VFX supervisor Tim Crosbie, from Australia’s Rising Sun Pictures (RSP) is part of the team nominated for an Academy Award for Best Achievement in Visual Effects for the film X-Men: Days of Future Past.
Crosbie supervised the team of RSP artists involved in creating the film’s “Kitchen” scene where time appears to stand still as the super-fast Quicksilver moves around the Pentagon cafeteria distracting guards who are attacking a group of mutants. Also named in the nomination are the film’s VFX supervisor Richard Stammers, Digital Domain’s Lou Pecora and Object Inc.’s Cameron Waldbauer.
The X-Men “Kitchen” scene involved a blend of live-action, CG objects and visual effects. RSP collaborated with Stammers and director Bryan Singer to bring the scene to life through the production of scores of CG props, including frying pans, knives, pots of boiling soup, carrots and bullets, as well as the cascades of water droplets. Each of these elements needed to be rendered in near microscopic detail, placed precisely within the geometry of the kitchen and choreographed to move and react realistically to lighting, other objects and characters.
RSP also integrated Quicksilver into the near frozen environment. That illusion was accomplished through a combination of live action, a stunt double, greenscreen photography, a partial CG body replacement and a shimmering “rain tunnel” that forms around Quicksilver (caused by his swift passage through the near motionless falling water). All of this had to work properly in 2D and stereo 3D. The studio’s main tool is Houdini.
Crosbie reports that pulling off a sequence like Quicksilver’s visit to the Pentagon is more than a matter of managing data. “This work is grounded in realism,” he says. “Even though it’s a fantastical event you still want to feel as though you are there. The biggest challenge is to find that balance between an exciting, magical event and one that looks real.”
“All of us at RSP are extremely proud of our work on X-Men: Days of Future Past and to have it recognized by our peers is very gratifying,” says RSP executive producer Tony Clark. “We are very grateful to director Bryan Singer, visual effects supervisor Richard Stammers and 20th Century Fox for giving us the opportunity to work on such a fun, exciting and challenging project.”
RSP’s X-Men work has been recognized by other organizations as well. Crosbie is also named in a BAFTA Award nomination for Best Achievement in Special Visual Effects. RSP artists are named in two VES Award nominations, Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a Photoreal/Live Action Motion Media Project (Dennis Jones) and Outstanding Effects Simulations in a Photoreal/Live Action Feature Motion Picture (Adam Paschke, Premamurti Paetsch, Sam Hancock and Timmy Lundin). X-Men: Days of Future Past is also nominated for one of the VES Awards’ Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Photoreal/Live Action Feature Motion Picture.