Creating Atlantis was one of the biggest environments in recent history for ILM’s visual effects team. To bring the underwater environment to life, the team custom designed over a hundred shots from scratch. The task was monumental in scale–for comparison, Atlantis is five times larger than Wakanda in Black Panther

To accurately simulate the way sea water absorbs light and color underwater, ILM engineers developed a new software tool called Spectral Absorption for the film. ILM software developers worked with the company’s color scientists to make this tool physically accurate while putting the control in the hands of the artists to be able to dial the effects up or down as individual shots required. 

Another immense challenge was the replacement of nearly all of the lead actors hair with an individually styled computer simulated coif. ILM simulation artists leveraged the studio’s Academy Award® winning HairCraft technology to groom and simulate each hair since they all had to react to movement and sea currents in the underwater realm.

Between the construction of Atlantis, the third act battle, and the creation of hundreds of underwater digital doubles, ILM completed a total of 2,274 shots across the global studios with Vancouver leading the charge.

James Wan
ILM Visual Effects Supervisor
Philippe Rebours
ILM Animation Supervisor
Cedric Lo
ILM Visual Effects Art Director
Fred Palacio
ILM Executive Visual Effects Producer
Erin Dusseault
ILM Visual Effects Producer
David Fox