By the time you read this, Warner Bros.’ sole DC entry for 2018 Aquaman, will have passed $1B. Although the film has received mixed reviews (The Reel 360 team has seen it 3x and loves it), the film’s extraordinary look and feel has been mostly applauded.
Two of those sets can be attributed to Montreal- and Los Angeles-based Rodeo FX. A three-time Emmy winner for their work on Game of Thrones, Rodeo FX’s portfolio also includes Visual Effects Academy Award winner Blade Runner: 2049, Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp, Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
Working with a 120-person crew, Rodeo VFX Supervisor, and company President, Sebastien Moreau created two key scenes for DC’s newly released underwater adventure, both of which are heavily featured in trailers for the film.
For the vibrant aquarium that young Arthur Curry visits at the beginning of the film, the Rodeo FX team made an intricate slice of ocean life look realistically varied and unpredictable using a large volume of simulations as well as algorithms for the fish behavior.
Moreau and his team created hard and soft corals by developing a colonization growth system, along with procedural stem and tentacle generation tools to capture all the unique and complex details that would be seen on a real coral system.
Moreau also led the Rodeo FX artists in creating the environments for the Atlantis ruins below the desert. The artists used a lego-type approach to layer the environment with a large amount of sand, dust and rocks, all of which would realistically give way to the characters’ interactions. From there, they sculpted ruined buildings, bridges, towers, statues and temples, which were then textured and shaded to add depth to the ruined city.
“Creating these two scenes was a complex process, but I’m incredibly proud with how it turned out,” Moreau said, looking back on his team’s work. “I think we created the levels of dynamic detail needed to really carry the audience along Arthur Curry’s journey.”
Sebastien Moreau founded Rodeo FX in 2006 and is a VFX Supervisor with over twenty years of experience in film and television. His previous credits include Blade Runner: 2049, Silence, and The Death and Life of John F. Donovan.
Source: Rodeo FX