Images courtesy of Base FX. © EDKO Films

Look behind the scenes of 'Monster Hunt'

An Instagram Takeover

Monster Hunt is a Chinese-Hong Kong 3D fantasy/action-adventure directed by Raman Hui. Base FX, the VFX studio behind the record-breaking film, took over our Instagram to show us behind the scenes.





1/16 - To maximize resources, we used a low/resolution model first, and once texturing, animation and layout were completed, we generated the final hi-res models. (Jonathan Chao, Modeling Supervisor at Base FX)

Still from Monster Hunt

 


2/16 - This shot shows how Gao transforms from a person into a monster. The matching of animation, muscle, and compositing are unique. Our compositors transformed the clothes to the CG character to make sure the edges and the character matched perfectly. (Zhangzy, Compositor at Base FX)

Gao transformation from human to monster, Monster Hunt WIP, made in Autodesk Maya





3/16 - This was a time-consuming shot for our compositing team. To make the color of the Queen work, we referred to a lot of materials like clips, images, etc., and created different versions. Another challenge was the interaction of the edges of the leaves in the foreground. A keen focus on details was needed to make it work. (Liujz, Compositor at Base FX)

Still from Monster Hunt




4/16 - This is one of the first shots we worked on. The challenge was on figuring out the requirement during pre-production with the director, Raman Hui, who is very detail oriented. Because there's an interaction between characters and leaves, our animators had to match the movement of CG characters with the actors. (Zhangir, Compositor at Base FX)

Still from Monster Hunt





5/16 - The challenge for our effects artists is in the movement of the chain that locked Gao and Yin. There's a limit to its length and we had to make sure the movement was realistic and fit the dance of Gao and Yin. Stones of different shapes and volume also adds complexity to the shots. (Wangss, Lead Artist of Effects & Character Effects at Base FX)

Still from Monster Hunt, Gao and Yin





6/16 - There is a heavy interaction between CG characters and actors in Monster Hunt. Most shots range from medium to closeup. The most difficult part was matching the animation when the characters were in contact and adjusting the deviation between CG and live action environments. (Wanglin, Layout Artist at Base FX)

Still from Monster Hunt





7/16 - The shiny oil on Wuba's face and body could not affect his good looks ;) We had to constantly refer to references to find the right balance. (Zhangzy, Compositor at Base FX)

Still from Monster Hunt





8/16 - In order to make this a convincingly touching scene, we studied pictures and videos of children crying, and even recorded our own expressions as we pretended to cry (always fun to do in the office!). We also did some slight animations to the inside of Wuba's mouth. (Chenhua, Vice Lead Animator at Base FX)

Crying Wuba, Monster Hunt VFX breakdown
Crying Wuba hero shot, Monster Hunt VFX breakdown





9/16 - Fire Monster is formed by wood and fire which means besides creating physical realism, we had to consider emotions too. When he bites, we had to make it both cute and bestial. To realize the details, we developed many solutions and adjusted some parts of it manually. (Wangss, Lead Artist of Effects & Character Effects at Base FX)

Fire Monster, Monster Hunt VFX breakdown
Fire Monster, Monster Hunt VFX breakdown
Fire Monster hero shot, Monster Hunt VFX breakdown





10/16 - The work for this shot includes camera tracking, match-animation, and lineup. We provided the reference for animators to create key frames for interaction. We developed CG woods and matched materials in the footage to create the effect of light streaming through the trees. (Wanglin, Layout Artist at Base FX) 

Monster Hunt VFX breakdown
Monster Hunt VFX breakdown
Still from Monster Hunt, VFX breakdown





11/16 - The challenge with this shot lies in the perspective. The background woods are complex and the rotation of the camera makes them even more so. It was a challenging process. There was a lot of trial and error in roto-painting out the wire. (Sunjw, Digital Paint & Roto Artist at Base FX)

Still from Monster Hunt





12/16 - This was a big scene, fully CG, with more than 60 layers to the final composition. File management was the real challenge here for the lighting team: mountains, land, grass, stones, smoke and hundreds of monsters. We had to render them all separately, layer by layer, and some were cut into pieces due to size. (Luang, Lighter at Base FX)

Monster Hunt landscape VFX breakdown
Monster Hunt landscape VFX breakdown
Monster Hunt landscape VFX breakdown, workflow
Landscape, still from Monster Hunt, VFX breakdown





13/16 - With a CG character fighting an actor, camera tracking and virtual camera angles were our main concerns here. Often, we'd transition from mid-shot to an extreme wide shot. (Wanglin, Layout Artist at Base FX)

Monster Hunt VFX breakdown
Monster Hunt VFX breakdown





14/16 - The last shot shows the entire monster world. It's dreamy and surreal, unlike any other scene of the feature. Tight schedule and details were the main challenges. In rendering, after repeated tests, we used stratified projection to make a layered look for the woods. We also created flowing rivers, moving clouds, etc., to make just the right atmosphere. (Liuzheng, Compositor at Base FX)

It took several months to deliver the shot with the combined efforts of several lighters. We split the woods into five groups which made it easier to do some changes like replace one tree with another. The team worked together to find the best solution - and we created 109 versions to get the final shot. (Luang, Lighter at Base FX)

Wuba hero shot from Monster Hunt





15/16 - We spent three months creating the fully CG city, including 2894 buildings, 395 trees and 120 villagers. (Qinyao, Environment TD at Base FX)

Still from Monster Hunt landscape VFX breakdown





16/16 - We intended to use the footage provided but the direction of the light conflicted with the concept. We decided to make it a fully CG city. To make it look real, our effects team created smoke and flags, etc. It's a 5 sec shot that required the efforts of many artists. (Qinyao, Environment TD at Base FX)

Monster Hunt city VFX breakdown
Monster Hunt city VFX breakdown

 



Thanks for hanging out with us and we hope you had fun! See more pictures on the Autodesk Media & Entertainment and Maya Facebook pages and read more on the film by checking out our Q+A with the film's VFX Producer, Ellen Poon.

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