As a war between humankind and monstrous sea creatures wages on, a former pilot and a trainee are paired up to drive a seemingly obsolete special weapon in a desperate effort to save the world from the apocalypse.

The number one challenge for ILM on Pacific Rim was scale. Virtually every frame of Guillermo del Toro’s apocalyptic epic involved computer-generated characters, creatures, or environments and in many cases, all three together.

When working in a world full of giant robots and subterranean sea creatures VFX artists had to pay special attention to the balance between the science and logistics of moving giant aliens and machines realistically and giving those robots and creatures human and animal elements to make them more relatable and better serve the story and the audience.

If giant robots and monsters were not enough, then recreating cities – and destroying them – became additional challenges. For Hong Kong, which bears the brunt of a fight mid-town and in its docks area, ILM scouted the city and shot moving footage and stills with which the team could recreate any element required for a given shot. The team received a BAFTA nomination for Best Special Visual Effects for their contribution to the film.

Guillermo del Toro
ILM Visual Effects Supervisor
John Knoll
ILM Co-Visual Effects Supervisors
Lindy De Quattro
ILM Singapore Visual Effects Supervisor
Eddie Pasquarello
ILM Animation Supervisor
Nigel Sumner
ILM Visual Effects Art Director
Hal Hickel
ILM Visual Effects Producer
Alex Jaeger
Susan Greenhow
Jason Heapy
Erin Dusseault