Extract: “APEX Aftermath” — Godzilla vs Kong visual effects by Luma Pictures

"Godzilla vs Kong" - visual effects by Luma

In this exclusive extract from The Illusion Almanac: Creating Godzilla vs Kong, Luma Pictures visual effects supervisor Brendan Seals discusses the aftermath of Godzilla’s attack on APEX Cybernetics in Godzilla vs Kong. While the artists at Luma did not get their hands on the monsters of Godzilla vs Kong, they did however deliver a range of visual effects shots across the film as a whole, with an emphasis on environments and set extensions, motion graphics and screen replacements, digital damage and continuity fixes.

Read the full story about the design, cinematography and visual effects of Godzilla vs Kong in Issue 1 of The Illusion Almanac, available now as an 80-page* digital magazine formatted for Kindle. Download it from Amazon online stores worldwide — just search for “illusion almanac.”

Luma’s environment work appears first during the sequence where Godzilla attacks the APEX Cybernetics base in Florida. While Scanline handled shots of Godzilla and the destruction he unleashes, Luma handled a range of exteriors, embellishing plate photography with environment extensions, digital crowds, moving vehicles and damage effects. In the aftermath of the attack, an emergency relief camp is set up. Luma augmented footage of a partial set that comprised around half a dozen tents, expanding the camp nearly half a mile in every direction and adding hundreds of digital extras. Using a crowd management system, artists assigned a range of predetermined behaviours to individual agents. “We did our own motion capture to create a library of actions,” explained Luma visual effects supervisor Brendan Seals, “and that formed the basis for the behaviour of the crowd. The art of crowds is designing enough actions to create variety, but not having the behaviours call attention to themselves. It’s more about the net result, rather than saying, ‘Hey, look at this one person.’”

Luma returned to Pensacola for shots of Madison Russell and her companions exploring the ruins of the APEX facility. While the chaos of the wrecked environment naturally generated a wealth of visual texture, artists had to balance this with the need for clear storytelling. “The beauty is in the mess,” Seals stated. “But when we did our first passes, we found that everything was catching the light — there were so many angle changes and so many complex silhouettes. Ultimately, you have to decide what you want the viewer to look at: is it the Mechagodzilla eyeball that’s lying there in the rubble? Is it Godzilla in the far distance? Or is it the threat to the actors from all the destroyed environment in the foreground?”

Extract from “The Illusion Almanac: Creating Godzilla vs Kong” — available now for Kindle from Amazon
  • "Godzilla vs Kong" - visual effects by Luma
  • "Godzilla vs Kong" - visual effects by Luma
  • "Godzilla vs Kong" - visual effects by Luma

*Print equivalent. “Godzilla vs Kong” images © 2021 Legendary and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved. Godzilla TM & © Toho Co., Ltd.

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