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Anthem Visual Effects' Lee Wilson

Anthem co-founder discusses Masters of Horror effects By John Virata

Anthem Visual Effects announced that it just wrapped the effects work for Masters of Horror, a collection of 13 original one hour movies shot in high definition and co-produced by IDT Entertainment, Industry Entertainment and Nice Guy Productions. The facility, formed in 2004 and nominated for an Emmy for its first work, Legend of Earthsea, (which won a Leo award), provided more than 200 effects shots for the series, all of which were created on Apple Power Mac G5 computers running off-the-shelf software. In this DMN Q&A, Anthem co-founder Lee Wilson details some of the techniques used to create the effects in Masters of Horror.

DMN: The cigarette burn is used several times throughout the episode How did the cigarette burn effect come about?
Lee Wilson: The cigarette burn acts as a transitional ?weirdness point as the viewer switches from one reality to the next throughout the story. The director, John Carpenter, and the editor came up with the idea while off-lining the show. The inspiration for its use comes from the old days of film where a ?cigarette burn appeared at the top of the screen cueing the projectionist to switch reels. It fits well with the whole idea of the show which centers around a man looking for a legendary lost horror film (Le Fin du Mond). We were able to take the idea and finesse it in Maya. Compositing was done in Shake.

DMN: What is it about the cigarette burn effect that made it a good
transition point for the girl to step into the real world?
LW: Since the cigarette burn is used throughout the story it was logical for it to become the gateway through which the girl steps. The director wanted it to have a 2D look and feel.

DMN: In addition to removal of the stuntwoman's real legs in the Deer Woman balcony scene, what other visual effects did Anthem provide for Deer Woman? What software was used in the leg removal process?
LW: There were a number of scenes for which we had to remove the womans actual legs. Theres a scene where she kicks the main character, sending him hurling into a wall, and a scene where she kicks his car and sends it skidding off the road. Both those scenes also involved cable and rig removal. Theres a sort of fantasy transitional movement from a deer head on a wall to a sky filled with clouds and lightning. We did 3D work on the clouds to give them a supernatural look. All the painting out was done using Shake. We also enhanced her eyes in several scenes to give them that classic ?deer caught in the headlights glow.

DMN: In the Chocolate episode, a 3D knife blade was fashioned to do the cutting. What software was used to generate the 3D knife?
LW: We were asked to show a knife cut running from the navel to the solar plexus. The shot was done so that it could be used as a single piece or edited into parts. Maya was used to generate the 3D knife.

DMN: And how was the timing of the cutting with the knife blade achieved with the splitting of the skin?
LW: There was no actual splitting of the skin. Make-up effects created a gruesome looking appliance of the slit that the actor wore on his chest. It was all nicely moistened up to look really nasty. We first digitally painted over the slit and gradually revealed it as the knife slices upwards.

DMN: How was the additional computer-generated blood created?
LW: The CG blood was created in Real Flow. 

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Related Keywords:Anthem Visual Effects, Lee Wilson, Legend of Earthsea, Masters of Horror

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