View Full Version : LW 9 Animating Disney Already - The Guardian Opens Sept. 29

09-07-2006, 03:36 AM
The crew at www.flashfilmworks.com and I have been using LW 8.5 extensively to do all the cutting edge water FX for Disney's high profile upcoming release, The Guardian (www.guardianmovie.com)starring Ashton Kutcher. I know what you are thinking! Ashton Kutcher? Yes we were all smirking at Ashton throughout the production but smirk no more! Everything in the movie is great including him. He has a crying/upset scene that is totally believable.

I went to see the cast and crew screening of The Guardian last night in BHills at the academy's theater. It was great! Our FX look wonderful. I was terrified reviewers would all say "great movie ruined w/hokey water." Actually a lot more effective than the comic booky Poseidon or more painterly Perfect Storm. They darkened down our shots a lot. They look more real but less detailed and worried over. Darkening a dark shot is like hitting your baby, it's better done by somebody else as it's too painful to do yourself.

Technically I know myself I've also used LW 9 for a lot of element shots. We have been beta testing 9 extensively for months and I'm sure it will be the version used on our next movie, WB's The Blood Diamond w/leo decaprio.

For once the stars showed up. that's how you knew the product was good. Costner was there but didn't see him. Ashton and demi moore were there. She is tiny! what's weird is bruce willis was there and is a friend of costners but is also demi moore's ex! anyway, no one grabbed used shish kebab sticks and went at each other's eyes. It was exciting to see the stars of the movie I worked on for once in person. unfortunately they were all standing there chewing gum. dingleberries. somebody left in a mostly empty stretch hummer. I wonder who!!??

This is ashton kutchers breakthru role! I know you are groaning but just wait. Costner is great. His career may take a dive in the end (see the movie) after this one as it's going to be hard to top in less than 5 years. The whole movie is as good as holes, from the same director. In variety argot "tech credits are superb." it was very rewarding seeing it with the rest of the crew.

The audience couldn't have been more supportive of course. It's really lousy to work on a bad movie. Then at the cast and crew screening the most appreciative audience in the world hates the product. Often the director and cast dont' show. Long gone. Even worse is the PR joke of a premiere. Guests sneak out the back as 80% of movies are bad! This time of course the Dir. Andy Davis gave a speech, the WHOLE crew was there above and below the line, everybody seemed to be experiencing the movie for the first time. The movie got a lot of reactions as it is very witty about people and the nature of teamwork, nurturing, and career vs. personal.

Plus I realized how physically big I am when the biggest/machoest actors in the movie weren't much taller or bigger than me :)

ATTACHMENT: I am technically violating my nondisclosure agreement by uploading this but ... come on it's froth! Here's a frame enlargement of a water splash element from cargo ship shot CS15_03. Foam blown off the top of a wave, which I call wavespritz(tm) . Its a mostly simple and too geometric looking thing that can be cut up and manipulated in the composite to look more real. It uses hypervoxels with gradients doing all kinds of things. LW 9 was used for the new HV modes and because it handles particles so much better. This was just lightwave but some team members also used Realflow. Some of our scenes featured realflow particle clouds of incredible size. Just one splash object was 50 megs and it had to be swapped out and replaced on every frame. Try that in 8.5 32 bit!

09-07-2006, 04:58 AM
Top job, Don! Great stuff. Can't wait to see the finished production.

09-07-2006, 06:48 AM
Coolness...best of luck with it :thumbsup:


09-07-2006, 08:49 AM
Cool. Is this one of your LW9 water FX shots? I look forward to seeing the movie!

09-07-2006, 10:25 AM
cool stuff. may go see it just to see what was pulled off with LW.

09-07-2006, 12:14 PM
Yes cobalt, that is a shot probably from the opening sequence with a LW jayhawk heli and digital fusion composited environment. Where did you get it? the trailer?

Basically if the shot looks too dangerous to film in the man made stuff is lightwave with plate water. And if it's night time (usually) EVERYTHING is lightwave. None of us had ever worked on a flick where we were responsible for so much 100% CG.

09-07-2006, 02:41 PM
like to see more:agree:

09-07-2006, 02:49 PM
Must be coworkers....



09-07-2006, 02:50 PM
Thank you Don, really appreciated :thumbsup:
Very nice to see you chaps on the inside give us all a peak every now and then, especially when the effects are this good :)

09-07-2006, 06:31 PM
just watched the trailer. all the FX look amazing.

09-07-2006, 07:27 PM
Congrats on the film. Hope it is a box office hit. Wishing you the best.

09-07-2006, 09:03 PM
that kicks *****

congrats! looks better than any of the ILM stuff.

09-07-2006, 09:04 PM
Congrats on some very great looking FX Don. I hope the pic does well and I look forward to seeing it on the big screen ;)

I was unfortunate enough to be caught up in some some pretty big a r s e waves down here in Aus (a freaky 5-7m swell - sure felt that big from where I was swimming) and lucky enough to walk away unharmed so I have a healthy respect for any such situation / scene and still love seeing them on the screen.

09-08-2006, 02:20 AM
Look at that lens flare! Pure LightWave even if you knew nothing about the shots! :D Congrats Don, some stunning work there that may just have got me to go see this film (it seems a bit cheesy to me otherwise)...


09-08-2006, 06:21 AM
gtreat work guys:) keep on waving

09-08-2006, 10:24 AM
Actually BeeVee it's interesting you mentioned the lens flare. We didn't put that in. To us it looked so obvious! That was added by the trailer company just to add some jazz to the edit. The people that make the movie are too close to the project so the trailer is always done by a third party.

They add stuff to your shots, rearrange them, use alternate takes from the takes in the movie, take dialogue out of one scene and put it in another. In fact I can often tell people's lips in trailers are saying lines from other scenes because the synch is off.

Be sure to check out the "giant wave" at the end of the trailer. It's not in the movie! People really sweated that trailer shot, esp. since it wasn't even going to be used in the movie! But they wanted a "perfect storm" giant wave that would be an exciting ending. So we made a ridiculously huge wave and for once the trailer people said "whooa that's TOO much" and we had to go back and shrink it.

In the movie it's shrunk down to the size of a merely very large wave.

09-11-2006, 02:22 AM
Heheh, it did look obvious to me too! :D In any case, marvellous work.


09-11-2006, 02:11 PM
At the end of the trailer for twister there was a terrific shot of your POV riding in a car. A twister is in the distance and it suddenly throws a tractor down by the side of the road. THe tractor flips and throws a tire directly into the windshield of the vehicle the view is in. Wow! Totally not in the movie. Was just an ILM test they got more use out of.

Too bad it wasn't in the movie. Would have been more interesting than the actual plot.