Godzilla: King of the Monsters VFX Breakdown

MPC, DNEG, Method Studios, Raynault VFX, Rodeo FX, Ollin VFX, ILM worked on Visual Effects for Godzilla: King of the Monsters. Guillaume Rocheron is overall VFX Supervisor for the movie. RodeoFX team worked on 150 shots for the movie. RodeoFX team was also tasked to add condensed breath to the actors, as the action takes place in a freezing cave. The cave was also extended digitally.

To create the condensation, Rodeo in-house practical team used a technique called “Dragon Breath” that involves dunking cereal in liquid nitrogen, putting it into their mouths, and exhaling to create a perfect ‘frozen breath’ effect, which they lit and photographed for their compositors.

MPC Film’s crew was made up of 700 across 3 different sites, delivering over 660 shots.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters was an exciting show for MPC and presented some very interesting creative and technical challenges. The work was wide ranging and included the 4 hero creatures, environments and FX work, with sequences including the Antarctica base takeover, the volcano base breach and the final battle.

MPC’s Character Lab team spent more than 6 months creating highly detailed models, textures and rigs for the 4 hero creatures. Each creature came with its own unique challenges as they had their own distinct energy effect, referred to as its “biolum.” The efficient casting of light from this biolum effect into a digital environment was a project that required testing from day one. Biolum was one of the more complicated effects to achieve. The biolums consisted of Mothra’s bioluminescence, Godzilla’s upgraded fin design, Rodan’s Volcanic skin, and Ghidorah’s complex three-facial rig.

MPC’s Assets team helped to build multiple locations in different stages of destruction. These builds included Fenway Park, the Antarctica base, Volcano base, Boston, Maddie’s house and a vehicle called the Argo. The Digital Environment team created 6 separate fully digital environments including a fully digital Boston city, a flashback version of 2015 San Francisco, a digital version of a Central American island, a town with a military installation base and a fully CG Base in an Antarctic landscape.

The Antarctica base takeover was a complex and challenging sequence mixing fully CG shots with blue screen plates. MPC was responsible for the Antarctica base lookdev and destruction. This sequence includes the first face-off between King Ghidorah and Godzilla. Some of the challenges were establishing the look for Godzilla’s atomic breath, Ghidorah’s electrical charge-up, electrical beams, and the Ghidorah storm.

635 shots were worked on by MPC’s FX department. These included an enormous, collapsing Antarctic base falling into the earth, an impending storm front – the size of a super storm, a huge monster fight that decimates Fenway Park in Boston, a giant water fight in the middle of an ocean, a fully dynamic digital cloudscape during an aerial dogfight, a ceiling of clouds over a whole city with lightning strikes, and rain, snow, and mist in almost every shot.

They also worked on the volcano base breach, including the volcano base destruction, ground destruction, and volcano eruption. What follows is an action-packed chase scene featuring Rodan hot on the heels of the Argo as Rodan out-smarts pursuing fighter jets and their missiles.

The most challenging and complex scene in the movie is the battle over Boston and Godzilla’s final confrontation. An epic battle between Ghidorah and Godzilla initiated in Fenway Park required huge destruction FX. Destruction elements including dust and dirt particles were Houdini FX sims and MPC’s lighting department rendered all elements in RenderMan. Integrating the actors and the enormous creatures amongst the destruction was a challenge for both lighting and compositing.

The aftermath of the destruction was a completely leveled Boston. This included burning and melting buildings, vehicles, props and even characters. MPC also animated trees and debris being swept and blown across the town.

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