resolution for projections onto 3D geometry for environments or textures on assets.

FXG:  Given when this was shot, where were your artists located – or was this COVID-distributed work?

Theresa Rygiel:  Proof artists were in several locations. I was in the production office at the 20th Century Lot. Carrie Carnevale, Jeremiah Forkkio, Matt Bauer, Kino Wu, and Shahar Eldar worked remotely. Since COVID began we’ve worked continuously to optimize our use of tools to make production flow as if everyone is in the same room. Proof is set up very cleanly with daily crew meetings in Slack or Zoom, a solid database in ShotGrid, and a visual interactive connection to other machines using Teradici.  Based on the speed at which we were working on The Creator, it was very beneficial to be in the production office for improved communication with Gareth and the editorial team. We could meet up in one room and discuss the plan, then I’d go off and put the postvis together -maybe throw in a few options, then shortly after we’d meet again in the same room and review the work.