Iloura News

Iloura Honoured with Visual Effects Society Award for Game of Thrones

The accolades for Iloura’s outstanding visual effects work continue, with a win last night at the 16th Annual VES Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles. The team of Dom Hellier, Thijs Noij, Edwin Holdsworth and Giacomo Matteucci, from the Melbourne studio took home the award for Outstanding Compositing in a Photoreal Episode for their work on the Loot Train Attack in HBO’s Game of Thrones Season 7 episode “The Spoils of War.” Glenn Melenhorst and Joshua Simmonds were Iloura’s VFX Supervisors on the production, and Ineke Majoor, Iloura’s VFX Producer.

Melenhorst was part of the team that received the Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Visual Effects for work on Game of Thrones Season Six “Battle of the Bastards” episode in 2017.

Posted: 16/02/2018

Award-Winning Australian VFX & Animation Company Iloura Merges with Method Studios

Sister VFX studios come together under one brand.

After integrating operationally over the last year, Deluxe sister VFX companies Iloura and Method have taken the final step in joining forces, unifying under a single brand; Method Studios. Now with a team across Melbourne, Sydney, Vancouver, Los Angeles, New York, Pune, Chicago and Atlanta, Method is a growing, global VFX force, with one of the industry’s deepest talent pools. The company works on blockbuster and prestige features, episodics, design, advertising and immersive experiences. Method launched a new merged website today.

Method President and GM Ed Ulbrich said, “We’ve been quietly building something new here; bringing together the best of what each studio has developed around the world – whether it’s production processes, artistry, sales and marketing, technology or culture. We’re now one of the biggest VFX studios in the world. Our ability to take on larger and more meaningful pieces of big features, to act as sole or co-lead vendor, choose our projects, and produce the stunning work these teams are creating doesn’t come from one studio or brand alone. It’s a combination of the best of everything we have to offer.”

Iloura brings to Method a 30-year legacy of creative passion and stand-out VFX and animation work, teams that earned a 2016 VFX Emmy® for work on Game of Thrones, and VFX Oscar® nominations for Mad Max: Fury Road, and Deepwater Horizon. Key talent led by award-winning VFX Supervisor Glenn Melenhorst and VFX Producer and EP Ineke Majoor in Melbourne, and by GM Jeanette Manifold in Sydney, will bring their teams’ artistry to an expanding set of clients through Method. Simon Rosenthal, now Method Head of VFX, Australia, continues his 20+ year leadership of the newly-branded teams. Iloura recently completed work on Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungleand Bright, and earlier, Game of Thrones Season 7 ‘The Spoils of War,’ and Thor: Ragnarok.

Founded in 1998, Method has grown from a boutique Los Angeles VFX studio to a global powerhouse. Method’s experienced group of 30 VFX Supervisors and creative leads delivers stunning design, VFX, and immersive artistry. Recent features include Thor: RagnarokOkja and the VFX-Oscar-nominated Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2, with Black PantherAquamanA Wrinkle in TimeAnt Man and the WaspAvengers: Infinity WarChristopher RobinThe New MutantsFantastic Beasts: The Crimes of GrindlewaldGodzilla: King of the Monsters and Untitled Deadpool Sequel among the features it has in production.

Posted: 07/02/2018

Iloura Brings Dark Urban Fantasy World To Life For Netflix’s Bright

The Netflix film Bright ( Directed by David Ayer) features a magical twist on the classic buddy cop story, where humans work and live side-by-side with fantastical creatures in a Los Angeles rife with interspecies tension. As the lead visual effects vendor for the urban fantasy, Iloura, led by VFX Supervisor Jason Billington, helped establish the alternate reality of Bright, a gritty modern-day LA filled with fairies, dragons, orcs and elves.

To create the film’s main setting of downtown Los Angeles, Iloura digitally modified the city’s existing skyline to create an affluent, segregated “Elf Town” that is the center point of the Bright universe. Using reference photography and satellite imagery, artists recreated shinier, more opulent versions of iconic buildings, at the same time adding new fantasy landmarks to liven up the environment.

“We wanted to establish an ultra-realistic magical world, different from more traditional fantasy films,” noted Billington. “Our challenge was making it feel believable yet enchanting, using science fiction for inspiration. This alternate Los Angeles could be happening while you sleep – it’s everything you know, but with a magic vibe.”

Central to the film’s story is a magic wand, an ancient and powerful artifact that is sought by a group of gangsters, corrupt cops and powerful elves. Human LAPD officer Daryl Ward (Will Smith) and his orc partner Nick Jakoby (Joel Edgerton) stumble upon the wand and become entangled in an epic battle with the forces that are after it. During production, a practical wand was filmed on set, and artists were tasked with augmenting its appearance and supernatural powers. After multiple rounds of look development, the team arrived at a final look for the wand which consisted of a bright white tip and glowing blue core. When activated, the wand becomes a weapon, erupting with flares, smoke and a powerful pulsating aura.

