Pacific Rim

[Legendary Entertainment / Warner Bros.]

2014 BAFTA nominee for Best Special Visual Effects

The 25-story tall robots and Kaiju in Pacific Rim brought with them several challenges. Animation, scale, weight, interaction, and rendering issues all had to be solved in order to convince audiences that the robots and otherworldly creatures could coexist with humans.

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

Case Study

Pacific Rim

Release Date: July 12, 2013

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.