MPC Create Underwater World For G.I. Joe

Paramount Pictures and Hasbro join forces with Spyglass Entertainment for another extraordinary action-adventure, ‘G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra’. MPC London provided key sequences for the film which was directed by Stephen Sommers and based on the well known Hasbro toy. The MPC team worked closely with overall Supervisor Boyd Shermis and VFX supervisor Greg McMurry, to complete 176 shots for the movie.

From the Egyptian desert to deep below the polar ice caps, ‘G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra’ sees the elite G.I. Joe team use the latest in next-generation spy and military equipment to fight the corrupt arms dealer Destro and a growing threat from the mysterious Cobra organization.

G.I. Joe was a hugely-popular animated TV series that debuted in 1985, but it was the long-running series of comic books that truly propelled G.I. Joe into mainstream consciousness and lend the tale its engaging mythology.

The film posed a unique challenge for Stephen Sommer ‘What sparked my interest was the notion that this would be a cross between a comic book and a James Bond film’ he says. ‘The idea was that we could have this giant canvas with larger-than-life characters and a great mythology that already existed in the G.I. Joe world’.

MPC’s involvement with GI Joe started from the outset with MPC concept and design team playing an instrumental role in the design of many of the full CG assets including the main ships and the Cobra Base. The Production team provided reference paintings to give an idea of the general direction of the look with MPC later adding in underwater detail and atmosphere.

The brief from Stephen Sommers required emulating a ?‚àö√ë‚àö‚â§classic underwater star wars movie’s which called for realistic environments with hero buildings. Sommers also cited the dive fight in Thunderball and other action movies as key reference.

Challenges for MPC included blue screen replacements to window shots in the docking bay looking out onto CG environments and underwater battles; and a seven minute fully CG underwater action sequence constituting most of the third act of the film.

MPC’s CG team built the fully underwater station environment using Maya and rendered using a mixture of Renderman and Mental Ray depending on the sequence content. The usual CG challenges of creating fluids applied, with much testing to create a believable environment.

To aid in this, the R&D team were also instrumental in the project. They focussed on solving the numerous and well documented creative and technical challenges of underwater CG. In the main, the team investigated the physics of the underwater environment and how this affects colour refraction and visibility fall off using reference sourced from arctic underwater photography which has the best vis of underwater environments; up to 400m.

The result was a specific colour curve operation for shaders which helped to manage to colour fall off in the depths by shifting colours to blue across a curve. This also gave efficient light volume for rays. The R&D crew also focussed on the underwater explosions which required research into underwater explosion and implosion techniques essentially requiring a zero gravity situation.

G.I. Joe was released worldwide in early August 2009.

About MPC
The Moving Picture Company (MPC) is a world leading post production facility creating high-end digital visual effects and computer animation for the feature film, advertising, music and television industries. A wholly owned subsidiary of Technicolor, MPC is based in Soho – London, Santa Monica – CA and Yale town – Vancouver. The facilities are centrally located, networked and have a dedicated digital infrastructure designed and built for our future.

Marlon Wayans: Ripcord (an expert marksman and weapons specialist)
Ray Park: Snake Eyes ( a ninja warrior armed with Katana swords and a Glock pistol)
Rachel Nichols: Scarlett (martial arts master,skilled with Crossbow Pistol)
Said Taghmaoui: Breaker, specialist in deciphering covert electronics and technology
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje: Heavy Duty (the team weapons specialist)
Dennis Quaid: General Hawk (team commander)
Karolina Kurkova: Courtney ?‚àö√ë‚àö‚â§Cover Girl’s Kreiger (General Hawk assistant)
Channing Tatum: Duke (GI Joe leader, combat veteran and soldier personified)
Christopher Eccleston: Destro (founder of Military Armament Research Syndicate)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: Cobra Commander
Sienna Lewis: The Baroness

G.I. Movie website
Moving Picture Company website

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