Whether you love or hate the movie of the same name, the Prometheus is one of the coolest looking ships this side of Firefly. The Kiwi gurus at WETA Digital were in charge of much of the digital effects work on Ridley Scott’s latest Alien epic, and have given us a sneak peek into how they made it look so good.
I’ll warn you, there’s some spoilers in here.
Speaking to The Daily, visual effects supervisor Charles Henley said the first landing sequence is one of the largest in the movie in terms of shot count.
As he talks about the design of the Prometheus and how the amazing swinging ion thrusters work, we’re shown just how many layers go into making the ship look the way it does.
Each element is modelled in its own layer, starting with each piece of the environment and incorporating each layer of the ship — from wireframe modelling right down to the landing lights on that can be seen on the hull.
Henley also talks about how the team worked to create the massive showdown shot that sees the Prometheus smashed into the side of the Engineer’s ship. The explosions look awesome in that particular shot, and they’re created using a piece of WETA’s own software that uniquely animates and visualises each piece of debris as the explosion takes place.
The Daily also gives us a look into how WETA Digital created the shot at the beginning of Prometheus — a scene that sees an Engineer broken down at a genetic level before reforming into human DNA in the water.
Another visual effects supervisor with WETA, Martin Hill, said that the team actually modelled silicon replicas of fish bones and spines, before filming them as they were pumped with ink and oil to get a the effect that makes it look like the DNA strands are breaking down.
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