Iloura News

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 

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.”

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

Iloura Swings Into Action for ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’

To help tell the story of young Peter Parker in “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” Iloura crafted 153 VFX shots that lend authenticity to everything from Spider-Man’s suit to crucial environments. Collaborating once again with sister company Method Studios, and working closely with director Jon Watts, VFX Supervisor Janek Sirrs, and Method VFX Supervisor Matt Dessero, Iloura’s team of 80 artists was led by VFX Supervisor Dan Bethell.

“Our work was quite varied but the creative brief was always to serve the story and the context of the scene,” said Bethell. “From our CG environment work, to digitally augmenting Spider-Man’s suit and face, everything we did aimed to sell the believability of the scenes and to support Tom Holland’s performance.”

The bulk of Iloura’s work focused on the Department of Damage Control sequence, in which artists digitally transformed a barren warehouse set into a 3D environment filled with containers, rafters, and other elements. Attention to detail was key, from the textural qualities of the walls to flares on the overhead lights to serial numbers on each container. Iloura fortified its workflow for full CG environments, ensuring that when artists made even small changes to the warehouse, it updated across all shots to maintain complete continuity.

In the same sequence, Spider-Man swings in a hammock – a look Iloura achieved by combining the CG environment and FX, practical Spider-Man stunt photography and CG suit augmentation. In translating the practical footage, artists also needed to animate a fully CG head for Spider-Man and augment his suit, taking care to match the reflective and sparkly qualities of the practical suit material. The Iloura team pushed its lookdev and shaders to ensure texture and lighting matches with Spider-Man’s complex suit materials. Iloura’s Asset Supervisor Greg O’Connor was invaluable for handling the very technical work of matching CG Spider-Man to live action Spider-Man. Iloura artists also created various distinct CG webs that Spider-Man gets to test out as he swings through the facility. 

“Spider-Man: Homecoming,” from Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures, is in theaters now.

Posted: 18/08/2017

We hope to see you in London!

Posted: 01/05/2017

Why VFX Is Like Building a Car While You Are Driving It: Iloura’s Glenn Melenhorst Shares Insights with CG Society

Having helmed Iloura’s VFX work for both Sony’s “Ghostbusters” and the epic “Battle of the Bastards” episode of “Game of Thrones” over the past twelve months, it’s safe to say that Iloura VFX Supervisor Glenn Melenhorst is enjoying one of his best years yet.

On the awards circuit, Glenn’s work on “Battle of the Bastards” earned top honors from the Primetime Emmys, Hollywood Post Alliance, Visual Effects Society, the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts, and Australian Production Design Guild. Glenn recently spoke with CG Society about the realities of being a supervisor at a prominent VFX studio along with some of words of wisdom. Read the full story here.

Posted: 29/03/2017