Feature Films VFX
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Talokan City, the home of the Talokanil people, was the focus of Wētā FX’s work in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Talokan City is a CG environment of enormous proportions, at 1500 metres wide by 900 metres high it’s capable of housing tens of thousands of people. The city was assembled from a library of building blocks created by the artists using imagery from ocean rockfalls and bathymetric data of an Atlantic trench and befitting the cultural heritage of a Central American civilisation.
Swimming and a network of hydro-tubes replaces the need for roads and walkways and enabled the city to be arranged in 3 dimensions - complete with a bustling vertical marketplace and farming land. Light in Talokan comes primarily from the Sastun sun above Namor’s central throne room, filled by pockets of bioluminescence. Bold coloured buildings still give us an interesting palette after being muted uneven colour absorption under water and flurries of organic matter in ocean water limits visibility at depth.Plate photography was done wet-for-wet as well as dry-for-wet, requiring different workflows to blend the imagery.
Dry-for-wet meant recreating the flow and movement of digital costumes, requiring tight match moves. The team had to adjust specular response on a shot-by-shot basis and manipulate the plate to build in marine snow and diffusion at distance and preserve the moody look of the film. The story required complicated bubble removal from plate photography which was done using deep learning tools and artistic touch-ups to allow for integration of CG elements.On set shooting was done using Panavision anamorphic lenses that were de-tuned to accentuate aberrations.
To authentically reproduce the aberrations and smearing to the edges we shot points of light grids to sample the sharpest the lens could resolve then convolved the CG image in the same way using these samples in nuke – allowing us to simulate how an in-focus image would resolve.
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