Iloura also created a spectacular slow-motion collision sequence in which a vehicle crashes into an invisible perimeter created by the wand. The technically challenging shot was filmed on a bluescreen, using wires to pull the vehicle and mirror the motion of the impact. Artists match-moved the live action footage using a digital version of the vehicle and incorporated multiple layers including additional live action plates, debris, smoke and shockwave effects. Using original photography for reference, as well as LIDAR scans and geometry of the set, a virtual environment was built to allow for an intricate 360° camera pan from the vehicle’s driver to the passenger in the backseat during the moment of impact.

No fantasy world is complete without a cast of mythical creatures. For Bright, Iloura modelled, textured and animated a fairy and centaur to add to the inhabitants of its alternate reality world. “For the centaur, we realized early on that a human head and torso on a horse’s body looks ridiculous in most cases,” Billington said. “For a believable centaur, we had to work on the proportions and find the correct balance between the horse and human elements. Then we added digital SWAT armor to the final creature and gave the animators free reign to create its movements.”

In the Bright universe, fairies are viewed as menacing pests, and when one is caught eating seeds from a bird feeder outside Officer Ward’s house, he batters and kills the creature with a broom. Having been briefed that the fairy’s movements should be reminiscent of a hummingbird, Iloura crafted the fairy from scratch, endowing the pesky creature with a body covered in tiny feathers and a degenerated face complete with scars, pimples and dirt.

For more info on Bright, visit: https://www.netflix.com/title/80119234

Posted: 25/01/2018

Iloura Creates Ravaging Rhinos for Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

In Sony Pictures’ Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, a group of teens find themselves inside a high-stakes jungle battle where beating the game is a matter of survival. Iloura served as a principal VFX facility for the film, with contributions including the “albino rhino” sequence in which the heroes – played by Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, and Karen Gillan – become trapped in a ravine after their helicopter is damaged and must find a way to outrun a herd of stampeding rhinos.

The sequence is almost entirely CG and among the most complex sequences in Iloura’s history. Iloura VFX Supervisor Glenn Melenhorst explained: “The ravine environment was completely CG, and in terms of sheer assets it was astounding. We had millions and millions of pebbles, boulders, trees, leaf litter, and so on, and every single element was built and rendered. We ran ground interaction simulations to determine how each individual asset would behave both in relation to the stampede and to the chopper blades kicking things up; plus we did simulations on dust swirling up from the ground and smoke rising from the chopper and coiling around the blades. And on top of these millions of environmental elements, we also had fully CG rhinos, a fully CG helicopter, and often, digital doubles of the cast.”

Working closely with director Jake Kasdan and production VFX Supervisor Jerome Chen to achieve the look, Melenhorst and team designed the ravine to contrast the lush jungle setting seen in most of the film. A dry riverbed filled with crumbling rocks and decaying trees, the ravine offers a darker, more somber location. Through a combination of live action footage including a helicopter from the Hawaii-based set, and the cast sitting in a gimbal in the studio, Iloura artists digitally recreated the helicopter’s exterior and interior, and created digital doubles of the leads as needed. Iloura built its own digital doubles to achieve the fidelity required for close-up shots.

Iloura Animation Supervisor Nicholas Tripodi led the team in developing the look and behavior of the rhinos. Using real world rhinos as reference, artists ultimately created a hybrid look that incorporated elements from various rhino species, plus some creative liberties to fit within the fantastic video game world of the film.

“We worked with Jake and Jerome to refine the look of the ‘albino rhinos,’ iterating on particular details such as the armor-like plating of their skin, and how white their skin should be,” explained Tripodi. “It was also a big challenge to nail the rhinos’ movements – to realistically keep up with the helicopter, even flying at the slowest speeds, we had to make the rhinos run about three or four times faster than they would in reality. It was a balancing act to achieve that speed while still conveying the heaviness of the animals and making it feel authentic.”

In addition to the rhino stampede, Iloura also created VFX for the transitions in and out of the video game world, a CG waterfall and jungle set extensions, a digital matte painting for the reveal of Berber City, and CG creatures including a vulture that appears across several shots. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is currently in theaters.

'Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle' trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QKg5SZ_35I 

Posted: 20/12/2017

Iloura Honoured with AACTA and APDG Awards

Iloura picked up its third consecutive Best VFX Award at the 2017 Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) Awards upon being recognised for work on “Game of Thrones” season seven episode “The Spoils of War.” Iloura VFX Supervisors Glenn Melenhorst and Josh Simmonds, and VFX Producer Ineke Majoor, led Iloura artists in crafting visuals for the Loot Train Battle sequence, which features Daenerys and her Dothraki horde engaging the Lannister army in a fiery fray. This year, Iloura’s work on “Deepwater Horizon” was also recognised in the Best VFX category, with Iloura VFX Supervisor Jason Billington and VFX Producer Linda Luong nominated for the award.               

Iloura was previously honoured with the AACTA Best VFX Award for work on “Game of Thrones’” “Battle of the Bastards” episode in 2016 and “Mad Max: Fury Road” in 2015.

Melenhorst also served as co-VFX Supervisor, along with David Nelson, on “John Wick 2,” which was recognised for Visual Effects Design at the 2017 Australian Production Design Guild (APDG) Awards. Iloura’s “John Wick 2” VFX team was supported by VFX Producer Julian Dimsey.

