A Wrinkle in Time Visual Effects

“A Wrinkle in Time” is Disney’s sci-fi adventure movie.  A Wrinkle in Time VFX done by MPC, Digital Domain, ILM, Luma Pictures, One of Us & Rodeo FX.


Lead by MPC VFX Supervisor Pete Dionne and VFX Producer Cecilia Marin, MPC created 450 shots for a Wrinkle in Time. The most challenging work for the team was a chase sequence through a menacing forest on the planet of Camazotz. The plate photography was shot on a cloudy day in California with the special effects crew using rain machines and small explosions to interact with the actors.

MPC’s team then built an extensive CG environment around the kids that would come to life and destroy everything in its path. This included modelling perishable trees, vegetation and rocks to increase the amplitude of the destruction across the sequence. As the sequence progresses MPC initiated a massive dust cloud that continued to build and form into a funnel of earth, dust and foliage. The next step was to simulate the ground splitting apart and being pulled into a central core. In addition to the main simulations a number of additional debris and foliage passes were run along with shot specific dust and atmospheric effects. Many of these shots ultimately involved upwards of 30 separate simulations all interacting with one another. Once the main monster simulations were run MPC’s tech animation team had their hands full adding in a number of secondary foliage effects.

Environment’s challenge was in adding a beautiful foreground that replaced much of the plate. They also added in foliage and ultimately painted on the monster itself where it was felt the details weren’t holding up using advanced projection techniques. The compositing team then took these large number of pieces and seamlessly blended them with portions of the plate to create an epic sequence. MPC also worked on the Cave of the Happy Medium, an environment made of translucent quartz crystals. As Meg continues her journey to find her father, she seeks for help in the cave of the Happy Medium – a being of great wisdom and inner balance. The environment required extensive CG work including cave extensions and pieces of quartz used as stepping-stones. One of the most challenging tasks was ensuring that the crystalline look of the teeters was a good balance of selenite and the set piece.

MPC had to find the correct amount of ‘crystal’ component that would allow for interesting lighting and refraction without feeling that these props were entirely crystalline structures. The lookdev, lighting and environment teams honed the material properties and look. The compositing team then had the challenge of nailing the final balance and pushing some of the light effects to give us what ended up as the final look in the film. In addition MPC also worked on shots for the Land As Gift scene, which required magical FX work, compositing and digidouble wardrobe and hair effects.


Behind the Scenes of “A Wrinkle in Time” VFX

Related Article: The Jungle Book : Naturalistic Effects VFX Breakdown