From outer space to suburban streets, the hunt comes to Earth in director Shane Black’s reinvention of the Predator series. Now, the universe’s most lethal hunters are stronger, smarter and deadlier than ever before, having genetically upgraded themselves with DNA from other species.
When a young boy accidentally triggers their return to Earth, only a crew of ex-soldiers and an evolutionary biology professor can prevent the end of the human race.
MPC Film’s team was led by VFX supervisors Richard Little and Arundi Asregadoo, creating 500 shots for this new Predator movie. The majority of the work required hero animation for the Upgrade Predator and additional work included the Predator dogs, FX effects and a CG swamp environment.
MPC Film’s character lab department modeled, sculpted and textured the Upgrade and Predator dogs to a high level of detail, allowing the director to have flexibility to view closeups, if needed. The technical animation department applied movement to the muscle system and added the flowing motion to the dreadlocks on all of the film’s hero alien characters, an integral part of the Predator’s aesthetic in the franchise.
MPC’s artists also created photorealistic Predator One and digital double mercenary characters for the film. Sixty-four other assets were created, ranging from stones and sticks for the swamp floor to grenades, a grenade launcher and bombs.
MPC’s artists also worked on the scene where we first meet the Upgrade’s dogs who are sent out to hunt the Predator. The sequence was shot on a bluescreen stage on location. The digital environments team built a 360-degree baseball field matching the location shoot from reference photography. Creating simple geometry and re-projecting the textures helped create a realistic environment.
Once the Upgrade tracks down the “fugitive” Predator the fight begins. To create the scene, MPC used a mixture of the live-action Predator intercut with its full CG Predator. The battle culminates with the Upgrade ripping the head and spine away from the body of the fugitive. This shot was a big challenge for the FX and tech animation team, who also added green Predator blood into the mix, amplifying the gore factor.
In the hunt scene, the misfit heroes trap the Upgrade and set the ultimate hunter alight. This sequence was technically challenging for the animation, lighting and FX team, which worked very closely to create a convincing Upgrade that appeared to be on fire.
For the final battle, MPC Film’s digital environments artists created a full CG swamp where the Upgrade’s ship crash-lands. The team was tasked with matching the set and creating a 360-degree CG set extension with water effects.
A big challenge was how to ensure the Upgrade Predator interacted realistically with the actors and set. The animation, tech animation and FX teams worked hard to make the Upgrade Predator fit seamlessly into this environment.