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Industrial Light & Magic Re-invents Water for Pirates 3

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The Hollywood Reporter has a great piece up today about the enormous challenges the 2,000+ CGI effects shots for Pirates 3 placed on companies such as George Lucas' ILM. In fact, they went beyond simply using the most advanced computer imagry they had for this job -- they invented some new stuff along the way.

"We had a lot of very difficult shots that featured the water," Knoll said. "The maelstrom was about a mile and a half across, and in order to get enough detail, the fluid simulation has to be at very high resolution. That is a very difficult thing to do because of the shape of the water surface ... in all three dimensions."

As someone who has a moderate understanding of what goes into CGI shots such as this, I can personally testify as to how incredibly difficult it is just to get realistic looking water from a single still frame, but here we're talking about an epic 20-minute long sea battle during a storm.

As a result, the team at Industrial Light + Magic -- which was the lead VFX house on the film and which completed about one-third of the film's estimated 2,000 VFX shots -- developed new tools to warp and composite the fluid simulation in the sequence.

Not only do they have a lot of hot shot animators working for them, they have beefy software engineers and a health heaping of mathematiticians as well. Again, like this article I posted the other day, this is a great read if you're interested in magic behind the movies.

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The text of this article is Copyright © 2006,2007 Paul William Tenny. All rights reserved. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Attribution by: full name and original URL. Comments are copyrighted by their authors and are not subject to the Creative Commons license of the article itself.