In this interview with Autodesk, PIXOMONDO’s VFX Supervisor Mahmoud Rahnama talks about how the Toronto team created the detailed environments and stylized fight scenes for this Netflix sequel. Read some exerpts from his interview below or check out the original article here.
What made this project unique?
The ‘painting in motion,’ super-stylized look made this one unique, for sure. Normally we go for a photoreal look but the director, Woo-Ping Yuen, really wanted a storybook, Chinese watercolor feel. When you look at elements like the frozen lake, for example, it has a very magical, almost otherworldly quality.
What were your main challenges?
The big environments and the amount of geometry that we had to deal with. The foreground elements for close up shots were shot in China but all the wide shots and set extensions were done digitally so, in other words, small sets, huge CGI set extensions. There were a lot of dynamic simulations, like the fight on a lake where we simulated breaking, shattering ice. We also had digi-doubles that had to fight, jump on roofs and so on.
What’s the secret to those distinctive, fighting-in-air scenes?
We had to make sure that our digi-doubles looked as though they were hanging from wires like the actors. If we ignored the fact, it would look too digital – and it wouldn’t have the look that made the original stand out. We worked closely with the choreographer and sent animation playblasts to them. They’d guide us on what to do or what not to do.
Director: Woo-Ping Yuen
VFX Supervisor: Mahmoud Rahnama
VFX Producer: Paul King
Team Size: 30 Artists Artists
Total Shots: 335
Project Length: 1 Year
Divisions: Beijing, Toronto
environments, large set extensions, lots of environments (frozen lakes, forests, cities) cloth and hair simulation, digital doubles, ice, destruction, set supervision