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VFX story behind Disney’s The One and Only Ivan comes alive at CII SummitFX Celebrated specialist Ben Jones shares experience of working with Indian team
Aug 25, 2021

The first day of CII SummitFX was brought to a close with a breathtaking session on the back story and the creation of “The One and Only Ivan”, a Hollywood movie which was released on OTT platforms in 2020 and which was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects last year.

Through a clever mix of real life action and visual effects, this movie tells the true story of a gorilla who for several years was a crowd puller at a circus in the US and who eventually conveyed through his drawings his desire to go back to where he belonged — the jungles. VFX Supervisor for the movie was Ben Jones who shared at CII SummitFX that the movie was crafted with 1055 shots, of which more than 900 were finalised in India.

Mr Jones spoke about how “The One and Only Ivan” had two distinctly different shoot phases where approximately 50% of the film was shot in live action, with the remaining 50% in full computer graphics. The live action shoot was traditionally done with a set, green screen and motion capture actors. The virtual production on the other hand had multiple components, and encompassed everything including real time game engine technologies to tell stories.

Mr Arnab Sanyal, HoD Compositing, MPC Films, talking of the challenges while doing VFX for this movie highlighted the importance of keeping everything consistent and managing a lot of slow camera movements.

He shared that the approach towards the movie was to keep everything as real as possible, from the lighting and camera point of view. The attempt was to make it natural and cinematic, like the rest of the live action movie. All the characters were built from concept art based on live references that were sought out for in the wild, zoos and in nature. For example, Ivan was created from a Gorilla named Zawadi found at the Animal Kingdom in Florida.

The most challenging aspect was to keep things consistent. The characters for all the live action shots were rendered in CG environment. That allowed the VFX artists an integration that was much better than one would normally get. Almost 90% of the 1055 shots were edited in Bangalore.

The session ended with a series of engaging questions posed by the audience which ranged from Ben Jones’s experience of working with the MPC team in Bangalore, his next project with Disney and what he felt were the most challenging and difficult to render parts of The One and Only Ivan.

The six-day virtual CII SummitFX was inaugurated on 24th August. The summit will see over 40+ Knowledge Sessions and over 100 speakers deliberating on a wide range of issues that cut across the spectrum looking to develop a cohesive industry engagement with core cross-sectoral policy dialogues and strategic exchanges.

25 August 2021

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