Riot Creates VFX for The Seeker: The Dark is Rising

Riot recently delivered more than 80 visual effects shots for THE SEEKER, a supernatural fantasy released on October 5th by Walden Media and 20th Century Fox.

Led by Production Team VFX Supervisor James Price on behalf of Fox, and Riot Visual Effects Supervisor David Jones, the facility team of artists crafted some of the most challenging and unusual visuals featured in the film, including a recurring ‘fractal’ effect used to identify a series of magical signs that are key to the survival of humankind.

Based on the popular Susan Cooper book series, THE SEEKER is the tale of 14-year-old Will Stanton (Alexander Ludwig) who learns he is one in a group of ageless warriors called ‘Old Ones’ destined to battle the forces of The Dark. The film is directed by David Cunningham (THE PATH TO 9/11) and also stars Christopher Eccleston (DOCTOR WHO) and Ian McShane (DEADWOOD).

Coming up with the right look for the fractal effect was among the key tasks for Riot team. The fractals are the visual clues that allow Will to identify magical signs that, to others, appear as ordinary objects by imbuing them with a rough, geometric pattern of infinite complexity. ‘It was one of those interesting challenges where the visual is described in the script as ?‚àö√ë‚àö‚â§unusual and something that never been seen before,’s’ recalled Jones. ‘That is a very broad diving board as you could jump in almost any direction.’

Jones and the Riot team collaborated with Cunningham and the film visual effects team in developing the overall concept for the fractals, as well as a look for each specific time they appear. ‘Rather than a strict geometrical representation, we came up with a more natural look that suggests infinite depth,’ Jones explained. ‘Our idea was to make the objects appear to be lit from within. The fractal is the object gem-like center that gives it its unusual properties, makes it glow and evolves over its surface in an infinite way.’

More than 25 artists were involved in executing the fractal effects, which involved 3D elements, lighting and textures.

As is often the case with large, complex visual effects packages, time was at a premium. To help make the workflow function with maximum efficiency, Riot employed a remote review technology, cineSync, to review work with the production team at Fox. ‘It allowed us to simultaneously view and annotate QuickTime files,’ Jones said. ‘Rather than drive to the studio and wait for the director to have a free moment, we could review work together from our respective offices at a time convenient to all. It really sped up the process.’

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