How they Blew Up the Droid – A VFX Breakdown

This is how-to guide for destroying the droid on Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium. This breakdown was presented at DigiPro and SIGGRAPH this year. I will try to post the slides somewhere useful asap.

This work was done at Image Engine in summer 2012 for 3 months. I was responsible for destruction of the droid geometry, as well as overall looking after the FX sequence. Additional work was done by Earl Fast (animation), Simon Lewis (volume FX), Ben Alepko (lighting), Stephen James (Comp). The animation was done in Maya, all FX elements were generated in Houdini, lighting was done 3Delight and Mantra, all comped in Nuke.

Droid Breakdown

Inside a Video Game Voice Over Studio

Take a peak inside the recording studio where the voice over is recorded for Defense Grid 2


Jennifer Hale asks a few questions about the character. That’s less than 30 seconds after she walks in the room.

Her arrival prompts the usual bit of Hollywood hug and kiss, and some hello-how-are-yous, but then it’s down to business.

Who is this character? What is she doing? Why is she here?

And then, just a minute later, she’s in the booth and she’s nailing it.

If you’ve played a video game in the past several years, you’ll probably recognize her voice. Her list of credits is enormous. Baldur’s Gate, Planescape: Torment, Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem, Metroid Prime, Knights of the Old Republic, Mercenaries, the Metal Gear Solid series, Mass Effect 2 and 3, Gears of War 3, Diablo 3, Halo 4 and 5, Call of Duty: Black Ops, BioShock Infinite, The Last of Us and Broken Age are not even half of the games she’s contributed to.

And now, added to that list, is Defense Grid 2.

Executive Producer Jeff Pobst and Script Co-Writer Sam Ernst are directing, sitting in chairs with wood frames and slung canvas, like you’d expect. Each is holding a script the size of a small phone book. The engineer signals he’s ready to begin. And Hale begins.

Standing in the recording booth, she runs over a couple of lines, trying out different voices. She’s playing a new character, a former scientist who is now part of a computer, and who will help the player.

Hale asks if it’s all right if the character is well-traveled. “She’s moved around a lot, but spent a lot of time in Australia?” she suggests.

Pobst says, “Sure.”

And then Hale drops it, and it’s perfect. A fully realized character, pulled out of the bag like it’s nothing. The result of (and perhaps the cause for) over two decades of successful work in the video game industry.

Polygon | Read the Full Article

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