While fans are looking forward to seeing the visual effects in the elaborate battle sequences gracing the upcoming Lord of the Rings trilogy ender, nobody is talking about the digital magic in the new war epic The Last Samurai. And that means the EFX crew did its job.
“The filmmakers didn’t want any of the work we did to be noticeable,” says Ben Girard, founder and president of the Burbank, Calif.-based visual effects studio Digital Dimension. “This is not an effects film, so everything we did had to blend perfectly with the live-action footage. 3ds max met those objectives perfectly.”
Girard and team employed discreets 3D modeling, animation and rendering software to augment key sequences, including multiple shots involving the integration of a photorealistic 3D sword and lance into live-action footage. 3ds max was used to design and texture the weapons, and then blend the CG implements of war with the users’ hands while matching the CG lighting with the live-action lighting.
In addition to The Last Samurai, Digital Dimension has been using 3ds max for all of its major projects, including Elf and the upcoming features A Cinderella Story and Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed.