How did BlueBolt got involved on this show?
We were approached by Stephane Ceretti, who we have known for years, after Dan Glass watched THE IRON LADY and wanted to know who had done the prosthetic VFX work.

How was the collaboration with The Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer?
We worked with Stephane Ceretti, not directly with any of the directors.

What have you done on this show?
We worked on several different characters fixing prosthetic problems, but also changing the features of some characters like their eyes and brows.

How did you approach your work on this show?
A look was developed and approved for each character on a hero shot before the bulk of the shots were done.

Can you tell us in details how you enhanced the makeup work?
Each character required their own approach depending on the scope of the work.

The most complex character would be the hotel manager, played by Tom Hanks. He required some extensive work to get him to look natural as an older man. Originally the plates that we were given had the character with a bald cap and some visible glue joins around the temples, nose, mouth and neck. The challenge was to remove these issues while introducing sun spots and freckles for skin texture.

Due to the nature of the way his head moved we required his head to be roto animated. With this animated model we were able to project on to it painted textures of his new skin. This was then composited and finessed with the main plate.

Which softwares did you used to made the makeup fixes?
The work was predominately done using Nuke.

What was the most extreme fixes you have to do?
The Archivist, played by James D’Arcy, needed a lot of work on his protruding forehead and deep set eyes, as well as changing his eyes and reshaping his eyebrows to look more Asian. We needed to rebuild his eyes in order to bring them out from the shadows of the forehead. There were quite a few shots in this sequence so maintaining the continuity was one of the biggest challenges.

What was the biggest challenge on this project and how did you achieve it?
With this type of work it’s always about the attention to detail. You tend to be working on areas like the eyes or mouth that are the focus of the shot, so the work has to be perfect. A lot of attention is paid to the subtleties of the skin grade and texture. We also had to continuously check the shots in sequence to make sure the consistency never drifted.

Was there a shot or a sequence that prevented you from sleep?

How long have you worked on this film?
We worked on CLOUD ATLAS for around 3 months.

How many shots have you done?
We completed over 70 shots, working on 7 different characters – The Archivist, Mephi, Ankor Apise, Seer Rhee, Rufus Sixsmith, the Concierge and the Hotel Manager.

What was the size of your team?
We had around 6 artists working on the shots.

What is your next project?
We are currently working on LONG WALK TO FREEDOM, the Nelson Mandela biopic which is directed by Justin Chadwick and produced by David Thompson and Anant Singh. BELLE directed by Amma Asante and Produced by Damien Jones, and PEAKY BLINDERS, a 6 part TV series for Tiger Aspect / BBC 2.

A big thanks for your time.


BlueBolt: Dedicated page about CLOUD ATLAS on BlueBolt website.[/lang_en]

© Vincent Frei – The Art of VFX – 2013


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