Feature film visual effects facility CafeFX created a vertigo-inducing crane disaster sequence for SPIDER-MAN™ 3, setting the stage for a classic Spidey rescue. The 46-shot sequence, along with 35 additional shots, was awarded to CafeFX by Sony Pictures Imageworks, lead effects facility for SPIDER-MAN 3, the latest in the multimillion-dollar franchise.
The scene opens as a steel beam, suspended from an out-of-control construction crane, spins toward a glass-encased skyscraper. From her photo shoot inside, Gwen Stacy (Bryce Dallas Howard) reacts to the impending disaster and the audience sees her dawning horror in the reflection of the windows. She dives for cover as the beam slices through the space, shattering windows and shearing off support columns. The off-balance crane then swings in a wild arc and takes out the floor below, causing the floor that Gwen is on to collapse and tilt at a perilous angle.
Scott Gordon, visual effects supervisor for CafeFX, said “The crane disaster sequence challenged us on all levels. In order for the action to work, it had to play out against the ultimate choreography, integration and interaction of countless practical and CG elements.”
A real steel beam is intercut with a CG beam; the model crane cab augmented with CG glass and a CG crane. Plates of an actual building in New York were juxtaposed with its perfect CG counterpart, only to be destroyed in a hail of procedurally animated and propagated glass, rubble and smoke, achieved with cebas thinking Particles, which enabled artists to define the rules and conditions of particle behavior.
An unreleased version of Sitrisati’s Fume FX fluid system, which understood the topology changes of thinking Particles, was used for smoke and dust elements. cebas's finalRender, noted for speed and image quality, handled the office furniture, paper and debris. Imagework’s visual effects supervisor Scott Stokdyk said “CafeFX did outstanding visual effects work on SPIDER-MAN 3 at all levels. They were able to deliver creative and beautiful visual solutions to complex shots, and work efficiently under very demanding circumstances. The crane disaster work that CafeFX did was particularly well done, with fantastic integration work of different photographic and CG elements.
CafeFX is an award-winning feature film visual effects facility offering visual effects production and supervision, CG character creation, and 3D animation. Founded in 1993 by Jeff Barnes and David Ebner, CafeFX is located in a 36,000-square-foot studio on an eight-acre campus in the heart of Santa Barbara County.
The company’s credits include SPIDER-MAN™ 3, GHOST RIDER, PAN’S LABYRINTH, THE DEPARTED, ERAGON, SIN CITY, KING KONG, MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA and THE AVIATOR. Its commercial and music video division, Santa Monica-based The Syndicate, is a creative design, branding services and digital production studio, specializing in live action direction, visual effects, animation, motion graphics, and telecine.
CafeFX and The Syndicate are held by umbrella corporation the ComputerCafe Group, which has also established Sententia Entertainment, a long form production company. With a focus on both live action and animated projects, Sententia Entertainment is poised to capitalize on years of experience in the feature film market while developing a catalog of properties utilizing the proven strengths of sister companies CafeFX and The Syndicate.
Among Sententia’s credits are PAN’S LABYRINTH and DANIKA. For more information please call 805-922-9479 or visit www.cafefx.com CAFEFX
CREDITS: Visual Effects Supervisor Scott Gordon Visual Effects Producer Richard Ivan Mann CG Supervisor Akira Orikasa Lead FX TD Rif (Rifaat) Dagher CG Artists Manuel H. Guizar Will Nicholson Geoff Mark FX Animators Mike Fischer Joe Scarr Color & Lighting TD John Volny Model/Texture Artists Steve Arguello Vlad Bina Alexander Pouchkarev 3D Matchmoving Lead Kevin Hoppe 3D Matchmovers Andy Byrne Aaron Singer Matte Painter Lei Jin Compositing Supervisor Edwardo Mendez Compositors Mike Bozulich Richard R. Reed Robin Graham Christopher Scott LeDoux Jorge de los Santos Rotoscope/2D Paint Artists Lindsay M. Anderson Chris Pinto Ruben Rodas VFX Editor Desi R. Ortiz VFX Coordinator Wendy Hulbert 3-D Technical Support Brian “B-Op” Openshaw Production Executives Jeffrey T. Barnes David Ebner O.D. Welch Executive Producer Vicki Galloway Weimer