Ten Years of Visual Effects at LAIKA

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Sala Cavour - Centro Congressi Torino Incontra 
Fri, 27-10-2017, 18.30 - 19.30

Steve Emerson


LAIKA — the award-winning studio behind hit films Coraline, ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls and Kubo and the Two Strings — began ten years ago with a simple goal: to make movies that matter. Now, a decade later, the studio continues its pursuit of that goal by developing unique visual effects processes that both mimic and honor handmade, stop-motion worlds.

In this presentation, VFX Supervisor Steve Emerson will guide audience members through the history of visual effects at LAIKA, the challenges of each film and the evolution of their production processes. He will examine the studio’s live action approach to visual effects, the specifics of their workflow, the technology they’ve embraced and what the future holds.

  1. Introduction

    • Who am I? What is LAIKA? What are the films that we have made?
    • Intention of presentation: Review history of LAIKA studio and VFX. Examine evolution of processes from film-to-film.
  2. Coraline

    •  About the film
    •  Visual Effects

      •    mouse circus and scale comps
      •    node-based comps and the perils of stereo depth
      •    seam removal
      •    fog/atmospherics
  3. ParaNorman

    •  About the film
    •  What is Hybrid?

      •    more than just CG
      •    reference is key
      •    blurring he lines, finding collaboration
    • Visual Effects

      • our first crowds: key-framing vs. simulation
      • our first digital set extension: art dictates topography
  4. The Boxtrolls

    •  About the film
    •  Visual Effects

      •    crowds: Massive and autonomous crowd simulation
      •    market square: Stereoscopic scale: optimizing object tracks
      •    destruction: Integrated particle systems and dynamics
  5. Kubo and the Two Strings

    •  Water

      •    why water is so difficult
      • approach to water in previous LAIKA films
      • water systems development for Kubo
    •  The Hall of Bones

      • building the largest stop motion puppet, ever.
      • obstacles, solutions
      • the digital environment
    •  Crowds

      • more characters, more detail, flowing robes
    •  Hybrid Environments

      •  combining miniature, puppet scale and digital extensions
  6. Conclusion

    •  Moving forward, while looking backward

      •    futurists and luddites: a common goal