Downsizing VFX was very challenging as well interesting job for entire VFX team. The story of the movie runs around a couple who decided to undertake shrink their body with newly invent process. Downsizing VFX helps the movie to shrinks its characters. Most of the shots are practically shoot which was possible, in addition miniature sculptures used to Play the real feel. To make the actor look smaller than they were, they used oversized props. The most challenging scene in to shoot was “Carry box”. Downsizing VFX Production team actually shoot in Giant Box with Green screen background, later on through VFX they exactly match the the props in the scene to show it Tiny.
Framestore, ILM, Lola Visual Effects, Atomic Fiction, Shade VFX & Rodeo FX worked on the Visual effects for the movie. Framestore was created miniature world in the movie.Lindy De Quattro & James Price lead their team at ILM. Industrial Light & Magic worked on many sequences including shrink human to 5 inches tall through Visual Effects. It was around 2500 effects shots in the movie. Art Director it ILM Thang Le was responsible for leading concept artist at ILM for designing & illustrating the different environment, Vechicle, Village & city in the move. ILM Thang Le was earlier worked on Tomorrowland, Star Wars: The Force Awakens & The Avengers at ILM.
Rodeo FX was brought on board to contribute almost 360 shots to ‘Downsizing’. They created 285 CG assets for Leisureland, including 129 buildings. Their work on this film includes environment extensions, compositing, digi-doubles, CG environments, water simulations, animations, and others.
Downsizing VFX Breakdown by Rodeo FX
In movie it was 14times scale props used, most of these are done CG. One of the most challenging part of the movie is to create Doll like house. So it was 3 level of house 8000sqft, 4000sqft & 6000sqft used to shot, so it was actually shoot at Giant box & replace by Tiny to match with shrink characters.
VFX Breakdown by Framestore
VFX Supervisor Stephane Nazé led the work with a team of 40 artists in Framestore’s Montréal facility, contributing to over 110 shots of VFX work in post production. ‘Alexander and Jamie (E. Price, Production VFX Supervisor) were clear from the very beginning that any effects had to be “transparent”’, explains Nazé. ‘They were there to support the story, but secondary to the acting.’
Framestore’s main challenge was to work within the length of the shots; at an average of 400 frames per shot. The work included building the external environment of ‘Leisureland’, the miniature world Paul (Matt Damon) moves to, as seen from Dusan’s (Christoph Waltz) apartment. The team crafted CG boats, which had to react with the water in the marina whilst keeping to the sense of scale needed to make the miniature world believable. ‘We ran a lot of tests to define the scale and reaction of the water,’ explains Nazé. ‘The difficulty was finding the correct adjustment between the movement and the frequency of the water, so that we didn’t break the balance between those two worlds: the human and the miniature.’ The team decided to replace the water shot at the marina on location with CG water, to art direct the waves and then add the 2D details of crowd and vehicles in Leisureland. ‘Most of our shots were based in the evening light’, says Nazé, ‘so it helped to find compositing solutions.’
The team was also required to build a large CG rose, which the characters hold and carry. A real rose was scanned to capture the intricate detail of the petals. The lighting team had to ‘art direct’ most of the shots to achieve the look of the ‘perfect’ rose. ‘The goal was to catch the maximum of iridescence’, explains Nazé. ‘We boosted it in part, for example by adding more light shining in from the back.’
Downsizing’s storyline brought a unique but fun visual challenge to the VFX team, especially when working with such an acclaimed storyteller as Payne. ‘The best thing about the project was being able to collaborate with the client’, adds Nazé. ‘The post production on a film is always a big adventure, but our client was very supportive and as a result, the work came out great.’
Related Article: The Jungle Book : Naturalistic Effects VFX Breakdown