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Holiday blockbusters shaped with Autodesk software

From an inviting ice castle to a thawing waterfall, many of the holiday season’s movies were shaped with Autodesk media and entertainment software.
Leading post-production facilities, including Sony Pictures Imageworks, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) and The Orphanage, relied on Autodesk’s systems and software to realise their wildest wintry ideas.
“Autodesk’s Discreet Flame visual effects system helped our team reach new creative heights with its speed and power,“ said David Smith, digital effects supervisor, Sony Pictures Imageworks. “While working on The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, there were many artistic challenges in creating just the right look for magical elements. The White Witch’s stone victims, the luminescent ice castle, talking animals and a vast fly-over shot of Narnia; they all needed to stir up a sense of wonder. The talent of our artists, combined with the capabilities of the Flame system, helped bring this classic to life.”
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a film based on the classic novel by CS Lewis, in which a group of children discover a magical wardrobe that leads them to the mystical land of Narnia. ILM used Autodesk’s Discreet Inferno and Discreet Flame systems as part of its proprietary SABRE visual effects system on the film. Sony Pictures Imageworks also used multiple Discreet Flame systems – including the latest system on a 64-bit Linux-based workstation – for 3D tracking, compositing and visual effects creation.
A particularly demanding sequence was that of the waterfall. Child actors were filmed on green screen, standing on-set on an ice peak model. When reviewing the shots in post-production, the performance of the actors in one take was preferred, while the camera movement in another was preferred. Using the Flame system, Sony Pictures Imageworks was able to combine the best of both takes.
In the sequence, the frozen waterfall thaws. The river then breaks apart and melts, showing a transition to spring. This enchanting change of season was crafted with computer-generated elements such as water, fog, icebergs, wolves and beavers – all combined by Sony Pictures Imageworks in the Discreet Flame system.

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