After explaining to us his work on THE PREY, Laurens Ehrmann of Plug Effects is back on The Art of VFX and tells us their contribution on X-MEN: FIRST CLASS.

How was your collaboration with director Matthew Vaughn and Production VFX designer John Dykstra?
At our level, we were in direct contact with Stephane Ceretti which was based in Soho as Production VFX Supervisor.

Can you tell us how Plug Effects got involved in this film?
Stephane Ceretti, with whom we have long worked at BUF, contacted us to work on a small sequence that included only 11 shots. In the end, we worked on 46 shots left throughout the film.

What have you done on this film?
Our work has focused mainly on making simple compositing effects. We worked on the sequence of the bar early in the film, during which Charles Xavier made the acquaintance of a young woman with heterochromia.
We also made some clean-up works in various other sequences (wire removal, props removal, reflections in the Magneto helmet, etc …).

Can you explain in detail the creation of the eyes for the bar sequence?
On most shots, we simply color corrected the eyes, taking care to add some material and a little edge around the pupil. The eyes were very dark at the beginning, it was necessary for some shots to add detail with textures.

What indications or references did you receive?
The indications were very simple. A green eye, one blue eye. We then refined the colors among the reviews.

How did you proceed for the clean-up shots?
Each shot is different, this kind of work does not require a specific technique. Often it is a mixture of small matte paint, roto-paint …

Can you explain the removal of the crew reflections on Sebastian Shaw helmet?
To remove the crew reflections in the helmet, we just have to clean up an still frame which we then matchmoved on the helmet.

Did you created a 3D helmet?
No. It’s purely 2D.

What was the biggest challenge on this project?
Technically, there was no real challenge. However, as we are a young studio, it was important for us to cultivate a trusting relationship with the FOX studio, as well as all the vendors involved in the project.

Is it that there was a shot or a sequence that prevented you from sleeping?
Not really.

How long have you worked on this film?
We worked six weeks on this film.

How many plans have you made and what was the size of your team?
We worked on 46 shots. The team consisted of four artists.

What do you keep from this experience?
The great feeling of bringing our modest contribution to a movie of this scale.

What is your next project?
We are currently working on the effects of two French features.

A big thanks for your time.


Plug Effects: Official website of Plug Effects.

© Vincent Frei – The Art of VFX – 2011


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