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Pixel Magic Creates The Fantastic

Completes work on 70 shots for 20th Century Fox's upcoming superhero movie Fantastic 4 (June 28, 2005)

Pixel Magic today announced it recently completed work on 70 shots for 20th Century Fox's upcoming superhero movie Fantastic 4. Packed with hundreds of visual effects shots, the film features some of the most exciting characters in Marvel's family of superheroes. Hired by Visual Effects Producer Kurt Williams, Pixel Magic was responsible for various composites and CG enhancements. Supervisor Ray McIntyre Jr., Producer Joseph Bell and CG Supervisor Micheal Hardison led Pixel Magic's team.

The first challenge was to create a romantic setting on the deck of a Circle Line ferryboat in New York Harbor for the scene in which Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic) proposes to Sue Storm (Invisible Woman). With part of the ferryboat constructed on a green-screen stage, Ray McIntyre Jr. shot the background plates from a real Circle Line ferryboat in New York harbor. The Manhattan nighttime skyline was then treated with enhanced skies, CG water and CG boat wakes to make the thirty shots in the sequence even more picturesque than they already were. The black water of the harbor was replaced entirely with a glittering CG ocean surface for a giant pull-back shot past the Statue of Liberty, and a CG boat was added to another helicopter shot to establish the scene.

Pixel Magic also created a variety of effects for the climactic fight sequence in which the Fantastic 4 take on villain Victor Von Doom (Doctor Doom). One of the biggest challenges for Pixel Magic's CG department was a shot in which Ben Grimm (The Thing) is thrown across the street by Doom, smashing a furrow in the ground with the force of his impact. Particle simulations were done in Maya to create the thousands of pieces of rock and gravel kicked up as Ben hits the street. Other effects created by Pixel Magic for the sequence included a CG bus sliding across a busy intersection, Doom drawing huge bolts of electricity from surrounding buildings, smashing CG glass and rig removals.

A combination of 2D and 3D approaches were used to enhance shots of Doom's transformation from flesh to metal. For the scene in which Doom begins to test his strength by punching the wall of an elevator, CG metal was match-moved onto Doom's knuckles to create 'wounds' that revealed metal forming under his skin. 2D effects were done in compositing to cement the "metallic" look. 2D composite enhancements were also used in the scene in which Johnny (The Human Torch) superheats the inside of a test chamber, reducing the walls to molten slag. Building glow and volumetric light were added to the test chamber, along with subtle warping as the walls begin to melt.

About Pixel Magic:
With a combination of traditional film knowledge and digital expertise, Pixel Magic provides clients with high quality and cost effective results. Pixel Magic uses Maya and Lightwave powered by Pentium 4 PCs, alongside Shake and After Effects running on Powermac G5s. The company has in-house 2K and 4K film scanning and recording facilities.

Pixel Magic recently completed work on New Regency's Mr. & Mrs. Smith, MGM's Pink Panther, and Herbie, Full Throttle for Walt Disney Studios.

For further information, contact: Pixel Magic, 10635 Riverside Dr., Toluca Lake, CA, 91602, telephone +1.818.760.0862, fax +1.818.760.0483,


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Related Keywords:Pixel Magic, 20th Century Fox, Fantastic 4, visual effect, composites, CG, Lightwave, Maya,


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