Congrats to all the AACTA and APDG Award winners and nominees, with special acknowledgement to Glenn, Josh, Ineke, David and Julian for these well-deserved honours.

Posted: 07/12/2017

Iloura Takes Two of AACTA’s Four Noms for Best VFX Award

The Australian Academy of Cinema Television Arts (AACTA) announced the nominees for its 7th Annual Awards yesterday, and Iloura was thrilled to see two of its projects, the HBO series “Game of Thrones” and the Lionsgate feature “Deepwater Horizon” among the four nominees for Best Visual Effects. 

Iloura’s Glenn Melenhorst, Ineke Majoor, and Josh Simmonds are nominated along with Joe Bauer and Steve Kullback for the “Game of Thrones” season seven “The Spoils of War” episode. To help Daenerys and her Dothraki horde engage the Lannister army in a fiery fray, artists relied on their crowd pipeline and in-house tools built to handle enormous datasets for the previous season’s Emmy®-Award-winning “Battle of the Bastards” sequence. They drew on that expertise to augment film elements or, in some cases, create full CG shots, including some with thousands of soldiers in hand-to-hand combat. Artists also created extensive set extensions as well as CG smoke and fire, and seamlessly composited sequences with assets from multiple vendors. 

Iloura’s Jason Billington and Linda Luong are nominated along with James Whitlam for work on Lionsgate’s “Deepwater Horizon” which was also nominated for a VFX Academy® Award. Iloura artists created the massive engine explosion that ignites the fire on the namesake oil rig; designing, building and animating the full CG engine interior, as well as a CG version of the engine room that is engulfed by fire; adding CG flames, embers, mud, explosions and fireballs, seamlessly blending shots with practical and digital elements.  

Winners of the VFX Award will be announced at the AACTA Industry Luncheon on Monday, 4 December, presented by Foxtel events at The Star Event Centre in Sydney. Congrats to our teams!

Posted: 31/10/2017

Iloura’s Jason Billington Invited to Join the Academy

Huge congratulations to imagery wizard Jason Billington on being invited to join the VFX branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Jason was Oscar nominated for “Deepwater Horizon” VFX, done at Iloura. Congrats too to Nordin Rahhali at sister company Method Studios, who was also invited into the Academy’s ranks. Nordin recently supervised Method’s work for “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.” http://www.app.oscars.org/class2017/#international-stat

Posted: 30/06/2017

Iloura Returns to Battle for Game of Thrones “The Spoils of War”

Ahead of the season seven conclusion, the action in HBO’s Game of Thrones increasingly intensified with rapidly advancing storylines featuring escalating threats, new alliances and much-awaited reunions. In episode four of season seven, “The Spoils of War,” Daenerys and her Dothraki horde engaged the Lannister army in a fiery fray brought to life with help from visual effects by Deluxe’s Iloura. Reteaming with VFX Supervisor Joe Bauer and  VFX Producer Steve Kullback, Iloura VFX Supervisors Glenn Melenhorst and Josh Simmonds led Iloura artists in crafting the visuals.  Melenhorst was recognized with an Emmy Award for VFX work on season six’s “Battle of the Bastards” episode.

“We created digital doubles for the Dothraki at high resolution, knowing that we might need to drop them anywhere in a frame. This was not a case of throwing CG extras in the back of the horde, rather they are often front and center – something you’d never imagine trying to achieve in a typical TV show. ‘Game of Thrones’ is such a special phenomenon; we’re thankful to Joe and Steve for allowing us to be a part of it, and proud of the incredibly talented team at Iloura for rising to meet every challenge,” Melenhorst said.

Having honed its crowd pipeline and in-house tools for handling the enormous datasets required for large scale scenes featuring mounted riders and infantry for “Battle of the Bastards,” Iloura artists were able to draw upon that expertise in augmenting filmed elements or, in some cases, creating full CG shots, including some with thousands of soldiers in hand-to-hand combat. Iloura also created extensive set extensions as well as CG smoke and fire, and composited sequences with assets from multiple vendors to seamless effect.

“Not only did the CG smoke and fire require many terabytes of simulation data, but we also had to integrate with primary live action plates and separately shot elements, which meant massive practical and CG explosions in the same shot. Our aim was to ensure an exciting and unified sequence that stayed true to the renowned ‘Game of Thrones’ aesthetic,” said Simmonds.

To achieve the required detail and scope of the crowd work, Iloura built tools to enable custom animation for close ups and tightly choreographed action with full cloth and hair simulations. The enhancements also helped artists refine assets without having to continually rebuild, and achieve several epic aerial shots, passing through clouds of FX smoke and revealing vignettes of the battle from the vantage point of Daenaerys mounted on her dragon, Drogon, an asset animated by Image Engine. In many cases, the aerial shots, which served to provide a clear view of the unfolding stuggle below, were created from scratch using set scans and matte paintings as a base. See a behind-the scenes video showing Iloura’s work on “The Spoils of War” here.

 Game of Thrones “The Spoils of War” episode aired in the US August 6 on HBO and in Australia August 7 on Foxtel’s showcase channel. 

Posted: 13/09/2017